Britain should make reforms to EU institutions to end the ‘ratchet’ effort - embodied in the commitment to ever-closer union - central to its renegotiation plans.
In Ending the ratchet: from ever closer union to a two way street, Andrew Tyrie MP maintains that a more central role for national governments in EU law-making is essential. With this will come greater and much-needed democratic accountability to Member States’ national parliaments.
The principle that action at EU level should only be taken when demonstrable and substantial gains can be obtained – subsidiarity in Euro-jargon - should now be put at the heart of EU decision-making. It should be supported by a new decentralising body, attached to the Council, charged with the task of subjecting all new proposals to stringent subsidiarity and proportionality tests, and to ensuring – for the first time in the EU’s history – that theacquis is kept under continuous review according to these tests.
Reform is in Europe’s interests as well as Britain’s: the ratchet is contributing to a nationalist resurgence in many European countries. The paper argues that:
Andrew Tyrie said: “Our negotiating position – as I understand it – can be more ambitious, in some respects a good deal more.
The 'ratchet effect' embodied in ever closer union must be ended. The EU needs a new body capable of challenging and counterbalancing that ratchet. The role of national governments and parliaments must also be enhanced. This can over time bring greater domestic control over our policy and law-making.
Parliamentarians and the wider public should recognise that the government will not get everything it needs or wants in these negotiations, but that should not necessarily be viewed as a defeat. We may get closer to achieving our aims if we say in somewhat more detail and more publicly what, in at least some areas, merits consideration for repatriation on subsidiarity or proportionality grounds.