European Union elite united in distrust of the people

Cameron’s referendum pledge is seen as a threat by eurocrats whose power depends on denying the voters a voice.

The European Union and its British advocates in big business and banking have a referendum problem, a phobia even.

The pro-EU camp doesn’t like referendums because it’s afraid it will lose them. Europe’s political class, including the bulk of Britain’s great and good, objects to the very notion of popular votes on the EU. Their contempt goes further. On the rare occasions that voters are given a choice and say “no”, the EU merely ignores them and asks them to vote again.

More and more people on the continent want a popular vote on the EU or its single currency. As the latest Greek debt crisis looms, most European leaders, officials and diplomats acknowledge that the euro needs serious reforms enshrined in a new treaty. But it won’t happen in the foreseeable future because of a greater fear: that a new treaty will lead to unstoppable calls for popular votes across Europe.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is not isolated in Europe because he wants to reform the EU — he has allies in many northern and eastern European countries for that fight. He is isolated because he has broken Europe’s referendum taboo by holding out the prospect of a popular vote on EU membership by 2017. For the EU this is a heinous crime, as European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker made clear when he threatened to scupper Cameron’s plan.

In June, the pro-EU camp will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the British referendum on staying in what was then the EEC. Asked why Britons had voted “yes” back in 1975, the late Roy Jenkins replied: “They took the advice of people they were used to following.” Those days of deference are long gone and the pro-EU camp knows it.

Which is why you won’t hear so much about another anniversary. This year also marks the 10thanniversary of the French and Dutch “no” votes on the European constitutional treaty. The anniversary is an important one because, after a discreet interval of a few years, the rejected EU constitution was resurrected, virtually intact, as the Lisbon Treaty. And with no popular vote.

Lees dit artikel van Bruno Waterfield verder op The Australian