UK Conservatives balk at plans for eurozone parliament

  

British Conservative MEPs have cried foul over a proposal to create a permanent European Parliament sub-committee to deal with the single currency, saying it would have “major implications for the UK to regulate its financial services sector” and represented an attempt to “curtail” the influence of British MEPs.

Syed Kamall, the leading British Tory MEP in the European Parliament, said such a development would be “divisive and dangerous”.

"To create a separate committee that only euro-zone MEPs may belong to sets a dangerous precedent. It is a case of divide and rule,” he said.

His comments came in response to a letter sent by British Liberal MEP Sharon Bowles, the chairwoman of the Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee (ECON), who called for a special sub-group to convene on areas related to the euro single currency.

The Bowles plan is currently only a recommendation, but Kamall said he feared a new economic and monetary union subcommittee would be pushed forward in June when the Parliament's new committee structure would be developed after the EU elections.

British Conservative MEPs, who would be excluded from the sub-group, fear that important decisions could be taken behind their back.

“This would have major implications for the UK to regulate its financial services sector as it sees fit, given the big steps towards federalisation of bank supervision and regulation that have taken place in recent months,” the Conservatives said in a statement.

The idea of creating a eurozone Parliament is not new and was recently relaunched by Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who said countries using the euro should be able to cooperate more closely on matters relevant to the single currency.

Andrew Duff, a British Liberal MEP and president of the Union of European Federalists, backs the idea, saying the 18 countries sharing the euro currency will in future increasingly take decisions on matters such as taxation, from which Britain will want to opt out.

"It would be scandalous for a Brit MEP like me to vote taxes on people that I wasn't directly representing and who aren't able to overthrow me," Duff told EurActiv in a September 2012 interview.

But the idea of a eurozone Parliament is controversial, not only among British conservatives. Hannes Swoboda, chair of the Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats group, dismissed the notion out of hand. "The idea of creating a eurozone parliament is absolute nonsense and would be counter-productive," Swoboda told EurActiv in September 2012, when the idea was first floated.

"The euro is our currency, there is no need for a parliament at currency level. We have the European Parliament and national parliaments to work on the issues at hand, which they are doing,” Swoboda added.

The Bowles letter, which EurActiv has seen, says the Parliamentary sub-group “could be entrusted with the scrutiny of the EMU”, including banking union matters and the oversight of the eurozone’s financial stability mechanisms.

The strictly legislative role, however, would be kept by the existing parliament committees, which would go some way in soothing British concerns.

For the UK Conservatives, this is no less than a ploy to side-line Britain: "If it is felt necessary to create a separate committee for euro-only MEPs, then why on earth are MEPs from landlocked Austria able to vote on European marine policy?,” Kamall said.

“This represents a major attempt to curtail the influence of UK MEPs."

Positions: 

Reacting to EurActiv's article, Sharon Bowles stressed that her letter was not her own initiative but was "a recommendation from the ECON committee coordinators representing all 7 political groups" represented in the European Parliament.

"Therefore this is not a 'Bowles Plan'," she stressed.

Bowles explained that the seven political group coordinators had identified two options which were designed to "manage the heavy workload of the ECON Committee":

  • The first is "to significantly increase the resources available under the current committee structure for scrutiny activities in the area of economic governance, the European semester, monetary policy, and supervisory activities."
  • The second is "to entrust the scrutiny of the EMU to a sub-committee of ECON", but maintain the legislative role with the existing ECON committee. "The EMU subcommittee would manage non-legislative scrutiny tasks related to the Eurozone, banking union and oversight of the fiscal compact."

Bowles insisted however that membership would remain open to all MEPs under that second option.

"No one is excluded from membership of this committee as this would be illegal under the Treaty and current rules and regulations governing the Parliament structures."

"Therefore no UK MEP would be prohibited from sitting on this committee," Bowles said.

Timeline: 
  • 3 Feb. 2014: Next meeting of ECON committee in Strasbourg
  • 22-25 May 2014: Elections for European Parliament
External links: 
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Comments

evad666's picture

Democracy is a threat to peace in Europe says German Minister.
As Corporal Jones would say Democracy the Marxist blighters do not like it up em.

Rex Harri's picture

This article presents a confused and inaccurate picture. The subject is not a eurozone Parliament but a committee suggested by Bowles. The Conservatives are therefore not 'balk-ing' at the idea of a eurozone parliament but the a committee. There was no suggestion of a parliament by Bowles.

The idea of a eurozone parliament was floated in the past and mentioned recently by Schäuble but, and this should be stressed, that is not what is being proposed by Bowles and is not what the Conservative Party MEPs have been reacting to.

an european's picture

In no way It's dangerous !!

That's a realistic and string idea that way the Eurozone should be able to cooperate more closely on matters relevant to the single currency as even for the economy as a whole!

I think the UK should adopt the European Dollar with a London Bridge stamped on it ! That would be nicer!

But as 50/50% of UK wants a referendum to way out Europe i think is it really disputable for Cameron's decision in that case.

Remain at least founding fathers United & strong !
Well done Mr Schäuble !

an european's picture

In other words an second permanently European Parliament Committee for the Eurozone ?

Emanuele's picture

"This represents a major attempt to curtail the influence of UK MEPs"

Yes, it is. And it is a good move against the no-men.

Mike Parr's picture

"For the UK Conservatives, this is no less than a ploy to side-line Britain"

I thought the Tory-vermin wanted to the UK to be side lined - first the do, then they don't - come on make yer minds up.

Richard's picture

Forimg a Parliament within a Parliament would be dangerously divisive. Moreover, there is a strong risk of the eurozone utilising it's inbuilt overall EU majority to form a permanent caucus, where the eurozone votes as a single block all the time within the greater EU. That would be highly prejudicial to those countries who either do not wish to, or more importantly, cannot yet join the eurozone. It would, for example, result in all new EU members instantly being relegated to "second class membership" upon joining. At the moment there are ten EU members who are not in the euro. A caucus would be prejudicial against ALL of them (including countries such as Poland, not known for the euro-sceptcism)- not just UK Conservatives.

There is also the risk of France and Germany being even more dominant with a eurozone body than they are in the EU as a whole. Essentially, the eurozone would become a proxy for a German/French duopoly, and from there becoming an EU duopoly by exercising the eurozone caucus. It does little for the EU as a whole to remake "Merkozy" where two leaders meet before hand, arrive at an agreement that suits them which is then imposed on everyone else.

THis risk is evident to all, which is why it is resisted - even within the eurozone itself it is not seen as a good thing.

Marx Blander's picture

British Tories speaking out against some proposal on the ground it might split the EU. Very funny. Is this a variety of the famous British humour?

an european's picture

I think it's already splitted and morover the Euro-zone has to prevent an economy drop down first to maintain the non-euzones stable behind ! The eu-zones doesn't still full-fill a strong EMU to prevent an similar disaster as it was in 2008/2009 Lehman/US bubble ! I don't think it's not alone done with the federal Supervising of the ECB ! Some financial policies should be as well shared to be redempt the eu-zone in case of (low-confed)!

@Richard

"becoming an EU duopoly by exercising the eurozone caucus. It does little for the EU "

In fact the duopoly is the strongest economy as an example to follow but will managed multipoly since the eu-zone has has 18 member-states (Netherland, Spain (despite it's problems) which together performs an powerful economical Unit!

However with the UK in the E.U-zone would be economicaly a very wishfull strong tripoli but actually and unfortunately seems not to be the case for that Unit relations in all and thus the E.U.-zone shouldn't break the way down for the capabilities of a stronger financial system!

Otherwise we must tell the U.S. to join the E.U. that the europeans don't lose the english ..

El Pluribus Unum

Barry Davies's picture

British Tories speaking out against some proposal on the ground it might split the EU. Very funny. Is this a variety of the famous British humour?

By : Marx Blander - Posted on : 05/02/2014

Not at all the tory party are split on membership people like camoron are staunch europhiles, and fear a referendum which is why our glorious lying leader didn't support the private embers bill on the subject.

An european has got another 5 year old to write for him.

Charles's picture

Duff does not represent the British people, he represents the Europeans.
For practical purposes it was decided to organize these elections on the basis of member state districts rather than on the basis of a single EU wide district. But the result is the same.
It follows that excluding so-called "British" MEPs based on their nationality is nonsense. A "British" MEP has every right to vote on taxation affecting non-British parts of the EU: he even has an obligation to do so, because he represents all Europeans, and unlike the heads of state and the ministers at the Council, he does NOT have an imperative mandate from the people of his member country.

uk-sceptik's picture

Sorry but was't it Cameron himself who was just lately talking about a new settlement and perspective for Britain's relationship with (without?) the EU, regarding notably rapartiating powers back to London for what only concerns Britain??

Why is he so concerned suddently about keeping having a word on a monetary organisation he apparently neither wants to be part of, nor even recognises as a major determinant for the UK's economy, as if the latter could go along its way in the world, not sharing so much powers with Brussels and sort of go along independently its own "pound" way...?

Barry Davies's picture

Camoron is an out out europhile end of he spouts on about change because he knows he is in a minority of the people in Britain. This is why he won't give us a referendum ever, unless he has managed to flood the country with so many foreigners that will have a vote to keep us in first.

Barry Davies's picture

BTW we could easily go along in the world without being in the eussr that is a basic fact, how long the eussr would remain in its present form without us and our money is anybodies guess.

uk-sceptik's picture

"how long the eussr would remain in its present form without us and our money is anybodies guess?"

EU's current budget: 134 bn€ / year
UK's net contribution: 4,7 bn€ / year

Anybody's guess would be: without 3%...

evad666's picture

We really need to leave the EU before they and their supporters drown all the UK Farmland and push food prices out of reach.

Barry Davies's picture

You seem to have lost £14 billion of our contribution somewhere, it certainly isn't €4.7 billion.

The loss of our income alone would harm the eussr, and of course the parasite nations wouldn't be able to offload their dregs on to our nation anymore either.

uk-sceptik's picture

I'm talking about NET contribution because this is all what the EU would "miss" if the UK were to leave (the rest of the UKs contribution is coming back to Britain anyway).

Supporting countries demands a little more than a 4 bn€ net contribution (after rebate). And this amount is anyway not a loss that could cause the EU any substencial transformation, after it would be deduced from a 134bn€ budget. These are facts.

Unfortunatly England isn't yet the great benefactress everyone would be depending on and persecute, as you seem to fancy. This belief may allow you to accuse foreigners of your own demise but it won't help you much further for your own problems (do you believe you have any at all, apart from those caused by others?)

Barry Davies's picture

You are making up figures as per usual because you have no cogent argument to support your misguided ideation in reference to the corruption riddled democratically deficient eussr, you don't even realise that England is one nation in the united kingdom and Northern Ireland.

uk-sceptik's picture

Please spare me your geography's lesson (totally out of the subject) or I'm going to think you are the one without any cogent argument here...

You keep on nitpeeking about England not being 100% of the UK (but only about 80% of its population and wealth) or the UKs contrbution to the EU's budget being 14bn on 134 (just that only 4 really go to the EU and the rest comes back to the UK) but you never confront what so ever with the fact that it isn't enough money to support countries or change anything really in the way EU's will function with or without the UK.

But if you escape from that debate to dive instead in hair spliting, anyone notices it's only because you know yourself your approach of the problem at hand is biaised right from the begining, which is sad for you because it sounds like you actually fully know what you are defending isn't accurate and wouldn't bear any factual confrontation. Why don't you simply admit the idea of England being so vital to the Eu's funding may be a position you personaly dream of, but which yet has nothing to do with reality?

Barry Davies's picture

I'm not nitpicking's educating you and from your posts you desperately need educating instead of just listening to propaganda.

You consider pulling figures out of the air and claiming they are true is debate, it isn't, by your estimation the whole eussr budget is only 10% of the entire budget and the rest magically appears.

I am not sparing you anything with your lies.

evad666's picture

It really is time we left the EU, support your Brussels troll in his bias draw stumps and walk of the pitch.

Barry Davies's picture

I see that now despite the second time a million people signed the petition to close one of the parliaments we don't care which Strasbourg or Brussells will save millions, the parliament ignored the unelected commissioner who tried to stop it, they voted 3 to 1 in favour of closure, but being toothless nothing is going to happen. So much for democracy when the only elected people at the eussr have no power.

uk-sceptik's picture

Annual cost of the MEP's unecessary moving from Brussels to Stasburg: 150.000£ for the EU tax-payer (so 30p per european citizens a year)

Annual cost of the unnecessary monarchy in Britain: 33m£ so about 600£ for each british subject a year (so 1800 more right?).

Maybe you get rid of your own unnecessary costs subsiding unusful institutions (which aren't even elected) before critisising others, especially if the bill is 1800 times more expensive for you.

Sources from the same newspaper:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8316511/Europes-150m...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/10145663/Monarchy-...

Richard's picture

Oh dear. First, the Sovereign Grant is a sum paid to support the Monarch's official duties, as well as the maintenance of various building, such as Buckingham Palace. It is calculated as being 15% of the revenues the Uk Treasury receives from the Crown Estates: in other words, the other 85% is kept by the Treasury. That's a net gain, not a loss, by the way.

The Sovereign Grant replaces the prior Civil Lists and other payments, which in turn date back to when the Crown surrendered ownership of the Estates to the State, in return for an annual income allowance. The Crown Estates are not the personal property of the Monarchy, they are in essence owned by the people of the UK. One assumes that in the same way, the US President is not expected to pay for the upkeep of the Whitehouse, nor the French President that of the Elysee Palace and so on, In other words, these buildings are historic public property and would be kept with or without a Monarchy, unless you want to propose bulldozing them to make way for a supermarket.

Secondly, the Uk Monarchy forms an essential part of the UK constitutional arrangement - one might say that has proven to work pretyt well and has proven a lot more stable than many of our European neighbours.

Moreover, and most importantly, the Monarchy commands popular and democratic consent in the UK. It cannot therefore be described as "useless".

The Buseels-Strasborg circus commands no popular consent, and continues to exist because it is specifically provided for in Treaty, and serves no purpose than to assuage French sentiments.

You maths is also very bad. There are 63 million persons in the UK. Therefore, the 33 million sovereign grant can at most be said to cost approximate 52 pence per person. If it cost £500 per person then we would be paying £37800000000 :D

Also note that the term "subject" has very little meaning in the UK. The various Nationality Acts made almost all persons previously defined as "subjects" into "citizens", although "subjects" still has certain meanings within law and is still used under some formal circumstances.

Certainly, being a "subject of the Queen" has no meaning in the fashion of the Queen being able to give orders to what are actually citizens.

That is the essence of Constitutional Monarchies. The UK Monarch has virtually no power and is specifically required to be politically neutral, the few powers she does retain in theory are never exercised and would be removed by Parliament if they were. Parliament remains supreme.

Indeed, it must be said, persons such as the French President whilst elected, have considerable executive powers and certainly far more than Her Majesty.

uk-sceptik's picture

Woww I'm impressed how many explainations can suddently be fount to explain (rather pompously) why so much of the tax-payor's money should actually go on being spent on such an unuseful instiution today as the Monarchy.

By comparasion the EU paliament's expenses are at least offered to directly ELECTED people (not appointed by birth for life) and who really work (proposing laws and voting them) instead of just stamping papers mecanically and cut rubans...

Compared with the US or French President (which you refer to Richard, I only talked about MEPs), their jobs require slightly more energy than working as Queen of England. Especially, nobody pays for their whole familly's weddings / buryings / jubillees and other private rejoycing. And after being chosen by their party and the whole nation, they also can be thown out if they are working badly (who cares wether the queen, her predessessors or successors were good or bad sovereigns, they stay in power anyway!).

Also the US or French Presidents (same with MEPs or any modern politician) may enjoy an immunity during their mandates, they remain responsable in front of the Law for what they do. Concerning the british citizens, they can never call Elisabeth II in a court to question how she's been spending the taxpayor's money...

Thank you for letting me know (in spite of all the most fascinating variety of vocabulary nuances in England concerning "subjects" and "citizens"...) the Queen isn't anymore governing as a sovereign with divine powers. Honestly I sort of assumed it wouldn't any longer be possible in Europe to still have such a reigning Monarch in the 21 century. But what i meant is that it makes even less arguments for the tax-payor to go on funding such unuseful institutions.

Clearly I'm not in favour of the MEPs spending money on two parliaments instead of one for ridiculous reasons. But to hear british eurosceptics calling that dictatureship while they themselves defend teeth and nails bureaucracies like the Monarchy or the house of Lords (who no longer even have powers at all but just costly decorate palaces)... let me laugh!

Mike Parr's picture

In response to "Richard" - you wheel out the usual claptrap with respect to Mrs Windsor aka Mrs Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Moving onwards & downwards and assuming:
a) you own a house in the UK
b) it is "freehold"
you may wish to consider the two elements "free" and "hold". "Who Owns The World" (Kevin Cahill) page 238 defines "freehold" and under that (legal) definition you, mate, are a "semi-feudal serf" so in that sense you are right - you are not a subject - you are a serf (& don't forget to tug yer forelock to yer betters my boy). snigger.

BTW: I don't think the Saxe-Coberg Gothas will let you and other serfs stop the flow of money into the CAP trough - so I'd forget about any ideas of leaving the EU anytime soon.

Richard's picture

uk-sceptic: it is not taxpayers money, It is 15% of the revenues fromthe Crown Estates, which are property of the UK state.

As to the rest of what you say: most countries fund state occasions. France for example Bastille Day. Likewise, the Jubillee (which happens extremely rarely), Royal weddings and funerals are state occasions. State funerals, espescially, are sometimes held for persons of particular note rather than being private affairs.

The palaces and so on are basically monuments and would have to be paid for whether the monarchy existed or not. Who pays for the upkeep of the White House or the Elysee Palace? Not the Presidents.

The question of the "competence" of the monarch is irrelevent, since their main purpose is ceremonial in regard to governance. The Queen doesn't have anything to do with the actual running of the country as she has no power. Even her role in Parliament is ceremonial.

In any case, it really doesn;t matter, because the Monarchy commands popular and dmeocratic support here. Anyone who oppose sit is free to campaign for the abolition of the monarchy...except they have never got anywhere with it. Since Parliament is supreme it can always just pass an Act to abolish the monarchy..if that's what the voters want. Why shouldn;t the UK have a monarch if that's what the voters want? As I said, the position is now that of a ceremonial figurehead. The Uk is not the only country to have a constitutional monarchy in Europe and even countries that don't often have a figure with a similar role - although elected, they act as a figurehead whose role is mostly ceremonial, with very little actual power.

The travelling circus of the European Parliament is by contrast an expensive farce that no-one wants but which cannot be disposed of because of a clause in an old Treaty that only exists to please France.

The House of Lords is an advisory chamber. It's function is to scrutinise legislation, and to amend it if it feels necessary. However the House of Commons, the elected chamber, is always supreme and can always over-rule the Lords although usually they are able to reach a compromise, the Commons rarely completely ignore the Lords by using the Parliament Act.

The UK has a two-house system like many countries, except one of them is appointed rather than elected, but it really doesn;t matte rbecause all the power is held by the elected chamber.

The Lords work extremely well, in that it is not driven by a focus on the next election - this means that it can do things which are sensible but many not be popular (for example, the Commons might want to cut welfare as a populist move, the Lords are able to resist this) and it has many members which have long experience in the scrutiny of legislation because they have held seats for much longer than they would if it were all elected.

Honestly, if the Uk system is so bad why is it that we seem to have enjoyed domestic political stability for so long compared to some of our neighbours? So many of them seem to have cycles of petty dictators, corruption on a mass scale and governments that come to power only to fall again.

Why change something that obviously works, and that the electorate are apparently content with?

Barry Davies's picture

UK Sceptic "By comparasion the EU paliament's expenses are at least offered to directly ELECTED people (not appointed by birth for life) and who really work (proposing laws and voting them) instead of just stamping papers mecanically and cut rubans…"

The Eu's expenses are huge compared to most parliaments, and who elected the commission, the parliament is window dressing with no real power, a bit like the house of lords, which does not cost anywhere near the costs of the eussr bureaucracy, the commission after all isn't just the 28 unelected filed politicians, it is a massive body of overpaid civil servants. The commissioners are not just immune to prosecution whilst in office, they are immune for life.

British M.P.'s are not immune to prosecution for a crime, mep's are.

Thanks to the massive power grabs of a body that should only be running an internal trade market national government only rubber stamp what the commission edicts, as for pointless figureheads what is Rumpy but a pointless figurehead who doesn't even get the interest of anyone outside of brussells.

The eussr parliament do not propose any laws, all proposals by law come from the UNELECTED COMMISSION, so just what argument are you trying to make.?

uk-sceptik's picture

Richard: "The Queen doesn't have anything to do with the actual running of the country as she has no power. Even her role in Parliament is ceremonial"

so why paying for it? Thanks again for letting me know the UK isn't govened today by a Queen but this is precisely my question: why paying for that (at least the MEP do all that!)

how do you know whether people want the monarchy or not? Why hasn't there been any referendum concerning this question? If the royals are so sure to be backed by everyone in 2014, why wouldn't they ever propose a referendum about it and campaign to have them on and on??

No parliamentary democracy with two chambers, even the monarchies, have had heriditary charges till the 21st century as the House of QuangoLords has in Britain.

The stability of the UK system is due to the two-party system, nothing to do with the monarchy. The US or France, without any royals manage to be just as much stable political systems as the UK in terms of "falling governments".

I guess Republics like France, the US or Germany haven't speciallised in Banks and oil so they definitlly aren't as corrupted as the UK (or any country speciallised in those sectors). Unfortunatly the Queen can very little against all the corruption at play wether in the City (libor rate...) or concerning the MP scandals, the falsification of documents to legitise illegal wars which the whole world knows about but you apparently...

Just have that referendum abut the monarchy if you are so sure to win it. I just would love to see the Queen campaining and telling us how great it will be to go on with her! Most amusing!

Richard's picture

Why pay for a ceremonial figure? For the same reason any other country has ceremonial figures. It is a part of history, tradition, one might as well ask why do the French pay for the upkeep of the Elysee Palace, many of the French governmental buildings are palaces and are a very luxurious and expensive way to house the French government! Lots of countries have things because they are simply part of their history, tradition and culture and they are worth paying for just for that. The Uk is not the only constituional monarchy in the world, nor even in Europe, why are you so upset by it?

Every opinion poll has always shown that there is a clea rmajority that favour keeping the monarchy. No serious party ever suggests abolishing it for that reason. There are some campaigners who do want it, but they have never got anywhere - anyone can campaign to get elected with abolition of the monarchy if they want but they just won;t get many voted. The Queen can't call a referendum, nor even ask for one because she always stays politically neutral - it's a matter for Parliament and no-one else.

I would be happy to see a referendum tomorrow. As a supporter of the monarchy as it is in the Uk I am completely confident it would change nothing. The Queen would not be able to campaign on anything, as I said, she is required to be politically neutral and never issues an opinion, let alone campaigns, for anything. That would be seen as the Sovereign interfering in the governance of the country, and that competence is held exclusively by Parliament

I am in turn amused by people complaining about the UK system of government when they obviously have no idea how it works.

The Uk isn;t really a two-party system, it has changed over the years. For modern hsitory it has been between the Conservatives and Labour parties, but in the past we have had Liberals for example.

But then again, the USA which you hold up as a good example is also a two-party system.

It also helps avoid the complicated negotiations and bargainings for power that other European countries seem to spend so much time doing, not to mention unstable coalitions that fall apart and mean yet another election when one small party or another does not get it's way and pulls out.

Barry Davies's picture

Don't bother Richard uk skeptic is just an ignorant troll that understands nothing.

uk-sceptik's picture

Well then i'm sure a lot of europhiles will tell you (and according to your argumentation they will be right) that the costs of moving from Brussels to Stasburg every mounth is also perfectly justifyied since Stasburg is a symbol of Europe's history, welcoming the european parlement after being a theatre for centuries of fights between France and Germany who exchanged Alsace so many times as a stake for world wars...

This moving is also something that "has always been" since the eurpean parlement exists, so "why change it?", it is the same ceremonial expesses you apparently are happy to pay for (only that it is offered to real politicians who aren't born there but got elected...).

When I ask "Why pay for it, if it is just a ceremonial fonction" of course I'm not saying a country shouldn't pay for ceremonies (don't pretend you get me wrong): I'm saying why couldn't the PM, a ceremonial president or any real politician (chosen by the people and responsable for his own acts) afford all that himself for the tax-payor, instead of someone appointed for life and by birth. The Elysee Palace or the White House ceremonial expesses are paid by the tax-payor to people the whole country chose democraticaly, who really work as politicians and get thrown away when they make mistakes. That is the least the tax-payor can ask for in my opinion.

Happy to see you get now that the Queen has nothing to do with the stability of governments in Britain, as the main cause of it rely in the two-party system (the US and France have no Queen and no coalition governments either, Belgium and the Nederlands on the contrary have spent years without governments though they are monarchies...).

Labour took the place of the Liberals (but when the wighs were still a governing party it was also a two-party system, since Labour hardly existed). But I won't teach you your own history, you aren't even interested in it if it doesn't support your beloved Queen.

Fine, I have nothing to say against that, but if you are happy to develop all these justifications for continuing to fund an unuseful Queen today (or simply useful to organise ceremonies the tax-payor could just as well ask some real politicians already in place to organise in order to cut costs) then don't talk about expenses that other institutions pay for the same ceremonial purposes (the difference being that MEP contrarily to the Queen are directly elected and juridically responsable MEPs).

Barry Davies's picture

"Well then i'm sure a lot of europhiles will tell you (and according to your argumentation they will be right) that the costs of moving from Brussels to Stasburg every mounth is also perfectly justifyied since Stasburg is a symbol of Europe's history, welcoming the european parlement after being a theatre for centuries of fights between France and Germany who exchanged Alsace so many times as a stake for world wars.."

By : uk-sceptik - Posted on : 12/02/2014

So we are paying out a huge amount of taxpayers money for a Symbol is justified, what it is a symbol of is eussr waste..

"This moving is also something that "has always been" since the eurpean parlement exists, so "why change it?", it is the same ceremonial expesses you apparently are happy to pay for (only that it is offered to real politicians who aren't born there but got elected…)".

What a load of nonsense do you ever put your brain in gear before posting. The MEP's travel to the parliament because that is where they "work", personally I would prefer no eussr parliament and no eussr, but there is absolutely no reason to have two seats with the huge waste of our money not only for the travelling, having extra homes, but to maintain two separate building that don't get used for a considerable time. in times of austerity for the non political class this waste is palpable, which is why the so called democratic process of starting a debate if a million votes are received was completely ignored when the petition was presented to a commissioner, unelected who binned it without a thought..

"When I ask "Why pay for it, if it is just a ceremonial fonction" of course I'm not saying a country shouldn't pay for ceremonies (don't pretend you get me wrong): I'm saying why couldn't the PM, a ceremonial president or any real politician (chosen by the people and responsable for his own acts) afford all that himself for the tax-payor, instead of someone appointed for life and by birth. The Elysee Palace or the White House ceremonial expesses are paid by the tax-payor to people the whole country chose democraticaly, who really work as politicians and get thrown away when they make mistakes. That is the least the tax-payor can ask for in my opinion"

By : uk-sceptik - Posted on : 12/02/2014

When I pay for it I think why the hell am I being ripped off by this corruption risen democratically deficient body, it has no meaning to the people of anywhere but France, and only the ones in Strasbourg benefitting financially from the extra bodies in their clubs and hostelries.
.

"Happy to see you get now that the Queen has nothing to do with the stability of governments in Britain, as the main cause of it rely in the two-party system (the US and France have no Queen and no coalition governments either, Belgium and the Nederlands on the contrary have spent years without governments though they are monarchies…)".

By : uk-sceptik - Posted on : 12/02/2014

The queen who is directly responsible for a large amount of tourism in the nation costs less than and costs less to maintain than say the President of the USA or France, and like Britain the queens in Belgium and Holland have no executive power, but then you are so dumb no matter how many times that is pointed out to you you can't grasp the concept.

"Labour took the place of the Liberals (but when the wighs were still a governing party it was also a two-party system, since Labour hardly existed). But I won't teach you your own history, you aren't even interested in it if it doesn't support your beloved Queen".

By : uk-sceptik - Posted on : 12/02/2014

I know all about the History of my nation, The Whigs and the Tories were the parties that were in power between them for a very long time, Labour came about at the same time as socialist parties throughout europe spurred on by Russia, by the time they came to power the monarchy had long since been taken out off all politics so what does that have to do with anything?

"Fine, I have nothing to say against that, but if you are happy to develop all these justifications for continuing to fund an unuseful Queen today (or simply useful to organise ceremonies the tax-payor could just as well ask some real politicians already in place to organise in order to cut costs) then don't talk about expenses that other institutions pay for the same ceremonial purposes (the difference being that MEP contrarily to the Queen are directly elected and juridically responsable MEPs).

By : uk-sceptik - Posted on : 12/02/2014

I'll tell you what i'l ask a real politician like rumpy redding, unelected Barrosso, unelected ashton, unelected, to cut costs, instead of increasing them on brain dead dogma like having two under-utilised parliament buildings except they are not democratically elected and should never be heard of unless they are responding to elected politicians, but then that wouldn't fit your xenocracy ideal would it.

Richard's picture

Uk Skeptic: to answer your point. The monarchy in the UK commands popular and democratic support - the polls consistently show a large majority in favour of keeping it. No serious political party even suggests abolishing it - the Republican movement is a tiny minority that has never got anywhere.

In contrast, you will find virtually NO support for the Brussels-Strasbourg circus. The voters do not want it, the European Parliament has itself voted to end it, but all this cannot happen because of a clause in an old Treaty that was being blunt only put in there to please the French. Probably the only people to think it is a good idea are the ones who make money from moving all that paper between the two cities, and probably Strasbourg like having it there because it brings a lot of people in.

That is the difference. If you can find a poll that says a majority of Eu citizens support the circus then I am happy to see it continue.

What is the difference between an elected and unelected figurehead? There is none. What is the difference between keeping expensive palaces to house Presidents or Queens? There is none. The Palaces are historic buildings that would be kept anyway.

About the stability of political systems: you mentions Belgium. Obviously you missed the point that because the political parties could not agree to make a coalition, the unity of the state was represented by the King - as a symbol of contitnuity and unity - and the eventual deal that was reached to form a government was in large part brokered by the King who acted as an impartial mediator.

I never claimed that the monarch was the cause of Uk political stability.

I actually said that the British political system as *a whole* did that and that the monarchy is a *key part* of that system.

Is the US system so great? Look at the paralysis there was recently with government buildings closed because of political fighting between the Democrats and Republicans, between the Senate and the Representatives. The US President cannot act as an impartial mediator because he is a political figure and is always from a political party.

But ultimately, the point is this: the Queen is there only because the voters want her - if they did not, the opinion polls would say so, a political party would put abolition in it's manifesto, they would be elected and Parliament would pass an Act turning the UK into a Republic. Ands then we would spend the exact same amount of money paying for a President to live in Buckingham Palace and probably lose lots of tourism along with throwing away a part of our cultural heritage.

But almost no one wants the EP circus. It is deeply unpopular, widely regarded as a pointless, total waste of money, the Parliament has itself voted to end it. No one wants it, yet it continues, it has in fact become a divisive symbol of the wasteful and undemocratic EU.

uk-skeptic's picture

Democracy has nothing to do with opinion polls.
Hitler was very popular in Germany, Putin is also very popular, a referendum favoring torture for rapers would also probably be won by a majority but this doesn't make these examples more democratic.
Popular support isn't enough to make a measure democratic or fair for the tax-payor.

Before proclaiming what the voters want, I suggest you wait for a referendum about keeping the royals in the UK and going on paying for them and their ceremonious roles and private lives in the 21st century. I'm sure the result of such a referendum (as it would be in any modern democracy) would be just the same as a referendum concerning moving around the MEPs from Brussels to Stasburg (were the results to be different, you'd already have had that referendum for a long time).

But before a real campaign with conflictual arguments and debates throughout the whole country takes place, nobody can predict what people want. If opinion polls would tell what people are intending to vote, 1st we wouldn't need any real poll (quite scary) and 2d we'd have Hilary Clinton as a US president, YES to the European constitution in France, Yes to the minarets in Switzerland, and NO to the membership of the UK in the EU... A proper democratic vote has nothing to do with an opinion poll, as there is no campaign taking place. Nobody dares questioning the monarchy and the establishment in Britain but if an official debate took place, most probably opinions would evolve.

When you say "I never claimed that the monarch was the cause of Uk political stability. I actually said that the British political system as *a whole* did that and that the monarchy is a *key part* of that system" this seems very confused.

uk-sceptik's picture

When eurosceptics complaining at the costs of moving MEPs from Brussels to Strasbourg can't find any more arguments for continuing financing their own costly inept, futile, wasteful and undemocratic UK institutions (i.e. the monarchy's), they declare that after all the Queen brings money to the UK through Tourism???

Can anyone explain me which study makes this link between having royals still in power and bringing so many more visitors in their palaces? Have the Louvres or Versailles in Paris, Schoenebrunn in Vienna, the forbidden city in Beejing, the Taj Mahal in Radjasthan to complain not being as much visited as if France Austria China or Inida still were monarchies?

And anyway why care all of a sudden about the interests of the tourism sector (8% of the UK's economy) which the tax payor should suddently choose supporting with bilions of public money (i.e. the best way for spending it being obviously to finance a royal familly in 2014)??? Why are the eurosceptics who traditionally complain about the MEP's costs, all of a sudden so preoccupied with public spendings for tourism and ready to promote with billions of pounds maketing campaigns by the State to spot out Britain as a great tourim destination?

So far the Stasburger will equally answer the moving of parliaments has considerably increased their tourism industry, hotel and restaurant reservations/capacity, events and reputation in the world (with equally all the marketing, I suppose, about the Peaceful and democratic symbol of this bicultural city on the river Rhein hosting historic world wariors and spreading now peace, unity and palementarianism across the whole continent and beyond...or something like that!).

I do think two parliaments are absurd (just as a Queen and a Monarchy are) and I wouldn't let the tourism lobby justify any ridiculously unuseful public-money spending, were it for moving around MEPs or financing dynasties (proven the latter provides more tourists than in a republican country...). What a twisted mindset!

Regarding the artile maybe it is the right moment to rapatriate the EU parliament in Brussels only and use the Stasburg one for the Eurozone parlement Mr Cameron.

uk-sceptik's picture

Are any of the European Amercian Saoudi Russian Chinese Brazilian or Japonese tourists today proven to be that much more interested in visiting a country where princesses duchesses and else still are officially running the country, than travelling to a place where this no longer takes place?

Richard's picture

Uk Skeptic, it is clearly pointless attempting to have a rational discussion with you because you have a fixed position. I'll try once more:

First, one assumes that the taxpayers of the countries you mention underwrite the upkeep of the monuments you mention - therefore, one of the major costs that are currently assigned to the Uk monarchy would continue regardless, since even if there were no monarchy, we would keep and maintain places like Buckingham Palace. The upkeep of these historic building is, possibly, one of the largest parts of the cost of the monarchy and would not change if there were no Royal family.

A further major cost of the monarchy is that of transport and security - but again, this would not change, heads of state elected or constitutional monarchies carry the same costs. So again, if we subsitutied a President for the Queen this would not change either, unless you advoate combining the role of Prime Minsiter and President (which many EU countries do not, because it concentrates too much power in one person)

Second, the monarchy does generate tourism revenues in it's own right. Perhaps you did not see the huge crowds from across the world filling London at events such as the recent Royal wedding or Jubilee.

Third, in no way does the moarchy cost "billions" - a ridiculous claim. The monarchy is funded through the Sovereign Grant, the replacement for the Civil List. The Sovereign Grant is funded directly from revenues from the Crown Estates, 15% of the revenues from those are put into the Sovereign Grant, the other 85% are kept by the Treasury.

The Crown Estates are not actually owned by the Crown, they are public lands, the name comes from when they used to be owned by the Royal family personally - this ended centuries ago, when ownership was passed from the Crown to the people, in exchange for a yearly sum of money paid to the Royal family. This arrangemtn has most recently changed to the Sovereign Grant, which I describe above.

Lastly, the Brussels-Strasborg circus is massively unpopular across Europe - whose taxpayers pay for it. You will not find any poll anywhere that indicates support for it. It is seen across the EU electorate as symbolic of EU waste. The European Parliament has itself voted hugely in favour of ending it.

This is not true of the UK monarchy. No poll will indicate that the voters wish to end it - in fact, all polls show the voters are in favour by a very large majority. No party seriously campaigns to end it.

So, the monarchy is democratic in that it exists solely on the sufference of voters - Parliament could abolish the monarchy by simply passing an Act doing so. Youo may regard the monarchy as an anachronism, the people that matter - the voters - don't, but instead see it as a part of British cultural heritage and identity, providing a useful function within the British constitutional arrangement and therefore worth the relatively small cost of keeping it.

That is why it is called a constitutional monarchy, similar to those in Spain, Belgium or Japan.

I don;t supose any of this will matter because you will be back posting your usual assertions and nonsense, as you cannot comprehend that the British voters do not share your views.

uk-sceptik's picture

Look, to have and express my own opinions, I don't need to make up so much people agrees or not with me. Therefore i wouldn't start claiming that so many opinion polls coroborate of not what I think. 1st because very often the result of real polls surprisingly happen to be the exact contary of what opinion polls would keep on repeating precedently days after days (Hilary Clinton's victory in the US, YES to the European constitution in France...). 2d because I make the difference between what people want and what's best (Hitler's or the Muslim Brotherhood's perfectly democratic and popular support for example).

Also, I never told you anything in particular against the Monarchy, in favour of the European Union or supporting the MEP's costs and their 2 capital cities..

I never said either that countries without dynasties at their head hadn't some institutions of their own also wasting just as much if not more public money (otherwise most of the world would live in a tax-payor's heaven but a few backwards countries pretending they remained monarchies like Britain, Benelux, Scandinavia, Australia, Canada, Japan and Thailand as well as places where a governing monarch truelly stayed in power as in Marocco or Saudi-Arabia, so alltogether hardly 8% of the world's population, and less and less tomorrow).

All I wondered was how the same people who'd geuinly attack every public wastage of money by bureaucratic quangocrats spending fortunes in ceremonial illutionary institutions for the sake of their own unaffordable, unadequate and totally unnecessary ideologies or fantasies (were it Strasburg's parlement or the Royal Familly in London)could find all the reasons, suddently demonstrating one was so much more justified than the other...

So far you manage in the same posts to claim the monarchy doesn't cost anything to the British budget (family wedding's royal costs trips and ceremonies being magically free in fact and all the remaining costs being hardly the castles for you (in other countries the latter at least are museums and not private homes...), makes even some sort of magical money with so much more tourists and eurodisney fans (the Queen soon to nationalise Thomas Cook's or something?), have anyway the general approval and in the end aren't the slightest suspicious of anything the tax-payor could blame them for, but you strangely find all of a sudden much less compassion and tolerance when it comes to the same circus concerning Strassburg...

Why is that? I'm not critisising monarchists or republicans, europhiles or sceptics, neo-liberals or communists or anyone, I'm just wondering which mechanisms can for the same brai provide such strict anti-statist morals concerning funding unuseful institutions as Strasburg's Parlement and on the other hand approve suddently total laxism by all the possible reasons you can find, when it comes to your OWN head of State strangely? There is a tiny difference between being republican and considering the Queen doesn't necessarily spend all public money in the best way...

evad666's picture

It really is quite fascinating how the thread has rapidly become an anti monarchist thread to deflect quite legitimate criticism of the bureaucratic waste of public funds by repeated office movements.
Should your handle actually read uk-septic perhaps as I suspect you are a fully operational member of the eurotroll brigade?

evad666's picture

It really is quite fascinating how the thread has rapidly become an anti monarchist thread to deflect quite legitimate criticism of the bureaucratic waste of public funds by repeated office movements.

Barry Davies's picture

It is simple there is absoloutly no reason to have more than one government building, in a democratic government it would have been abolished years ago.

uk-sceptik's picture

Evad666: If the UK stoped funding with public money a royal family in 2014, their trips, homes, receptions, ceremonies for weddings, birth and else, maybe London would be better listened to, when critisising the unnecessary bureaucratic waste of public funds by unelected people.

Defending Mrs Windsor's family's priviledges paid by the british tax-payor is fine (after all you can pay for whatever you fancy having), but it makes it impossible afterwards for the same person to complain about the much-less-costly moving once a month of ELECTED MEPs from one parlement building to the other, were it just for the principle of saving some european public money.

If the debate concerns the democratic control of public spendings, it is more justified to pay a return ticket once a month to elected MEPs and their staff, than to afford luxury comfort for a lifetime to all the family members of some unelected royals, who don't even have a word anymore in the conduct of public affairs, though they call themselves Head of State, Church, Armies, and else... isn't it?

Barry Davies's picture

Oh dear uk-skeptic is back to his favourite misconception yet again, he seems tp be incapable of understanding the British governmental system or the simple fact that only unelected failed politicians hold any power in the eussr the mep's do not.

uk-sceptik's picture

Well the queen neither is elected nor holds any power in the ukssr, but you are happy paying much more for her and her familly members, than the whole EU does for Strasbourg's Parlement.

Richard's picture

Actually the Brussels-Strasborg circus costs a lot more. And as I have said, the monarchy exists in the UK by common consent - it has popular support (no matter how much you try to deny it - the polls show a clear majority in favour, I know you will try to twist that around but nonetheless, it is true and countries do not bother to hold referendums asking questions where the answer is virtually certain, unless it is certain matters which their Constitutions demand it, for example, in Ireland they have to hold a referendum even if the polls show 100% for or against)

Whereas very few people anywhere want the Strasborg circus, and the European Parliament has VOTED to END IT

If you would care to make a political party in the UK that gets elected to power promising to abolish the monarchy, then votes to end it in Parliament, that is the monarchy ended, it can be abolished anytime by an Act of Parliament.

But no party will even try because the monarchy is hugely popular.

Clearly you hate the idea, but that's how it is.

The Queen exists by the will of the people - the European Parliament circus exists against the will of the people

Anyway, I would rather have unelected people who hold no power

Barry Davies's picture

The Royal family actually bring money into the country the eussr only takes money out of the country, I know which one I prefer to keep.

evad666's picture

Andrew Duff, a British Liberal MEP and president of the Union of European Federalists, backs the idea, saying the 18 countries sharing the euro currency will in future increasingly take decisions on matters such as taxation, from which Britain will want to opt out.

"It would be scandalous for a Brit MEP like me to vote taxes on people that I wasn't directly representing and who aren't able to overthrow me," Duff told EurActiv in a September 2012 interview.
Yet the commission deigns to dictate to the citizens claiming ever more competencies.

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