>Guest Post Mary-Ellen Synon – On THE EU Fraud

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins – Greg_L-W.

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 Thursday 20 February 2014

Guest post from Mary-Ellen Synon

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“Eurosceptic” Tory backbenchers are yet again demonstrating that they have little idea of how the EU operates, writes Mary Ellen Synon in this guest post. According to today’s Daily Mail, Tory MPs think they can get the Prime Minister to send a “tough negotiator” to be Britain’s next European Commissioner. 
Thus are these “Eurosceptics” demanding that Cameron send someone to Brussels who will “fight Britain’s corner”. They want Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox or former Cabinet minister Peter Lilley “to be handed the role”. 

By now, we are getting news that Andrew Lansley has been slated for the post but, even without that, the problem with that plan is, of course, that not even a British prime minister has the power to hand anyone a role as commissioner. The Lisbon Treaty gives the EU institutions all kinds of powers to stop a Government putting an unsympathetic individual at the top of the commission.

The first hurdle is that even if Cameron were to nominate Paterson, Fox or Lilley as the replacement for Catherine Ashton, the new president of the European Commission would have been able to warn Cameron privately that he found the nominee obnoxious.

Should Cameron have persisted, the president would make it clear the nominee would be given a portfolio so obscure that after the first six months of the new commission, few in the Brussels press corps would be able to name Britain’s man at the Berlaymont. The European Council may have to agree the nominations, but the president of the commission has complete power to decide who gets which job.

If you doubt how obscure some commissioners can be, ask yourself if you have any idea who these commissioners are and what they do: Nevin Mimica, Johannes Hahn, Maire Geoghehan Quinn. Influence depends on the portfolio. The president also has the power to force the resignation of any commissioner, should an awkward Eurosceptic finally make to the “college”, as it is called, of commissioners.

The second hurdle is the European Parliament. It must be consulted on the appointment. The MEPs just love exercising this power. If any national government does not bow to their “recommendation”, the parliament has the power to reject the entire commission. In 2004, the parliament forced the Italian prime minister to withdraw his appointment of the excellent Rocco Buttiglione as commissioner.

Their reason was because the commissioner was an observant Catholic who refused to renounce his church’s teaching that homosexuality was a sin (Buttiglione had a liberal history in regard to public policy on homosexuality, but simply holding a private religious view on sin was considered a disqualification for a commissioner).

As if this was not enough, there is a third hurdle. New commissioners have to stand before the European Court of Justice and give a “solemn declaration” – in effect, take a secular oath – that they will uphold all the principles and values enshrined in the treaties (which of course includes the principle of ever-closer union and the free movement of people) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

The new commissioner must also promise to be independent of any government, even the government of his own country, and accept the principle of Cabinet responsibility by which the commission is run. 

What this means is that, even if Paterson, Fox or Lilley or any other Eurosceptic managed to overcome the European Parliament and make it a role as a commissioner, he would then have to stand in public and give his word to uphold the aims of the EU. 
That in turn means that Paterson-Fox-Lilley-whoever would have had to have stood in a court and give an oath to uphold ever closer union, and then stick to his word. Or he can make the “solemn declaration” in front of a court and then break his word. And what sort of a scoundrel would that make him? 
In no case can a British nominee, of whatever persuasion, “fight Britain’s corner”.  If he had any intention of doing so, he would never get the job anyway.

My thanks to Richard North for flagging up Mary-Ellen Synon’s article which is, as so often, eminently readable and sound good sense.

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Regards,

Greg_L-W.
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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins

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