Bill Cash MP

The EU is a compression chamber which is now reaching a dangerous level – the only solution is for the United Kingdom to hold a Referendum, as recommended in my pamphlet. This would release the democratic safety valve. I am writing my pamphlet as the Franco-German summit at the Elysee Palace of 16 August confirmed a step towards greater fiscal union of the Eurozone countries, following the economic collapse of bankrupt Eurozone countries in the economic crisis. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, vowed to defend the failing single currency project and form a real economic government for the Eurozone formed by an Economic Council of Heads of State and Government. This includes the proposal to elect a stable president for that purpose for two-and-a-half years beginning with Herman Van Rompuy (the current President of the European Council). On top of all this there are proposed draconian common tax policies for Germany and France, including a socialist-style financial transaction tax and a joint corporate tax rate by 2013 and the too-little-too-late deficit limiting laws. Now it is time for the Coalition Government to wake up to the dangers that this grave step to full fiscal union poses to the UK’s national interest.

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In a debate on 24 May, the following Motion was put down by Mark Reckless MP: ‘That this House notes with concern that UK taxpayers are potentially being made liable for bail-outs of Eurozone countries when the UK opted to remain outside the Euro and, despite agreement in May 2010 that the EU-wide European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) of €60 billion would represent only 12 per cent. of the non-IMF contribution with the remaining €440 billion being borne by the Eurozone through the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), that the EFSM for which the UK may be held liable is in fact being drawn upon to the same or a greater extent than the EFSF; further notes that the European Scrutiny Committee has stated its view that the EFSM is legally unsound; and requires the Government to place the EFSM on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council of Ministers or the European Council and to vote against continued use of the EFSM unless a Eurozone-only arrangement which relieves the UK of liability under the EFSM has by then been agreed.’ The Chairman of the European Foundation, Bill Cash made the following intervention in response to the debate:

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On Tuesday afternoon, MPs in the House, including myself, debated a Motion which stated “That this House notes with concern that UK taxpayers are potentially being made liable for bail-outs of Eurozone countries when the UK opted to remain outside the Euro and, despite agreement in May 2010 that the EU-wide European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) of €60 billion would represent only 12 per cent. of the non-IMF contribution with the remaining €440 billion being borne by the Eurozone through the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), that the EFSM for which the UK may be held liable is in fact being drawn upon to the same or greater extent than the EFSF; notes that the European Scrutiny Committee has stated its view that the EFSM is legally unsound; and requires the Government to place the EFSM on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council of Ministers or the European Council and to vote against continued use of the EFSM unless a Eurozone only arrangement which relieves the UK of liability under the EFSM has by then been agreed.”

The Government’s position on eurozone bailouts is about the integrity of the Coalition and has nothing to do with the national interest. The Liberal Democrats and elements in the Conservative Party at a high level are quite prepared to allow further European integration when there are alternatives to renegotiate the Treaties or to say ‘No!’ and they are simply not doing so. This is all about numbers – not about principle or even policy. I have pursued this issue of the eurozone bailout for about a year and have put down many questions and received evasive and in some cases untruthful answers.

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On Wednesday night of 11 May, I welcomed the Government’s limited stand against the draft directive on the EU’s introduction of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, for the reasons given in the motion endorsing the European Scrutiny Committee’s report. I remain concerned, however, about one matter still hanging over the debate. It all goes back to a motion that was before a European Standing Committee which asserted, in the name of the Government, probably for the first time since 1640 – at the time of Pym and Hampden – that the British Government, as a sovereign Government, were only “primarily” responsible for direct taxation, whereas in fact our Parliament is exclusively responsible for it.

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As expected, the European Council on 24/25 March agreed on “a comprehensive package of measures to strengthen EU economic governance and ensure the stability of the euro area”, including the Euro Plus Pact, previously referred to as the ‘Pact for the Euro’ and the ‘Competitiveness Pact’. The European Council adopted the draft decision amending the Treaty to set up the future European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Angela Merkel was able to renegotiate the terms of European Stability Mechanism (ESM) recently agreed by the eurozone finance ministers. There was no agreement on expanding the size of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). That decision has been postponed until June. There was, therefore, a lot of room for negotiations and the Prime Minister should have sought a better deal for the UK.

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