There’s been a subtle change of tactics from the EU; instead of just overt directives and regulations announced in its name we now also have inter-governmental agreements with no reference to the EU’s role.
The most obvious example is defence & defence procurement where we see what’s called “closer co-operation” or “co-ordination” between countries:
Eurpean Air Group (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK)
European Airlift Centre (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK)
Sealift Co-ordination Centre (Netherlands and UK)
European Amphibious Initiative (France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK)
Standby High Readiness Brigade (AU, DK, SU, IRL, I, LIT, N, NOR, PL, P, SLOVENIA, E, SV)
SE Europe Brigade (Greece, Italy, Slovenia)
Nordic Co-Ordinated Arrangement for Military Peace support (Finland, Sweden, Denmark)
EUROCORPS – Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, France, Luxembourg
EUROFOR – France, Italy, Portugal, Spain
EUROMARFOR – France, Italy, Portugal, Spain
What prompted this musing was Osborne’s announcement of having negotiated “an historic deal” on tax evasion with Switzerland. The talks were said to be held in secret, yet it’s been known about for ages and even mentioned here.
What rankles with me is that the impression given is that this is something negotiated between two countries without EU involvement when, in actual fact, it’s at the behest of the EU and to comply with directives. Not only that but so far as I’m able to make out, the British government needed prior permission from the European Commission to open negotiations with Switzerland. No doubt we can expect future announcements from the Chancellor regarding ‘historic deals’ done with Lichtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino.
Another annoying example today is the reporting of the creation and development of Regional Development Agencies as John Prescott’s ‘dream’ when we all know he was merely following orders.
To sum up, it looks as though the way forward is to give the appearance of independent inter-governmental agreements rather than EU diktats. I just wanted to get it off my chest!
EU Savings Tax Directive
EU Savings Tax Directive2
UPDATE: See also Wall Street Journal
PS: There’s something else going on here; wheels within wheels, but I haven’t figured it out yet. If you have, let me know. Do Osborne & Cameron really have something up their sleeves?