The Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for a new ‘red card’ system that would allow countries to veto EU laws when they feel the European Parliament is going too far in attempts to legislate for all member countries, reports the BBC.
Mr Hague was speaking at the 63rd Konigswinter Conference, which aims to bring together speakers from Germany and Britain to ‘improve the relationship’ between the two nations.
In a speech to the conference he said the EU was suffering from a ‘crisis of legitimacy’ and called on the EU to initiate a ‘red card’ policy to complement the existing ‘yellow card’ policy on new EU laws.
At present a member state can raise a ‘yellow card’ to ask for the European Commission to reconsider legislation in a particular area if it is felt it goes beyond the remit of the EU.
Under Mr Hague’s ‘red card’ system, national governments could effectively block any law that does not require trans-member state agreement.
The ‘red card’ would only be available if a set number of countries were all to object, effectively ruling out one country vetoing legislation that all others support.
Supporters believe the move would promote better credibility for the EU, by allowing democratically elected national governments a greater say over the policies of the appointed Commission.
Britain is facing increasing marginalisation in European politics, with plans for an in-out referendum before the end of 2017, designed to appease a growing number of eurosceptics at home following the support of anti-European parties such as the UK Independence Party at the local elections earlier in May.
Mr Hague called on Germany, which plays a central role within the EU, to work with Britain to make a more ‘competitive, flexible and democratically accountable EU’.
“The British feel that Europe is something that happens to them, not something they have enough of a say over. That the EU is happy speaking but does not seem interested in listening,” he told the conference.
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