A Honeyball Insert
I put that picture on there to annoy her. The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party is old pals with Mrs Honeyball, and occasionally escapes the consequences of her self-serving plots by meeting her and going on about men or somesuch.
My purported representative in Europe is an old punchbag of this blog. However, her eager new assistant, not yet subject to all the horrible pains which she can inflict upon people, since La Honeyball's time is taken up with the Lego committee in Strasbourg, has helpfully summarised the major EU changes in the Treaty of Lisbon on Mary's blog.
I thought that I would lift the summary and republish it here, since people are interested in it. An alternative, euro-skeptic analysis is available here, and the Robert Schumann society summary is here.
Many thanks to Griselda, and, as ever, if anyone knows where her former helpmate Igor is recovering--if he has recovered, and if he is sleeping yet--stay quiet about it. She has eyes everywhere.
Citizens’ initiative: If 1 million Europeans present a petition to the European Commission then it would have to look at ways of introducing the proposals. Alternatively it could force the Union’s executive to look at ways of repealing legislation.
Lawmaking: The European Parliament would become an equal in terms of lawmaking with the Council of Ministers, where member state national governments are represented.
Policy: Members of the European Parliament would be on an equal legislative footing with the Council regarding EU agriculture and fisheries policy, trade policy, legal immigration and EU structural funds, to name just a few.
National Parliaments gain an increased role in EU decision making with the treaty giving them eight weeks in which to argue their case if they feel a draft law oversteps European Union authority.
An EU President: European leaders will have to elect a new EU President to chair their 4 summits a year and set out the agenda ahead. This would replace the six monthly rotations and the holder is likely to be the public face of the Union.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: The second new job created under Lisbon. The powerful EU “foreign minister” will chair meetings of Foreign Affairs Ministers, oversee the multi-billion EU aid budget and run the proposed European External Action Service – a European diplomatic corps.
Double majority in Council votes: The treaty changes the voting arrangements in the Council of Ministers. New arrangements mean that instead of voting by unanimity measures can now be carried if they have 55% of the votes in the Council from counties representing 65% of the EU’s population.
Commission President elected by MEPs: Any new President of the European Commission would be elected by the European Parliament.
Charter of Fundamental Rights: The Charter becomes legally binding meaning all laws must adhere to it. The UK and Poland have certain opt outs on this point.
Withdrawal: For the first time countries have the right to withdraw from the European Union.
I think that the Charter of Rights is a menace to the NHS; that the EU's expansion of its legal identity effectively makes it a state, rather than a trading bloc; that there is already a High Representative, and that his connections with NATO and Eurocorps suggest a very advanced stage to the development of a European Army; and that a common diplomatic service, which is ongoing, is a key development in the emergence of what the Commission President has called a 'new sort of Empire'.
I also think that there isn't a European democracy, and that this sort of pan-national Hapsburg Republic is going to create, is creating, the same sort of darkness capacitors that Austria threw up at the end. That, in a week of anti-BNP posing in England, is the unacknowledged consequence of what began after world war one as an supranational experiment and then which proceeded under cover of catholic social ideas and fifties modernism, but without good faith.
And a right to withdraw? Please....