Monday, 23 November 2009
Would an EU wide tax convince some eurosceptics that enough is enough?
Something that really, really bothers me is the state of euroscepticism in this country. While UKIP fights the good fight, and a clear majority of the public would now back the "out" side if we ever do get an in or out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, our elected politicians just seem so less bold. They do not want to face up to the question that the EU issue really poses to them.
The huge rump of supposedly eurosceptic backbench Tories and Labour MPs who openly admit that the EU is undemocratic and moving in the wrong direction offer only the hope that a multi-speed EU can be developed somehow. Or they go back to the totally flawed argument that we need to be in the EU for the economic benefits.
Unfortunately for them, soon enough a breaking point will come (it has for many already) when it is simply no longer credible to say that the EU is going to become anything other than a country in itself, with the UK as a designated state, albeit a large one. A point when the argument will be based more on the question as to whether we want to be part of a federal Europe or not, which has always been the real crux of the issue.
What is the new unelected EU President's first item on the agenda? No, not democratising the EU, not addressing the huge increase of euroscepticism across the continent and not discussing concerns of the legitimacy and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. No, Van Rompuy wants to install an EU tax on international financial trading, the first step towards Brussels having far greater financial muscle and economic say even over countries that managed to resist entering into the euro currency.
When this is at the top the agenda for the first ever permanent EU President, what sense is there in so-called eurosceptics trying to deny that the EU is about anything other than closer integration? Lisbon has rattled a lot of cages, Van Rompuy looks ambitious and the game for soft eurosceptics who say that the undemocratic monster that is the EU can be tamed, will very soon be up. It will not be a matter of changing the EU, but whether its aggressive push towards statehood is worth being a part of.