The Five Presidents Report and the next EU Treaty

The UK’s relationship with the EU is going to change radically over the next few years regardless of the vote in the referendum. If we vote 'leave' and take back control, our relationship will change. If we vote to 'remain', then the EU will keep taking more power and money every year as it has for decades. Further, the EU  has its official timetable for another Treaty soon after our referendum which will transfer more power to Brussels. There is no status quo. 

On 22 June 2015, the Commission gave the first insight into what new powers it wants when it published a key report: ‘Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union’. Dubbed the ‘Five Presidents’ Report’, this document commits the EU to the creation of a ‘genuine Economic Union’, a ‘Financial Union’, a ‘Fiscal Union’ and a ‘Political Union’ by 2025. 

Before the EU makes a bid for more powers it always sets out its agenda in a similar document. In 1989 the Commission published the Delors Report, which led to the Maastricht Treaty. In the early 2000s, the ‘Penelope Report’ provided the basis for the European Constitution (and then the Lisbon Treaty). The Five Presidents’ Report is an explicit milestone for a new Treaty.

The Report makes clear that fiscal union will ‘be developed within the framework of the European Union’, meaning that the UK will be dragged in. It also argues that that ‘much can be achieved through a deepening of the Single Market’. The Government says that this process simply means promoting competitiveness, but the report reveals that, once again, this is just another disguised power grab, aiming for the ‘deeper integration of national labour markets’, greater ‘coordination of social security systems’, and harmonising ‘insolvency law’, ‘company law’ and ‘property rights’.

The Report’s plans for Eurozone integration have big dangers for Britain. As the Eurozone 'political union' is created, the 19 euro countries, which now have a permanent qualified majority in the Council of Ministers, will increasingly vote as a bloc and push through legislation which suits their interests. This means that however many times the UK votes against proposals the Eurozone will always win and will always have control over the laws that are introduced here. This is already happening as George Osborne admitted in 2014. The ‘Five Presidents’ Report’ accelerates this process.

The document also proposes abolishing the UK’s representation on key international bodies where global regulations and standards are increasingly set. The Five Presidents argue that the EU must act ‘with one voice on the global stage’. In particular, it complains that ‘in the international financial institutions, the EU and the euro area are still not represented as one.’ It singles out the IMF as one such example. 

Once again, the European Commission is claiming that the only solution to the Eurozone crisis is ‘more Europe’. Nowhere does the report acknowledge the contribution of the euro to the present crisis - it even claims that the euro ‘is a successful and stable currency’. The Five Presidents’ Report makes clear that the Commission hasn’t learnt anything and plans more of the same. 

It is possible that a combination of the EU's crises (the euro, migration, stagnation) and this timetable for a new Treaty could become entangled with the UK renegotiation. For example, all 28 EU states may announce both a) a process for a new EU Treaty and b) a promise that this new Treaty will give Britain some things back in the future if we vote to remain in the EU in our referendum. On 25 October, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Cameron is planning something like this, perhaps using a smokescreen such as depositing the document with the UN which, according to the UN itself, would not have any legal effect.

Whatever the politicians claim, the best thing to do is to Vote Leave and force the politicians to start negotiating. This is much safer than to vote 'remain' and trust that politicians might change things years in the future. Don't trust them. A 'leave' vote is our best bet to avoid being cheated.

There is no status quo. Voting to 'remain' is the truly risky option. Vote Leave and take control - it's the safer choice.