*Perilous Times and The Revived Roman Empire
Blair in secret new plan for EU superstate*
PM said working to bypass public referendum on constitution before
London Daily Express
TONY Blair wants to hand the European Union radical new powers in his
last act as Prime Minister, it emerged today.
The Prime Minister has welcomed controversial plans to bring back the
troubled EU constitution by the back door - totally bypassing the need
for public referendums on sweeping new powers for Brussels.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested ditching the name
"constitution" from the title and instead calling it an "amending
treaty” - to avoid having to seek the approval of voters.
French and Dutch voters rejected the original plan - which would hand
Brussels the power to represent individual countries at the UN and
change national laws - two years ago.
Britain's voting rights would be reduced by a third under the scheme and
our hard-won veto on European directives would be torn up. Britain could
also lose the right to impose quotas on immigration.
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "If Tony Blair thinks he
can hoodwink the British people by smuggling in the rejected EU
consitution under another name, he had better think again.
"He underestimates the British people. They will see right through any
"If the Labour Government sign up to a new treaty that takes powers from
Britain and hands them over to the EU, the British people must have the
final say in a referendum."
The Germans believe "as much of the substance of the constitution as
possible" should be kept, renamed and put into law.
Scrapping the name will help Mr Blair reach agreement at what will be
his last EU Summit and virtually his last public duty before handing
over to Gordon Brown.
But the document makes no reference to one of Mr Blair’s previous key
demands - an “opt-out” from a shift to more joint European decisions
affecting criminal law and justice.
A Government spokeswoman welcomed the latest approach to what is being
billed as one of the most important EU Summit gatherings for years.
“We fully support the German Presidency’s desire to reach agreement on
institutional reform, she said.
"We welcome their proposal to return to the classical method of treaty
change whereby the existing treaties would be amended.
“We believe an amending treaty should help to make the EU more
efficient. The more effectively the EU works together, the more that it
is in our national interest as well as our international interests.”
The German plan talks about calling the result of any Summit agreement a
“Treaty on the function of the Union” - removing the federalist
implications which have been plaguing efforts to get EU reform plans
back on track.
But the report makes clear the EU would still develop a “single legal
personality” - a bid to give the EU collectively more weight on the
world stage, and fuelling Eurosceptic fears of a further whittling away
of national status in Europe.
On the Summit agenda will be the removal from any new reform document of
other contentious plans, such as promoting the EU flag and EU anthem.
But the German Presidency expects to see a “charter of fundamental
rights” given legal force as part of any reform package.
EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg on Sunday for a first discussion
of the options.
EU leaders gather in Brussels next Thursday, prepared to launch “an
intergovernmental conference” on the details of a new treaty if they can
agree the outline.
Neil O’Brien, director of the think-tank Open Europe, expressed surprise
that a “single legal personality” for the EU was still being considered.
It was an unpopular move already flatly rejected by the UK and would
not, he predicted, survive in any final deal.
Mr O’Brien went on: “This memo suggests that the new version of the
constitutional treaty is likely to be more radical than expected, and it
will strengthen calls for a referendum.”