This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Monday, 29 February 2016
Don’t Menshn The Lisbon Treaty
The campaign to persuade voters to vote to remain in, or leave, the European Union is barely a week old, but the level of desperation exhibited by some of those urging so-called “Brexit” has already reached new heights of idiocy, with one particularly egregious example coming from (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch. She has read a small part of the Lisbon Treaty, and so knows more about it than everyone else.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Moreover, she claims that her reading of the Treaty’s Article 8 means that Britain cannot possibly suffer in the event of a vote to leave the EU. This is, to no surprise, bullshit. So what does the Treaty actually say? Well, it says that the EU “shall contribute to … free and fair trade”, but that guarantees nothing to anyone requesting access to that single market.
Where has this selectively annotated extract come from?
From another group peddling non-existent "Game Changers", it seems
What else? The EU “shall work … to … encourage the integration of all countries into the world economy, including through the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade”. This also guarantees nothing. But then comes Ms Mensch’s clincher, Article 8 Paragraph 1. “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation”.
Er, hello? This is aspirational waffle, nothing more than a mission statement. But that has not stopped Ms Mensch concluding that Britain can take this alleged promissory note to the bank: “Article 8 of the Lisbon treaty mandates that the EU promote free trade globally … Further, Article 8 of Lisbon commits EU to a ‘special relationship’ with all neighbouring nations for ‘prosperity’ … So not only can't the EU punish us post-#Brexit as we are their biggest customer, their treaties forbid it”. And there was more.
“Article 8 of Lisbon means you can stick your #BrexitRisks scaremongering up your @JunckerEU #Brexit … ‘Deal’ is NOT law or in an treaty. This IS in a treaty. Difference between fake and real … For all those saying it would be hard for the UK to trade with EU after #Brexit, nonsense. EU is legally obliged to”. Sadly, it’s not quite that simple.
We can see that by referring to that part of Article 8 which Ms Mensch has managed not to, er, mention. Paragraph 2 tells “For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. The implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation” (my emphases).
All that Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty does is to allow trade deals to be concluded between the EU and neighbouring countries. There is no guarantee as to the terms of those deals. If the British Government tried to take that to the bank, it would get laughed straight out the door. The group that has promoted this campaign, EFTA4UK, has also advanced the idea that Norway pays nothing for access to the European Single Market (not true).
Louise Mensch is plain flat wrong yet again. And remember, they let her become an MP.