October 5, 2010


Herman Van Rompuy announces a new 'reverse majority rule' to get around the national veto 

By Daniel Hannan Politics Last updated: October 4th, 2010 

What is the legal basis of this latest power grab?

What is the legal basis of this latest power grab?

Herman Van Rompuy, the President of Europe, wants a new mechanism to enforce sanctions against member states which borrow too much. Fair enough, you might say: of the 27 member states, only three currently meet the EU’s debt and deficit rules (see here). What’s alarming is the mechanism Mr Van Rompuy intends to use:
Whenever possible, decision-making rules on sanctions should be more automatic and based on a reverse majority rule, implying a Commission proposal is adopted unless rejected by the Council.
The reverse majority rule? I’m one of those few sad souls who has waded through the entire text of the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty, and I can’t remember any such procedure. I have spent two days asking around in Brussels, and no one there knows what it is, either.
So here is an innovation which would substantially shift power from the national capitals to the Commission, and which concerns an issue of major importance (levying fines), but which seems to have no legal basis.
I know that a number of Eurocrats read this blog, and occasionally post remarks under amusing noms de plume. Perhaps one of them can enlighten me. On the basis of what article is President Van Rompuy arrogating these new powers? Is the EU – yet again – making up the rules as it goes along?
(Hat-tip, England Expects.)