Friday, December 11, 2009

That European government

With due deference to democracy – i.e., absolutely none at all – Baroness Ashton of Upholland is racing against time on behalf of her (and our) masters, the EU, to set up a pan-European diplomatic service before the next general election electorally-mandated reshuffle.

The idea is to get everything in place and locked in, to prevent David Cameron from interfering in the event that he takes charge of Britain's provincial administration. Thus, she wants all the structures and personnel in place, including the network of "embassies", making the new External Action Service (EAS) a federal Foreign Office for the EU with full consular powers.

"We would like everything in place before David Cameron becomes Prime Minister," said Andrew Duff, a Liberal Democrat MEP and leader of the Union of European Federalists. "If he is prepared to be obstructionist, then the establishment of the EAS is a good target, because the framework has got to be agreed by the 27 member states. It is a form of pressure that David Cameron is putting on us — but it is very good pressure because it means that we have to press on."

And in the unlikely event that he wants to do anything, once it is established, decisions affecting the EAS will be taken by majority vote. If Cameron is in Downing Street – if that happens – he will be powerless to effect change on his own. He will need majority support amongst the "colleagues" and will have to prevail upon the EU commission – of which Baroness Ashton is a vice-president – to make a proposal. The chances of that are nil.

Thus does the constitutional Lisbon treaty start to exert its malign grip, and not for the first time. Ashton is already embroiled in a controversy over her decision to replace foreign ministers at European Council meetings. Since the Lisbon treaty came into force, relations between member states were no longer considered "foreign policy" but were now "domestic policy", so the foreign ministers are no longer necessary, she says.

And will the media stop reporting EU affairs as "foreign news"? I think not.