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Giving the EU the red card

By Angela Harbutt
June 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 am | 2 Comments | Posted in EU, Europe

The EU seems to be a  topic of some interest here at the moment (see “Liberalising the European Union” from Barry Stocker and “EU- It really is getting sillier by the day” by Editor). Here is one more little item that may be of interest.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary William Hague was over in Germany calling for a “red card” scheme so individual nations can block laws unwanted and unnecessary EU legislation. This is, in effect, an extension of the current “yellow card” system under which parliaments in member states can force the European Commission to reconsider a law. The red card would go further by blocking legislation altogether, though, as with the current system, the proposal would need a minimum number of national parliaments to agree to have effect.

Mr Hague said it was time “to make the EU more democratically responsive” and that:

“We should explore whether the yellow card provision could be strengthened or extended to give our parliaments the right to ask the commission to start again where legislation is too intrusive, and fails the proportionality test” (read the full speech here)

Hague, it seems, is confident of securing backing for his proposals from other northern European countries, including Germany. And it looks like this proposal is set to attract cross-party support in the UK. Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander is reported to have said that the Labour party would also push for a mechanism ensuring national parliaments have a bigger say in EU laws. One assumes that the Lib Dems will likewise get behind such a policy – (I believe I heard Chris Davies MEP indicating his support for the red card system on the radio yesterday, but please correct me if I am wrong).

All in all this looks like a highly practical suggestion that seeks to call a halt to the regulatory bloat coming from unelected Brussels bureaucrats. As Hague says (and I agree), the EU is not “democratically sustainable” without a “decentralisation” of powers. The challenge is to see this policy implemented as soon as possible.

That in itself, of course, in not enough. The UK action (or, more accurately, lack of action) on the olive oil jug ban was lamentable and if we are to see true reform of the EU it will require the member states to ACT when presented with unnecessary legislation, not just stand by and watch.



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This was funny a year ago…sadly it still is TODAY…

By Angela Harbutt
October 5th, 2009 at 5:17 pm | 5 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Most of you will have seen this video- it was first published on You Tube over A YEAR AGO!. But I thought it worth posting again as the Tory conference opens if only because, well, nothing has changed. You would have thought that the collective brains of the Cameron hierachy would have found a way to solve it by now. But as the out-of-date video shows – they are no further forward. One has to ask . When will the Conservatives actually tell us what they are going to do?

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Did Hague Flip or Cameron Flop ?

By Angela Harbutt
June 18th, 2009 at 1:50 am | Comments Off on Did Hague Flip or Cameron Flop ? | Posted in EU Politics, UK Politics

cameron-and-blairOk I am confused…

The Times  on-line front page reports that David Cameron will give Tony Blair a free run if he tries to become the EU’s first president. It goes on to say “The Conservative leader has told senior colleagues that they should do nothing to oppose a Blair candidacy if the Lisbon treaty, which creates the role, is ratified later this year”

Then William Hague pops up on Sky News saying “..We are not in favour of an EU president at all….but I can tell you we have not spent ten years opposing Tony Blair as Prime Minister of Britain, to agree to him becoming President of the European Union. So that story is absolutely without foundation…

Generally it is the SKY “Never Wrong For Long” boys that I would expect to have “gone off a bit early”. But The Times? Not usually their modus operandi. And their statement seems unequivocal (and has now been up for some 8 hours as I write). 

That leaves me thinking that it is the Tories on this occassion that gaffed. I know they call him flip-flop Cameron – but thats a bit quick even for him isnt it ? Or could it be that Mr Hague is over-ruling his boss on this one? Ah the intrigue.

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