Walking the maze

Ah, the Turnip... EU Referendum continues to scoure through the footnoted maze of the Con of the Century and keeps finding disturbing things.

There's a combination of two articles in the treaty-to-be that function much in the same way as a binary weapon: Taken separately they seem pretty harmless. Put together they have the potential of killing any power and sovereignty of national governments.

Then there's a lovely little 'footbridge'; Article 33 of the Turnip details the possibility of a 'simplified procedure' to ammend EU treaties (including the Turnip itself). Instead of calling a full blown IGC, this procedure would only need approvement of ammendments by the European Council. However, since the European Council is to become an official EU institution under the proposed treaty, this essentially means that the EU can ammend existig treaties by approving them for themselves, bypassing national governments. Neat, huh?

Lastly, the president of the EC, under the new treaty is set to become Supreme President of Europe. What used to be a position sub-ordinate to the governments of national states has grown and grown in successive treaties. In the new treaty the election of EU president will be a matter for the EP to decide. Again the EU deciding over itself, essentially, leaving national governments with no say in the matter.

EU Referendum also have a good round-up of blog reactions with regard to the Turnip and any referendum on same. This blog gets a kind mention, though mr. North is slightly puzzled by the 'Turnip' lable. This stems from a post that started the current pre-occupation on this blog with matters EU (see also here). The title of that post is a (very) literal translation of a Dutch saying (Knollen voor citroenen verkopen), meaning to outrageously oversell something.

The current Dutch cabinet went into the June 22 summit, promising the Dutch people their 'No' would be done justice. The new treaty would not have a constitutional character and the power of the EU would be limited in favour of national self-determination. During the negotiations the Dutch government only managed to get rid of the 'symbols' that gave the treaty a constitutional character (the anthem and the flag). But the 'colleagues' had made it clear from the outset that the changing the substance of the old constitutional treaty were off-limits. Dutch politics being what it is these days, quietly acquiesced. On returning home, however, they congratulated themselves on getting rid of the constitution and cheered that there now was no reason for the Dutch to reject this new treaty (1). Our 'betters' are trying to convince us they have secured for us a fresh, tangy lemon, when in reality they are trying to stuff us with a bland, bad-tasting Turnip.

(1) Which they likely will not have the possibility to do, even if they wanted to. The ultimate decision on whether a referendum (which would be a 'consulting referendum' in any case, meaning the government may decide to ignore the outcome) rests with the Council of State. If they conclude that the Turnip is constitutional after all they must decide that a difficult procedure for ratification is necessary, including dissolution of parliament or a referendum. However, the general fear is that the Council of State will lean towards the governments position and will opt to forego on another international 'embarrasment'.

[UPDATE001] For anyone in a hurry the substance in the above given links is neatly summarized in a column by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph. If I may take the freedom to quote mr. Booker, substituting relevant terms to apply to the Dutch situation:
What all this amounts to is that the European Union finally wishes to set itself up as the supreme government of [The Netherlands] and 26 other countries, with unlimited powers over every aspect of our lives: a government we cannot dismiss and which is unaccountable. It is nothing less than a complete coup d'etat. And [Jan-Peter Balkenende] wishes to see this imposed on us without allowing us a referendum, in direct breach of a promise [he made after the 2005 referendum], and now on the basis of the transparent lie that it has no bearing on our constitutional rights. It should be enough to blow the minds of everyone in [The Netherlands].

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