Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing has spoken out about the UK’s relationship with the EU, and has said that Britain should simply not participate in some policy areas if doing so would be to the detriment of further EU integration. Should be music to David Cameron’s ears because I presume his wish to withdraw from the EU’s Social Chapter would not entail demanding the rest of the EU tears it up too.
Of course, that particular exercise would be fruitless since the Social Chapter no longer exists.
For fuck's sake, I wish these Tories would either get informed or stop lying to people. As I have said before, we cannot opt out of the Social Chapter because it doesn't fucking exist any more! It is now contained in Articles 136–145 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which Cameron cannot just unsign.The Social Chapter was part of a protocol of the Maastricht Treaty which was negotiated by John Major.
However, the opt-out was given away after the 1997 General Election.
Now the content of the articles are enshrined in the Treaty of Amsterdam, to be precise 136–145. This means they are now part of the Aquis Communautaire and to revoke these would require unanimity in the Council of Ministers, not just a decision by a national government.
But I digress. Another view of d'Estaing's speech comes from Wat Tyler, who was at the meeting at which the raddled old bastard gave his speech.
Fortunately [Giscard d'Estaing] has a solution—he wants "special arrangements" for Britain, whereby we negotiate some kind of grand opt out from further integration.
What? You mean we don't have to persist with the madness?
That must be good, right?
Weeelllll... Giscard didn't get to where he is today without acquiring the subtle and persuasive techniques of Le Corps Diplomatique Francais.
Giscard offers his carrot only on the basis that we accept everything those geniuses at the FCO have already given away to the EU.
Which means we'd remain just as firmly bolted in to all those costs we've blogged on BOM: the CAP, the busted corrupt EU budget, the over-regulation, the Human Rights wibble, the eco-energy wibble, etc etc. Plus, of course, in Giscard's world we would inevitably find ourselves disenfranchised from further decisions to increase those burdens. It would be the worst of both worlds.
No, we're quite clear about what Grand Project we want. It's the fundamental renegotiation in which we opt out of everything bar the free trade area we were originally promised by our own rulers.
So, we would maintain all of the costs, whilst being utterly unable to affect any further ratcheting up of said costs. Now, this may be just me, but I rather feel that Giscard d'Estaing should fuck off and die.
Unio Europaea Delenda Est, and it really can't come too soon...