FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Today's decision by the European Court of Justice reveals the power vacuum at the heart of the European Union's aspirations", - says Professor Tim Congdon CBE, author of the Bruges Group pamphlet, Will the EU's Constitution Rescue its Currency?, published today.
The Court has ruled that it is the Council that is in charge of enforcing the Stability and Growth Pact. But decisions in the Council are taken by QMV. This will inevitably mean that delinquent member states can avoid penalties.
The Court has also ruled that the Council could not "depart from the rules laid down by the Treaty or those which it set for itself in Regulation No 1467/97".
So the Council is legally bound to enforce the rules, though its own decisions may well go against that. The Council has no enforcing mechanism. It has no army, no police, no security forces. How will the ECJ ensure that the Council obeys the rules it set down? How will the Council enforce its decisions if it obeys the ECJ's ruling?
This decision shows up very clearly the nonsense that is the Stability and Growth Pact and the impossibility of economic rules for a large collection of member states. If the EU Constitution, which hands over powers over the economy to the European Council, goes through, this vacuum will become ever more visible.
The Rt Hon. Oliver Letwin MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that, "The decision shows the direction of thought of the European Court of Justice, armed with the EU Constitution, it will be all to likely to interpret the Constitution as giving a large amount of power over the economies of the member states to the central EU institutions. And that would turn the Constitution into a document that hands control over tax and spend policy to Brussels even if we are not in the eurozone.
Oliver Letwin further argues that, "It will not be sustainable to run the eurozone without handing over considerable power over the tax and spend policies of the individual member states to the central institutions in Brussels.
"The EU Constitution is a scaffold on which will be built increased regulatory powers over a wide range of economic affairs".
This threat is explained in the Bruges Group's latest paper:
Will the EU's Constitution Rescue its Currency?
The euro is failing and will fail without the back-up of political integration including harmonised taxation and a centrally managed EU-wide fiscal policy. These measures will be the inevitable consequence of the euro and the EU Constitution. Despite the claims made by our Government the EU Constitution, if ratified, will lead to EU tax control and the enforcement of damaging outmoded economic policies responsible for the high unemployment on the continent.
The revised EU Constitution will make employment and economic policies over to the Union. Further, the constitution's intention to appoint a new European foreign minister, with his own budget and bureaucracy, could set the precedent for a European finance minister.
Will the EU's Constitution Rescue its Currency? shows that the fears expressed by Euro-sceptics are being realised: monetary union is intended to become part of a larger process of political unification which threatens the independence of European nations.
Oliver Letwin said that, "Tim Congdon, as always, makes a powerful case. There is no doubt that there is a strong link between the euro and the creation of what Michael Howard has termed 'a country called Europe'. In the long term, it is difficult to envisage the one without the other. No surprise, then, that the Constitution is an enormously significant move towards the creation of a country called Europe, with increasing powers over the economies of member states. This is one of the reasons why we need a referendum on the Constitution, and one of the reasons why we need to vote no in that referendum."
- ENDS -
- NOTES TO EDITORS -
Oliver Letwin and Bruges Group representatives will be available for interviews and quotes on the judgement of the European Court of Justice and the EU Constitution