13 February 2019
Brussels is refusing to listen to the real concerns of voters, warned ECR MEP Morten Messerschmidt after a series of votes in the European Parliament today. MEPs were voting on proposals put forward by the Constitutional Affairs Committee that repeated a number of previous, and already rejected, calls such as the removal of Member State opt-outs, the creation of transnational election lists and an EU-wide 'Europe Day' bank holiday.
The overall objective of the reports, one of which included a wider ‘Future of Europe’ paper, were supposedly aimed at ‘reinforcing the integration process’ and sees the community method of governance as superior to the intergovernmental approach favoured by the ECR Group. It views the current opt-outs that exist for certain countries, such as Denmark’s opt-out of the Euro, purely as a vehicle to allow others to integrate before all Member States eventually sign up and believes a country should not be able to block such cooperation initiatives in the Council if they are not taking part. Also included are calls for the removal of national vetoes over taxation and foreign policy, both ideas that have been rejected on multiple occasions in Member State capitals.
Speaking after the vote, Messerschmidt said:
“There is nothing new in these proposals and they have already been rejected time and time again. Recent elections and referendums have shown that voters are increasingly turning their backs on ever more creeping centralisation at EU level. Yet the response from Brussels always seems to be ‘more of the same’ and all it does is show people that politicians aren’t listening.
“EU opt-outs exist for a reason. Some countries, and their citizens, were not willing to integrate in certain areas but they were at the same time prepared to allow others to do so, as long as they weren’t part of it. It is unacceptable that MEPs want to break these long established constitutional settlements, which would in turn break the trust of their voters.
“The EU needs to reform and work for, rather than against its Member States. Setting your own foreign policy is an essential part of being a sovereign country and no country risk being undermined by giving up their veto to allow international relations to be directed from Brussels.”
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