Verhofstadt’s Hellish Vision


Guy Verhofstadt is currently running to take over as EU Commissioner from Jean Claude Juncker when he retires in November. He let the cat out of the bag by saying that the EU needs to get rid of the unanimity principle and remove the veto that member states currently have in order to make rules about things like migration. He thinks that they need to proceed on the majority rule principle. This would mean forcing decisions onto member states regardless of their wishes.

No self-respecting British person should want anything to do with such a position. The EU is already completely undemocratic. This would only increase the undemocratic nature of the organisation. We are best off out of a club that forces rules on its members without any say at all. Throughout its lifetime the EU’s undemocratic tendency has been on the increase and this shows that the instincts of those in charge of the EU are ever more undemocratic. Our population made the right call when they voted to kick the EU into touch.

Removing the member state’s veto is in essence removing the right to operate as a self-determining entity. It is allowing the EU to become a bureaucracy with no oversight from anyone at all. This is the end result of the EU project, the creation of a civil servant elite who makes rules that ordinary citizens are subject to with no opportunity to vote for them or remove them.  It is extraordinary that the Remain position has been established as a liberal position given the illiberal nature of the EU.

The Guy Verhofstadts of this world are only interested in increasing their power and control. Each generation of them produces new ambitions for greater powers.  The worst thing we can do with them is give into them and allow them the power they crave. We have reached a point in time where democracy can easily be taken for granted. It is at this point that we risk it slipping away from our grasp. The more power we put into the hands of those with no democratic accountability the more we risk democracy itself.

There is a foolish idea that if we remained in the EU we could work towards reforming it. This is nonsense because there is no reforming an institution like the EU. No one could agree the direction of change that was required in that Tower of Babel. Some want a stronger more socialist organisation. Others want a more free market association between member states with less rule making. As everyone disagrees on the direction that the EU should be going in, it goes in its own direction which is to strengthen the institution of the EU by eroding power from the member states.

We need to get out of this mess while we still can. We have had a vote which should still be respected and which should lead us out. The efforts to get us out have been largely mishandled which leaves us in a dangerous place. If we end up stuck in the EU rather than leaving as we should it will only work to ensure the EU is less able to be reformed than ever. Where we used to have some power within the EU we will have lost that by saying we are leaving and then do not leave. The EU will believe that it is strong enough to overrule anything we think whenever it feels like it. If Verhofstadt’s vision comes to pass and the member state’s veto is removed, it will leave us in an intractable position.

It is time we realised the nature of the problem that faces us. We are squandering our ability to leave the EU and could end up stuck in the institution with less power than we have ever had. This is at the same time that the EU is increasing its own power at the cost of the member states’. We could end up stuck in a worse and less democratic EU than ever. This is something we need to guard against. We need to leave and make sure we put ourselves back in charge of our own destiny. The alternative is too grim to contemplate.