This week, the Prime Minister attended a strategic informal dinner which included President Hollande. There is a stream of assertions by the political elite that the crisis in Greece and throughout Europe is essentially a Eurozone matter. It is not. It is a European Union matter of which the Eurozone crisis is a consequence of the failure of the EU as a whole, with extremely damaging consequences to the United Kingdom.
Given the Euro-integrationists’ perverse commentaries in the past week that the solution lies with full political union among certain Member States, I would strongly urge the Prime Minister to make clear that:
(i) under no circumstances whatsoever would the UK ever become absorbed into a German-dominated European Union;
(ii) there should be a public Convention of European leaders of the Member States and representatives of national parliaments, after the Greek election, so that voters can observe what kind of Europe each member state actually proposes;
(iii) there must be a fundamental rewriting of the existing European Treaties based on the principles arising from (ii);
(iv) with the clear failure of the Lisbon Treaty and with pressure for full political union between certain Member States, there would be fundamental change in the relationship of the UK to the EU, requiring a Referendum for which the Conservative Party originally voted.
In fact, before the Prime Minister attended the informal meeting, I raised the issue of the referendum with him in the House of Commons for the following reasons:
“There is increasing pressure for political union between certain member states. Whether this is achieved by enhanced co-operation, by separate intergovernmental treaty or by other stealth measures, does my right hon. Friend accept that, irrespective of the European Union Act 2011, such a fundamental change in the relationship between such member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom would necessitate a referendum?”
The Prime Minister replied as follows,
“I do not agree with that position. I think the right position for the UK is to say that we should hold a referendum only if power were to pass from Westminster to Brussels or if we were to join some new treaty or political construction that involved the passing of that power. I agree with my hon. Friend, however, that the single currency clearly has within it the seeds of greater political union, so we have to work out—in this country, in our coalition and in the Conservative party—how to respond to that and how to get the best deal for Britain as the situation develops.”
Last September, anticipating this situation and as I put in my pamphlet, ‘It’s the EU, Stupid’ and in the House of Commons, I introduced a Bill to “… require approval by Act of Parliament and by referendum of provisions for creating a fiscal union or economic governance within the Eurozone.” I am reintroducing this Bill when Parliament returns in June. It was previously supported by five other Select Committee Chairmen and prominent eurosceptics from the new parliamentary intake when I put forward that Bill.
The referendum question will become acutely essential after the Greek vote in June, whichever way the vote goes and with the accumulating storm clouds over Spain, Italy, not to mention Portugal and Ireland. The European Union is already breaching its own so-called Rule of Law. It did so over the EFSM and again over the Stability and Growth Pact and again, as indicated in the European Scrutiny Committee report, over the fiscal compact – and an attempt to create Eurobonds would be illegal under European law. A Greek exit from the Euro would require Greece to leave the European Union – this raises a question of a further breach of European law as no doubt the European establishment tries to get round this. The whole legal structure is under attack from within and in practical terms, neither the economic nor the political project works. The case for radical renegotiation in our relationship with the EU is unanswerable.