It's not just the plot to let in 1.5 million Turks... DANIEL HANNAN outlines ten bombshells the EU's keeping secret until after you've voted
By Daniel Hannan for the Daily Mail
Mail Online | 2016-06-14T01:41:23+0100
Embarrassing leaks have revealed that British Government officials colluded in Brussels to keep contentious issues about plans for making the EU into more of a superstate off the political agenda until after next week’s referendum.
One of the most shocking of these secret proposals involves allowing 1.5 million Turks visa-free access to Britain.
Here, DANIEL HANNAN outlines ten more controversial policies EU leaders are planning — by stealth — if we vote to Remain...
1. Banning hair-dryers
The EU plans to outlaw high-energy dishwashers, hair-dryers and other household appliances. It comes after lobbying by German manufacturers, who see an opportunity to keep competitors out of the market.
Even supporters reluctantly admit its environmental impact would be tiny: these gadgets account for 12 per cent of household energy use, or 1 per cent of our carbon footprint. As so often, something presented as eco-friendly turns out to be about commercial advantage.
The proposal, as Commissioner Jyrki Katainen observes, has been ‘ridiculed in the media’. He means the British media, and he’s right. The Finnish politician’s response? Postpone it until autumn.
2. A bigger budget
A mid-term review of the European Union’s seven-year budget was due at the start of the year. But it’s been postponed till after our referendum. Brussels officials privately admitted they were reluctant to give extra ammunition to British Leave campaigners.
What extra ammunition? By the EU’s own admission, its unpaid bills amount to €24.7 billion (£19.6 billion).
Britain pays 12.5 per cent of the budget, so our share of those bills is an additional £2.4 billion. That’s before the extra money being demanded by MEPs to deal with the migration crisis.
3. Open borders
David Cameron tried and failed to get an agreement that the EU’s free movement rules would not apply to countries that might join the EU in future, such as Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey.
If we vote to remain on unchanged terms, we are accepting in perpetuity that there can be no control over migratory flows. Having failed to get a better deal before voting to leave, there is no chance of getting one if we were to stay.
The migration crisis has cruelly exposed the weakness of the EU’s Schengen Agreement (which abolished EU internal borders). When Britain joined, we agreed to open our borders to the EU. The EU has now clearly opened its borders to the world. That was never the deal.
4. More bail-outs
The Prime Minister has said very clearly that Britain is exempt from any further bail-outs. The trouble is, he said it in 2013. In June 2015, when Brussels needed more cash for the third Greek bail-out, the UK was forced to loan it £600 million.
Mr Cameron hadn’t lied. He had, indeed, secured an agreement — a written agreement, drawn up in the clearest possible language — that Britain would not have to prop up a currency it had declined to join. But the moment that agreement became inconvenient, the EU ripped it up; Britain was powerless to stop it.
How long before the euro crisis spreads to Italy and France, making Greece look like a sideshow? Jim Mellon, the investment guru, says: ‘When this happens — and I am guessing that it will within three years — the crisis will be so huge that Germany and Britain (if we are still in) would have to help out.’
Having made a billion pounds out of knowing when to buy and sell, he is urging us to sell EU membership urgently.
5. Deeper integration
The EU is responding to the euro and migration crises in the way it responds to everything: by giving more power to Brussels.
To anyone else, it might seem odd to prescribe more of the medicine that sickened the patient in the first place, but Eurocrats are Eurocrats.
In an official document last summer known as the Five Presidents’ Report (the EU has a lot of presidents), Brussels officials called for the harmonisation of budgets, economic policy and taxation, as well as elements of social security.
Although these things are a response to the euro crisis, most will be brought in as single market measures, because that is the only legal mechanism at the EU’s disposal. They will therefore apply to all 28 member states. Britain, despite staying out of the euro and the border-free zone, will be dragged in.
6. Human rights
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) began life as, in effect, the highest tribunal of a trade bloc. Yet, as the EU extended its powers into new areas, the ECJ is now more like a supreme court.
The greatest extension of its powers has come with the adoption of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Suddenly, as well as economic issues, euro-judges settle human rights questions.
For example, in a preliminary decision, they have ruled against the deportation of hate-preacher Abu Hamza’s daughter-in-law after her criminal conviction. She is not a British national, but her son is, and the ECJ holds that her deportation would violate his rights as an EU citizen.
7. Arts import licences
London is the centre of the global trade in fine arts, bringing in billions in revenue. Its competitors are New York, Geneva and Hong Kong.
Britain has already been disadvantaged by the EU’s application of VAT to fine arts sales and, even more, by the preposterous Resale Rights rule, which obliges traders to pay a percentage to the heirs of the original artist each time a work is sold on.
Now, Brussels plans an import licensing regime, which would again subject London to more cost and bureaucracy than overseas rivals.
Anthony Browne, chairman of the British Art Market Federation, says: ‘Our big concern is that an import licence system would impose a new and very damaging burden on the British art market which is heavily dependent on cross-border trading.’
8. Wrecking our ports
The EU wants to oblige every port to have more than one provider for its internal services, such as mooring, dredging and unloading.
This might make sense for state-owned or state-subsidised mega-ports on the Continent, such as Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam. But it makes no sense for British ports which are private, small, and in competition with each other.
Everyone agrees that the measure will deter investment. Every British port operator and every trade union opposes it.
Every British MEP, from the Greens to Ukip, voted against it. But it went through the European Parliament anyway, only to have the final decision suddenly deferred.
It, too, will come back after the referendum. If we vote to stay in, these new rules will hit some of our most successful ports, including Belfast, Glasgow, Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, Harwich and Southampton.
9. Quotas for online TV
The European Commission wants online providers to reserve 20 per cent of their content for European programmes which should, it says, be given ‘good visibility’.
EU rules already oblige terrestrial TV to invest in, and broadcast, a certain amount of European material.
The European Commission doesn’t want online providers to be exempt. So, more Euro-noir, less U.S. drama.
10. A European Army
‘No one is talking about a European Army’, say Remainers. No one, except the people running the EU. The European Commission, in its formal statement, calls a European Army ‘a strategic necessity’.
One by one, the EU has acquired the attributes of statehood: a president and a parliament; a currency and taxes; embassies and a foreign minister; a supreme court and a legal system; a national anthem and a flag. A European Army is the logical next step.
Daniel Hannan is an MEP and author of Why Vote Leave, published by Head of Zeus.