Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Do we now get a referendum?

So, officials are already implementing parts of the constitution before it has been approved. There's a surprise!

Anyhow, it is nice to see The Times finally catching up on a story that this Blog has been banging on about for months, ever since in June last year, the government set up the Defence Control Agency in preparation for the constitution.

It has in fact been common knowledge that, as The Times asserts today, "European officials started working on many of the constitution's innovations as soon as it was written, insisting that they should not wait until it was ratified," and they have made no secret of it. It is just that the MSM, in its own slothful and ignorant way, hasn't bothered reporting it.

However, now that the French and Dutch have rehjected to constitution – for the time being - this suddenly becomes news and, lo and behold, The Times has discovered that the Eurocrats have been steadily working at setting up a European diplomatic service, a European president, a European foreign minister, a European space policy, a European defence agency, the implementation of the new European charter of fundamental rights by a European fundamental rights agency, and the scrapping of the national veto on immigration and asylum.

EU officials, it says, are already setting up the offices of Europe's first permanent president, an appointed post established by the constitution to replace the rotating six-month presidency, which is held by Europe's elected heads of government. "There is an awful lot of work to set it up: the office and all the support teams," an official said. "We can't just leave it to the last moment."

The EU is also forging ahead with a European diplomatic service, officially called an External Action Service, with EU embassies and ambassadors in every country to project EU foreign policy and issue EU visas. The service, which some governments hope will replace national diplomatic services, will answer to the European foreign minister, a post created by the constitution, but to which Javier Solana, the EU's current head of foreign policy, has already been appointed.

Officials have been told by member governments to start laying the groundwork for the European diplomatic service. One official said the work was continuing: "We are in limbo, but we are carrying on. What else can you do right now?" A British government spokesman said, however: "The external action service does not exist. The only thing happening is preparatory work, and it will not come into being without a treaty."

The European Defence Agency, established in the constitution to co-ordinate arms production, started operating a year ago, with a British chief executive, Nick Whitney. In order to start before the constitution came into force, EU heads of government agreed a special legal basis for it in 2004 under existing treaties. A spokeswoman said: "We carry on, we already have a legal basis. It doesn't affect us. If the constitution is ratified, it will just re establish our legal basis."

The constitution gives the EU its first space policy, and officials met in Luxembourg yesterday to agree how to fully implement it by the end of the year. However, as we remarked at the time, the first space council actually met in November last year, an event which was universally ignored by the MSM.

Then, although the constitution abolishes the national veto on immigration and asylum, national governments agreed last December that the issue was so urgent that they should implement it before the constitution was approved. Also, while it is the constitution which gives legal force for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, but the commission has said that it will implement it across all EU legislation without waiting for it to come into force.

All of this points to the one thing – that democratic assent is irrelevant to the "project". But then you knew that anyway. But it also points to the utter, vacuous fatuity of the Conservative Party position, and that of its little lap-dog, the Yesno campaign, which is squeaking about wanting a referendum "if any parts of the Constitution still go ahead".

Since both the "Yesnos" and the Tories must now be aware that parts of the constitution are going ahead, presumably we will see a shift in gear, with them demanding an immediate referendum? Or will they continue to watch the cat-flap at the back door, while the forces of integration storm through the front?

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