Britain’s membership of the European Union is unconstitutional for several reasons. Firstly it causes her Majesty The Queen to be in breach of her coronation oath in which she promised to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland “according to their respective laws and customs”.

It also contravenes the Bill of Rights Act 1689 which provided for freedom of speech and debate and that proceedings in Parliament “ought not to be impeached or questioned in court or any place out of Parliament”.

It is in breach of the Act of Settlements 1700 section 4 which states that “the laws of England are birthright of the people”. It also breaches the principal established in the 1932 case of Vauxhall Estates v Liverpool Corporation IKV733 that “no Parliament may bind its successors” as section 2.1 of the European Communities Act 1972 provides that all obligations created by the European Union treaties can be enforced in Britain and without further enactment thereby giving the European Commission the right to create new laws which are binding on the citizens of the United Kingdom without reference to our own Parliament.

Membership of the EU is also in breach of the Magna Carta which provides that “no free man shall be disseised of his liberties of free customs nor will we not pass upon him but by law of the land.”

How the EU works

The European Commission

The unelected European Commission has the monopoly of proposing all EU legislation, which it does in secret. It can also issue “Regulations”, which are automatically binding in all Member States. It is run by a college of 27 commissioners, currently one for each member state. It has 37 branches, or “Directorates General”, each run by a Director General. The Directors General have the real power and can rule for many years. They cannot be removed from office.

The Commission is more a Government than a Commission. The list of Commissioners is decided by qualified majority of the European Council on the basis of the ”suggestions” of national governments, but they are not delegates or representatives. They are appointed for five years. On appointment they swear an oath not to seek or take instructions from any Member Government. Their allegiance is to the EU, not to their own countries. Portfolios are distributed by the Commission President, who is decided by the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents on the basis of Qualified Majority Voting.

The Commission is a legislative machine, continually producing new draft directives and regulations which are passed to the Council of Ministers and European Parliament for final decision. Each individual Commissioner seeks to make his or her mark during the five-year period in office by proposing new laws for the portfolio area they cover. Thus a condition for supranational legislation in the EU is that draft laws cannot be proposed by elected representatives. French President Charles De Gaulle described the Commission as “a conclave of technocrats without a country, responsible to nobody”.

The Commission also has quasi-judicial powers. It can adjudicate on competition cases in the single market and impose fines on EU members. Even though parties can appeal to the Court of Justice, the Commission acts as if it were a lower court. It is supported by some 3,000 “secret” working groups, whose members are not publicly known. It is at this level that most Commission decisions are actually made and corporate lobbyists wield their influence.

The Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers from Member States passes EU legislation, often by majority voting, and again in secret. The UK has 8.4% of the votes. Sometimes it has to consult the European Parliament and has the final say on Commission proposals.

The Council of Ministers is called a Council, but it makes laws just like a Parliament on the basis of the Commission’s proposals. It makes these laws in secret, often in the form of package-deals between its member governments, and it takes some executive decisions. Approximately 85% of EU directives and regulations are agreed privately in some 300 committees of civil servants from the EU Member States which service the Council of Ministers.

Most of what these committees agree on is nodded through without debate at Council meetings. Only some 15% of EU laws are actually discussed or negotiated at that level. Most EU laws are agreed by consensus among Ministers on the Council, but a process of “shadow-voting” takes place all the time whereby Ministers look round to see whether a qualified majority or a blocking minority exists for any proposal. Small countries rarely push matters to a vote if they see that the big countries are agreed on something. The Council of Ministers, the primary EU legislature, is responsible collectively to nobody. It is irremoveable as a group, although individual Ministers may be criticised or removed from office at national level. A committee of legislators, it is an oligarchy in the exact meaning of that word.

The European Council

This is quite distinct from the Council of Ministers, is the quarterly “summit” meeting of the Heads of State and Government, the national Prime Ministers and Presidents. It gives overall political direction to the EU and decides its policy priorities. Unlike the Council of Ministers it does not make EU laws directly, but as the Prime Ministers and Presidents appoint Government Ministers at national level, they can determine indirectly what the Council of Ministers does. Before the EU Constitution was embodied in the Lisbon Treaty, national Prime Ministers and Presidents would meet on an ad hoc basis outside the Treaties.

The Lisbon Treaty completed the constitutionally Federalist structure of the Union by turning the European Council into a formal EU institution whose actions or failures to act are therefore, at least in principle, subject to review by the Court of Justice, although that has not happened to date. The European Council elects its President by qualified majority vote for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. The European Council President thus gives continuity of policy at supranational level for up to five years, while national Prime Ministers and Presidents come and go during that time.

The European Parliament

The European Parliament consists of 785 MEP’s, elected every 5 years, is more a Council than a Parliament. It cannot initiate any EU law, although it can amend draft laws which come to it from the Commission and Council of Ministers so long as the Commission agrees. If the Commission disagrees, all 28 Member States must be in agreement to allow an amendment by the Parliament to be adopted. If the Council and Commission cannot agree on a legislative amendment proposed by the Parliament the Treaty provides a complex “conciliation procedure” to try to get them to agree (Art.294 TFEU). If the Parliament by an absolute majority of its 751 members opposes a draft directive from the Commission, it cannot become law. This rarely happens as the Commission and Parliament, both supranational bodies, tend to work hand in glove vis-à-vis the Council of Ministers representing the Member States. Both Parliament and Commission want ever more supranational legislation, not less.

The Parliament has the final say over the EU budget except for agriculture. If it vetoes new budget proposals, the previous year’s EU budget is repeated. The Lisbon Treaty made Members of the European Parliament, who under the previous treaties were “representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community” into “representatives of the Union’s citizens” (Art.14.2 TEU).

To copy the party structures that one finds in normal parliaments, encourage people to think “European” and weaken national allegiances further, the Commission provides funds to finance cross-national parties in the European Parliament. Most MEPs belong to these cross-national “political families” – Conservatives (European People’s Party), Socialists, Liberals, Greens and so on. Most national citizens across the EU are indifferent to the European Parliament, as is shown by low voter turnout in successive five-yearly elections and the fact that turnout keeps falling each time. Euro-Parliament elections are generally fought on national rather than EU-related issues, with much attention being usually given to MEPs’ lavish pay and perks. The EU’s “citizens” think nationally, not supranationally. In no way do they consider the European Parliament “their” Parliament.

The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

These must be consulted on various issues laid down in the Treaties and in all cases where the EU institutions think it appropriate. The former consists of representative of business, trade unions, farmers, consumers and professional bodies, the latter of representatives of sub-national authorities, regions, countries, provinces, municipalities and cities. Each committee has 353 members, nominated by the Member States. They play a powerful role in encouraging key domestic lobby groups to look to Brussels rather than their own Member States to influence policy, instilling a supranational mind-set and eroding national loyalties in the process.

Advised by these Committees, the Commission disburses an annual budget of hundreds of millions of euros to endow a host of national lobby-groups and interest groups and encourage them to look to Brussels for funding, by-passing their national governments in the process. Journalists, women’s groups, youth groups, trade unions, pro-EU think-tanks, anti-poverty lobbyists, the disabled, university researchers, environmentalists, regionalists, minority-language advocates and the Christian churches are offered access to Commission funds of one kind or another in this way. Their representatives are dined and wined on expenses-paid trips to Brussels. This amounts in effect to the Commission paying lobbyists to lobby itself to do what it wants to do in the first place, which is to produce policies that seek to move things continually from the national to the supranational level. A wide range of interest groups and lobby-groups are encouraged in this way to subscribe to the Euro-federalist ideology and disseminate it to their members and supporters back home using EU money.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ)

The Commission is the sole enforcer of all EU legislation and decisions, supported when necessary by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (ECJ or LCJ). This is not an independent court of law; it is the engine of the “ever closer union of peoples of Europe” required by the EU Treaties. It is financed by the EU, and has the final say on all EU matters, including employment cases. There is no appeal against final verdicts.

The ECJ is not just a court but is a constitution-maker, with powers similar to what some Parliaments have (see below). It is a highly political Court, “a court with a mission”, to use the self-description of one of its judges. That mission is continually to interpret the treaties in such a way as to extend the legal powers of the EU to the utmost. Various judgements of the ECJ have moved the EU in directions which were never envisaged by the people originally drawing up the treaties. The Court follows the continental legal tradition of interpreting laws by reference to the assumed purposes of the legislators or treaty-makers, as gauged from preambles, statements of intention or lists of objectives. This contrasts with the Anglo-Saxon tradition of basing judgements on what laws actually say in the present tense. As an “ever closer union” was the overriding objective of the original Treaty of Rome, this justifies all sorts of supranational legal activism towards that end.

The European Court of First Instance, hears cases before they reach the European Court of Justice. The Court of Auditors, which is also financed out of the EU budget, is supposed to guarantee the proper use of the EU funds to taxpayers. It has been unable to do this for many years. There are no external auditors.

 

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