Lord Lawson is to be congratulated for articulating publicly what many senior Conservatives believe
– that the European Union is lost to Britain and that the sooner we leave it, the better.
The fact that Lord Lawson was once quite closely identified with the Europhile wing of the party
– having backed entry into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism while Chancellor –
makes his case, argued in characteristically compelling fashion, all the more persuasive. But ...
Jeremy Warner May 7th, 2013
Nobody can know the future, but what we do know is that
for the single currency to survive will require very substantial further integration and fairly rapid movement towards fiscal and political union.
This in turn will require major treaty change. This may be possible. More likely it won't be.
It may also be possible, as the UK Government's current position implies, to use these treaty changes to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Europe. Again, more likely it won't,
but it's hard to see what would be gained by pushing the eject button now and getting the blame for blowing up Europe.
EU Referendum: Lord Lawson Calls For UK To Quit EU, The Huffington Post UK, 07/05/2013
Tory eurosceptics backed Nigel Lawson today after he declared his intention
to vote against continued British membership of the European Union in a referendum promised by David Cameron.
EU Reform: Hidden Agenda
A stable framework would be the purpose of a genuine constitution. It would set out clearly those matters that are the responsibility of the E.U., and those that remain the responsibility of the member states. It is this that Europe badly needs.
And it can be secured if, and only if, the federalist dream is explicitly abandoned.
Nigel Lawson, Time Magazine 26/3 2008
Lord Lawson was Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher.
We can readily dismiss those who believe the E.U. is, or should be, about economics. The relevant economic context is not European but global, and the responsibility for pursuing economic policies that will enable business and industry to prosper in a globalized world economy is national. No, the purpose of the E.U., right from the start, even when it called itself the European Economic Community, has always been political.
Although the form is different, experts are divided only as to whether 95% of the content is the same, or merely 90%.
The treaty was originally presented as a necessity, enabling an enlarged E.U. to function following the accession of the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In fact, since the Franco-Dutch rejection of the treaty, the E.U. has been functioning as well as it ever has done. But, of course, that was never the real purpose of the treaty.
There is another, quite different view of what the E.U. is about politically — and it is this alone that explains the present treaty.
In a recently published essay, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote: "In Europe the nation-state is in the process of being diminished. The European Union is supposed to replace it, but the reality is that Europe is in transition between a past that it has rejected and a future which it has not yet reached."
It is the furtherance of this transition that the reform treaty is all about. Hence the notorious "passerelle" clauses, which enable matters now within the competence of individual member states to become an E.U. competence, and matters that now require unanimity to be decided by majority voting, without the current requirement of formal treaty amendment or the approval of national parliaments.
The E.U. is not in some period of transition toward a full-blown United States of Europe, if only because the great majority of Europeans neither want it nor would feel any sense of allegiance to it.
Det makroekonomiska argumentet för EMU
Nigel Lawson, Daily Telegraph 15/6 2003
Mr Brown did, however, offer a clue about what is fundamentally wrong with the European monetary union when he quite rightly stated that "it is important to learn the lessons not just from the experience of the euro area
but also from how the states and regions adjust successfully in the United States monetary union".
And so far as the United States is concerned the lessons are clear. Three absolutely crucial conditions are satisfied.
First, there is a very high degree of labour mobility: Americans are prepared to move long distances, within the union, to find work.
Second, there is a high degree of labour market flexibility, allowing wages to move down as well as up.
And third, as a result of a genuinely federal system of taxation and public expenditure, substantial sums of money are automatically transferred from the more prosperous to the less prosperous parts of the union.
Not only does the European monetary union satisfy none of these conditions, but the first could fully be achieved only if the union were bound together by a common language, the second is a feature of the "brutal" Anglo-Saxon economic model which the "civilised" European social model explicitly rejects, while the third is the characteristic of a single federal state.
It is not, of course, remotely surprising that the European monetary union as we know it is fundamentally flawed since, as is openly avowed by its continental promoters, its raison d'etre is not economic but political.
There is nothing remotely disreputable about this: what is disreputable is to deny it.
Nigel Lawson, Daily Telegraph 15/6 2003
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