Thursday, June 23

Blair's pledge unobtainable.

In an what some comentators have discribed as an impressive performance in the European Parliament, Tony Blair pledged to modernise and reform the European Union releasing businesses from excessive red tape.

"Whilst it all sounded very good how is he going to pare back the existing body of EU law?", asked Nigel Farage , UKIPs leader in the European Parliament. "The only mechanism that exists is to ask the European Commission to relinquish its power. This it never does. Mr Blair has a lot to learn about the way the EU works", added Mr Farage.

In a tongue in check gesture Mr Farage ended his speech to the European Parliament by saying that if in 6 months Mr Blair was able to hack back the existing damaging legislation and so turn the EU back into a Common Market he might even consider whether it is worth us staying a member.

Text of Speech: Nigel Farage, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group:

Mr President, Prime Minister, what a change since 1997 in terms of the rhetoric!

Suddenly we have a Labour British Prime Minister talking about low growth in Europe, talking about unemployment in Europe, talking about the failure of European economic policies and common policies.

In fact it all sounds a bit like the same sort of thing UKIP has been saying for the last ten years and I am delighted to hear it.

There you were at the Summit last week, the tough British Prime Minister, and I am sure that millions of people at home were watching the early evening news saying there he is! That is our boy, he is the man that is going to stand up for British interests.

In fact it seems to me that you are a europhile that has been mugged by reality. Now you are going to lead a battle for the future of Europe.

Several times in the last week you have talked about the 21st century, you have talked about the need to modernise. It seems that the devastatingly brilliant third way that you introduced into British politics is what you are going to bring in during this presidency here.

The question is, will it work in the European Union? I am the joint leader of the only Group in this Parliament that has actively been campaigning for 'no' votes in the Constitutional referendums.

So we feel that we are perhaps rather more in touch with public opinion than all the rest of the Groups in this Parliament.

(Cheers from the IND/DEM Group)

But I have to say that you are just about the only European Leader who really understands why the people of France and Holland voted 'no'.

I agree with what you said earlier, i.e. that they were saying 'no' to the direction that the European Union is going in.

I am asking you in your presidency to make sure that those people in France and Holland are not treated with contempt. I am asking you to make sure that the parts of the Constitution such as the separate military command structure, the European Space programme and the establishment of the European Union foreign embassies across the world are halted because they are only given legitimacy by a Constitution that is now best part dead.

You have talked much in recent times about Africa and I know you are very proud of the fact that the aid that will be going to Africa is going up in value. However, the one thing I have spoken on more times in this House since 1999 than any other subject are the appalling European Union fisheries deals with black Africa. There are now over twenty of these deals in place.

They are destroying any hope, any prospect for the local artisanal fishermen. We are actually killing hundreds and hundreds of local fishermen every year and what we are doing to the seas off Africa is the environmental equivalent to setting fire to the Serengeti.

Everybody here has been deaf to what I have been saying on this, but I believe there is now a body of support across this Parliament to end these deals. If you really want to help Africa, please, stop those deals. (Applause)

But of course the big challenge, and what you will be judged by, is whether you can turn this ship around; whether you can make Europe more competitive; whether you can make the Lisbon Agenda appear to be rather more than just a child's wish list to Father Christmas.

Of course my view - our view in UKIP and most of us here on this side of the House - is that we would much rather see a common market. We would much rather see a free trade deal across Europe, rather than the Treaty of Rome and all that has come since.

I know that you are not going to do that over the course of the next six months, but I think you have got a real problem.

You said earlier that you wanted Europe to do what it was set up to do. Jean Monnet was the inspiration behind this and he wanted a system whereby, under the acquis communautaire, the Community picked up power along the way.

I would argue that if you now speak to small and medium-sized businesses - not just in Britain, but right across the European Union - the trouble is that the legislation, the acquis communautaire, the body of law, has gone too far already.

The challenge for your presidency - and perhaps you could explain to me in your response - is how you are going to turn the ship around.

If you can re form the European Union, Mr Blair, then I may even change my mind. I may even think it is worth us staying as a Member State.

1 comment:

Sarah-Jane Hollands said...

When thinking of Tony Blair, this week, the words 'band wagon' and 'jumping on' spring to mind. I amleft wondering if his advisors have a little mini-vote and Tony has to go along with the majority, whichever way they choose,which clearly is new ground for him!