Friday, August 5, 2022

Attempts to circle around the EU treaties

 The unanimity rule is good because "it guarantees smaller, economically weaker countries a sense of influence over decisions."

MEP Ryszard Czarnecki says that some European politicians question the principle of unanimity in the European Union, under which individual member states can exercise the right of veto. In mid-July, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated, "we can no longer afford national veto, for example, in foreign policy, if we want to continue to be heard in a world of competing super powers." 

Czarnecki noted that it was mainly German politicians, not Portuguese, Spanish, or even Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) politicians talking about it.

"Departure from the principle of unanimity is very beneficial for Germany, which can easily form a coalition (...) which can push for a qualified majority vote. Of course, German politicians talk about it, because it is in the interest of Germany" - said the MEP.

Czarnecki said that there were attempts to circumvent the EU treaties so that the veto could not be used. He mentioned the currently used solidarity mechanism for reducing gas consumption by EU countries. These rules will be adopted based on a qualified majority, with no possibility of a veto. 

"This is a very good example of bypassing the unanimity rule. (...) A roundabout way, bypassing the treaties, a certain key issue is circumvented, i.e. deviating from the unanimity rule in the gas issue. There will probably be more such pretexts to circumvent the unanimity rule. (...) It is very dangerous. We can see what is happening in Poland-EU relations, departing from the principle of veto will be very harmful for us"- said Czarnecki.

The political agreement assumes a voluntary reduction of demand for this raw material by 15%. before winter and during the winter period. It also allows for triggering a "security of supply alert" in the event of a crisis. In such a case, reducing the demand for gas would become compulsory. The saved gas could be then shared with countries like Germany that, until the last two weeks, were still buying gas from Russia.

In mid-July, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that steps should be taken to preserve the unity of the European Union. He noted that this meant "an end to the selfish blocking of European decisions by individual member states."