High-ranking EU politicians say the Prime Minister's 'renegotiations' are futile – we should listen to them, writes UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP.
•"We have won allies to get powers back from Europe," said David Cameron on the last day of the Conservative Party conference.
Yet even as he spoke these words, José Manuel Barroso, the President of European Commission, was asked by the Telegraph in Brussels about the possibility of renegotiation of competences at EU level. Barroso’s response was a straightforward snub to Mr Cameron and a wholesale rejection of the very idea. Any fundamental discussion about the renationalisation of EU competence “was doomed to failure”, Barroso said. "What is difficult, or even impossible, is if we go for the exercise of repatriation of competences because that means revising the treaties and revision means unanimity. From my experience of 10 years, I don't believe it will work."
I admire Mr Barroso’s frank honesty. Yet again, we see European politicians telling the truth about the realities of the EU while the Prime Minister tries to mislead.
Which part of "No" does Mr Cameron not understand?
The Prime Minister thinks he is on an EU ship heading west, but in fact he is strolling westwards on board a ship that is heading east to "ever closer union". And it is Mr Barroso who is the captain, while Mr Cameron remains a muttering deckhand.
It is also about time that the pro-European establishment of this country was honest with us. There will be no change in our relationship with the EU before, during or after Mr Cameron’s futile “renegotiations”. The EU knows this, Mr Cameron knows this – and the people of this country need to know this too.
It is no use being promised a referendum on the never never. This country needs honesty and a choice now.
Remember the great fanfare about the Government’s EU Competence Review this year? It was the lynchpin of the Conservative campaign to convince people that David Cameron could exert change in Europe and had allies to back him up.
Well, in May this year, Angela Merkel and François Hollande both snubbed the Coalition’s much-heralded review of the relationship between Brussels and member states. Along with the vast majority of European governments, they refused to take part. But it doesn’t stop there.
Even the Tories' Coalition partners don’t hold out hope for any significant change. Speaking in mid September at a debate on Britain's future in Europe, Vince Cable called on Mr Cameron to "stay in" and work with EU member states to "improve the system" as a whole. I suppose that is the Tory position as well – stay in and work for reform. But Dr Cable went on to suggest this: "Fundamental renegotiation is very, very unlikely to produce any significant change." David Cameron’s European humiliation does not end there, either.
During the Tory conference, ministers were also floating the idea of leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights; you know, the one in Strasbourg, the court which gives succour to terrorists and votes to prisoners.
In a response to my question of April 2011, Justice Commissioner Reding of the European Commission made it clear that while we are part of the EU, the UK must be a signatory of the ECHR and implement its decisions. In other words, it is impossible to withdraw from the ECHR without first withdrawing from the EU.
Reding stated: “In the negotiations for the accession of new Union members, respect for the Convention and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights is treated as part of the Union acquis." Which means it is obligatory primary law. So when Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, says "We need a dramatically curtailed role for the European Court of Human Rights in the UK," or Theresa May hints at promised withdrawal from the ECHR in the next Tory election manifesto, then they are either ignorant of the facts or lying to the people.
In another slap extraordinaire, when Mr Cameron spoke about trying to restrict new EU immigrants from Romania or Bulgaria from either coming to the UK in January 2014 or getting access to welfare benefits, he was either being disingenuous or simply ignorant of the facts again.
Once again Justice Commissioner Reding outlined that new Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to the UK will have the same rights as those already here.
"It is necessary to have the same rights for the citizens all over Europe," she told the BBC.
It is now clear that the only way to a) stop mass immigration from EU states to the UK and prevent abuse of the British welfare system and b) leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights is to leave the EU altogether. No amount of grandstanding or bluster from Conservative Party leaders will change that simple fact.
It is now time for David Cameron to honestly tell the people that there is no chance of any renegotiation of EU competences. People admire honesty, and on this matter Mr Cameron should try it sometime.
Ukip wants to withdraw from the EU because it is an honest policy, necessary, and practically feasible. Talk about major reform or repatriation of powers from the EU is not worth the breath of the politician on whose lips the suggestion is carried.