Friday, December 9, 2011

Questions Over Whether a Seperate EU Treaty Is Legal.

In The Phantom Menace, there is an exchange between Darth Sidious and Nute Gunray that goes as follows:
Darth Sidious: This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops.
Nute Gunray: My lord, is that... legal?
Darth Sidious: I will make it legal.
Nute Gunray: And the Jedi?
Darth Sidious: The Chancellor should never have brought them into this. Kill them immediately!
(Source; emphasis added).

The event in Europe today remind of that exchange. Germany and France want greater control over their neighbors in exchange for bailing them out of their financial crises, which would necessitate a change to the Lisbon Treaty. Britain balked. As reported in Der Spiegel:
British Prime Minister David Cameron indicated that he wasn't prepared to join EU efforts to significantly alter the Lisbon Treaty in order to increase fiscal unity and strengthen debt and deficit rules by making penalties automatic.

"What was on offer is not in Britain's interest so I didn't agree to it," Cameron said. "We're never going to join the euro and we're never going to give up this kind of sovereignty that these countries are having to give up."
Germany and France's response was to advance a new treaty among only those nations that use the Euro as their currency. From the same article:
The euro-zone 17 in combination with six other countries quickly began moving forward on their own. But is such a move legal? European Union lawyers have their doubts that the kind of euro-zone fiscal union within the EU would be allowed.

Changes to the EU treaty, after all, must be unanimous. Furthermore, EU officials in Brussels say, because monetary union is regulated extensively in the Lisbon Treaty, reform can only be implemented within the existing legal framework. The legal services experts of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Council, which represents the member states in Brussels, are all in agreement. A treaty concluded only by the 17 euro-zone governments would be illegal, they say.

Individual countries could only issue a "political declaration of intent," in which they determined, for example, how they would decide on the use of sanctions against budget offenders. But such a declaration would have no legally binding character and, as officials point out, could also be revoked following the election of a new government. This is principally a reference to France, where the Socialist presidential candidate Fran├žois Hollande has already announced that he would not accept any incursions into national sovereignty.
We'll see. I suspect that, with or without France, this is a situation where Germany will make it legal.

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