Wednesday, June 20


Letter published today in The Northern Echo.


I write in despair. Most of the British press are getting the detail of the Prime Ministers meetings in Europe this week badly wrong.
Tony Blair is not attending a "summit" and he is not going to sign the treaty on 22 June. Tony Blair is attending a meeting of the European Council. That is an institution of the European Union, which cannot (by its own rules) agree a new treaty, as this is agreed by individual member states acting in their own name.All the European Council can do is convene an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which is exactly what the German leader is going to propose. The summit (of the IGC) will, if everything goes to plan, be held towards the end of the year, at which point – if all 27 member states agree the details – a new draft treaty will be signed.

There is, therefore, no reason for Mr Blair to "cave in" and "sign up" Britain to anything this week. There is no treaty on the table yet and indeed nothing to sign.

Whilst the danger of further erosion of sovereign powers in the direction of the EU and away from the UK (and indeed other member states) is forever present news of the death of British sovereignty is at this time greatly exaggerated.

Peter Troy - Editor of the Blog Very British Subjects

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