That the European Union does take away national sovereignty is obvious even if David Cameron may argue (now) that it doesn’t. Even though I think that we must eventually evolve away from nation states, the EU is not a development in that direction. It involves surrendering autonomy – away from the “nation” to the faceless, supercilious, self-righteous, European Commission and the European parliament. Poland may be pursuing policies that its EU members disapprove of, but surely that is Poland’s prerogative.
BREXIT supporters have a clear example of how the EU fancies itself a super-state and one which thinks it has the right – if not necessarily the power – to dictate to its members how to think. Like it or not, the Justice Party was elected “democratically” in Poland. The European Commission is far from being any kind of democratic institution. It is an executive body. There is something deeply disturbing about EU bureaucrats telling an elected government what it may or may not do. The self-righteous arrogance of the European Commission is often offensive.
The EU executive has given Poland an official warning that changes to its constitutional court endanger the rule of law in the country.
Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European commission, said he had written to the Polish government warning that recent alterations to the workings of Poland’s highest court posed “a systemic risk to the rule of law”.
The publication of a formal opinion ratchets up pressure on Poland and marks the first time that the EU executive has criticised a member state under its rule-of-law procedure.
After Poland’s Law and Justice (Pis) party came to power, the Polish parliament passed a law allowing the government to appoint the judges of its choosing to the highest court and not recognise those chosen by its predecessor, the liberal Civic Platform party.
Legal experts advising the Council of Europe have concluded that the changes breach the rule of law, democracy and human rights.
If Poland refuses to back down, it could face the ultimate sanction of being stripped of EU voting rights, although Brussels is keen to avoid that scenario.
I am not sure if BREXIT is good or bad for the UK, but there should be little doubt that staying within the EU does mean giving up a large measure of sovereignty. It is surely better for the EU that the UK remain a member. But the best for both the UK and the EU, I think, is for reform of the EU. I remain convinced that a vote in favour of BREXIT vote will only cause the EU to finally make real concessions rather than the cosmetic changes offered to Cameron. A BREXIT vote is – after all – only the start of a long negotiation. But the negotiation could be real and not just a PR exercise. Of course the UK would need a real negotiator – and that isn’t either Cameron or Corbyn.