A New Settlement

eea_eu_comparison

People laughed when our inspiring and honest Prime Minister, David “integrity” Cameron, said that his aim was to achieve “fundamental, far-reaching change” to Britain’s relationship with the EU. Those same people are not laughing now. Britain is not in the euro, not in Schengen and has no obligation to participate in an “ever closer union”. Our position in the Single Market is secure while the political integration process can continue without us. Britain has a “special status” in the EU that is completely different to any other EU Member State.

Unlike every other EU Member State, Britain’s politicians and policy-makers are wholly responsible for Britain’s trade and aid policy—we can sign trade agreements and deals with any country interested in negotiating with the fifth largest economy on the planet—and we have full self-representation on the thousands of global bodies where technical standards for trade are agreed. Working in consort with EU partners when appropriate and diverging from the common position when necessary, Britain enjoys the best of both worlds, with the same voice, veto and right of reservation as the collective EU27.

Outside of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, Britain has the opportunity to revitalise areas of the economy that were previously administered by an ineffectual EU. Farmers and fishermen no longer need to look to Brussels, where rules are made in the interests of facilitating an “ever closer union”—British interests be damned—but to London, where the government is subject to the same democratic pressures as every other Western economy.

Policy control has also been returned in areas often associated with bureaucratic overreach and civil service gold-plating. From now on, energy and environmental policy will be the exclusive concern of British governments and though we will of course honour global conventions the policy mechanisms that Britain chooses can be adapted to suit local needs and conditions.

Probably most important of all, Britain will no longer be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). While Britain and the EU will continue to co-operate in areas of mutual interest, essential sovereignty will be returned to the British Parliament.

Of course, Britain will pay to participate in the rule-making bodies of the Single Market, which, together with farming subsidies, regional development funds, and science and social programmes, mean that the cost-savings will be slight. But then this exercise never was about reducing expenditure. Participating in the Single Market means that the four freedoms and 21 percent of EU rules apply to Britain, but with a full say at every stage of the standards-setting process, Britain has greater protection against unwanted regulation than any EU Member State.

Hang on. What was that Mr Hollande?

hollande

That doesn’t describe Mr Cameron’s “new settlement” at all, Mrs Merkel?

merkel

As per Mr Cameron’s “dodgy deal”, Britain is still an EU Member State. Trade, agriculture and fisheries policy remain exclusive EU competencies and Britain has but 9 percent of the vote in the European Parliament and 12.6 percent of the vote in the Council of the EU with respect to energy, environmental, transport and telecommunications policy, opposed to the full say that every sovereign nation-state takes for granted.

And, of course, as an EU Member State, EU law remains supreme over British law. Any assertion to the contrary is simply false. What exactly did Mr Cameron negotiate? What is “special” about the status that Mr Cameron tells us is such a “good deal” for Britain? Anything?

The alternative offer outlined hereabove is actually available to British voters should they choose to cast a leave vote. The return of essential sovereignty allied with continuity market membership and the assurance of economic stability is what Dr Richard North’s Flexcit plan envisions in the initial phase post exit. The opportunities for self-governance come into their own thereafter, but first it is essential to provide people who know in their heart that Britain should not be in the EU with credible reassurances. The Flexcit plan does precisely that.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “A New Settlement

  1. You had me fooled for a minute. I thought Mr Cameron had negotiated a genuinely ground breaking deal. Only for my hopes to be dashed at the end.

    But then I like the first deal, it sounds much better than the one we actually have. If a leave vote gets that deal then I’m for leave.

    Dave’s deal sounds pretty dodgy.

    Like

  2. ‘From now on, energy and environmental policy will be the exclusive concern of British governments…’

    I am not sure it is quite as simple as that. For example, here is a quotation from a paper by the European Environment Agency (a different EEA) (http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/managing-municipal-solid-waste/norway-municipal-waste-management):

    ‘Norway is not a member of EU. However, Norway is an EFTA member and has signed the agreement on the European Economic Area. Norway has through this agreement to implement the directives in the environment area (OECD, 2011).’

    If you look up the OECD paper, you find this (http://www.oecd.org/environment/country-reviews/47689103.pdf):

    ‘As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Norway has transposed all EU environmental directives covered by the EEA Agreement.’

    which, admittedly, is not quite the same thing..

    In a paper on recycling, here is something quite definite (http://scp.eionet.europa.eu/publications/WP2010_5_The%20European%20Recycling%20Map/wp/WP2010_5):

    ‘All Member States of the EU and of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are bound by the principles and targets introduced by EU waste legislation.’

    That’s about as far as I have got. Except that there is what looks to me like an excellent paper by the Norwegian Foreign Office on the complexities of incorporating EU legislation into the EEA: http://www.eu-norway.org/Global/SiteFolders/webeu/MeldSt5_UD_ENG.PDF

    Andrew

    Like

    • Many thanks for this. I hope to have time to look at these in more depth and may try to summarise for other readers.

      You are correct that in policy terms the proposal may not be so simple. But in terms of winning the referendum the message that Britain would have more policy control outside the EU is solid.

      I need to look into this in more detail, but global conventions provide the impetus for so many EU Directives and Regulations that I would be very surprised if there is not a global dimension to the energy and environmental issues, wherein an independent Britain would have a full voice, veto and right of reservation.

      Like

  3. Thanks, LL, and I look forward to seeing what you make of the matter, if you have time to work it. With regard to the global dimension, I am sure it exists, but my impression is that on the whole there is no necessity to abide by the decisions of the global bodies. You may have seen the claim by Open Europe that of the 100 costliest EU-derived rules in the UK, 93 would still apply if we were in the EEA. (Sorry to add yet more links, but: http://2ihmoy1d3v7630ar9h2rsglp.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/150507-Open-Europe-What-If-Report-Final-Digital-Copy.pdf at p.53).

    Robert Oulds, who I think was Dr North’s co-author on Flexcit, replied to the Open Europe claim here: http://campaignforanindependentbritain.org.uk/open-europes-latest-research-on-the-100-most-costly-eu-regulations/ pointing out, for example, that the Working Time Directive originated from the ILO, not from Europe. Then my question would be whether we would have been under any obligation to adopt the ILO rules.

    Andrew

    Like

    • “…the Working Time Directive originated from the ILO, not from Europe. Then my question would be whether we would have been under any obligation to adopt the ILO rules.”

      There is a talk somewhere on YouTube involving Ruth Lea and Robert Oulds, in which Ruth quite sharply tells the audience that Robert’s mention of the ILO in relation to the WTD is ‘a red herring’ because, she said, it was the EU that forced us to adopt it, not the ILO.

      She said if we weren’t in the EU but had been working solely and directly at the ILO level we would not have had to adopt the WTD at all unless we chose to. As far as I’ve checked, she’s right. Some IOs do force agreements upon their members once a majority has agreed on something, so all these international fora are different. Some are more EU-like, whereas others fully respect sovereignty and national democracy.

      Nevertheless, Ms Lea could have been nicer to Mr Oulds, especially given that they were both arguing for exiting the EU. On the other hand, I’ve never seen or heard Ms Lea being particularly friendly to anyone. She certainly was frosty towards Mr Oulds.

      Like

      • Thanks, James, that’s helpful. I see that the UK already has a permanent seat on the Governing Body of the ILO, so it’s not one of those cases where we gain our own seat if we left the EU and joined the EEA.

        Andrew

        Like

  4. For me the answer is very simple-I want out and the sooner the better. Nobody will ever persuade me that what we have now,which we have never been allowed to have a say on as a democratic electorate and which is costing us millions every day to boot,is going to enable us to enjoy a prosperous future. I want the destiny of the British people for generations to come,to be in our own hands and not under those who live in a fools paradise.

    Like

  5. Mr A. Lloyd’s comment says it all. “Nobody will ever persuade me….” He might go on to say: “So please don’t supply any factual information, I’m not interested”. For those interested in reality, the working time directive was an obvious bit of progress, from the EU, that we complained about bitterly, but now accept. At a meeting recently I heard a barrister say, “the working man has a lot to be grateful to the EU for”.
    The EU is much more democratic than the UK. Sovereignty in modern times means being able to choose. We choose to belong to a club that confers many advantages, and we can choose to leave it. We can choose to go to conferences and sign up to standards or we can choose not to sign and suffer the consequences. Ironically, if we leave we will end up with less sovereignty! Sovereignty starts to mean something when Ukraine gets invaded by Russia, and force is employed and people die. Groups of human beings are always disagreeing; infinitely better having them air their differences in formal circumstances in Brussels.
    As for the ‘New Settlement’ umm, it is a fantasy. Why not read the FT? ; they might know something about the subject: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1465ef50-da34-11e5-98fd-06d75973fe09.html#axzz42SHfX46g

    Like

    • What makes you think the FT “might know something” about the subject? I have read numerous articles indicating that they do not.

      You assert that EU membership is more democratic than self-governance and you say that surrendering sovereignty to a foreign power gives us more sovereignty. You provide no evidence for either and then tell us that leaving the EU to participate in the Single Market via EFTA/EEA and seeking to co-operate with our neighbours without accepting supranational subordination is “fantasy”. Not impressed.

      Like

    • I would point you towards the Lisbon Treaty, a treaty which was pushed through without the approval of the EU’s 500m people (- a few Irish citizens)
      As we all know, Lisbon was rammed down our throats even though it was, more or less, an identical copy of the proposed EU constitution that was turned down by the French and Dutch – and, incidentally, this proposed constitution was to be approved unanimously by all the peoples of the EU.

      But, Lisbon was no different to any other treaty signed by our politicians and the EU hierarchy, and it is this unholy alliance between our own politicians and the EU that seeks to exclude the people of the European Union from the direction they wish to take.

      I repeat – we are denied a say on whether the EU castle is to be built, but we can vote now and again for people to meet in Brussels to discuss the colour of the bricks.

      Your democratic EU castle is built on ANTI-democratic sand.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Continuing with this puzzle about the environment sector in the EEA, here is Article 1.1.f of the EEA Agreement:

    (f) closer cooperation in other fields, such as research and development, the environment, education and social policy.

    And then in the Norway Foreign Affairs White Paper on the EEA Agreement which I linked to above, at p. 13 we have:

    ‘Cooperation in areas outside the four freedoms does not in principle entail a legal obligation to cooperate within the framework of the EEA Agreement, and is regulated by Part VI of the EEA Agreement.’

    Followed by a complicated discussion about setting precedents which I won’t attempt to summarise here. But so far it looks like it should be voluntary.

    But then here is another example where it does not seem to be voluntary at all, from the EU’s 2012 ‘Progress Report’ on Iceland, which at the time was I think applying for EU membership. (http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2012/package/is_rapport_2012_en.pdf) In the section on the environment on page 38, we find:

    ‘Iceland lost an EFTA court case brought by the EFTA Surveillance Authority for failing to address the problem of road noise, as required by the Environmental Noise Directive, and has handed in noise maps for major roads in June 2012 as required by the court.’

    I don’t yet see why one should have to conform to a Noise Directive to participate in a single market. So I remain puzzled.

    Andrew

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s