FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The second of the Bruges Group's papers on the draft EU Constitution looks at its probable economic consequences. Bill Jamieson, economic journalist, author of numerous books and pamphlets, Executive Editor of The Scotsman and Director of the independent Scottish think-tank, The Policy Institute, analyses what he sees as the already present economic disaster of European integration and looks at future developments.
The pamphlet looks at the "marked and deepening divide ... between ... the Europe as envisaged in the draft Constitution, and the Europe as we know it today". Jamieson contrasts the high-flowing and meaningless generalities of the Giscard d'Estaing's constitutional proposal and "[t]he real Europe, [which] wrestles with stagnation, recession, rising unemployment, soaring deficits and decline on the world stage."
Far from being the solution to all these crises, the constitution is likely to exacerbate them.
The EU's economic crisis has grown out of its structure and underlying political ideas. The EU's "commitment to a high level of government intervention and regulation ... is driven by an innate suspicion of economic freedom and an instinctive faith in the benefits of state regulation and control."
The proposed constitution, if adopted, will entrench this destructive attitude. It will also entrench the existing gridlock in decision-making and will make any attempts at the long-overdue reform even more difficult.
There is no evidence, says Bill Jamieson, that integration aids economic development or economic growth. Quite the contrary. "By strengthening the powers and competences of the EU at supra-national level, [the constitution] would diminish policy discretion and flexibility at country level. This loss of flexibility has already damaged the economic performance of EU countries in two ways."
Jamieson shows through his graphically presented data that EU-wide employment regulations have harmed the competitiveness of the EU as a whole and the "one-size-fits-all" monetary policy of the euro-zone has prevented the various economies from pursuing more appropriate monetary policies. The world-wide recessionary forces have been deepened by the EU's misguided, integrationist policies. As a consequence, recovery has been pushed back even further than in the rest of the developed world.
Nor can the EU compete adequately with the developing economies of South-East and East Asia. Inflexible, sclerotic, intent on outdated and inappropriate political integration, the EU has become an economic black hole. And the proposed constitution will make that hole even deeper.
Finally, Jamieson talks of what the real motives are behind the proposed constitution: "One is to pursue at home the expansion of a corporatist welfare dispensary model of social democracy. Another is quite self-serving. The process of supra-national construction creates any number of functions and competences to advance the career opportunities, employment, resources and power of the EU salariat."
This constitution "may be seen as the means to affect one of the most self-serving and self-interested seizures of power in modern times." By no stretch of the imagination is it in the UK's interest. Its adoption must be prevented and we must start rethinking our relationship with the other European countries.