Hands up! A momentary lapse of concentration was responsible for my naming Pope John Paul as the speaker to the EU in Strasbourg (Veronica Hardstaff 13.3.18).
It was, of course, Pope Francis but the message ‘The EU is aloof from the concerns and needs of ordinary people’ who have ‘become economic agents instead of people with dignity’ remains the same.
Veronica still claims the UK was not forced by the EU to impose the criteria on size of deficit or national debt but on 16.3.2010, the BBC reported that although the UK is not in the eurozone the Commission will make it clear the UK is expected to trim its deficit to 3% by 2014.
In 2012, under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly Maastricht Treaty), Article 126 obliges member states to avoid budgetary deficits which includes possible financial sanctions.
In 2015, the UK remained well above that target.
Following repeated denials that the EU was responsible for austerity, John Redwood M.P said, ‘What is curious, is that left-wing UK parties who thunder against austerity never fulminate against the more intense public austerity the EU requires’.
Veronica finds it curious that I quote Iceland’s PM in relation to UK influence in the EU.
Whilst not a member of the EU, Iceland is a member of the European Economic Area, an organisation said to be the ‘backbone of political and economic relations between the EU and Iceland’. As such, surely it is not too remote from EU activities to be able to form an opinion.
The EU might have brought two warring factions together but its dictatorial ways are creating tensions within member states now bringing extremists parties to power with all its implications.
Furthermore, talk of a single EU army is worrying to the point where Sir Michael Rose, former Commander of the S.A.S, maintains ‘As our long and distinguished history has shown, the UK’s best contribution to maintaining peace in Europe will be by standing apart and forming strong alliances as demonstrated by our relationship of trust with the US and key role in NATO’.
Veronica appears to have great faith in our ability to change the EU but a servant to big business and multi-nationals, its original social goals meant to benefit ordinary people appear lost in the sands of time.
Indeed, many years ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed that ‘Europe as a whole is fundamentally unreformable’.
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