Friday, February 29, 2008

Germany's constitutional court: Britain's EU reservations ‘cannot be dismissed’

Since the House of Commons scrutiny of the Lisbon Treaty was virtually non-existent, and Bernard Jenkin MP asserts that ‘British democracy has become more of an elective dictatorship’, it is ironic that it is the German courts who are defending the British corner.

Professor Hans-Juergen Papier is president of Germany's constitutional court and therefore Germany's most senior judge. And he is concerned by the ‘subsidiarity’ principle, whereby the actions that may best be performed at a regional level should see the EU devolve such powers to member states. But he observes that national parliaments ‘have no guarantee that EU powers will not continue to grow’.

Professor Papier points out that the sheer number of laws coming from Brussels - there were 18,167 regulations and 750 directives between 1998 and 2004 - means that effective scrutiny is ‘somewhat impracticable’ within the brief period of time available for new EU laws to be considered. He says that the dynamics of subsidiarity are connected to the ‘ever closer union’ principle, meaning that there is ‘from the point of view of member states no fixed limit guaranteed to the creeping transfer of competences (to EU level)’.

The 'Constitution for Europe' may be called the 'Treaty of Lisbon', but this Treaty contains within its text the very mechanism by which it may become a constitution at any point in the future, should it so be wished. It introduces 'simplified revision procedures' which means that the Treaty is self-amending. Article 48 (6) has been called the 'ratchet clause' and allows Treaty amendments to be made without the need for a new amending treaty or further ratification. It also allows for the revisions of text 'on internal policies and actions of the Union' without the necessity to convene an Inter-Governmental Conference.

Professor Papier therefore fully understands the UK’s (and Poland’s) decision to opt out of the EU's charter of fundamental rights, which reflects a ‘deeply rooted mistrust of a union and a court’ that pulls ‘ever more competences to it’.

But here is the revealing phrase:

He says that at first glance this mistrust appears ‘misplaced’ because the charter specifies that it only applies to EU law.

‘But at second glance, the reservations of Poland and the United Kingdom cannot be dismissed fully out of hand.’

He concludes that too much of what emanates from the EU is ‘less derived from legal texts but from a "platonic legal heaven," with a vagueness concerning both their content and their actual existence’.

Perhaps some of the practical outworkings of Plato’s thinking in The Republic may occasionally be a little vague, but there is no doubting that the EU is intent on filling in the gaps - and then denying completely what they are doing or that they know anything at all about it.


Blogger Alfred the Ordinary said...

It's good to hear that we still have someone prepared to stand up for the UK, even if our own Government has capitulated, hook line and sinker.

29 February 2008 at 11:49  
Blogger The Black Fingernail said...

Ironic indeed that its takes a German constitutional court to voice what the UK courts will not.

29 February 2008 at 12:57  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
now we are able to understand the thinking of our unelected masters , try and sell the constitution , didnt work and was rejected , then take out the most effective anti icons (anthem , bill of rights etc ) re label it as a treaty and then put it forward.

the goal has not changed and as you rightly point out the treaty does enable the formation of the Eu state which we will not be able to disagree/de couple our selves from other than via unilateral action.

it is not so much that the vaugness and creep of the law formed in the treaty are clever and diviseive. but that they would wish to decieve somthing as fundamental as a soveriegn states people and cheat a long history of a uk persons vote and freedoms, with out having the courage to be clear and supported by at least some truth that it would be better.

labour did not get a good deal when they negioated the lisbon treaty , indeed it appears to be the instrument by which they force us into somthing which sueits there purposes , they tell us it is good , but do not elaborate if it is better , they tell us it offers more rights , but do not allow us to decide if that is so, they promise scruitiny but then cut short and renage on there line by line promise .

i was once told if your offered somthing that is too good to be true it probebley is and you will be left short. if we are offered somthing that cant even be debated without fear or put to the publics say (as it does regard there change of future) how much more short will be the return .

29 February 2008 at 16:30  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

This would put the fear of God in the Euros:

Why has His Grace not issued an anathema?

29 February 2008 at 18:17  
Anonymous Cinnamon said...

Black Fingernail: It's not ironic, but a function of having a written constitution, something that Britain has unfortunately not.

What is indeed ironic is that one of the oldest democracies in the world neglected to modernise and thus, is carrion for vultures like Blair and now Brown.

If you don't write safeguards into your laws, then this this is totally predictable, tradition is no substitute for a constitution -- in fact, the UK has been very lucky that Blair is a well-meaning messianic numpty and you guys only ended up as a vassal state to the EU. It could have been far worse, one could claim that the UK system was so brittle, that it's probably a boon that it's been replaced with something that looks pretty (scary) but isn't going to work by definiton. Imagine if a real dictator had ever been elected here...

1 March 2008 at 12:58  
Anonymous James said...

There are safeguards against this EU farrago. The Treaty of Rome and all subsequent treaties could be torn up under the royal prerogative. No parliament is bound by its predecessors, so all the acts enforcing EU law could be repealed. Under the international convention governing treaties (of Vienna, I think) there is procedure for renouncing treaties.
Any or all of these could be used to remove Britain from the clutches of Brussels. The problem is finding someone with the guts to do it. The EU would not like it of course but whose army would they send to enforce their hegemony.

1 March 2008 at 17:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plato being as we should know, was the original Nazi. A product of the establishment saying all the establishment wanted to here.

Which was an intellectual justification for their own profoundly evil thinking and actions. A truly nasty way of treating our, the gods given spiritual eternal souls of human beings, like automaton cattle in a meat market.

Plato was not mad or even bad. But he was the work of the devil, all the same.

ATLAS shrugged

2 March 2008 at 01:43  

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