Monday, 11 April 2016

Cameron’s Pamphlet

Cameron’s Pamphlet
Never mind offshore accounts; publishing tax returns seems a good solution to that. But what about this ‘Pro-Europe’ pamphlet’? Could it be that the limping Cameron has just shot himself in the other foot? I can understand some cries of “foul”.

However, we could hardly object if the Cameron Pamphlet turned out to contain only useful, and factually correct, statements. It would have been so much more effective if both sides had AGREED a joint pamphlet. And this is my point.

“We need information, not leadership, or rhetoric.”

I am in favour of the European Project, but I am desperately ignorant, and find my neighbours scarcely better informed. I want to rebut the criticisms I hear in the pub, and which instinct tells are manufactured by a venal press for a ‘blimpish’, ‘Little England’ readership. There may still be time to print another pamphlet. So, tell us:

● There are 7 entities that comprise the European Union Project, namely Council of Ministers, Commission, Parliament, Consilium, Court of Auditors, Court of Justice and Central Bank. But what is our representation, and our voting rights on each? Are there any vetos? (The EU’s own website points out that the Council of the European Union (which we call the Council of Ministers, and which meets virtually all the time), should not be confused with the European Council (or ‘Consilium Europa’, which meets only 4 times a year), or  the Council of Europe (which is not an EU body at all). Their interrelationships are well shown in a diagram by Wikipedia.
● There are 5 Presidents, (not counting the Chair of the Council of Ministers which rotates between member countries so fast as to make learning his name pointless).
  All 28 countries are represented (nearly) equally on the Commission, but are they 'answerable' to their parliaments, and is the Commission sufficiently under 'democratic' control? 
  Are all debates in public, and are minutes published? (According to Yanis Varoufakis this may not be the case.)
  Are there any stories of daft directives (like bent bananas) that have a grain of truth in them or are they all concoctions? Who makes the ‘daft’ directives? How binding are they?  What happens to a member state that declines to enforce a daft directive.
  Is the bureaucracy more or less wasteful than the British Civil Service, on a per caput basis? No silly numbers, please. We could do with maximum and minimum numbers, and numbers that both the IN-CAMPAIGN and the OUT-CAMPAIGN can agree on.

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