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Democrat - November-December 2007 (Number 106)

Campaign against Euro-federalism - AGM on 27 October 2007

Political resolution

Implications for Britain of the EU Constitution and EU membership

The implications of EU membership for Britain over the past year have touched on many new and old areas as part of the relentless thrust to consolidate Euro-federalism. At the same time resistance in Britain and across other countries has grown.

One new feature has been the mass immigration of workers from Central and Eastern Europe to Britain which is being used to undermine hard won wages and conditions. This mass movement has meant those countries losing large sections of their skilled workforce and young people.

Further privatisation stems from EU directives and policies. This has resulted in tragic accidents on the railways, salami-slicing the NHS and other public services as part of handing over to big capital everything from the public sector. This includes the Post Office and postal services. All this is the European Single (free) Market.

The EU Services Directive ratified by Parliament during 2006 without any debate is due to be put in place in a couple years time and is specifically designed to consolidate the Single Market. The serious implications of this Directive were dealt with in a CAEF pamphlet. A healthcare directive is being drafted by the Commission and needs to be exposed and opposed vigorously as part of the growing campaign to keep the NHS a public service.

The European Council presided over by Germany earlier this year issued an unprecedented Mandate to the Inter-Governmental Conference discussing the new Treaty with the instruction to drop the word "Constitution", anthem and flag. The new Treaty is constitutional and would turn the EU into a state. It would then have the power to change itself without any further need for ratification. The European Council with the Commission would become the Euro-federalist government responsible only to itself and would override national governments, parliaments and electorates.

The change of name from European Community to European Union was brought about in a previous treaty even though intergovernmental arrangements remained in place. This is now being used as part of the cover to mislead people into thinking that there is not a qualitative change to a super-state which would replace inter-governmental arrangements.

The strategy adopted to attain ratification by all 27 Member States is an attempt to portray the so-called new "Reform" treaty as different from the original Constitution rejected by the French and Dutch electorates in 2005. The Brown government is promoting this falsehood and further compounding the myth by stating that some "red lines" and opt outs including the EU Charter of Fundamental rights are Britain's safeguard. Once this cover has been exposed the government has little left to sustain its stubborn refusal to hold a referendum.

A further part of the deliberate attempt to mislead electorates and parliamentarians across all Member States is to make the treaty text incomprehensible in the form of amendments to existing treaties and present this as the "reform".

Despite being in the penultimate stage of the economic and monetary union, the profound benefits and advantages for Britain outside the euro single currency able to control its own economy, interest and exchange rates need to be retained but would be under threat from the EU Constitution.

The report of the House of Commons Scrutiny Committee has come to the conclusion that the new "Reform" treaty is "substantially equivalent to the Constitutional Treaty" and that the red lines and opt out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights will be overridden by the European Court of Justice. This strengthens the case of those demanding a referendum and weakens the government position of refusing a referendum. For many people this is now seen as a matter of trust. CAEF has:

* taken a full part at European level in TEAM, the alliance of EU-critical movements and organisations;
* at national level, participated in the cross party Campaign for an Independent Britain and the Alliance against the EU Constitution;
* and worked with Trade unionists against the EU Constitution, Democracy Movement and other organisations.

CAEF with other organisations has advocated that all democratic forces make a concerted effort to demand and attain a referendum on the EU Constitution and then campaign for a No! vote. In this effort organisations should address their own constituencies and liaise and cooperate where appropriate.

The debate within the labour and trade union movement came to a climax at the 2007 TUC Congress resulted in the TUC supporting the demand for a Referendum. However, it is clear the leadership at the TUC is not going to take action to carry out the policy adopted at Congress. But, the TUC Congress only just failed to pass an RMT motion opposing the EU Constitution which was the position agreed in 2005.

There is a huge job to be done in the labour movement to inform trade unionists of the dire implications of the EU Constitution, directives and policies. The pamphlet published by Trade Unionists against the EU Constitution, The Big EU Con Trick, played a key role in winning the TUC Congress to the position of demanding a referendum. The key to winning the right to have a referendum and the referendum itself rests on the support of the labour and trade union movement to assist in mobilising the peoples of Britain. This will not be easy to achieve but is vitally necessary to press MPs and parliament to agree to a referendum.

It is clear that the root cause of the failure to carry out democratic decisions in the labour movement and the demise of Britain in many spheres of life is the divisive effect of the thrust to Euro-federalism.

Work in the labour movement has problems and difficulties which require careful discussion and analysis. Although some trade union leaders have failed to inform their members of the direct implications of EU policies and directives, many have now become sceptical which was clearly reflected in the debate at the TUC. This is in part due to CAEF and the work conducted alongside other campaigns. The campaign to win a referendum and a No! vote is imperative to help focus the labour and trade union movement and address the all embracing central question of the EU which impinges on nearly every aspect of democracy, the welfare state, jobs and whole industries.

* Our Campaign must continue to use the Democrat and our press as the central plank of our Campaign working with other organisations for the immediate period to:

* help win the labour movement to attain a referendum and go on to win a No! vote;

* continue to draw attention to EU Policiese and Directives which are the root cause and problems behind privatisation of the public sector and those industries which have been privatised.

The resolution was passed unanimously.