30th May 2012: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons spoke to a debate in the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) on Multi-Tier Governance*.
"We are charged with the task of looking at the institutional or constitutional problems or anomalies of multi-tier governance, without looking at the substantive policies, as though the problem were simply a constitutional or institutional one. It seems to imply that if the constitutional or institutional problem were to be solved, the substantive policy problems would disappear.
"However, the substantive issue that has been at the heart of the discussion this morning - consideration of whether decisions should be taken by representatives of the seventeen, the twenty-five or the twenty-seven - is the issue of the Euro-zone and the related issues of the Fiscal Compact and the European Stability Mechanism. This issue has affected unanimity and created anomalies since the Maastricht Treaty, which provided the United Kingdom with its opt-out from the single currency.
"The problem of the Euro is not a constitutional one; it is an economic one. One external currency value cannot be appropriate for seventeen very different economies. That is the root of the problem and it requires an economic solution: in my view, dissolution of the whole of the Euro-zone.
"The problems of the Euro-zone cannot be solved or even papered over by constitutional tinkering. The danger of looking at a substantive problem from a constitutional perspective is that it blinds us to the reality of the underlying problem.
"There are institutional and constitutional problems of which the Rapporteur has spoken very clearly - whether matters related to the Euro should be discussed by the seventeen members of the Euro-zone, the twenty five supporters of the Fiscal Pact or the twenty-seven members of the European Union. They are real problems but they are not at the root of the problems relating to the Euro."
* Multi-Tier Governance was explained by the Rapporteur, Mr. Galtieri, as decision-making that could be conducted at different levels such as:
- matters that might be decided by the Eurozone or by the EU as a whole;
- matters that might be decided by the EU or by the member states; and
- matters that might be decided by the official institutions of the EU or by organisations that are outside the EU but linked to it such as the European Stability Mechanism.