The Empire Strikes Again

Herman van Rompuy has announced that the UK cannot “cherry pick” which laws from Brussels it wishes to follow. In doing so he once again showed the true nature of the EU

Fun and games for unelected van Rompuy
Rory Broomfield
On 28 December 2012 10:30

Herman van Rompuy recently announced that the UK could not “cherry pick” which laws from Brussels it wishes to follow. In doing so he once again showed the true nature of the EU and how the UK would be better off out.

Either in an attempt to allow Prime Minister Cameron to “bring back” some powers to the UK and claim an inflated victory, or in an effort to warn the UK off the idea of leaving the EU and submit to the status quo, Herman Van Rompuy has made another crucial error of judgement.

By suggesting that the UK cannot cherry pick – i.e. change - its arrangements with the EU, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, highlighted how out of touch the EU establishment has become with the peoples in each member state. Although he may be correct in suggesting that a renegotiation of the UK’s position within the EU may well spell the end of the EU in its current form, by saying that the UK cannot choose its relationship with the EU is misunderstanding one thing: the British people.

With Euroscepticism in the UK at record levels, and with the majority of the UK wanting to leave the EU, it is obvious that there is a strong desire for change. In comparison to the EU, the UK’s tradition of democracy has meant it has never been entirely comfortable with the EU way of doing things. And, with this comment that represents so much about the character of the EU’s legislative process, it confirms that the UK would be better off making its own decisions.  

Nevertheless, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announcing his desire for either access to the single market or a free trade zone with the EU, and the Prime Minister’s much anticipated speech on a “new settlement” early next year, it suggests that this unelected President is looking to dictate terms to the UK’s elected officials.

Of course, this could be a cynical ploy to make it initially harder for Mr Cameron but then allow him to bask in the glory of reclaiming particular powers in the face of Van Rompuy’s opposition. Well, if the UK’s elected Prime Minister is rebuffed by the unelected President of the European Council then there is a serious problem.

Yet this isn’t the first time that Mr Van Rompuy has appeared so critically out of touch. Earlier this year he claimed that elections for his and other high ranking positions within the EU would be “absurd”. His desire for centralisation and control was also reflected in his stance over the EU budget, in which he backed up a proposal to take spending on “administrative costs” in the EU to over €60 billion.

He, along with many in the EU, remain out of touch with the people they supposedly represent. Along with Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, the EU elite has unveiled plans that in 2012 have either been rejected or delayed in attempts by member states to stop the ever increasing draw of power from national governments to the Brussels bureaucracy.

But there is also a problem if the will of the UK people is rebuffed by politicians in Westminster any further. With the desire to leave the EU palpable amongst population of the UK, its politicians should not ignore this situation. Instead, the Government should see this as an opportunity to get out of the EU and reframe our relationship not just with Europe but with the world.    

This is because there is more than just a democratic case here. With the world economy growing at over 3 percent per year, and with the EU’s currently in recession with unemployment increasing, there is an ever lengthening list of economic reasons why the UK would be better off out.

It is about time the UK has the chance to decide whether it wants both democracy and sustainable economic grow to return to its shores.  

Rory Broomfield is Deputy Director at The Freedom Association. He tweets at @rorybroomfield

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