IS MR CAMERON’S EU “RENEGOTIATION” LEGALLY BINDING?
Highly qualified people give different answers to this question. They are all beside the point. International law depends on the good faith of both parties to carry out their undertakings. Neville Chamberlain’s Munich treaty, adjusting the border of Czechoslovakia was regarded by the larger powers as valid in international law. Apart from the Czechs, people rejoiced until Germany broke it.
A more recent altercation between Slovakia and the EU reminded me. Keeping to all the rules, Slovakia had joined the euro currency and was suddenly faced with a demand to contribute to bailing out far richer countries, which had broken all the rules.
Richard Sulik, the deputy Prime Minister, rebelled. He pointed out that article 125 of the Lisbon Treaty specifically provided that each eurozone country was responsible for its own debts and that no country would ever, on any account, be made responsible for the debts of another,
Martin Schulz, the rather thuggish President of the EU Parliament, was despatched to bring him to heel and the conversation was recorded. You can find it in German (with English subtitles) by Googling “Martin Schulz makes a fool of himself”.
Sulik lays out the treaty terms and Schulz responds by demanding that Slovakia must show “solidarity” and be grateful for all the blessings which the EU has showered upon it. Defeated in argument, Schulz demands to know how many people Sulik represents and compares his little country with the imperial majesty of the mighty European Parliament. Sulik won the argument but Slovakia capitulated a few days later, accepting the inevitable just as Czechoslovakia did in 1938.
Something similar will be Britain’s fate if people are taken in by Mr Chamberlain’s (sorry! Mr. Cameron’s ) footling “renegotiation”. Once he has locked us in, there will be no way out.
Tony Blair surrendered a large chunk of Mrs. Thatcher’s rebate to the EU in exchange for a promise of reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy – a reform which never happened. Mr Cameron hasn’t even asked for a refund because he knows that whatever the EU gets, it always keeps.