There is clearly no will in Brussels for a repatriation of any powers back to the UK and British PM David Cameron is wrong to pretend otherwise, writes UKIP leader Nigel Farage(Public Service Europe).
•Well now we have it. The first 'balance of competence review', long-promised by the British coalition government is out, but sadly due to the political stance of David Cameron I fear it shall do us little good. It may produce a little light although sadly there is little heat in the body politic of the coalition to actually act and reclaim the powers that are discussed.
The results of the balance of competences' assessment into taxation, health, development, foreign relations, animal health welfare and an overview of the single market were released today. From the outset, there is a massive problem both internal and external to the United Kingdom which must be overcome before the review could do the people Britain any real good.
The first problem is that Cameron has already been snubbed by his European partners. Other states have refused to become involved in this exercise. In April this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande both rejected an invitation from the UK Foreign Office to talks on the powers of the European Commission.
To make things worse, on Friday European Commissioner for the Internal Market Michel Barnier said that the UK could "repatriate" powers over financial services. This, of course, is one of the most vital sectors of the British economy. Barnier added: "The single market cannot be pick and mix. I have heard some people say financial services should be repatriated. It is clearly the wrong cause to fight for because financial services are an integral part of the single market and the single market is the heart of Europe."
There is clearly no will in Brussels for a repatriation of any powers back to the UK. The European Union member states will simply never agree to give back powers to the nations. The EU wants more power, not less. Surely, Tory grandees have heard the EU axiom of 'ever closer union'? The second problem is Cameron himself. He has made clear that he will vote to stay in the EU whatever the outcome of possible future negotiations with the leaders of the union.
In 2012, European Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs in the European Parliament: "Listen to your own Prime Minister David Cameron. He's been calling for a solution to the crisis. He wants more fiscal integration, more political integration. David Cameron is the best federalist outside the eurozone." That is faint praise indeed. Cameron has said he will vote to stay in the EU come what may.
Another formidable hurdle is that the British Conservative Party does not really want to repatriate important powers to the UK. When given a concrete chance to call for a repatriation of powers from the EU, Cameron has already said 'no'. On Wednesday February 5, 2013, MEPs voted on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. When UKIP tabled amendments calling for the repatriation of fishing policy to the UK and the reintroduction of the 200-mile limit for fishing in accordance with United Nations law, the Tory Party MEPs voted against repatriating fisheries policy to the UK.
So just who does Cameron think he is kidding? I can assure him that UKIP members and the British public at large will not be conned. This review is a futile and cynical public relations exercise by the coalition because it is clear that Cameron does not really mean it. Here is another example. So far, in 2013, 84 separate legislative reports have passed through the European Parliament. According to the voting records, the Conservative MEPs voted in favour of 62 per cent of these while UKIP voted in favour of 0 per cent.
This tells you all you need to know about each party's respective desire to repatriate powers back to the British people. The document itself brings to light some startling figures and useful information on the cost of EU regulations to the British economy and even specifically on the National Health Service. However it is not the lever which will allow the British people to roll the rock of EU political union off our land. In order to do that, the people must side with UKIP - a party which believes in withdrawing from the EU and not just talking in vain about reforming it.
Nigel Farage MEP is leader of the UK Independence Party