The EU which the UK left will no longer exist in the future — it will be even worse
At a conference especially established by the EU Commission to map out the future of the EU, the delegates decided upon more centralisation, more federalisation, and less national sovereignty. The EU which British Rejoiners want to go back to will no longer exist — it will be the EU they always denied would happen.
I can now show you all the details of what was decided at the “Conference for the future of Europe” [they should have said ‘EU’ not ‘Europe’] in Strasbourg at the weekend and what it means.
Arch-federalist MEP Guy Verhofstadt was overcome with joy, tweeting to the world what he sees as the good news:
’Conference on the Future of Europe’ approves radical overhaul of the EU
- End of unanimity and abolition of national vetoes
- Launch of Joint Armed Forces of the Union
- Transnational political parties — national parliaments will become more like local councils
- European Parliament to have the right to propose legislation
- More spending on climate change policies
More details on some of the extremist measures decided
There are currently many areas where the EU still requires unanimous voting at the Council of Ministers (attended by member states). Under the new proposals, this will end altogether, meaning no member state will have the ability to protect its own interests in these areas.
The launch of the “Joint Armed Forces of the Union” confirms what is already in process — the creation of a unified military capability. It will mean a single army, navy and air force with no vetoes for countries to withdraw. This will be a real problem for neutral Ireland.
A further measure which was approved was that of ‘Transnational Lists’. This means the EU Parliament elections will have candidates and campaigns on an EU-wide basis, establishing EU party groupings and ultimately trans-EU parties, like the Democrats and Republicans in the USA. National groupings will wither away and national politics is intended to become a backwater, with emasculated national parliaments effectively becoming local councils.
It is my understanding there were 325 proposals accepted at the meeting and these include the EU Parliament being able in future to propose legislation rather than have it passed down from the EU Commission and Council of Ministers.
Together with the absence of national vetoes that would mean the ability of a majority of MEPs to pass legislation that whole countries — such as Poland or Denmark — might object to.
The non-left-of-centre parties walked out
MEPs representing the right-of-centre European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Identity and Democracy (ID) groups declined to support the proposals and walked out. The ECR was particularly damning in its statement released after the walkout.
Statement by the European Conservatives and Reformists group
“The European project has been in crisis for at least the last two decades.”
“We reject the idea that the conclusions being reached represent an expression of the will of the Europeans and, in order to remain coherent with our values and principles rather than legitimising this undemocratic and artificial exercise, hereby withdraw from the Conference on the Future of Europe.”
- ECR statement, 30 Apr 2022
The ECR listed many concerns and criticisms about this entire costly exercise.
- Biased selection of citizens towards those in favour of federalism
- Age-based discrimination of citizens in favour of those under 25
- Biased selection of experts — mainly from organisations funded by the EU
- No testing of the citizens’ recommendations with the wider public
- Imposed political agenda
- Unequal footing given to different groups
- The undemocratic character of the Conference
- Limited time for reflection and debate
- Extremely poor visibility of the Conference to the public
- False consensus presented, no ‘minority reports’ possible
- Lack of procedural clarity, organisational chaos
- Lack of financial transparency — who funded this Conference?
One Swedish ECR MEP declared the whole process “a farce”.
Charlie Weimers MEP
“The Conference on the Future of Europe attracted mostly those who want to centralize more power in Brussels. Entire process plagued by self-selection bias. Critical voices ignored already at the planning stages. No consideration of repatriation of powers to Member States.”
“Pro-integration citizens and activist orgs (many funded by the EU) were mobilized to legitimize further power transfers to Brussels. These minority viewpoints should NOT take precedence over elections (and we know what elites think of referendums on transfers of power to the EU)”
“Out of touch elites are taking the EU project down the wrong road and undermining democracy. We need to repatriate powers to national level where there is a real connection between voters and decision makers. This was not up for discussion.”
- Charlie Weimers MEP, Twitter, 30 Apr 2022
The many extremist MEPs from the other groups were delighted, however
“The federal state of Europe will become reality!” tweeted Green MEP Niklas Nienaß. “This will shape the world forever!”
Brexiteers were right all along
During the run-up to the EU referendum of 2016 campaigners fighting to Leave were ridiculed as conspiracy theorists, fantasists and scaremongers for arguing the EU was planning to have an army and would become more federalist resembling the United States of Europe with nation-states reduced to administrative inconveniences. Well, look who was right after all.
The EU Commission-organised event (called, with typical arrogance, the “Conference on the Future of Europe” rather than “the Future of the EU”) was set up to establish a consensus on how the EU should reform in the medium-to-long-term. It was no surprise that the federalists won the day. There was never any prospect that the suggestion of giving back powers to member states would flourish in such a setting. It was simply “not up for discussion”.
The next stage will be for a new treaty to be drafted putting in place the changes to procedures, such as member states losing their vetoes, which will then in some countries require to be passed by a referendum. Just like the last time, there was a new Treaty, some electorates will want to reject the proposals. And just like the last time, the EU will undoubtedly have plans on how to get around such a democratic irritation.
British Rejoiners now face a dilemma
This turn of events will cause anguish among those who supported the UK remaining in the EU. Those who have not accepted Britain’s democratic vote and still hanker after EU membership will be faced with the reality that it is the EU that is planning to diverge away from the norms — rather than the UK diverging away from the EU. This divergence towards the United States of Europe will turn more British people against the EU, while a hardcore of Rejoiners will become excitedly vocal but also increasingly isolated.
While the EU will be in a democratic civil war about making and accepting a new treaty — possibly lasting years — British Rejoiners will have to decide if they back the old EU that will eventually no longer exist or the new one that the likes of Guy Verhofstadt want to create?
Neither position looks attractive or in touch with reality. My recommendation is that we are all Brexiteers now — that people should recognise the vote was held, that we chose to leave the EU, and that we should all now get behind making a success of the outcome. To do anything else is to wish for the United Kingdom to fail.
Finally — and at the risk of spoiling readers’ Bank Holiday Monday — here is a video of the closing speech of the Co-Chair of the Conference, Guy Verhostadt MEP, speaking on Saturday.
Don’t be like Guy Verhofstadt. Get a life and help make this nation-state a success.
Sources: EU Parliament website | European Conservatives and Reformists group | Twitter