Letter: Confusion over EEC and the EU

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Barry M. Jones

Bixley Lane, Beckley

Hugh Arbuthnot humbly corrects his chronological error between the EEC and EU (12/1/18 - thank you!), but his muddled letter suggests confusion remains between the mutually beneficial EEC ‘Common Market’ in which we elected to remain in 1975, and the quite different, fully political EU (a legal state in its own right) that we (and Parliament, overwhelmingly) elected to leave in 2016.

Britain gave us and Europe our human rights as co-founder of the UN and the Council of Europe whose ‘European Convention on Human Rights’ (ECHR, co-signed by Britain in 1950) long predates the ECSC/EEC/EU.

The Convention had nothing to do with the EEC/EU. However the European Commission on Human Rights (formed through the Council) and the confusingly named European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) of 1959 (the two merged in 1993) now quite unnecessarily enforces the ECHR through the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on its founding signatories.

The European Court of Justice merely enforces/re-interprets EU treaties.

So, to Hugh’s dilemma: if elected Parliaments grant plebiscites, they are honour bound by the results. If useless Parliaments make bad laws, the judiciary is honour bound to apply them... at which I’ll defer to Edmund Burkes’ famous thoughts on political discontent. That’s democracy! Yet, when Hungary enforced strict EU Schengen border policies, the EU retaliated... that’s ‘democracy’, EU-style.

Indeed, between January and September 2000, the EU imposed sanctions against Austria’s democratically elected far-right government on farcical ‘human rights’ charges to bar it from voting on EU matters.

The Austrian government was exonerated but the fiasco greatly increased anti-EU sentiment. Today the EU again threatens, under Article 7, the democratically elected Austrian, Hungarian and Polish governments. Can you imagine the EU imposing sanctions against a far-left Corbynist government; defending Gibraltar from Spanish invasion; or asking the Dutch, French or Irish to vote again ‘to get the right answer’ required by the unelected EU Commission?

Now that would be surreal.