The Sunday Mirror on Referendum & Economy 31-Oct-2010
BRITISH PEOPLE MUST HAVE A VOTE OVER EURO POWER SHIFTBy resisting the proposed 5.9 per cent budget increase he believes he’s asserted our right to say no to Brussels but the Council of Ministers meeting that backed his demand also agreed to sweeping changes in the way the EU will operate in future.
Germany’s Angela Merkel has won backing for what is, in effect, a new “economic government” of the EU, so Brussels can prevent member states from borrowing and spending too much. Mr Cameron will argue that this is fine, as it will affect only countries in the eurozone and that Britain is therefore exempt but we are not. The new economic government will claim the right to examine all member state budgets to ensure their proposals are “competitive enough”, regardless of whether they use the euro. This marks a major transfer of power to Brussels, with George Osborne having to win approval from Europe for the way we decide to spend our money.
The ministers who back Ms Merkel’s plan know that the Lisbon Treaty (effectively the EU constitution) should be amended to incorporate these new powers and that the altered treaty should be voted on by member states but they don’t want that. So they have instructed pliable EU President Herman Van Rompuy to make a minimal change to the treaty so voters will believe there has been no real modification. It’s dishonest. If they get away with it, a tiny change of wording will herald a major switch and Parliamentary powers will be signed away.
When the treaty was first raised and Gordon Brown reneged on Labour’s promise of a referendum on the issue Mr Cameron and William Hague vowed there would be no further shift of power to Europe without a national vote. Now is the time to honour that promise. In exchange for getting a couple of per cent off our annual EU membership bill, Mr Cameron has signed away more sovereignty.
The people of Britain have fought hard for the right to determine their own affairs in their own Parliament. To deny us a vote to decide how we should protect our rights is yet another betrayal.
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