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CCHQ Europe Briefing

CCHQ Europe Briefing

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Published by Harry Cole

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Published by: Harry Cole on Oct 20, 2011
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11/30/2011

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Britain in Europe
 
·
The national interest is for Britain to be in Europe, not run by Europe. That is whyConservatives want to get powers back from Brussels to Britain, particularly over social andemployment legislation. 
·
We also need to make sure that there is no further transfer of powers from Britainto Brussels without the say of the British people. That’s why for the first time ever thisGovernment has introduced a referendum lock which means that any transfer of powers fromBritain to Brussels would require the approval of the British people in a referendum. 
·
An in/out referendum or a confusing and unclear three way referendum does nothing toadvance these objectives. Issue 
·
Backbench debate on EU referendum.
On Monday 24 October 2011 the BackbenchBusiness Committee have agreed to hold a debate on David Nuttall MP’s motion on holding an EUreferendum. The motion says: 
This House calls upon the Government to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to providefor the holding of a national referendum on whether the United Kingdom should:(a) remain a member of the European Union on the current terms;(b) leave the European Union; or (c) re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on tradeand co-operation’ (Backbench Business Committee;
David Nuttall’s Website
).
 Key Facts
 ·
The value of the EU Single Market to the UK.
The Single Market is vital to the UK’sprosperity:
 
o
The EU gives UK business access to the world’s largest market.
The Single Market gives UKbusiness access to the world’s largest market with 500 million people generating about £10 trillion of economic activity (BIS,
The UK and the Single Market: Trade and Investment Analytical Papers 4
, 2011). 
o
European markets account for half of the UK’s trade and foreign investments, providingaround 3.5 million jobs.
In the year to July 2011 the total value of the UK’s trade in goods exported tothe EU was £92.7 billion. (HMRC,
UK trade info
, 1 July 2011,link), compared to £77.4 billion for exportsto countries outside the EU (HMRC,
UK trade info
, 9 September 2011,link). Around 3.5 million jobs in theUK are linked to the export of goods and services to the EU (BIS,
The UK and the Single Market: Tradeand Investment Analytical Papers 4
, 2011). 
o
The Single Market may have added income gains of up to £3,300 a year for each Britishhousehold.
EU countries currently trade twice as much with each other as they would do in the absence
 
of the Single Market. As a result, the Single Market may be responsible for income gains in the UK of between £1,100 and £3,300 a year per British household (ibid.).
 
·
Key dates. 
o
1957:
Treaty of Rome.
The treaties established the European Economic Community, andfour institutions – the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament andthe European Court of Justice. The original six members were France, West Germany, Belgium,Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy.
o
1961: First UK attempt to join the EEC (vetoed by De Gaulle in 1963).
o
1967: De Gaulle says No to UK’s second attempt to join.
1973:
The UK Joins the EEC on 1 January 1973.
1975: The UK votes in a national referendum to stay in the EEC. 67 per cent vote yes on 6 June1975.
1986: The Single European Act establishes the single market.
1992:
The Maastricht Treaty.
The treaty created the legal basis for the creation of Euro (UKopts out) and the moves towards foreign policy, military, criminal justice and judicial cooperation.The ‘three pillars’ set out where the EEC did and did not have competence. UK secures opt outfrom the ‘Social Chapter.’
1997:
Treaty of Amsterdam.
UK subscribes to the ‘Social Chapter.’ The Schengen Agreementon free travel is incorporated into what became the EC (with an UK opt out). More EU power over foreign policy and justice and powers for the European Parliament. William Hague calls for areferendum on the treaty.
2001:
Treaty of Nice.
Further centralisation and changes in voting weights to allow for enlargement. (Irish vote No in 2001 and Yes in 2002). William Hague calls for a referendum onthe treaty.
2004: Ten new former Communist states join EU.
2004: Treaty establishing an EU Constitution signed.
2005: France and Netherlands vote No to the EU Constitution.
2007: Romania and Bulgaria join EU.
2007: Lisbon Treaty signed by Gordon Brown. David Cameron continues call for a referendum.
2008: Ireland votes No to the Lisbon Treaty.
2009: Lisbon Treaty comes into force. This leads to the abolition of vetoes and more power to theEU in a manner virtually identical to the EU Constitution. The Czech President signed the Treatyon 3 November 2009 and David Cameron set out the Conservative Party response to the treatycoming into force on 4 November 2009 (David Cameron,
 A Europe you can believe in,
 link). ·
EU bailout funds.
There are two current European funds - the European FinancialStabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). We are amember of the EFSM only. Both funds were agreed by Alistair Darling at ECOFIN on the weekendof 8 – 9 May 2010.
 
The UK’s involvement with the EFSM will end in 2013 (
Hansard 
, 28 March 2011,Col. 35).
 Our Approach
 
·
Introduced a Referendum Lock.
Many people in Britain feel disconnected with how the EUhas developed, and the decisions that have been taken in their name. Our European Union Act,which came into force in July this year, ensures that in future the British people will have their sayon any proposed transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. Under the Act, if in the future a changeto the EU treaties that moves powers or areas of policy from the UK to the EU is proposed, theGovernment will have to get the British people's consent in a national referendum before it can be
 
agreed. Furthermore, the Act provides that an Act of Parliament will be required for all types of EUtreaty change, including agreement to the use of ratchet clauses in the Lisbon Treaty which allowthe powers of the EU to expand in the future without a new treaty. Any ratchet clauses which wouldtransfer powers or areas of policy from the UK to the EU would also be subject to the British people’sconsent in a referendum (
European Union Act 2011
). ·
Ensuring the sovereignty of Parliament.
The EU Act also includes a sovereignty clausewhich ensures that ultimate authority remains with the British Parliament by underlining the principlethat EU law only has effect in the UK through UK Acts of Parliament and not through any independentauthority (
European Union Act 2011
). ·
Ending UK participation in EU Bailouts.
We have secured a commitment that the £50 billionEuropean Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM), which provides loans to EU member states infinancial difficulties, will come to an end in 2013. Alistair Darling signed the UK up to the EFSM inMay 2010 before this Government took office, meaning that the UK has been liable to bailout EUcountries through its share in the EU Budget. The Chancellor, George Osborne, specifically objectedto Alistair Darling’s decision and now, thanks to tough negotiation, our participation will end in 2013(
Hansard 
, 28 March 2011, Col. 35).
 
·
Keeping the EU Budget under control.
We will strongly defend the UK’s national interests inthe forthcoming EU budget negotiations. The EU budget should only focus on those areas where theEU can add value.
 
o
Annual increase halved in the EU 2011 Budget.
We have no veto over yearly budgets, however this Government succeeded in winning agreement from enough other EU Governments to cut the annualincrease in the 2011 EU Budget to half that agreed by Labour in the 2010 Budget (
 BBC News
, 29 October 2010). 
o
A real terms freeze in the EU 2014 – 2020 Budget.
Thanks to this Government’s leadership, Britain,France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland have already signed up in public to a keep the next EUmulti-annual budget to a real terms freeze (
 Letter from EU leaders to the European Commission
, 18December 2010). 
·
Using the EU to further Britain’s national interest.
The Government active and energeticengagement is delivering concrete results in the EU that are in the UK’s national interest:
 
o
Sanction on Iran.
We have secured agreement on tough, targeted EU sanctions on Iran (
 BBC News
, 26July 2010). 
o
Sanctions on Syria.
We have argued for and achieved tough EU sanctions on Syrian oil exports to theEU and on regime officials (
 BBC News
, 19 August 2011). 
o
Trade with South Korea and Pakistan.
On 6 October 2010 we secured agreement by EUGovernments on a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and South Korea, worth £500 million a year tothe UK (
 BIS Press Release
, 6 October 2010). The EU has also agreed to liberalise trade with Pakistan (
 BBC  News
, 16 December 2010). 
o
Jobs and Growth.
On the 18 March 2011 David Cameron and leaders from eight EU countries wroteto President Van Rompuy and President Barroso calling for a new direction of economic policy. The UK subsequently published its proposals to improve EU economic competitiveness. Much of this was agreed by the EU Council (HM Government,
 Let’s Choose Growth
, 31 March 2011). The Government has alsodefended the UK financial industry by delivering a deal giving hedge funds access to all markets across theEU’s 27 member states in return for signing up to common rules set by the new European Securities andMarkets Authority, which regulates the EU’s financial system (
 BBC News Online
, 19 October 2010).
 

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