On Wednesday I caught sight of a tweet asking for signatures to this petition, with the plea it should be signed: to withdraw from the EU using article 50 before QMV takes effect on 1st Nov 2014.
What I cannot understand is the conflation of QMV with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU). For the avoidance of doubt, once Article 50 has been invoked there is no vote on whether a member state can or cannot cease its membership of the European Union. It is a given that after two years, whether the European Union likes it or not and whether a new trading agreement has been agreed or not, that member state is then no longer part of the European Union – end of story!
That the date of 1st November has suddenly become important is also a matter of confusion where this blog is concerned. Where the matters affected by QMV – and mentioned in the linked petition – are concerned; they have been available for all to see since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty on 1st December 2009. What has changed is that it is now necessary for a ‘double majority’ to be achieved under Article 16 of the consolidated treaty,
It should also be noted that the 40+ items listed in the linked petition in no way affect Cameron’s ability to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the European Union – as there is no ability to renegotiate anything without invoking Article 50. The word ‘renegotiation’ does not appear anywhere in the Lisbon Treaty – and in any case, the European Commission has made it plain, on more than one occasion, that the ‘four freedoms’ are not up for renegotiation or ‘cherry picking’.
Neither is QMV involved in any new treaty as agreement to such is subject to unanimity among the other 27 member states – in other words they all have to agree to any new treaty and should one member state wish to veto it, they can.
All the foregoing has been spelled out clearly and in plain English here, here and here - just what is it about the English language that those who profess to read and understand it cannot comprehend?
It is impossible not to praise the enthusiasm of those who wish to ‘do their bit’ in promoting efforts to hasten the UK’s exit from the European Union – but one has to question what appears to be a rather infantile method of going about it. It does no good to the withdrawal cause, nor whatever party they support, nor themselves, to propose what can only be termed ‘rubbish causes’. At the end of the day such ‘rubbish’ only serves to ridicule the ‘exit cause’ and themselves.
Also one can but suggest to those of whom I complain that (a) they practise due diligence prior to issuing statements and; (b) that if they are unsure of their facts they approach those of us who may be able to help and thus avoid them making fools of themselves.
It is not my intention in writing that which I have to be discourteous to others, however hopefully they will appreciate that at times my frustration at that which I read causes a certain amount of impatience on my part.