Europe provokes divisions across political spectrum “In Europe, not run by Europe”
BRITAIN’S RELATIONS WITH EUROPE: TIMELINE NB. Similar material in Kavanagh et al, 2005: Table 8.2:
Question is: ‘to stay in’ • Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher originally yes supporter in the UK’s first referendum in 1975 in the then European Economic Community (Common Market) • 67% of voters supported the Labour government's campaign despite several (Labour) cabinet ministers having come out in favour of British withdrawal.
Thatcher says No, No, No • Former Prime Minister supported single market (Single European Act) • Greater integration (contents of the Maastricht treaty) drew a No, No, No • Her Chancellor (Lawson) and former Foreign Secretary (Howe) resigned • Political elite ousted her from office over Europe • For the masses it was the Poll Tax
Thatcher • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2f8nYMCO2I
Context Exchange Rate Mechanism • Entry - when the time was right became a political issue not economic • Entered October 1990 by then Chancellor John Major • Thatcher ousted weeks later
September 16 1992 Black Wednesday • September 16, 1992 5 months after Major won a general election became known as black Wednesday • Bank of England put up interest rates from 10 – 12% • Interest rates were scheduled to go up to 15% • Lamont makes statement • http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=AHDsO7gvXHQ&feature=endscreen
Aftermath • For John Major’s government the skids were under it from then on • But the consequence of being evicted were benign • Had control of currency • Pound devalued pulling country out of recession • Golden Wednesday?
Conservative position • John Major’s premiership was riven with division by Maastricht • 2010 new intake Thatcherite in euro sceptic approach • Referendum on further powers
John Major tried to appease Eurosceptics • opted out of the Social Chapter –included the Working Time Directive (48 hours working week) eventually signed by Tony Blair
Don’t mention Europe • David Cameron appeared to have made the EU less toxic • Rebellion on referendum vote despite 3 line whip – 79 rebels plus 2 more who acted as tellers • residual anger that he didn’t have referendum over Lisbon Treaty • revolt shows that the EU remains a major fault line • Tensions with coalition partners the Liberal Democrats
Referendum on Treaty changes • The European Union Act would ensure "significant" EU treaties must be approved by a referendum of UK voters, with the same rule in place for major changes to existing treaties • This meant according to William Hague that any future government could not "wriggle out of a referendum".
Where now for the leadership? • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8807806/EU-referendum-would-hurt-Britains-economy-says-William-Hague.html • Hague – reality over sceptism
Latest government defeat 31.10.12 (Halloween) • http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11554 • Downing Street moved to reach out to the rebels by dispatching William Hague to declare that the government would "take note" after 51 rebel Tories – plus two tellers – joined forces with Labour to defeat the government by 307 votes to 294, a majority of 13.
DELEGATION OF POWER TO EU NOT NECESSARILY DETRIMENTAL Supra-national ‘collective action’ • National government may not be able to meet citizens’ needs on some (international) policy issues - Environmental pollution, immigration, crime EU ‘fit’ with Britain • EU sometimes doesn’t ‘fit’ (eg. social policy) • … but sometimes it does (eg. single market).
EUROPEAN INTEGRATION • Incremental progress • Economic integration followed by political integration Britain/Denmark/Sweden opted out of Eurozone • domestic concerns over ‘political union’
KEY EUROPEAN UNION INSTITUTIONS European Commission http://europa.eu/ European Parliament Council of Ministers
European Commisioner • 27 commissioners appointed by nations but supposed to represent pan Europe interests • Jose Manuel Barroso • Civil Service • unelected
Council of Ministers of the EU • Powerful EU institution • Inter-governmental • Broad policy areas under its jurisdiction • 27 departmental ministers from each nation state depending on issue discussed • e.g. Employment, transport, agriculture • Ecofin (economic meetings) • Chancellor attends even though UK out of the eurozone • Voting by qualified majority voting (QMV)
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Powers of ‘co-decision’ with Council Power to reject Commission Powers to reject EU budget
European Parliament • Elected body • Supranational • Once regarded as talking shop is now more powerful • Maastricht Treaty gave it power to reject legislation • Lisbon extended powers • UK divided into 12 regions
European Parliament • There are 754 Euro MPs - elected for five-year terms - in the European Parliament, with 72 representing the UK. • From 2014 increase to751 MEPs. • Meets 3 weeks in Brussels and a week in Strasbourg
MEPs • There are currently 754 MEPs, 736 of whom were elected in June 2009. Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009 had originally provided for 751 seats. The only country to have fewer MEPs under the new treaty is Germany, which is set to lose 3 seats. As Germany's elected number of MEPs cannot be reduced, the total number rises temporarily to 754 during this current legislature.
European Parliament • Seventy-two MEPs represent the UK in the European Parliament. • sit according to political affiliation • seven main groups - with most MEPs sitting in the centre-right, centre-left or liberal blocs • Form mini-coalition - broad range of political positions and alliances.
EU DECISION MAKING PROCESS I EUROPEAN COMMISSION COUNCIL OF MINISTERS EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
EU DECISION MAKING PROCESS II EUROPEAN COMMISSION COUNCIL OF MINISTERS EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
NUCLEAR OPTION: OPTING OUT OF COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS • 1992: Monetary union; ‘Social Chapter’ • 1993: ‘Working Time Directive’ • 1997: Immigration and asylum • 2007: Police and judicial cooperation on crime
Schengen • As freedom of movement is one of the main objectives of the European Union, the Treaty of Amsterdam agreed to incorporate Schengen into EU law. • UK opt out
Euro • Maastricht Treaty paved the way for single currency • Britain opted out • Common currency 1 Jan 2002 • Gordon Brown five economic tests • Warnings that a country can’t leave if there is a fire • Greek sovereign debt • Deeper integration – fiscal
Greek Bail Out as 29 Feb 2012 • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/debt-crisis-live/
Lisbon Treaty • Under EU rules, the treaty had to be ratified by all 27 member states before coming into force. • The treaty signed 2007 • Came into force on 1 December 2009.
Lisbon Treaty • Treaty often described as an attempt to streamline EU institutions to make the enlarged bloc of 27 states function better. • Opponents see it as part of a federalist agenda that threatens national sovereignty.
Herman Van Rumpuy • Commonly but mistakenly known as President of Europe – correct title President of the European Council Just been given another 2 Year contract
After Lisbon • High Representative - new post • Catherine Ashton • David Miliband had been expected to go for it but chose instead to fight Labour Party leadership
After Lisbon • The European Commission will continue to have 27 commissioners - one from each member state. The previous Nice Treaty envisaged a smaller commission - and that idea was to be kept, but it was then dropped as a concession to the Irish Republic in 2008.
After Lisbon – New powers • New powers for the European Commission, European Parliament and European Court of Justice, for example in the field of justice and home affairs. • Parliament will be on an equal footing with the Council - the grouping of member states' governments - for most legislation (co-decision), including the budget and agriculture
After Lisbon • Removal of national vetoes in a number of areas, including fighting climate change, energy security and emergency aid. Unanimity will still be required in the areas of tax, foreign policy, defence and social security.
After Lisbon • The new European Parliament was elected in June 2009 under the existing Nice Treaty - 736 MEPs - down from the previous 785. • Under the Lisbon plan, the number will be fixed at 751
After Lisbon Qualified Majority Voting • Some extensions of qualified majority voting in the European Council are already in place, but plans to redistribute voting weights have been delayed until after 2014.
European Central Bank • Italian Mario Draghi President • Sets interest rates • The primary objective of the ECB’s monetary policy is to maintain price stability
Greece and austerity • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17067104