Potentially the most damaging provision in the new EU Reform Treaty, signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband last week in Lisbon, is the new power handed to the European Union to assume unlimited further powers without the consent of national Parliaments.
At present, EU Directives and Regulations are mandatory on national Parliaments - but they still have to be converted into the laws of each member state, if only by a ‘rubber stamp' procedure. But now even the safeguards of a ‘rubber stamp' by national Parliaments can be by-passed, meaning that the EU can take new powers without any discussion about them in national Parliaments.
Euro and Corpus Juris
In the opinion of many legal experts, among them Torquil Dick-Erikson, the person who first discovered the EU's plans to replace the British criminal justice system with ‘Corpus Juris', these powers could also lead to Britain being forced to adopt the euro - despite objections from the British government and people. He added that Britain has for the past decade successfully fought against the EU to retain its own criminal justice system, with its historic features such as trial by jury and habeas corpus, but may now be forced to adopt the EU's system of paid professional judges deciding all cases. In addition, the EU continues to work towards a standard detention period of up to 90 days before being charged, unlike the maximum 7-day period we had until recently - now 28 days.
One President, foreign and defence policy, and gendarmerie
The EU Reform Treaty will also bring in an elected EU President, and force Britain to adopt a common European foreign and defence policy. This raises the prospect of European armed soldiers and paramilitary forces operating on British soil. A group of five EU countries has already begun developing the so-called ‘European Gendarmerie' planned to become an EU wide paramilitary force.
The Reform Treaty is due to be ratified in the New Year by Parliament, with the Conservatives opposed to ratification and the Liberal Democrats sitting on the fence. Gordon Brown has systematically denied all calls for a referendum, even by the cross-party group of MPs led by Labour MP Bob Spink.
"Wonderful Christmas present for EU"
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering called on European leaders to ‘exercise their maximum political determination to obtain prompt ratification' of the Lisbon Treaty, which he described as "a wonderful Christmas present for the European Union". The target date for complete ratification by all 27 EU countries is 1 January 2009. To date only Ireland will allow its people to have a vote on the EU Reform Treaty.