The Eu: What Happens When a Veto is Used

Mr Cameron keeps dripping on about how we have a "Cast Iron Veto" on Turkey joining the the Eu. So I thought I would have a look back through recent history to see how this veto has been used before in the Eu and what happened when is was used.

I have found six occasions where vetoes were issued by National governemnts. On each occasion the veto was either worked round,  ignored, or defeated.

Here's the story of six "Cast Iron Vetoes".

In theory each Eu member state has a veto over treaty change. Sometimes due to the type of treaty change, ratification will invoke the necessity of a referendum. Most of the time though (and not just in the UK) the change only requires Parliamentary approval. As I described recently (post is on this link) this parliamentary approval itself can, and has been in the past, subverted. This subversion avoids the necessity for a formal division and a recorded vote is avoided.

But this post is about six times where member states of the Eu have invoked the "Cast Iron Veto" and what subsequently happened.

Cast Iron Veto Number One 1993 Denmark. Treaty of Maastricht

Denmark held a referendum to approve the Treat of Maastricht. On a very large turn out the people rejected the treaty. So the Danes were the first to issue a "Cast Iron Veto".

The Eu was outraged. The Danish government was ordered to fix the problem.

Consequently the Danish government came up with four opt-outs that they hoped would swing the vote. Less than a year after the first,  another referendum was forced through. A massive ugly propaganda campaign swung the vote. The second referendum overturned the "Cast Iron Veto".

An final twist to this is that since then much effort has been expended by the Eu in trying to water down and remove the opt-outs obtained by Denmark. The Danes have been forced to hold two further referenda (2000 & 2015) to try and remove their opt-outs. The opt-outs remain. Like us, the Danes are getting wise to the mechinations of the Eu.

Cast Iron Veto Number 2 Ireland. Treaty of Nice 2001

In 2001 the Irish voted down the Treaty of Nice. The second "Cast Iron Veto" had been made. After the subsequent fudge to Irish concerns over the threat to their neutrality (the Seville Declaration) and the ritual massive propaganda campaign centering on scaring the electorate, a second referendum was held. The result was overturned.

Cast Iron Veto Number 3 France. Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe 2005

The French looked at the Constitution, saw what it would do to their sovereignty and rejected it with a healthy majority. The French "Cast Iron Veto" had been served.
Wikipedia: Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe Link

Cast Iron Veto Number 4 Netherlands. Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe 2005

The Dutch looked at the Constitution, liked it even less than the French and voted it down. The Dutch Cast Iron Veto had been served.

With two countries having rejected the new Constitution and with the UK lined up to deliver a third. The Constitution treaty was dropped.

So was this double veto a victory for the "Cast Iron Veto"?


The Eu had another plan. That plan was the Treaty of Lisbon.
(Wikipedia - Treaty of Lisbon Link)

The Treaty of Lisbon's first killer characteristic was that it was an amendment to existing treaties (not a new one like the Constitution). This was a stroke of malign genius. It meant that governmental approval avoided referenda. It was only, after all, an amendment.

Cleverly The Lisbon Treaty amended existing treaties so that at the end of the day they were to all intents and purposes the same as the defunct constitution.

The Lisbon Treaty was (and is) unintelligible. That of course was its second killer characteristic.

ValĂ©ry Giscard d’Estaing the former French President put it as so:

"The Treaty of Lisbon is the same as the rejected constitution. Only the format has been changed to avoid referendums" 
(See Telegraph Report LInk Here)

d'Estang is also quoted as so

"Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly ... All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way ... What was [ already] difficult to understand will become utterly incomprehensible, but the substance has been retained."
(Irish Times Report Here)

Karel de Gucht, Belgium's foreign minister, said:

"The aim of this treaty is to be unreadable ... The constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear... It is a success."
(Irish Times Report Link Here)

The "Cast Iron Vetoes" of France and Holland were circumvented.

As an amendment the Treat of Lisbon was pushed through National Parliaments without referenda. The promised UK referendum on the Constitution was now declared unnecessary and quietly abandoned.

But there was one exception. Ireland (again!).

In Ireland somebody, incensed by the proposed change to the Irish constitution without a referendum, took the government to court. He won. This forced the Irish government to hold a referendum on the unintelligible Treaty.

Gloriously the Irish Government (and the Eu ) lost the ensuing referendum.

Cast Iron Veto Number 5 Ireland. Treaty Of Lisbon.

The Eu were apoplectic with rage. It was insinuated that Ireland would be thrown out of the Eu. Various blackmail threats were issued concerning Irish neutrality and abortion laws.
(See Daily Mail Report Link Here)

Eventually the Irish government caved in.

They ran a "study" of Irish voting reasons. They came to the grand conclusion that the electorate had rejected the Treaty of Lisbon because of :  "lack of knowledge/information/ understanding".

To sweeten the pill the Eu threw in a few "promises".
(See Wikipedia Ratification Link Here)

A new referendum was called. This time the Eu spared no quarter in their propaganda onslaught. Like in Denmark, the intimidated electorate swung the other way and the "Cast Iron Veto" was overturned.

Cast Iron Veto Number 6 UK. Euro Accord 2011

Then we come to David Camerons 2011 veto of an amendment to the Treaty of Lisbon.

The Eurocrats wanted to amend the Treaty of Lisbon (remember - the deliberately unintelligible document that is an amendment itself). The amendment was Euro centric and paid little or no thought to the affects it would have on the viability of the UK financial services industry. Cameron begged for an opt-out and was refused.

Amid huge abuse from the Eu, with threats of expulsion coming from both Germany and France, Cameron was forced to use the veto by his back benchers. It was either that or it was bye-bye Conservative Party and Coalition Government.
(See Guardian Story Link Here)

After the ritual Eu tantrums and hysterical threats, the Eu simply ignored Cameron's veto. They passed the legislation without Camerons signature. The only difference was that now instead of being called a Treaty it was called an Accord.

So, far from being a "Cast Iron Veto" on Eu policy, all it achieved (at best) was an unrecognised and undocumented UK opt-out (which I suppose is at least something). True to form then EU had circumvented the "Cast Iron Veto" again.

And that is where we are today. The concept of a "Cast Iron Veto" as eulogised by Cameron is an illusion. The timid will not use it. The devious avoid it. If it does get invoked, it is circumvented, ignored or defeated.

It is purely Smoke and Mirrors.

Nothing more.

Vetos, Turkey, the Eu and Deception

Penny Mordaunt  did get her facts somewhat wrong about the accession veto on #Marr today. Theoretically the UK (and any other Eu State) does have a veto on an accession.

But the theory does not match the reality. Basically the Veto is a sham.

Let me tell you what has happened in the past.

Remember back to the 2005 Eu Treaty of Accession? That was the treaty that granted Eu membership to Bulgaria and Romania. Migration from these two very poor and barely democratic countries was already an Eu wide issue.  Thousands were living illegally in the UK and Germany. Problems abounded, especially in London.

I can remember there was a great deal of public concern about further mass immigration. People were worried about crime, jobs, benefits and the loading on the NHS.

The media went into overdrive mode to play it down. Anyone who questioned the sense in allowing free unchecked access to two very poor countries was shouted down or simply ignored. But the unease among the public was palpable.

The UK has always had a large Euro-skeptic base including many MP's. So it would be reasonable to suppose that those MP's would have vociferously debated and then voted against the 2005 bill granting UK approval for the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.

So even if the majority of MP's supported the accession bill, there would have been a significant verifiable opposition vote we could see today in the records.

Yet not a single MP voted against the accession of Bulgaria or Romania. There is though, a very good reason why they did not vote.

There was no vote.

There was no division. So no vote. Or at least no vote as a member of the public would expect on such a serious matter.

This is taken from Wikipedia (Wikipedia - Treaty of Accession 2005)

No division means no accountable vote.

It was (at best) nodded through on a Voice Vote although even this is unclear. Voice votes either pass or fail. There is no record of who took part in voice votes (assuming there was one). It could have been ten MP's or three hundred (probably the former).

The Public were alarmed. Yet the MP's nodded it through.

Does this give you confidence in the ability of Parliament, when under pressure from their Eu superiors, to even debate a veto let alone apply one?

Of course the Accession then went to the House of Lords who are supposed to scrutinise, comment and if necessary return policy to the House of Commons for further debate and work.

The House of Lords also votes - or not, as in this case.

As in the House of Commons there was no meaningful accountable vote.

Despite severe Public concern, the Accession Bill for Romania and Bulgaria was simply nodded through. The Eu were delighted.

Does that sound like a "Cast Iron Veto" to you?
We have to remember that many of the people in high office in this country are beholden to their masters in the Eu. They fix things to work as their masters want. They fixed the 2005 accession treaty and (if given the chance) they will fix further accession treaties.

If you want democracy in this country then we must break the links to the puppet masters.

Vote Leave on June 23rd.

Intimidate Us Mr Juncker? Really? I'll Raise you 5.

Quote: "If the British leave Europe, people will have to face the consequences"

So Mr Junker, you say: "Deserters will be given no favours". You say the UK "Won't be "handled with kid gloves". (Telegraph Here) (Reuters Here)

I gather one of you avid French sychophants reckons we'll be "killed" if we leave the Eu.

Ooohhh ouch!

Maybe Mr Juncker, I detect a little of the arrogant bully here? You know, frighten the little people? Beat the dog down. Show the UK their place?

I have to tell you Mr Juncker, that bullies usually end up finding out (often the hard way) that victims can become energised by abuse.

So, Mr Juncker, you want to PUNISH the UK do you?

Dare I say that you'd better beware. Else we punish you back.

Laughing are you Mr Juncker?

Really? Like when the bully laughs at his victim who has finally clenched his fist?

You started the threats and terrorist rhetoric Mr Juncker. So now I'll raise you FIVE.

How about a few ideas for starters.

You remember those Typhoon fighter jets, currently protecting your Eastern flank in Lithuania?

Well sorry, we are SO FRIGHTENED by your threats we will simply have to withdraw them to save money.

Then there is all that expensive military assistance and co-operation that keeps much of your various sub-optimal military organisations afloat. Maybe that needs to go.

Costly Royal Navy ships in the Mediterranean? They'll have to go too. They'll be needed her to defend our new fishing limits.

I gather you are a little concerned about Isis and you are heavily reliant on our intelligence. Well, sorry. We can't afford the phone calls any more.

I expect at this point Mr Juncker, you'll be smirking.

Of course the UK wouldn't do such things!  Wouldn't it compromise UK security too?

Ah well. That's a good question.

Remember Mr Juncker here you are reading from one of the little people. I am not one of the Metropolitan elitist snobs who currently rule this ravaged little land.

So just for a moment, look at it from the position of the proles Mr Juncker. Rather than from the view point of your sycophants and toadies.

Is a faint and distant threat (for us) from Russia more destructive to the UK than being overwhelmed and ruled by you and your associated Oligachs?

Funnily we feel somewhat less insecure about Mr Putin than you do. After all there is 1600 Kilometers of Europe between the English Channel and Russia. Then, don't forget, there is another 30 kilometres of water between Europe and us.

As for intelligence on the threat from Isis we find the Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.) constitutes our defence (and yours too for that matter).

In reality, your shabby corrupt Eu intelligence doesn't really add much does it? Maybe we would get a little bit more conservative about what we share.

But anyway Mr Juncker, I can give you a comforting thought.

These are only my ideas of what UK retaliation could result from your "punishment".

The good news for you is that our current bunch of ruling Metropolitan snobs would probably NEVER contemplate such things.

But I have some bad news too.

You know those little people? The ones you deride, intimidate and sneer at?

Well, even after all the Eu bullying, lies, deceit and scare mongering, about half the UK electorate (at least) will vote to leave the Eu. Maybe many more.

Just think Mr Juncker and ask yourself this:

How many of those 30 million bullied, vilified and terrorised little people would now commit to defending your ugly monolithic anti-democratic Eu extravaganza?

Any? (I think maybe none.)

Maybe due to your threats and intimidation we will lose the referendum. Or maybe we will leave and you will "punish" us as described.

On a personal level, in either case, I will personally do my very best to oppose, subvert and dilute any support to your Oligarchy from then on.

So if either of these circumstances come about, I won't be marching to your defence Mr Juncker.

Much less my children.

Ever. Under any circumstance.

Furthermore I'd do my best oppose any UK support or commitment to the Eu. For any reason.

I would if necessary, lie in front of tank transporters, close runways and prevent ships sailing. Basically Mr Juncker, I will do my very best to ensure NO UK military or financial commitment is spent in defending or propping up any part of your Oligarchy.

Of course I'm just one of the little people.

Such statements from one of the proles may be regarded as trivial and simple bluster. But remember Mr Juncker, there are at least 30 million of us despised and derided little people who feel the same way in the UK. So beware.

But let us cool it down a little and end on a more conciliatory note. I'll condense the above into a few simple words.

Basically Mr Juncker, we can have friendly relations with the Eu.

Or not.

As is your choice.

But please, do not expect hostile Eu actions against the UK to go without consequence.