Friday 31 May 2013

William Hague to issue Brussels 'red card' on unwanted EU laws

William Hague is set to to demand a new ‘red card’ system that will allow individual nation states be given powers to block unwelcome laws from Brussels.

In a bid to quell Tory turmoil over the UK’s relationship with Brussels, the Foreign Secretary will today outline plans for a new 'red card' system for national parliaments that would result in greater democratic accountability from the European Commission.

In a landmark step, it is the first explicit request of Europe from the Tory-led UK Government since it announced plans to hold an in-out referendum in 2017.

As part of the bickering coalition's attempt to renegotiate powers over Europe, Mr Hague is set to argue that national parliaments should be able to overrule unwanted legislation coming from the European Union in a speech to a foreign policy think tank in Germany today.

In a hard-hitting speech, he will say that only by devolving powers to elected national MPs, rather than MEPs who are far less accountable to their voters, will Europe be able to restore the democratic deficit.

Mr Hague believes that only by reshaping the way the decisions are made in Brussels will Britons be able to see themselves tied into a long-lasting relationship with the EU.

The European Parliament has "failed" to introduce democratic accountability to the EU, he will say later today.

The proposed 'red card', would be an extension of the little-known 'yellow card' system already in place.

At present, parliaments in member states can issue a 'yellow card' to the European Commission, forcing it to reconsider a law. The introduction of the 'red card' would altogether thwart any EU legislation deemed inappropriate.

A senior source said: "He is going to make the case that the European Parliament is not the answer to the democratic deficit in the EU.

"In every treaty over the last 30 years the European Parliament has been given more powers and in every European election turnout has dropped.

"The answer lies in national governments and national parliaments. We need to give them more powers to do things better.


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