Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Summit Wrong

I've had a twitter exchange today with Bruno Waterfield, Daily Telegraph Brussels correspondent, who tweeted that there is to be an EU 'summit' on the 17th and 18th October to deal with the Eurozone crisis. It is actually a European Council meeting - Bruno falls for the classic error of assuming that it is the same as international summits. They aren't (And it's not the first time he's made a similar mistake).

His tweet was as follows:

In response to my tweet pulling him up on the error, he said this:

The journalistic laziness is something to behold, in essence - "we call 'em summits 'cos it's all a bit complicated to call them by their proper name and function".

It is not, of course, bureaucratic jargon to call the European Council by its correct name; there is a fundamental difference between it and a summit - and to make light of it, as Bruno has done, is either to woefully misunderstand the project or set out to deliberately deceive.

A summit in essence is a gathering of sovereign heads of states or governments who have a jolly for a couple of days trying to thrash out a deal over some issue or other. However their first duty and responsibility is doing the best in their own national interests.

Conversely the European Council is different. It is an institution of the EU. Originally founded in 1974, it was formally recognised in the Nice Treaty (Article 4) and became a fully-fledged EU institution under the Lisbon Treaty. It is, therefore, not a summit but an official part of the EU - essentially the cabinet of the EU government. Unlike a summit, as soon as Cameron attends the European Council he no longer is head of the UK's government but becomes merely a 'representative of the UK region'. He has to put, legally, the interests of the Union first even above those of his own country.

This point is illustrated by Article 9 of the Lisbon Treaty (page 18) which formalises the European Council as an official institution and under this article the following paragraph makes the priorities of the members of the Council clear:
1. The Commission shall promote the general interest of the Union and take appropriate initiatives to that end. It shall ensure the application of the Treaties, and of measures adopted by the institutions pursuant to them. It shall oversee the application of Union law under the control of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It shall execute the budget and manage programmes. It shall exercise coordinating, executive and management functions, as laid down in the Treaties. With the exception of the common foreign and security policy, and other cases provided for in the Treaties, it shall ensure the Union's external representation. It shall initiate the Union's annual and multiannual programming with a view to achieving interinstitutional agreements.
In short, the heads of states and governments of EU members, who attend the European Council, cease to represent their own member state interests. They instead become part of a tier of the EU government, thus bound by its laws and obliged to further the aims and objectives of the EU.

Bruno of the Telegraph epitomises all that's wrong with the MSM and gives a wonderful example of the deep reluctance of our '4th estate' of acknowledging the true nature of how this country is now run.