This article was first published on Huffington Post.
The EU’s law-making process is fundamentally undemocratic. Power is vested in the unelected and unaccountable elite who make laws – in secret – to preserve the status of large multinationals at the expense of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Multinationals achieve their preferential status by spending enormous sums of money on lobbying. They create a complicated regulatory framework, which only large companies with their Human Resources departments can comply with. This drives small competitors out of business, destroys competition and encourages monopolies, forcing the consumer to pay a higher price for poorer quality goods and services.
There are four key institutions of the EU: the European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and the Court of Justice of the EU. Each institution supposedly represents separate interests. The Commission represents the EU, the Parliament represents the people, the Council represents the Governments of each Member State and the Court interprets the law. However, these institutions do not do this in practice, as they all represent large multinationals and an integrationist agenda, as the intention is to create a federal United States of Europe. This new country already has a flag, a Parliament, an anthem, Presidents, currency, a legal system, legal status and a navy – to name just a few.
The EU Commission is the guardian of the treaties and enforces EU law. More importantly, this means it is the Government of Europe which has the sole right to propose the laws which increasingly encroach on our lives here in Britain.
The Commission is made up of 28 unelected commissioners, who cannot be held to account. Each commissioner has a specific policy area in which to create laws. The Commission has a President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker); unlike the other 27 commissioners he is personally elected by the European Parliament, however his was the only name on the ballot paper, not exactly democratic. The Commission is advised by the Directorate General, which along with the Commission is heavily lobbied. Once the Commission proposes an EU law, this proposal is taken to the Parliament.
Secondly, the Parliament is made up of 751 MEPs who are elected by the people in EU Member States every five years in elections. National parties arrange themselves into European groups of similar parties throughout Europe. It also has a President (currently Martin Schulz) who was voted in by the Parliament, but once again he was the only candidate. Theoretically, the Parliament has the ability to remove the Commission; however the Parliament has never successfully been able to remove it – even when the Commission has been full of corrupt cronies. The Parliament didn’t even remove the commission of 2004 to 2009 which was full of questionable characters. This Commission included Siim Kallas the Anti-Fraud Commissioner who was given this role despite being charged with fraud, abuse of power and providing false information after £4.4million disappeared while he was head of Estonia’s national bank.
This is not a Parliament in any real sense, as they have no right to propose laws. Instead it is a façade, created to make the EU look democratic, rather than give the public a choice over those who makes their laws. The Parliament does vote and can make amendments on laws proposed by the Commission, but the Commission must accept any of the amendments proposed for the changes to become effective, showing where the power lies.
Additionally, once something becomes an EU law, the Parliament has no ability to propose a change to this law. All the power is given to the Commission. It is clear the public’s elected representatives do not matter in the EU. It’s a ‘club’ to push through laws which would be rejected by national Parliaments. Once the Parliament approves an EU proposal, it is sent to the European Council.
The European Council – sometimes called The Council – is the meeting of the Member States. It is called the European Council when the leaders of each Member State are in attendance, and The Council when it’s the ministers for the policy area being discussed attending. This is the final hurdle any European proposal has to pass in order to become law. Decision-making at this stage is done almost entirely by Qualified Majority Voting. This means the UK Government can vote against a proposal and as long as it receives enough votes from the other Member States it becomes law in the UK anyway. The UK only has a veto to prevent EU laws impacting the UK in a very minor number of areas. If the European Council/Council approves proposals, they become EU law. They will be in the form of EU regulations or directives. If they are regulations the new EU law applies to all Member States without any of those states having to pass legislation in their own home Parliaments. If they are directives, the national Parliaments are forced to change their national laws within a specific time limit to comply with EU law – whether they want to or not.
Finally, the Court of Justice of the EU is supposed to interpret EU laws to ensure they comply with the EU treaties. Unfortunately, it does not do this. It happily ignores the treaties when it wants to if the EU is pushing its own federalist agenda. This is not a court like we have in this country; it is a kangaroo court wilfully ignoring the rule of law, as it did with the bailouts which should have been deemed illegal. The treaties clearly stated bailouts were illegal, but as the bailouts helped to prop up the failing Eurozone project, the EU court allowed them anyway.
The EU is a highly undemocratic organisation ratcheting more and more power with every passing day. It is impervious to public opinion. The people who matter in the law-making process are unelected and therefore unaccountable. The only way to secure genuine democratic control over our own law makers is to Get Britain Out of the EU by voting to leave in the EU referendum on the 23rd June.