The coalition government intends to force through the forthcoming EU treaty next year on a whipped vote and without a referendum. David Cameron is in favour of the Eurozone countries pressing ahead to full fiscal and political union even though the voters of Germany, France and the other member states will not be consulted in referenda about this new centralisation of power.
Last night (28 October) on the BBC’s This Week, politics programme, both former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson and former Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Portillo said that the public must have the right to vote on a treaty designed to establish central economic governance in Brussels. They went on to argue that it was inconceivable that such a transfer of powers would not have serious political implications for Britain and the other countries outside the Eurozone.
This increased political integration for the Eurozone 17 will result in a unified faction that will be able to out-vote the non-single currency members within the Council of Ministers. Whatever guarantees David Cameron might claim to have obtained from the other EU leaders, these will ultimately be subject to interpretation by the European Court of Justice. John Major famously forced through the Maastricht Treaty believing he had secured opt-outs that were subsequently ignored by Brussels once the document had been ratified. Whether one was in favour or not of the opt-outs, ultimately they were fought for by a democratically elected head of government and then undermined by the ECJ.
At a time when austerity measures are beginning to be felt within the UK, the EU has used Article 122 of the Lisbon Treaty to make us pay £12 billion towards the Eurozone bailouts (on top of our IMF contributions) even though the article is clearly about helping countries experiencing ‘natural disasters’. We currently have the ability to remove from office those who impose economic policies we the voters don’t want – how can we hold to account those who have imposed this additional £12 billion contribution?
The People’s Pledge is a campaign for a definitive referendum on whether or not Britain should remain within the European Union. However, we also believe that it is imperative – in the short-term – that our government should not further extend EU powers without our explicit consent. This is why we will now additionally be campaigning to ensure that the fiscal union treaty is also put to a referendum.