Private Eye 1411
Keeping the Lights on
THE prime minister's protracted negotiations on curbing benefits for
EU immigrants may be grabbing all the attention, but an issue of much
greater magnitude is gathering momentum in Brussels and going
unnoticed by even the most rabid Eurosceptics.
The European Commission's (EC) quiet but relentless drive to create a
"European energy union" is a brazen power (sic) grab - in the same way
it controls agriculture under the common agricultural policy for the
one big area of policy that's still largely a national prerogative.
Technically speaking energy union is still only on the commission's
wish-list, but it is determined "to bring the ideas of the Energy
Union closer to the member states" - ie, railroad them through - as
was made clear in documents published before Christmas.
Though they pay careful lip-service to the status quo - "While it is
for member states to determine their energy mix and while it is a
sovereign decision of each member state on how to decarbonise its
economy..." - you know there is a pretty big "but" coming. Thus: "EU
level coordination of [energy] policies is necessary... EU-level
policies are the most effective; a strong and reliable governance
process is needed to guarantee such coordination... National plans
should therefore from the outset build on regional consultations...
The [European] Commission will actively engage in the process."
How does the commission aim to override member states' existing
rights? "Governance of the Energy Union policies will be tackled. This
is necessary in order to make sure that both planning and reporting
reflects the integrated approach of the Energy Union... Will the
Energy Union governance be anchored in [new] EU legislation? Yes."
In addition "the commission will carry out a fitness check of the
energy acquis*" - the "acquis" being the growing list of powers the EU
has acquired from national governments. It will surprise no one when
the "fitness check" concludes that the commission needs to grab some
The energy union "idea", meanwhile, is being expanded even before it
has become reality. "Energy Union entails negotiating with one voice
with third countries", says one document, which helpfully offers a
"suggestion a Common External Energy Policy"! The fact that it has
already been capitalised indicates that it is more than a mere
There is no sign yet of anyone applying the brakes to this latest
euro-juggernaut - or of anyone even noticing what is happening.
The 'acquis' [short for 'Acquis Communautaire'] is a fundamental part
of the Treaty of Rome whereby any powers taken by/surrendered to the
Commission CANNOT be returned to individual States under any
circumstances. A fact that Mr Cameron clearly has no understanding of.