Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Common Market and the EU

Let me start by saying that I think we should remain a strong part of Europe, and that Europe is also stronger if the UK remains part of the European family.

In a 'landmark' speech; which I urge you all to read, the 'State of the Union' address of 1941 President Roosevelt said inter alia:

..there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic system are simple: 

They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others

Jobs for those who can work

Security for those who need it.

The ending of special privileges for the few.

The preservation of civil liberties for all.

The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living....

He also set out the four essential human freedoms:

In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere  in the world.

The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understanding which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear – which translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion than no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbour – anywhere in the world.

And in 1946 in another 'landmark' speech made by Sir Churchill at the University of Zurich, that I have posted about previously - The Council of Europe said:

...Yet all the while there is a remedy which, if it were generally and spontaneously adopted by the great majority of people in many lands, would as if by a miracle transform the whole scene, and would in a few years make all Europe, or the greater part of it, as free and as happy as Switzerland is to-day. What is this sovereign remedy? It is to re-create the European Family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe....

I am going to say something that will astonish you. The first step in the recreation of the European Family must be a partnership between France and Germany. In this way only can France recover the moral and cultural leadership of Europe. There can be no revival of Europe without a spiritually great France and a spiritually great Germany. The structure of the United States of Europe, if well and truly built, will be such as to make the material strength of a single state less important. Small nations will count as much as large ones and gain their honour by their contribution to the common cause. The ancient states and principalities of Germany, freely joined together for mutual convenience in a federal system, might take their individual places among the United States of Europe. I shall not try to make a detailed programme for hundreds of millions of people who want to be happy and free, prosperous and safe, who wish to enjoy the four freedoms of which the great President Roosevelt spoke, and live in accordance with the principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter...

And in 1949 he said:

Britain is an integral part of Europe, and we mean to play our part in the revival of her prosperity and greatness. But Britain cannot be thought of as a single state in isolation. She is the founder and centre of a world wide Empire and Commonwealth. We shall never do anything to weaken the ties of blood, of sentiment and tradition and common interests which unite us with other members of the British family of nations.

But nobody is asking us to make such a desertion. For Britain to enter a European Union from which the Empire and Commonwealth would be excluded would not only be impossible but would, in the eyes of Europe, enormously reduce the value of our participation. The Strasbourg recommendations [that is the first session of the Council of Europe] urged the creation of an economic system which will embrace not only the European States, but all those other States and territories elsewhere which are associated with them. 
(Source: Churchill by Roy Jenkins)

In 1957 the European Economic Community was formed, which the UK joined much later in 1974. The Treaty of Rome says in Articles 1 to 3:


By this Treaty, the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY.


The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and progressively approximating the economic policies of Member States, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious development of economic activities, a continuous and balanced expansion, an increase in stability, an accelerated raising of the standard of living and closer relations between the States belonging to it.


For the purposes set out in Article 2, the activities of the Community shall include, as provided in this Treaty and in accordance with the timetable set out therein

(a) the elimination, as between Member States, of customs duties and of quantitative restrictions on the import and export of goods, and of all other measures having equivalent effect;

(b) the establishment of a common customs tariff and of a common commercial policy towards third countries;

(c) the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services and capital;

(d) the adoption of a common policy in the sphere of agriculture;

(e) the adoption of a common policy in the sphere of transport;

(f) the institution of a system ensuring that competition in the common market is not distorted;

(g) the application of procedures by which the economic policies of Member States can he co-ordinated and disequilibria in their balances of payments remedied;

(h) the approximation of the laws of Member States to the extent required for the proper functioning of the common market;

(i) the creation of a European Social Fund in order to improve employment opportunities for workers and to contribute to the raising of their standard of living;

(j) the establishment of a European Investment Bank to facilitate the economic expansion of the Community by opening up fresh resources;

(k) the association of the overseas countries and territories in order to increase trade and to promote jointly economic and social development.

You see the above,  I hope, sort of throws a light on this idea that somehow we where tricked into or were lied about the European Union. As you can see what is sometimes conviently forgotten is that many things that people object to, such as movement of people goes hand in hand with an economic union, that for instance the free movement of people came about because of economic union, read Articles 48 to 51.

And let's be clear the economic union did concern itself with social issues see Articles 117 to 122.

Put simply our prosperity and peace depends on common policies with Europe, and we would be worse off outside it, and Europe would be worse off without the UK as part of it.

In a previous post I pointed out why we cant do a Norway... Should the UK leave the EU and do a Norway?

And as for Switzerland this is what the CIA Factbook has to say:

"The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's, to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of all Swiss exports."

As for referendums which seems the to be in thing these days, aren't elections where you gain a fresh mandate? - this is what a Commission of the Conduct of Referendums had to say in a report in 1996:

....only 25 years ago referendums were regard as unconstitutional; they had no place in the political process....

The principal message of [their] report was:

"..referendums cannot provide a panacea for major political problems; but they can significantly assist governments before controversial legislation is introduced, and they can give greater legitimacy to new policies after legislation had been enacted..."

And in their lies the horn of dilemma for David Cameron, he knows that the UK should remain an essential part of Europe - but he also knows that his party is divided on the matter. Labour on the other hand should remain firm and say no to a referendum and seek a fresh mandate at the next election, by pledging to remain part of the European Union and grow and strengthen ties with it.

That is why UKIP and others want a referendum, because they know at the election ballot box they can't win.

I fear that in order to save the Conservative Party, they are willing to risk the unity and prosperity of the UK, and what of the consequence of this decision on next years Scottish know one argument having being 'don't vote for independence cause that'll mean you'll be out of the EU...if now it has to be amended.... but you needn't worry we might be all out of the EU after 2017.

As the New York Times said recently:

"Domestic politics have regularly trumped broader European concerns throughout the six-decade-long history of the union and its predecessor organizations, to the dismay of those who want to see Europe live up to a commitment in the 1957 Treaty of Rome for an “ever closer union.”

But Mr. Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum on European Union membership threatens to elevate national political calculations over common interests to an extent that has alarmed even countries that often share British concerns."

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