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Mr. Cash: I had wanted to press my amendment to a Division, because the matters that we have discussed are fundamental to the peace and security not only of the United Kingdom, but of Europe as a whole. Furthermore, for the reasons that I have given, which were elaborated on by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard), we have effectively dealt with the Minister's arguments, and I have absolutely no doubt that we shall continue to do so during our proceedings. However, although I do not want to avoid a Division, we have practical problems this evening to do with the result of the leadership election, which means that people are scattered in various places. No doubt some are rather happier than others.
It is sensible and practical to deal with these matters when we debate clause stand part so that we can tackle the Minister's arguments in one fell swoop. I shall not press the matter to a Division now, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
'Article 1 (other than paragraph 11),'.
'Article 1 (other than paragraph 12),'.
'Article 1 (other than paragraph 13),'.
'Article 1 (other than paragraph 14),'.
'Article 1 (other than paragraph 11, sub-paragraphs (b) and (c))'.
'other than Article 2 paragraph 1'.
'Her Majesty's Government shall lay before Parliament a report showing the implication for the United Kingdom of Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Nice Treaty, amending Article 11 TEC, incorporating the effects of related Articles on enhanced cooperation in the TEC and TEU, including Article 1, paragraph 11 of the Nice Treaty, revising Article 43 TEU.'.
'The Government shall not take steps to participate in any proposals agreed under Article 1, paragraph 11 of the Nice Treaty, revising Article 43 TEU, or related Articles in the Nice Treaty on enhanced co-operation in the TEC and TEU, including Article 2, paragraph 1 amending Article 11 TEC, without first having obtained the approval of each House of Parliament by resolution.'.
Mr. Cash: Enhanced co-operation, otherwise known as flexibility, is an important and fateful ingredient in the development of European Union politics. As with so many of these issues, it is a matter of lego-political power play and, as I said earlier and on Second Reading, it cannot be separated from qualified majority voting. Unfortunately, that is the mechanism whereby the eight member states that congregate at the centre of the proposed EU in relation to the functions arrogated to them will themselves operate in the framework of a QMV system. Therefore, as with economic and monetary union and the arrangements that led me to oppose the Maastricht treaty with such vigour, the locomotives are parallel to one another.
The arrangement is as simple as this: the creation of an acquis communautaire in a legal framework will be sought and the process of enhanced co-operation or flexibility will work in that framework. In the example of monetary union, the centre point is created and a eurozone established. Then all the others are effectively dragged along with it. An example of that is the creation of the coins and notes. Thereafter everybody is conditioned to the idea. Those who are reluctant and are found to be outside the system are then, by a gravitational process, drawn into having to comply with the arrangements.
I believe that the third protocol to the Maastricht treaty provided that no member state should prevent the others from going ahead. For practical purposes, that is reflected by the removal of what is known as the emergency brake. I am interested to know whether the distinguished right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) intends to speak, because I wish that this were not such an incredibly complex questionone that is given to lawyers and others to play around with. I refer to the question of enhanced co-operation, which constitutes a mixture of the use of law and the deepest and most sophisticated form of power politics that I have witnessed in all my dealings with the European Community and the European Union.
I believe that many people are being gravely misled. A number of my colleagues, including the shadow Foreign Secretary, are being misled into believing that the notion of flexibility is somehow a good one. As I pointed out in a pamphlet that I wrote about a year agoit was called "Associated But Not Absorbed", and called for an associated European areathe trend that has been established has done enormous damage to the democracy of other member states, especially in central and eastern Europe. Those states are being drawn into the acquis communautaire, while knowing all about the politics of it.
As I said in an earlier speech on the Bill, the centre of gravityindeed, I now go further and say "the domination of the entire European Union"will be created by Germany's having a preponderant influence. That will be the case not just because of qualified majority votingthe countries dependent on Germany politically and economically will inevitably, in the real world, vote with herbut because the concept of flexibility is a driving force, a rocket thrust, in that direction.
Enhanced co-operation stems, in fact, from the Amsterdam treaty. It is no excuse saying that it was not used on that occasion, because it is really a fancy new name for a two-speed Europe. Jacques Chirac summarised the proposal neatly:
An obscure but very interesting paper was produced by Michael Mertes, who became Chancellor Kohl's chief policy adviser. He and I have had many discussions about these questions. The paper, written in 1988 or 1989, created a template for the idea of an inner and outer core of Europe. I pay tribute to Mr. Mertes and also to a gentleman by the name of Mr. Prill, who wrote the paper with him.
The plan was a "concentric circles" plan, transparently intended to produce the kind of Europe that the flexibility arrangement in the Nice treaty actually represents. Hon. Members must grasp exactly what is going on, and not be taken in by a lot of the Euro-propaganda. The facts are all set out. At least those concerned had the honesty to do that, although many of their articles and papers appear in rather obscure journals. The other countries will be relegated to an outer core, and reverse integration is ruled out, because reversing the process would mean passing amendments that have themselves been described,
Let me say this to Labour Members, with great respect. If they do not like aspects of these treaties, and if they do not want to be taken on a long train journey leading, in my view, to increasing chaos and uncertainty, they ought to speak out. They spoke out yesterday; I think they should speak out against this as well, because it will have serious consequences for many of the policies that they hold dear.
Flexibility is the antithesis of what some so-called Eurosceptics hoped it would come to mean. In an Adjournment debate on the subject that I initiated as long ago asI think1995, I explained the dangers of what I described as a Heath Robinson system. I said that disconnected parts were being put together in a single system, which would create chaotic arrangements. I believe that we are heading for an increasingly dangerous and tense European Union.
What should happen, of course, is this: individual nation states should be enabled to make their own decisions, but to work in co-operation rather than being put in the compression chamber of the acquis communautaire, as is now being proposed. Like subsidiarity, this whole process will promote ever deeper political centralisation. It will do nothing for diversity and decentralisationalthough many claim that it mightbecause, like subsidiarity, it is a con trick. Individual nation states will possess no emergency brake or veto to prevent other member states from going ahead with further integration.
I look forward to the remarks that I trust will be made, in due course, by my hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring). My hon. Friend's shoulders are now heaving in a Heath-like fashion. He knows perfectly well that the removal of the emergency brake presents something of a problem for those who have previously advocated the notion of flexibilitya problem that will not disappear simply because we wish things were otherwise.
For the first time, it has been clearly stated that the whole purpose of enhanced co-operation is to reinforce the process of integration. That is an entirely new mission statement. Article 1 itself talks of ever closer union, and so forth. The minimum number of participants is eight, regardless of enlargement. The process will depend on eight member states making decisions relating to a range of policies and functions. The potential for chaos must be obvious to anyone. If there are 27 members in an enlarged Community and eight are driving the system, how on earth will it be possibleI return for a moment to our debate on defence and foreign policyto secure the degree of consistency that is claimed for the proposed, and proclaimed, European political union? It is inherent in the arrangements that they will not achieve that objective: they will defeat the object of their own exercise, and at the same time create chaos. I fear for the European Community, or Union, for reasons like that.