Yet another misleading allegation by the Brexit brigade is that the European Union is on an escalator, heading for a centralised superstate.
They ignore the fact that the basic rulebook of the European Union, the treaties, is agreed unanimously by member states. There can be no increase in the powers of the European Union unless every country agrees.
- The EU can only exercise those responsibilities conferred upon it by agreement among the member states (Article 5 of the Treaty). Even then, it may only act insofar as the objectives “cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States” (also Article 5).
- And when EU level actions or laws are adopted, it is the governments of member countries who jointly decide on them in the EU Council. They are not decided by the European Commission in Brussels, which only has the right to propose. The European Commission itself, as the EU’s administration, is scarcely bigger than Leeds city council.
- The EU budget amounts to no more than 2% of public spending and has a ceiling which cannot be exceeded without the unanimous agreement of every member state.
- Only 13% of our laws are made at EU level (well below the 80% that Mr Farage once claimed, and some still believe).
- There is no European army, nor could there be one without national agreement.
- Most of the key issues affecting our lives are decided at national level: education, tax rates, health provision, housing, pensions, and so on are scarcely affected by what we do at European level.
Yet eurosceptics call this a centralised superstate! They try to keep a straight face, but it’s clearly a barefaced lie.