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Logic and great wit

by Colman Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:27:41 AM EST

Today, the Lisbon Treaty took force, completing the EU's transformation into a federal super-state completely subsuming the sovereignty of its member states. Apparently.

This sea-change has been celebrated by many, among them Daniel Hannan "writer and journalist" and Conservative MEP for SE England (oh and - presumably - paid blogger for the ever wonderful Daily Telegraph):

We woke up in a different country today. Alright, it doesn’t look very different. The trees still seem black against the winter sun; the motorways continue to jam inexplicably; commuters carry on avoiding eye contact. But Britain is no longer a sovereign nation. At midnight last night, we ceased to be an independent state, bound by international treaties to other independent states, and became instead a subordinate unit within a European state.

Yes, a European state. Take a quick dekko at the definition set out in Article One of the1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Until yesterday, the EU qualified on grounds (a), (b) and (c). Now it has ticked the final box. Under the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force today, it acquires “legal personality”, which gives it the right to sign accords and treat with other states. Nor is this right simply theoretical: the EU now has a foreign minister, a diplomatic corps (the European External Action Service) and 160 overseas embassies.

Until yesterday, the EU could not annex additional policy areas without a new treaty, which needed to be ratified by all its constituent nations. Now, it has the so-called “passerelle” clause, or self-amending mechanism. Parliament, in other words, no longer has the final say on extensions of EU jurisdiction. The EU derives its authority, not from its 27 members, but from its own foundational texts

Question: idiot or liar? Is this MEP, "writer" and "journalist" such a moron that he can't understand the treaty at all or is he writing cynical populist nonsense that he knows to be untrue?

Supplementary question: why does almost all Eurosceptic writing play equally fast-and-loose with the facts?


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Do not read the comments to that post. Seriously.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:30:49 AM EST
I have every reason to believe that Hannan is a true believer. He really believes the nonsense emanating from the WSJ editorial pages and the legacy billionaire funded right wing US think tanks.

On the substance: the European Community had legal personality since Maastricht, Lisbon does away with Maastricht's 3 pillar structure and calls everything the EU. A fair number of passerelle clauses existed in the EC Treaty as amended most recently by the Treaty of Nice. A passerelle clause arranges for decision-making on a certain power attributed to the EU to shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting.

He's not a moron or an idiot, he's a nut. A loonie. A fruitcake. Thee fries short of a happy meal.

Important difference.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:39:56 AM EST
You're right, I left out that possibility. I'm not sure if I was being charitable or not.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: idiot or liar?

Can I tick both ? Actually, you just have to write Tory to cover it.

It's something like the teabaggers/deathers/birthers in the USA. I believe that many of them have such a selective filter on their ability to perceive the world that what they write is genuinely the world as they see it. As far as they're concerned, anybody who doesn't automatically want to behave as they do has machiavellian intentions that are {socialistic / communistic / anti-capitalist / hating on Great Britain/America etc etc} or whatever until the foaming at the mouth eventually chokes them.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:42:36 AM EST
It makes debate on the EU very difficult when the most vociferous and best funded opponents of everything are either mad or mendacious.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're the most efficient.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:56:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny thing is that no European country (UK included) ever signed the Montevideo Convention.

It's claimed (see Wikipedia) that the convention represents the international consensus on statehood, but quoting it as an authority just looks like a way of cloaking a general argument with Seriousness. Like, "here's what the bible has to say about sovereignty".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 11:56:12 AM EST
The serious question is, how important is it, really, that the EU now has legal personality? It is not a trivial matter.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 12:27:31 PM EST
Will we know until something happens? Didn't it already have legal personality?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 12:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Communities (EEC, "first/economic pillar") did have legal personality and that is why the EU could be a member of the WTO.

The new legal personality for the whole EU will allow it to have observer status at the UN, for instance.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 12:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As stated upthread, the EC already had legal personality. Contrary to what I wrote, this has been present from the outset (the EEC and ECSC had legal personality, too).

The implications the expanded legal personality will have for the EU are that in the areas which previously fell outside the European Community (Common Foreign and Security Policy; Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters) the EU can now also conclude international agreements.

And further that it does not have to call itself European Community anymore.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 01:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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