After three years of political wrangling, Britain finally left the EU at 11pm on January 31. It is a new chapter for the country’s national history – one that will hopefully see the UK return to being an independent sovereign state after the transition period. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has less than seven months to negotiate a free trade agreement and, in a sign of the battles still to be fought ,there are still significant differences between the negotiating positions of two sides.
Brussels still insists on maintaining its current fishing rights in British waters and wants London to agree to a number of EU regulations, including environmental standards, workers’ rights and state aid rules.
On the other hand, Mr Johnson is demanding the right to diverge from the bloc’s rules in order to strike trade agreements around the world.
As tensions are set to rise, former Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman shed light on his time in Brussels in a recent report for the eurosceptic think tank ‘Red Cell’ titled “After Rue Belliard”.
In the report, Mr Cambpell reflected on how the EU works and described how national sovereignty is constantly overridden in Brussels.
The former MEP wrote: “At heart the problem with the European Union is that its true founder the technocrat Jean Monnet hated democratic politicians and nation states, so that the model he created was a transnational EU superstate not an intergovernmental international body.
“This is why there is no clamour across the EU or the UK for a referendum to leave the World Trade Organisation, or NATO, or the United Nations, because national sovereignty is not overridden unaccountably and undemocratically the way the EU does.
“It doesn’t take 4 years plus and a lot of aggro to leave these bodies.
“Nations are respected and can leave and return at will, like the French leaving NATO, then returning.”
Mr Campbell Banner added: “This is in a nutshell why the EU is a bad organisation and doesn’t work for its citizens.
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“It has the wrong architecture and unsuitable institutional power structures.”
The prominent Brexiteer noted that the best illustration of “who is boss in the EU” lay in the Parliamentary chamber and its procedures.
He explained: “Incredibly, as an MEP I was unable to introduce any new legislation (I didn’t want to) –this is in the sole right of the Commission.
“I was also lucky to get one minute to make a speech – it was a matter for rejoicing such was the rarity of getting two minutes or more.
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“Compare that to MPs and the regular ability to speak for quite long periods.
“But for an MEP, that means you were lucky to thank the President and mention the subject at hand, before you ran out of time.
“Meanwhile, the Commission representative and Council representative often had 10 minutes or more – the Parliamentary President would never cut them off – and turn off their microphone – if they went over.”
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