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David Heathcoat-Amory on Lisbon

13:52, Posted by EUD, No Comment

by David Heathcoat-Amory, MP, Conservative Party, UK 

In 2001, the EU heads of government issued the Laeken Declaration, calling for a reformed Europe, ‘closer to its citizens’. That reform has never been carried out. Look at the EU budget – now rejected by the auditors for the 14th year. 

Instead, the European Constitution gave more powers to the EU institutions at the centre. It transferred more decisions from national parliaments to Brussels. That Constitution was rejected by the voters of France and Holland. 

So they repackaged the Constitution as the Treaty of Lisbon, with the same content. And the same result – this time rejected by Ireland. Now they are trying to bully the Irish into having another referendum, to give the right result. 

It is very dangerous to constantly defy the public in this way. We must listen to them and carry out a genuine reform of Europe. Most people’s first loyalty is to their country; that is where democracy works best, and it is damaged if decisions and powers are transferred upwards to a remote technocratic government in Brussels. 

So we must build a new Europe on the principle of national self-government. We can then cooperate together to tackle common problems. It means saying no to the Treaty of Lisbon which is part of the failed past. It means respecting the Laeken Declaration and its call for a “peoples’ Europe” instead of the present “politicians’ Europe”. 

David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party, has promised a national referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if he takes office before it is fully ratified. Then we can all get to work to build a better and more democratic Europe. I hope the Czech Republic will be with us in that task.

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