A dangerous step against democracy

A dangerous step against democracy

Instead, the Chancellor would submit his budget to Brussels and, before a vote by MPs, it would be chewed over by foreign officials and European finance ministers.

Unelected EU officials would be able to issue instructions to change policies and, if a government or parliament refused to comply, could back this up with penalties imposed by judges in Luxembourg.

This raises the question: if a parliament cannot decide how to spend its nation’s wealth what is the value of elections to it? Yet this step has been taken in the 17 countries that belong to the eurozone – often with little or no public debate over such a profound constitutional step. This is a dangerous democratic deficit.

No political party in France, for example, has ever campaigned on a platform of surrendering national sovereignty in this way. It wouldn’t win an election if it did. Privately, French officials say they would ignore any attempt to veto their spending plans, but either way that could trigger a crisis.

If the Commission calls their bluff and overrules the will of parliament in the interests of the euro it would be a dangerous moment with an uncertain outcome. Alternatively, if it backed down to avoid a confrontation, would the euro face another crisis as markets realised its fundamentals were not solid?

The eurozone is still a fragile construction if it relies on such untested instruments in the name of fiscal stability.

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