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Euronotes - The latest from Brussels


Common market – private threat
The European Commission claims that health, education and social services are all internal market matters and subject to majority vote. The recent directive to "marketise" healthcare is the result. Its introduction is delayed until all EU member governments have – they hope – accepted the Lisbon Treaty. The Commission fears that the directive's unpopularity might otherwise derail ratification.

The EU wants to make these services private. The Constitution calls them "services of general economic interest" and not "public services". The EU's public spending rules discriminate against long-term investment, and the Constitution would ensure that these rules are even more tightly enforced, because no member state would be able to avoid censure under the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines.

The EU would gain control of public health. The EU would regulate medical standards. A new "right to preventative healthcare" would open up the NHS to costly ambulance-chasing lawsuits. The Constitution does nothing to rein in the European Court of Justice either. In recent years the ECJ has delivered a string of rulings making it hard to prioritise NHS spending, and allowing those who threaten legal action to jump the queue.

After Lisbon
The House of Commons has given the EU a blank cheque: there are 31 areas of the Lisbon Treaty where there is no decision yet on how the arrangements would work in practice.

These include: the powers of the EU President and the EU Foreign Minister; structure, operation and field of action of Europol; new powers and operation of Eurojust; rules on the European Public Prosecutor and its functions; powers of the new "Operational Committee on Internal Security", size and arrangements of the new foreign policy fund; arrangements for "structured cooperation in defence"; arrangements for implementing the Defence "Solidarity Clause"; and the organisation and functioning of an EU diplomatic service.

Just wait until the "difficult" countries like Britain have ratified the Constitution to see the full extent of the transfer of sovereignty to the EU.