Margarida Vasconcelos

British people voted last June to leave the EU and that should have been respected from day one, yet there have many attempts to bypass their will, including by some MPs who have tried to stop, delay and water down the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was overwhelmingly approved, unamended, by the House of Commons on 8 February and it is expected to pass the House of Lords in the next few weeks, empowering the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU. The Government is determinate to respect the wishes of British people and will trigger Article 50 TEU by the end of March. As the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons “It is time to get on with leaving the European Union and building an independent, self-governing, global Britain.” ...continue reading

The Prime Minister reiterated in his 10 November speech as well as in his letter to the President of the European Union, Donald Tusk, that “The commitment in the Treaty to an ever closer union is not a commitment that should apply any longer to Britain.” David Cameron wants to “end Britain's obligation to work towards an "ever closer union" as set out in the Treaty.''

...continue reading

The subsidiarity issue is a key feature of the renegotiation package. However, subsidiarity is a con trick, it has never worked and it will never work. It has failed to protect the capacity of the member states to take decisions as well as to protect national Parliaments and electorates from supranational legislation, which is only possible by introducing a unilateral veto over EU legislative proposals. ...continue reading

David Cameron has been saying “It is national parliaments, which are, and will remain, the main source of real democratic legitimacy and accountability in the EU”. However, according to Brussels the “democratic accountability must be ensured at the level where decisions are taken” which means that it is mainly ensured not by national parliaments but by the European Parliament. In fact, according to Mr Barroso, former president of the European Commission, “the European Parliament is the basis of the European democracy” and Mr Juncker reiterated in his 2015 State of the Union speech that the European Parliament “is the heart of democracy at EU level, just as national Parliaments are the heart of democracy at national level”. One can therefore say that such statements represent a challenge to national Parliaments, despite all the pledges to enhance their role. ...continue reading

As Treaty changes are not on offer, the Government wants to secure “a legally binding and irreversible agreement” , which is believed to be possible due to the Danish and Ireland precedents. The EU has indeed accommodated the Danish and Irish requirements over Maastricht and Lisbon respectively by adopting decisions addressing their concerns, which were subsequently included into Protocols attached to the Treaties. These were decisions adopted by the Member States’ Heads of State and Government, meeting within the European Council, binding as an international agreement. ...continue reading

The House of Lords EU Committee has recently published a report on The UK’s opt-in Protocol: implications of the Government’s approach, calling upon the Government to abandon its unilateral approach to EU Justice and Home Affairs Measures, as it raises concerns about the UK’s commitment to the “uniform application of EU law”. However, the Government should consider introducing a unilateral veto instead. ...continue reading

Pursuant to Article 17 TEU and Article 245 TFEU the European commissioners are required to swear a solemn declaration, before the Court of Justice of the European Union, pledging to be completely independent in carrying out their responsibilities in the general interest of the Union as well as to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the fulfilment of their duties. The European Commissioners are therefore required to be independent and to act on the Union general interests.

Hence, Lord Hill is required to uphold all the principles and values enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental rights. He is bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than the UK. Consequently, Lord Hill is prevented to uphold and protected the UK’s interest. Lord Hill is required to act and defend the Union general interest hence he will not be able to defend the City of London interests, particularly if they conflict with the EU’s general interest. ...continue reading

The Council and the European Parliament approved, last November, the 2014 EU’s budget, which amounts to €142.6 billion in commitments, representing a decrease of 6.2% compared to the 2013 EU budget and €135.5 billion in payments, which is 6.2% below the 2013 EU budget. The Government has called for further reductions, particularly, on Heading 5 (Administration) but due to QMV, it was unable to get a better deal. Nonetheless, the European Commission has already said that this year’s budget is not enough to pay EU bills and it is demanding more money from the member states. Brussels is stretching the patience of the British taxpayer and this cannot go on. The time has come to say No and stop paying this vast amount of money for running the EU, which is a failing project. ...continue reading

The European Court of Justice has recently annulled the directive on cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences. This ruling is not good news as it has overturned the UK opt out, consequently the Government would be forced to accept any European Commission proposal replacing the annulled directive. ...continue reading