Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash , Stafford 6:45 pm, 4th March 1993

Although my hon. Friend's argument is important and reasonable, because of the difference between the arrangements that we entered into between 1970 and 1975 and those in the treaty, the key point about this part of the Bill is that European institutions would be granted increased powers which would cover all aspects of government, whereas in the 1975 referendum we voted primarily on trading arrangements.

Another aspect of the question of institutional powers is the degree of independence of the Commission. Throughout Europe, institutional arrangements are moving towards more power for unelected and unaccountable officials, who will determine questions that should be determined by the people of the respective countries. That is one reason why there is so much anxiety about the Maastricht treaty and the way in which those powers have been growing. Unelected and unaccountable bankers, Commission officials and members of the Court of Justice are included in the provisions. Some Members wish to ignore that but the treaty significantly increases the powers of the Court of Justice, the Commission and the other bureaucratic institutions.

There is no question of the powers of the European Parliament filling the democratic deficit that is being created, and there is no doubt that the powers of bankers and the Court of Justice are increasing. Some hon. Members are dealing with such issues, but there is no evidence that Ministers and many other hon. Members appreciate the extent to which they are handing over the running of this country to people who have not been elected and will not be accountable—people who do not necessarily have any interest in the way in which we are governed.