Ever Closer Union and Us- what happens if we stay in the EU?

(3 Posts)
YesterdayOnceMore Fri 26-Feb-16 10:25:56

So, the EU has as one of it's aims to have ever closer union. David Cameron has negotiated that the UK wouldn't be part of this ever closer union if we stay in.

So how can this work? Everyone else forms into a United States of Europe and we stay on the sidelines? Won't we end up being a second class country that's not included in he club fully but has to abide by its rules? Isn't that exactly what we're meant to be trying to avoid by voting to stay in the EU?

It seems to me that we would end up with the worst of both worlds- half in the union and half out. Surely if we vote to stay in the EU we should stay in it properly and wholeheartedly as what is the point otherwise?

Or have I missunderstood it all?

SpringingIntoAction Fri 26-Feb-16 13:46:21

No, you haven't misunderstood it at all.

I need to made clear that when I say 'EU I mean EU + all it's previous incarnations, such as Common, Market, EEC, EC that exited at various times in its development.

So, the EU has as one of it's aims to have ever closer union.

'Ever closer union' is actually the Primary aim of the EU and is embodied in 1957 Treaty of Rome. The ultimate expression of ever closer union is a single country called Europa encompassing all the former sovereign countries that have combined politically.

David Cameron has negotiated that the UK wouldn't be part of this ever closer union if we stay in.

He hasn't. For 2 reasons:
1) every day the European Union is in existence it passes more laws for us to implement. Each law we accept is a step towards ever closer political union. We cannot stop those laws being handed down as Peter Lilley pointed out - the last 72 challenges the UK made to EU laws were all rejected.

2)Laws embodied in Treaties are legally binding when being considered by the ECJ. Cameron's deal is not embodied in an EU Treaty so the ECJ is only obliged to 'take account of it' rather than being 'legally bound by it'. There are 2 very different things. So at present The Treaty of Rome's 'ever closer union' trumps Cameron's Special deal.

So how can this work? Everyone else forms into a United States of Europe and we stay on the sidelines?

The other 27 full EU countries will continue on their track to ever closer union, while UK, and the EU associate members such as Norway, Switzerland, remain outside that inner politically united core. How possible it will be for those other 27 EU countries to complete political union is debatable as it would be all adopting the Euro and Denmark has an opt it - it can keep the Danish currency.

Won't we end up being a second class country that's not included in he club fully but has to abide by its rules? Isn't that exactly what we're meant to be trying to avoid by voting to stay in the EU? It seems to me that we would end up with the worst of both worlds- half in the union and half out.

That depends on what relationship the UK negotiates to trade post Brexit.

There are various options available to us. Some are restrictive, like Norway or Switzerland's relationship, whereby they pay a reduced fee, have access to the Single Market for Trade, accept free movement of people and wield little influence within the EU.

Other countries have simple trading relationships with the EU that do not mean they must allow every EU citizen to live in their country in order just to trade with the EU. Canada for instance trades with the EU, but as an EU citizen, you have no automatic right to live in Canada. Mexico has a trade deal with the EU, but Mexicans have no right to live in the EU and vice versa.

We need to decide what sort of relationship we want when we leave and we do that over a maximum 2 year period that starts when we tell the EU that we want to leave by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Surely if we vote to stay in the EU we should stay in it properly and wholeheartedly as what is the point otherwise?

There is no point in staying in. Antarctica and Europe are the 2 continents on which trade is actually decreasing. We need to stop limiting our ability to trade with the emerging markets in the rest of the world, something we are prohibited from doing while we are shackled to the sclerotic EU. Iceland negotiated a trade deal with China. Why on earth do we, as the 5th largest economy in the world, need the EU to negotiate on our behalf? We don't.

Or have I missunderstood it all?

No. But we should understand that the EU is not all about trade. It is a political union. It has all the legal trappings of a country. It has legal entity - it can be sued and it can sue. It can make Treaties etc. Before the Lisbon Treaty is was only the RU's individual countries that could do that. As a country, it now has overseas embassies, a flag, an anthem and seats on International Organisations in which we would have represented our own British interests.

So the EU prevents us from sitting in our chair at the World Trade Organisation where we could make the best deals for Britain.

The EU as a single country will eventually prohibit us and France from sitting in our permanent Seats on the UN Security Council - it's hard to argue that 2 EU member states should each keep their own seat, so we'll have an EU seat, so our influence in the World will diminish rather than increase. Germany, as the driving force in the EU will have much greater influence in the world than it currently enjoys.

These are the geopolitical tensions that are playing out underneath something that the Govt is trying to tell us we've opted out of by our so-call Special Status, that has achieved nothing

Mistigri Fri 26-Feb-16 20:58:36

I think with the rise of isolationism and nationalism in Europe, it is likely that "ever closer union" is off the agenda for at least a political generation. With nationalist governments in power in Poland and Hungary, and significant nationalist and/ or Eurosceptic movements in other EU countries including the UK, the Netherlands and France, it's quite hard to see closer political union getting much traction. And the EU is an institution that values pragmatism and compromise ahead of idealism.

I certainly don't expect to see a United States of Europe in my lifetime.

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