Thursday, 21 June 2007

Constitutional Treaty – Blair Must Veto Proposals but it is up to Brown to Ditch Treaty

It is now becoming clearly apparent that the position facing Blair before the Summit on 21 June will substantially differ from the situation facing Brown after Blair’s departure on 27 June. During the approaching negotiations, Blair must veto proposals for the Treaty in all the key areas – including foreign policy, employment and criminal law – in order to lay the path for Brown’s reform of the relationship between the UK and the EU. Whilst Blair must now veto the proposals, it is up to Brown to ditch the Treaty.

Whilst the real responsibility for the Treaty will lie with Gordon Brown, it is important that Blair vetoes all areas to lay the groundwork for Brown’s formal rebuttal of the Constitutional Treaty or the prospect of a treaty-by-referendum. David Cameron and the Conservatives must push for the policy of holding a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty and on all other existing treaties. There is simply no other way forward than to begin further negotiations with a respect for due democratic process.

In order to enable the European Union to become an institution which is useful and valuable to UK and the other Member States, it is essential for the UK to hold a public referendum. It can thereby renegotiate its position not only on the new Constitutional Treaty but on all other existing treaties. Since there should not even be a Constitutional Treaty without public consent, the secret negotiations are entirely unacceptable. A Treaty should not be signed behind the backs of the British people and it needs to be held to public referendum.

Jim McConalogue, Editor of The European Journal, said:

“Tony Blair is the last horse in the Constitutional race – don’t put your money on him. You’ll only go home disappointed. Although I wouldn’t put my money on Gordon Brown and his ‘radical reform’ of the EU either, he must repudiate the Constitutional Treaty. Brown must, in the long term, realize – as the Conservatives have now done – that it is about putting the national interest before any interests in Europe. The best way of doing that is to hold a national referendum on the Treaty.”

Bill Cash MP, Chairman of the European Foundation, said:

““The current state of the EU treaty negotiations under Tony Blair, are deceitful both to Westminster and the public. The very least Blair can do is to veto proposals on all key issues, so that Gordon Brown does not grudgingly carry Blair’s cross through Europe. A new treaty in the shape of another Maastricht, another Amsterdam, or another Nice will mark the end of national sovereignty. Since all the existing treaties have formed a European trans-national state of sorts, since they have all significantly altered our legal relationship with the EU, we have enabled sixty per cent of our statute book to now be dictated by Brussels. What, then, will a Constitutional Treaty do?”

Roger Helmer, MEP, adviser to the European Foundation, said to the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering:

“I remind my country's incoming Prime Minister Gordon Brown that he is bound by a clear Labour manifesto commitment to put the Constitution to the British people. He cannot pretend that a few cosmetic changes can invalidate that pledge.”

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