Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in early May for a couple of months
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 27 July 2007

Ex-Minister Gisela Stuart calls for EU referendum

Former Labour Minister, Gisela Stuart MP, has called for a referendum on the new EU 'amending' Treaty. What is interesting about Ms Stuart is that she is not only reckoned to be 'pro-EU', but she was one of the British representatives in the group which drew up the now-defunct EU Constitutional Treaty, overseen by former French President Valery Giscard-d'Estaing.

According to Gisela Stuart, who probably knows as much about what is in the EU Constitutional Treaty as anyone (well, apart from political 'junkies' such as me who have made it their business to know the details pretty thoroughly), she has 'read an "unofficial" translation of the new amending treaty and "all the big items" from the previous document had been retained.' She is quoted as saying:



"The red lines that we now say we have secured and therefore don't need a referendum, actually those red lines were already protected in the constitutional treaty on which we were prepared to give a referendum. Nothing has changed.

"This is now a question of trust. It is a question of having given a commitment to a referendum on a document which we say is good for Britain.

"We actually should ask the people to endorse that. If we are so confident it is good, we should have the confidence to ask the people.

"The foreign secretary and the Europe minister, who at the moment deny this treaty is substantial enough that we should be bound by that promise, they are either being deliberately disingenuous or ill-informed."

As a reminder, I consider myself 'pro-EU', but I would have voted 'no' in a referendum, had one been held, not because I have gone off the idea of further EU integration, but because I felt that the EU Constitutional Treaty was a complete dog's breakfast which was designed to be understood properly only by an 'elite'; the French and the Dutch put paid to that nonsense!

So far the new amending Treaty is available only in French (except for the very brief 'preamble', which is also in English); I downloaded it last night (it's in 'PDF format) and have only glanced through it briefly so far, but I intend over the next couple of weeks to study it in considerably more detail - whether I shall go to the extent of printing out all 160 or so pages I have yet to decide, but I may do so unless I can buy a printed version soon. If you want to read/download it yourself please visit the EU Council website here. Some notes about the recent IGC are here.

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