EU Euphemisms . . .

By | February 29

European Flag“The European Union is a remote, elite, bureaucratic, anti-democratic form of supranational governance, to which our politicians have delegated power. Its political objectives transcend national interests: our votes cannot change policy or trajectory. It is unaccountable, and rides roughshod over the wills of the peoples of Europe.”

So says the web site of Christians For Britain . . .

There is more, but let us stick with this one statement for the moment.

The European Union is . . . remote“.

I can (or could) be in Brussels as quickly as I can (or could be) in London. This is not theoretical.  I have done the journey twice by air from Durham Tees Valley Airport and it is a better journey that taking the train to Kings Cross from Darlington Bank Top station.

You might like to visit ?

The European Union is . . . elite . . . bureaucratic“.

I have visited the European Parliament and the European Commission.  I do not know how you judge “elitism” but I certainly did not experience any.  Everyone we met was extremely friendly and approachable, and the young Belgian man who gave a talk on how the EU works was excellent.  Their web sites are clear and informative.  Successive British Governments have totally failed to provide any such teaching facility. Had they done so we might not be in the mess of myth and ignorance that we now are.

I cannot speak about EU bureaucracy, but I doubt it is much different from the Westminster or Whitehall version.  People have called for “less red tape” for as long as I can remember, long before the European Union came into existence.

The European Union is anti-democratic“.

This is a really weird thing to write. We have elections to the European Parliament every 5 years. There are 751 Members representing all 28 countries.  They are elected by direct universal suffrage by some form of proportional representation. In the Scotland, Wales and England*, this is the D’Hondt system, so the European Parliament is arguably more democratic and representative than that affair at Westminster elected by the “first past the post” method.  Any proposed legislation is debated in European Parliament as it would be at Westminster in the house of Commons.  Meanwhile it also has to get through the European Council which is composed of Ministers or their representatives from the 28 national parliaments. So it is a bicameral system – two houses as in the UK.  Legislation once passed is sent down to the various national governments to be ratified.  So your MEP has his or her say in the EU Parliament.  The elected Government of the day has its say in the EU Council, and the elected Westminster Parliament approves the result.  How this is anti-democratic I fail to see.

As for the rest of the statement, it would take too long to try to comment on every phrase here, but you can answer many of the questions it raises via Wikipedia, or via the European Parliament’s own web site. You might even like to visit and find out things for yourself ? Download a pocket guide !

One last point.  Many people and many media outlets say that we are run or ruled by the European Commission – the European equivalent of “Whitehall” – the civil service.  This is not true – Wikipedia puts it succinctly –  ” . . . the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, and approves (or rejects) the appointment of the Commission as a whole. It can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure.”

*Note : Northern Ireland uses the Single Transferable Vote.