12th December 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in his seventh speech of the week, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on the Lamassoure Report into the relations between EU institutions.
"It is tempting to applaud the proposals for increasing the power of Parliament and increasing the responsibility of the President of the European Parliament to it.
"Equally, it is very easy to deprecate the behaviour of the European Council* for trying to extend its role.
"If I were an enthusiast for the EU Project, I would succumb to both temptations. However, I am not so I shall not.
"Do I look at the European Council through rose-tinted spectacles? No! My view of some of them might involve the use of unparliamentary language. However, whatever I think of particular members of the European Council, its members represent member states and are ultimately responsible to their electorates and removable by them.
"The Parliament, whatever its merits, is not responsible to a single electorate with a consciousness of its identity, so its electorate cannot take a conscious collective decision as to choice of Commission President**. Its decision will resemble that of a ouija board."
* The European Council comprises the heads of government of most countries and the head of state of France
** The main parties want each European political party to nominate a candidate for the position of President of the Commission and so turn the next European elections into an indirect election of the President of the Commission. This would be comparable with the indirect election of the British Prime Minister at a General Election, except that Britain has an electorate with a collective consciousness, whereas the electorates of the twenty-eight members of the European Union do not.
12th December 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on constitutional problems of multi-tier governance in the EU.
"In paragraph B.13 of the Report, the Rapporteurs express their dislike of member states excluding themselves from a treaty or legislation from the outset and would prefer legislation to allow for derogations, later.
"This effectively makes the default position that all treaties and legislation should apply to all member states, unless they negotiate an opt-out and only for as long as they retain it.
"However, the express disapproval of derogations is intended to make them an exceptional and shameful procedure, for which member states should feel properly contrite.
"This means that agreements and legislation, concerning the Euro and instruments to serve it will apply to Britain and other Non-Euro countries, unless they and Britain ask for a derogation - control over our economy unless the Government asks for an opt-out.
"This would allow governments that are indolent or perhaps less Euro-sceptic then they pretend to be, to extend the EU's control without being seen to do so."
It is interesting that Article 3(4) of the Treaty on European Union (which is the Maastricht Treaty, as amended) "The Union shall establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the Euro. Protocol 14 on the Euro-group refers to "the need to lay down special provision for enhanced dialogue between the member states whose currency is the Euro, pending the Euro becoming the currency of all member states". It is clear that that is the destiny for all of us. It is only a matter of time!
11th December 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons addressed a Blue Card question to Nigel Farage following a speech by him during a debate on the forthcoming meeting of the European Council to be held on 19th/20th December 2013.
Mr Farage gave a speech devoted to his opposition to the prospect of Bulgarian and Romanian immigration from the 1st January 2014, with emphasis on the costs to the educational and health systems and the benefits system. He said that 92% of ATM crime was committed by Romanians.
"You claim you are against immigration or you imply that you are against immigration. However, on 4th May 2010, on the Daily Politics Show, you said that Britain should issue 250,000 work permits each year.
"Just now, you referred to Romanians being responsible for ATM crime in London. In fact you could have been more specific. They were Romanian citizens of Roma origin."
Mr Farage Responed:
"Thank you for your question. Let me make this clear to you: UKIP is not against immigration. We welcome immigration; we want immigration."
11th December 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution on the forthcoming European Council meeting (Defence procurement is a major item on the agenda).
"The Commission wants to see more Single Market competition for defence procurement, on the ground that fragmented markets create red tape and lead to duplication of defence programmes.
"It is not fragmentation that leads to red tape; it is the EU requirement that defence equipment contracts should be put out to tender.
"Britain could use the Lisbon Treaty, ironically, to avoid tendering on the ground of protecting national interests, as Poland has done, to its great credit.*
"The Commission will tackle what it calls market distortions, which will probably take away the rights of member states to protect their national interests, in this area.
"Defence is too important to the national interest to allow free market competition.
"Whilst another European war would be unthinkable, we must hope, our world interests might diverge. The UK cannot be dependent for equipment procurement on states opposed (say) to our protecting the Falklands from Argentinian aggression."
* Poland is increasing military equipment spending by $43,000 million over the next decade. The bulk of the contracts will go to Polish companies, primarily the state-owned company, Bumar. In the meanwhile, the UK has granted a contract to build four military super tankers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary to a South Korean shipyard. Whilst it is true that no British company submitted a tender, they could not be expected to compete against South Korean wage rates.
It should also be remembered that the British Government has allowed British shipbuilding to diminish with the end of shipbuilding in Portsmouth, with the loss of 1,775 jobs and the skills attached to them.