BREXIT: Citizens rarely consulted
Your correspondent Peter Fuller is correct to say that the Council of Ministers is one of three tiers of the EU legislature, together with the Commission and Parliament, (Northumberland Gazette, March 29).
It has specific responsibilities, for example foreign policy and the budget. Between actual meetings, its work is conducted by nine councils of yet more unelected representatives, known as COREPER.
Mr Fuller is incorrect, however, to compare the Commission to the UK civil service. The Commission initiates all EU law, the civil service carries out the instructions of ministers.
I would refer him to the view of Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and now the Parliament’s Brexit representative. He suggested changing its name to the ‘European Government’, calling the name Commission “ridiculous”.
The governance of the EU is labyrinthine and costly, another layer of bureaucracy superimposed on the governments of member states, paid for in the main by UK and German taxpayers; and, of course, largely undemocratic.
The notion that members of the Commission enjoy a democratic mandate on the grounds that they are appointed by European heads of state is a novel one. Perhaps we could abolish town and county elections and simply have councillors appointed by our Prime Minister.
Readers may recall that in 2014 David Cameron strongly opposed the nomination of Jean Claude Junker as Commission president, but was outvoted 26 to two. So delegating my imaginary vote to David Cameron didn’t get my voice heard on that occasion.
I would suggest that the existence of several pro-EU pressure groups, such as Democratic Europe Now, campaigning for greater EU democracy rather proves the point.
You do not have to be Inspector Clouseau to detect that the EU is fundamentally undemocratic and federalist. The clue is in the name(s).
In 1975 we had a Common Market of six nations, this morphed into a European Economic Community, a European Community, and finally the European Union, consisting of 28 nations.
Only very rarely were the citizens of Europe consulted over these very significant developments, and when they were they were usually ignored.
For example, in 2005 both the French and Dutch electorate voted against a proposed European Constitution so the bureaucrats reformulated the proposal as amendments to existing treaties and the constitution reappeared as the Lisbon Treaty, approved by the Council of Ministers, not the people of Europe.
I would suggest that if the citizens of the UK were still members of a Common Market they would be largely content.
They do not want to be part of a European federal super state.