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English History in the Bin By: George Pascoe-Watson
The London Sun | Friday, May 23, 2003

TONY Blair is under mounting pressure to give the British people a say on his plan to surrender swathes of power to Brussels.

Britain’s sovereignty will be signed away with a new EU Constitution, a blueprint for a United States of Europe. The PM has vowed to oppose many proposals.

But here is The Sun’s guide to 20 changes planned by Valery Giscard d’Estaing, head of the Convention on the Future of Europe, which would see 1,000 years of British history consigned to the dustbin.

Britons will have a written Constitution imposed on them — written by foreigners.

The United States also has a written constitution, but at least it was penned by Americans. British voters will NOT have the power to rewrite elements of the constitution.

That could only be changed by the same unelected foreigners who came up with it.

Britain’s judges will lose their right to make laws by precedent. European Court of Justice judges would seize powers from British courts.

The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights would GOVERN Britain and our laws would be set by judges in Luxembourg.

We would all become CITIZENS of the EU — officially. The Constitution states “every national of a member state shall be a citizen of the European Union.”

The EU could IMPOSE laws on virtually anything it chooses on Britain. Theoretically this situation already exists but each country can, and frequently does, reject EU law.

But that right to opt-out of EU laws would END.

Article nine states: “The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union Institutions, in exercising competences conferred on it by the Constitution, shall have primacy over the law of member states.”

Gone ... Attorney General will
be overruled on justice

Britain will be BANNED from making laws in certain areas.

The Constitution calls for “exclusive competences” on common commercial policy and fishing.

This means Britain would have to SEEK permission from Brussels to rule on fishing quotas and who has the right to trawl our waters.

It would also THREATEN the City’s unique position as one of the world’s leading financial centres.

The Government would LOSE the right to make financial laws relating to things like investment and pensions — unless permitted by the EU.

Britain would lose its right to make international AGREEMENTS with other countries around the globe.

Our rights to do one-off deals relating to health, trade, extradition or immigration with other states would go.

Article 11 says “the Union shall have exclusive competence for the collation of any international agreement where it affects the internal affairs of the Union.”

Britain will lose the power to make LAWS tailored for our own special needs.

Article 12 dictates no country will be able to pass laws on areas where the EU has already ruled.

Unbelievably, this article governs criminal justice, agriculture, transport, energy, social policy, economic and social policy, environment, public health and consumer protection.

Britain will lose the power to govern its own ECONOMY.

Article 13 states that “the Union shall co-ordinate the economy policy of the member states.”

Gordon Brown would be FORCED to open his annual Budget speech to the House of Commons by stating to MPs that he had cleared its contents with Brussels.

Giscard d’Estaing has stated he wants to force Britain to adopt the same income tax rates as all other EU countries.

Tax harmonisation is NOT on the constitution officially. But critics fear Article 13 will inevitably lead to tax and spend policy being set by the EU.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, currently Jack Straw, would be virtually POINTLESS and replaced by a new EU Foreign Minister.

We would be REQUIRED, under Article 14, to act in a “spirit of loyal and cultural solidarity” with the rest of the EU’s members.

The new Foreign Minister would represent Britain on the world stage and our Foreign Secretary would have to bow to his authority.

Gone ... border checks at places like
port of Dover would be dropped
Picture: REUTERS

Britain would no longer be able to CONTROL its borders. The floodgates to asylum cheats and terrorists could open as our border checks came down at key points of entry like the port of Dover.

Under a Freedom, Security and Justice article, anyone in the EU would be able to move freely from country to country without being checked. Tony Blair has promised to opt out of this article but will face stiff opposition.

Britain’s right to apply Common Law to its criminal justice system would end. This supports principles like Habeus Corpus, where defendants must appear in court.

Virtually all issues of law and order would be settled by a majority of states.

Britain would no longer have a VETO on EU policies on crime as majority voting would govern justice.

Most EU states do not support Common Law which would inevitably be whittled away in the coming years as EU states used their numbers to overrule our ministers.

British citizens would face prosecution in EU states for offences which aren’t a crime in the UK. A European Arrest Warrant would be IMPOSED under articles 16 and 17.

Drug trafficking, corruption, fraud, organised crime, sex offences and computer crime would be covered. A new crime of Xenophobia is being proposed which would ban anyone in Britain making derogatory remarks about a fellow EU citizen.

The Sun could have faced charges in France for labelling French President Jacques Chirac “Le Worm”.

Britain’s Attorney General, currently Lord Goldsmith, would be OVERRULED in a whole series of rulings. A new Eurojust unit would be set up to “co-ordinate” the EU’s different public prosecuting offices under article 19.

If the Attorney General ruled it was not in the public interest to prosecute someone — say, a member of the Royal Family or an MI5 or MI6 agent — he could be overruled by Brussels.

Britain’s unique intelligence-sharing deal with the US would be in PERIL.

We would be forced, under Article 21, to share information with other EU spy agencies.

MI6 and MI5, along with Special Branch, have swapped intelligence with their CIA and FBI counterparts in the United States since the Second World War.

But America would want to tear up the co-operation deal if it thought its intelligence was being passed on to states such as France.

Gone ... Chancellor would lose
control of our economy

Britain would LOSE its cherished seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Ministers laugh off this claim as “fantasy.”

But only last Friday it was confirmed by a powerful all-party House of Lords committee.

It warned that Britain — and France — would have to seek permission from the EU to speak up on the Security Council.

In all other instances, the new EU Foreign Minister would speak on our behalf.

This would have made it impossible for the UK to stand shoulder to shoulder with America in the build-up to the war on Iraq.

Britain would lose its right to govern its own defence spending.

It may even be PREVENTED from buying military hardware from US firms.

Article 19 dictates all member states must “implement any measure for strengthening the industrial and technological base of the defence sector.”

This means the British Defence Secretary will be obliged to buy kit from EU defence firms.

EU states will also be expected to work hand-in-hand to develop military hardware, which all its members must support.

Top brass warn this will leave us years behind our US counterparts - and forced to supply Our Boys with outdated equipment.

Britain’s Government would lose its power to control the trade unions and keep business thriving.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights would hand the Brothers huge powers to INTERFERE in boardroom decisions.

The CBI has already warned against the move which they say would cripple industry.

Britain will lose its sole power on immigration and nationality POLICIES.

Ministers have already signalled they are happy to pool law-making on these crucial issues.

But EU states like France have always been happy to send asylum seekers on to Britain rather than accommodate them at their expense.

Britain would lose the power to put a STOP to the wasteful Common Agricultural Policy.

This would in future be handled by MEPs rather than heads of state.

Blocks of pro-farming MEPs will ensure the policy, which soaks up billions in subsidies, will never be changed.

Britain will lose its power to DISAGREE with any of the above. Article 16 creates a catch-all flexibility clause. This effectively hands the EU a “get-out-of-jail” card — allowing it to overrule Westminster whenever “necessary.”

George Pascoe-Watson is Deputy Political Editor for the London Sun.

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