The Corner

The Tax in the EU’s Haystack

A Telegraph headline for the day:

David Cameron will back down in fight with EU, say officials

The “fight” is actually a campaign promise Cameron made, something about never following Brown and New Labor down the path of surrendering national sovereignty to Brussels – but we shall see. As pragmatic Conservative pundits observed during the campaign, the whole point of a party is to win elections, not stand on the principles they advocate to win those elections.

Here’s a bit of clarifying EU-speak on the issue:

Belgian negotiators are convinced that Mr Cameron’s hard line opposition to giving more sovereignty up to the EU, a pledge written into his coalition government’s agreement, will be sacrificed in the interests of pragmatism.

The senior source observed that no EU agreements would ever be possible if all European leaders stuck to the “totality” of their election manifestoes.

I think that means that if voters had their way, no EU agreements would ever be possible. That part’s true. The Conservatives say they mean what they say, but as always with Brussels, it’s an either/or situation, the kind W. used to use to describe foreign-policy aligments.

Belgian officials, with strong French and German support, are pushing hard to set up new EU supervisors to police financial markets, giving European authorities the power to dictate to regulators in the City of London. “It is necessary to transfer some decisions away from national to European authorities,” said the source.

EU officials have warned British diplomats that the Lisbon Treaty means it will have to compromise on sovereignty because Britain does not have veto for either the budget scrutiny or financial market supervision measures.

It sounds as if Bruno Waterfield’s blind source is somebody close to EU president Herman van Rompuy, since raising taxes to pay for “the welfare state” is the line the Belgian has been following since his enthronement.

Belgium is also ready to pick a fight with Britain over plans for new European-wide taxes to directly fund the EU independently of contributions from national treasuries.

“We can also explore, for example, the financing of European projects via new sources of revenue,” said the government source.

(I think UKIP’s Nigel Farage rightly pointed out that van Rompuy came from a “non-country.” Belgium, in fact, has no settled government itself, but is nonetheless assuming the presidency of the EU next month.)

It’s a magical formula, and so far it’s worked perfectly. Disregard voter’s wishes – in fact, disregard democracy as a governing principle, lest “no EU agreements would ever be possible” – then impose taxes on the powerless voters. Has this been tried before?

Denis Boyles — Dennis Boyles is a writer, editor, former university lecturer, and the author/editor of several books of poetry, travel, history, criticism, and practical advice, including Superior, Nebraska (2008), Design Poetics (1975), ...

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