Yesterday was a triple whammy of a bad day for the EU…
ONE: THE IRISH PEOPLE WERE TOLD THEY HAD TO VOTE AGAIN ON LISBON
It’s far from clear that Dublin’s unpopular government can persuade the Irish to change their vote but William Hague noted the command to vote again as dangerously undemocratic:
"Trying to force the Lisbon Treaty down the Irish people’s throats again is not only a dangerous distraction from that agenda, it is profoundly undemocratic. It is no wonder that the EU is seen as increasingly unaccountable and out of touch if it won’t listen to what people are actually saying. Gordon Brown goes to this summit without any democratic mandate on the Lisbon Treaty. If our unelected Prime Minister insists on forcing the Irish people to vote twice, the case for letting the British people vote once will be morally unanswerable.”
TWO: ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BE (AT BEST) DILUTED AND DELAYED
The EU likes to lecture the rest of the world on climate change but after years of failing to meet its Kyoto targets it is dangerously close to failing to agree new targets for reductions in its carbon footprint. If France and Britain cannot persuade Italy and Poland to make economic sacrifices for the sake of the planet then there is next-to-no chance of the much bigger and more important task of persuading India, China and other developing nations. Ruth Lea warns that Britain is in danger of unilateral economic disarmament on climate changeism:
"Italy’s Sylvio Berlusconi has generally undermined the EU’s climate change policies by saying “our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed.” If these positions are maintained, Britain’s hairshirt adherence to draconian carbon reduction policies would mean the country was isolated in its, ultimately futile, attempt to control global man-made carbon emissions – of which Britain accounts for less than 2%."
THREE: THE EURO IS CAUSING SERIOUS ECONOMIC TENSIONS
Forgetting for the moment Germany’s "extraordinary" attack on Gordon Brown’s fiscal stimulus there is the more important issue of what the euro is doing to certain EU nations. Individual nations are lacking the monetary policy flexibility that, George Osborne noted, is available to Britain. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is one of a very few commentators (Richard North being another) who have connected Greek rioting with the strains of the eurozone.
I’d probably say the decision of Declan Ganley’s Libertas to contest the European Elections was also a fourth bad thing. The constant splintering of what could loosely be called the Eurosceptic movement is its greatest weakness.