I am afraid I do not agree at all. If the noble and learned Lord is proposing to move the closure of my speech, let him go ahead and do so. I wish to make my own speech, and I do not wish to be told by him what or what not to say. Is that clear? I thank him very much.
At any rate, it was not until Maastricht that we attempted to have in Europe a policy similar to the rights of states; it was spelled out in many pages of Brussels jargon that the EU should not assume powers better exercised at national level. By then it was too late, but since then the Eurocrats have had many happy hours finding exceptions to limit the impact of subsidiarity. The introduction of a single currency without central economic government was always a challenge. The European Central Bank, established in June 1998, has done a fine job, with distinguished and successful presidents who have resisted the pressure to accommodate political priorities of individual euro states. The introduction of European monetary union, with fixed exchange rates in January 1999, paved the way for a smooth final arrival, three years later, of a single currency—the euro—for 300 million people. Since then, the ECB has successfully coped with the difficulties.
The problem of the EU—the problem that has caused all this to happen, from 2016 up to and including today—is that the EU Commission, based in Brussels, has one nationally appointed Commissioner for every country, and every Commissioner is expected to subordinate their national interest to the collective good. The Commission has the sole right to propose new European legislation. It has sought to aggregate to itself more and more power. In theory, the Commission is answerable to the European Council of Ministers representing the national Governments at the head or departmental level. In practice, everything is sorted out behind the scenes by Commission officials in consultation. Many states have been unhappy for a very long time at the way in which the Commission has been behaving. I believe that is the main reason why there has been such an enfeebling of the European Union.