Political shenanigans from 1945 to the present day – a summary of what’s been going on…
The Treaty of Brussels 1948 was signed on 17 March 1948 between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom [Attlee – Labour 1945-1950], as an expansion to the preceding year’s defence pledge, the Dunkirk Treaty, signed between Britain and France. As the Treaty of Brussels contained a mutual defence clause, it provided the basis upon which the 1954 Paris Conference established the Western European Union (WEU). It was terminated on 31 March 2010.
The treaty was intended to provide Western Europe with a bulwark against the communist threat
As an effort towards European post-war security co-operation, the treaty was a precursor to NATO in that it promised European mutual defence. When NATO took shape the next year , on the other hand, it was recognised that Europe was being unavoidably divided into two opposing blocks (western and communist), and the USSR was a much greater threat than the possibility of a resurgent Germany, and Western European mutual defence would have to be ‘atlanticist’ and so include North America.
The Treaty of Paris 1951 (formally the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community) was signed on 18 April 1951 between France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands); it established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which subsequently became part of the ‘European Union’. The treaty came into force on 23 July 1952 and expired on 23 July 2002, exactly fifty years after it came into effect. [Churchill – Conservative 1951-1955]
This treaty was seen as producing diplomatic and economic stability in western Europe after the Second World War. Some of the main enemies during the war were now sharing production of coal and steel, the key-resources which previously had been central to the war effort.
The ‘Europe Declaration’ was signed by all the leaders present. It declared that the Treaty had ‘given birth to Europe’??. It emphasised that the supranational principle was the foundation of the new democratic organisation of Europe. The supranational concept was opposed by Charles de Gaulle.
The Treaty of Rome 1957, brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best-known of the European Communities (EC). It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany and came into force on 1 January 1958. It remains one of the two most important treaties in the modern-day European Union (EU). [Macmillan – Conservative 1955-1957]
The Treaty of Rome 1957 effectively established the European Commission.
(The treaty’s name has been retrospectively amended on several occasions since 1957. The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 (qv) would remove the word “economic” from the Treaty of Rome’s official title and, in 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon would go on to rename it the “Treaty on the functioning of the European Union”).
The Treaty of Rome, the original full name of which was the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community has been amended by successive treaties significantly changing its content. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht finally established the European Union, the EEC becoming one of its three pillars, the European Community. Hence, the treaty was renamed the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC).
When the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in 2009, the pillar system was abandoned; hence, the EC ceased to exist as a legal entity separate from the EU. This led to the treaty being amended and renamed as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union(TFEU).
In March 2011, the European Council would adopt a decision to amend the Treaty by adding a new paragraph to Article 136. The additional paragraph, which enables the establishment of a financial stability mechanism for the Eurozone, runs as follows:
The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditions.
The Merger Treaty 1965 (or Brussels Treaty[ was a European treaty which combined the executive bodies of the European Coal and Steel Community(ECSC), European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC) into a single institutional structure. [Wilson – Labour – 1964-1970]
This treaty was signed in Brussels on 8 April 1965 and came into force on 1 July 1967. It set out that the Commission of the EEC and the Council of the EEC should replace the Commission and Council of Euratom and the High Authority and Council of the ECSC. Although each Community remained legally independent, they shared common institutions (prior to this treaty, they already shared a Parliamentary Assembly and Court of Justice) and were together known as the European Communities. This treaty is regarded by some as the real beginning of the modern European Union.
This treaty would be abrogated by the Amsterdam Treaty signed in 1997:
In 1973, the United Kingdom, at that time under ‘Conservative’ party direction, was taken into the ‘European Union’. The public were told by Edward Heath, Prime Minister, that ‘we cannot afford to join the European Union, but neither can we afford NOT to join’. He signed the agreement at a time when the UK Parliament was in recession, without full and open debate, and, to that extent, this was a less than honest action, if not downright illegal..[Heath – Conservative – 1970-1974]
The Council Agreement on TREVI 1975 was conceived as an intergovernmental network, or forum, of national officials from ministries of justice and the interior outside the European Community framework, created during the European Council meeting in Rome, 1–2 December 1975. It would cease to exist when integrated into the so-called Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar of the European Union (EU) upon the subsequent entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992.
The first TREVI meeting at the level of senior officials was held in Rome where the famous Trevi Fountain is located and the meeting was chaired by a Dutchman by the name of Fonteijn (English: Fountain). In some French textbooks, it is noted that TREVI stands for Terrorisme, Radicalisme, Extrémisme et Violence Internationale.
The creation of TREVI was prompted by several terrorist acts, most notably the hostage taking and subsequent massacre during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, and the inability of Interpol at that time to effectively assist the European countries in combatting terrorism. While TREVI was initially intended to coordinate effective counterterrorism responses among European governments, it slowly extended its remit to include many other issues in cross-border policing between the members of the European Community. Many of the practices and a large part of the structure of the former Third Pillar traced their origins to TREVI. [Wilson – Labour – 1974-1976]
The Single European Act 1986 (SEA) became the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. This new Act set the European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, The SEA’s signing had grown from the discontent among European Community members in the 1980s about the de facto lack of free trade among them. Leaders from business and politics wanted to harmonise laws among countries and resolve policy discrepancies.
The Treaty gave the European Parliament ? a real say in legislating for the first time and introduced more majority voting in the Council of Ministers. Under the procedure the Council could overrule a rejection of a proposed law by the European Parliament by adopting its own counter-proposal unanimously.
The SEA intended to remove barriers and to increase harmonisation and competitiveness among its countries.
A political agreement was reached at the European Council held in Luxembourg on 3 December 1985 Nine countries, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, signed the Single European Act at Luxembourg on 17 February 1986. That date has been originally intended as display of unity within the Community regarding the SEA, but this failed. [Thatcher – Conservative – 1979-1990]
The Schengen Agreement 1990 led to the creation of Europe’s Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished. It was signed on 14 June 1985, near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, by five of the ten member states of the then European Economic Community. It proposed measures intended to gradually abolish border checks at the signatories’ common borders, including reduced speed vehicle checks which allowed vehicles to cross borders without stopping, allowing residents in border areas freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints, also allowing foreigners to enter individual countries uninvited and leading to the harmonisation of visa policies.
Originally, the Schengen treaties and the rules adopted under them operated independently from the European Union. However, in 1999 they were incorporated into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty, while providing opt-outs for the only two EU member states that had remained outside the Area: Ireland and the United Kingdom. Schengen is now a core part of EU law, and all EU member states without an opt-out which have not already joined the Schengen Area are legally obliged to do so when technical requirements have been met. Several non-EU countries are included in the area. One piece of nonsense which the UK did not fall for.
The Maastricht Treaty 1992 (formally, the Treaty on European Union or TEU) undertaken to integrate Europe was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Upon its entry into force on 1 November 1993 during the Delors Commission, it created the three pillars structure of the European Union and led to the creation of the single European currency, the € Euro. [Major – Conservative – 1990-1997]
This Maastricht Treaty 1992 comprised two novel titles respectively on
Common Foreign and Security Policy and Cooperation in the Fields of Justice and Home Affairs, which replaced previous intergovernmental cooperation bodies named TREVI and European Political Cooperation on EU Foreign policy coordination.
In addition, it also comprised three titles which amended the three pre-existing community treaties:
- Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,
- Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, and the
- Treaty establishing the European Economic Communitywhich had its abbreviation renamed from TEEC to TEC (being known as TFEUsince 2007).
The Amsterdam Treaty 1997, officially the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, was signed on 2 October 1997, and entered into force on 1 May 1999. It made final substantial changes to the Treaty of Maastricht, which had been signed in 1992.
Under the Treaty of Amsterdam, member states agreed to devolve legislation on immigration, adopt new civil and criminal laws, and enact foreign and security policy (CFSP), as well as implement institutional changes for expansion as new member nations join the EU.
The Treaty of Nice 2001 was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003. [Blair – Labour – 1997-2007]
The Treaty of Nice reformed the structure of the European Union to withstand eastward expansion. (What happened to THIS notion, then?) The entry into force of the treaty was in doubt for a time, after its initial rejection by Irish voters in a referendum in June 2001. This Irish referendum result was reversed in a subsequent referendum held a little over a year later…
It also amends the attached treaty protocols as well as the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).
Prominent changes included the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in at least 45 policy areas in the Council of Ministers, and the creation of a long-term President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Treaty also made the Union’s bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding. The Treaty for the first time gave member states the explicit legal right to leave the EU and the procedure to do so.
The stated aim of the treaty was to weaken democracy by “moving power away” from national electorates. Supporters argue that it brings more checks and balances into the EU system, with stronger powers for the European Parliament and a new role for national parliaments, although how THAT works when they have assumed the authority over those parliaments??.
The treaty was originally intended to have been ratified by all member states by the end of 2008. This timetable failed, primarily due to the initial rejection of the Treaty in June 2008 by the Irish electorate, a decision which was reversed in a second referendum in October 2009 after Ireland secured a number of concessions related to the treaty (a euphemism for ‘they leaned on the Irish until they did as they were told). [Brown – Labour – 2007-2010]
By way of conclusion, we have to see that, when PM Heath started us off down this road in 1973, he could not reasonably have envisaged that SIX signatories would, over the next 44 years, lead to the bloated Brussels behemoth of TWENTY-EIGHT (and counting) countries – now called ‘states’.
We also have to ask ourselves what evil genius is in the background, pulling the strings?
Over the past 17 years, one personality stood out as having had the temerity to confront this undemocratically-shaped monster, and to name it for what it is – Nigel Paul Farage. How sad that this pseudo-national hero chose to quit just ten days after such a positive Referendum mandate..
Now, at the time of writing we are two years down the BREXIT road, which has turned out to be as successful as staying on the M25 to get to Scotland. We now know that 138 Tory MPs voted LEAVE on that momentous day, when 72% of the eligible public gave their instruction, answering Cameron’s clear request opinion., although 185 of the same colour voted REMAIN. For the REDS, just 10 (ten) of their 219 MPs voted LEAVE, even though 6 million Red supporters had opted to LEAVE in the actual Referendum vote, numbers which are themselves a comment on MPs understanding of democracy
In an unprecedented position politically, Farage having for years pestered Prime Minister Cameron to allow the general public to voice its opinion on our nation’s relationship with the European Union, the common man having voted overwhelmingly to sever all ties with it, the Conservative and Unionist Party (united with whom?) chose to spit on the electorate and plough a lonely furrow on their road to annihilation.
What an opportunity spurned – a superb chance to put the evil genie back in the bottle – since, without the UK contribution to their coffers, the unelected European thugs are stuffed. However, it is still possible – send your name, town and email address to ‘info at livingstones dot uk’ for details of our work. Thank you.