to read the Lisbon Treaty
If one wants to learn what the Lisbon
Treaty is really about,
reading the treaty itself is insufficient. Reading consolidated version
of the current treaties (where amendments of the Lisbon Treaty are
incorporated) is also insufficient.
One must compare individual articles
of the Lisbon Treaty with
individual articles of the current treaties. The Czech government
(similarly as governments in other EU member states) did not introduce
to the parliament the consolidated version of the Treaty with
specifying what was dropped and what was added as it is common with
ordinary bills. Thus the government is in fact selling a pig in a poke.
Let’s show an example. Paragraph
79 on page C306/70
of the Lisbon Treaty says:
"At the end of Article 93, the words within
the time limit laid down in Article 14 shall be replaced by and
to avoid distortion of competition."
Seemingly an innocent sentence.
Something about avoiding distortion
of competition. After all – who would object to avoiding distortion of
competition!? But-First we must understand that the above mentioned
article 93 is that of the Treaty
establishing the European Community which says:
"The Council shall, acting
unanimously on a proposal from the
Commission ...adopt provisions for the harmonisation of legislation
concerning turnover taxes, excise duties and other forms of indirect
taxation to the extent that such harmonisation is necessary to ensure
the establishment and the functioning of the internal market within the
time limit laid down in Article 14."
seemingly inconspicuous sentence
somewhere in the middle of
the Lisbon Treaty abolishes the time limit within which the EU can
harmonize indirect taxes, which as we could see in the article 14 has
expired! The new sentence would also enable the Council of Ministers to
adopt directives on minimum rates of taxes and excise duties upon a
claim that the current rates distort competition.
If the Lisbon treaty
is ratified one should not wonder when the Commission proposes, say,
increases in minimum VAT rate from 15 to 19 (currently basic rate in
Germany or France) pointing that British 16 or Luxembourg 15 per cent
represent "harmful tax competition" and "distort competition" in the
then solace ourselves at
least by the fact that the EU
needs unanimity in the Council of Finance ministers in order to adopt
such a directive? Precociously. Another series of inconspicuous
paragraphs in the Lisbon Treaty enables shifting taxation from
unanimity to majority voting.
end of fiscal Autonomy
Lisbon Treaty (on page C306/43)
says, that in the article 93 the words "acting unanimously on a
proposal from the Commission" shall be replaced by "acting unanimously
in accordance with a special legislative procedure" and then (on page C306/39):
the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for
legislative acts to be adopted by the Council in accordance with a
special legislative procedure, the European Council may adopt a
decision allowing for the adoption of such acts in accordance with the
ordinary legislative procedure." Keep on mind that the words
"ordinary legislative procedure" in the Lisbon Treaty mean majority
voting while the "special legislative procedure" means unanimity.
then at least believe that our
prime minister will never
agree to a proposal that would shift taxes from unanimity to majority
voting? Hardly. In comparison with signing the whole Lisbon treaty,
which enables all this, a single voting in the European Council is a
bagatelle. A Prime Minister who easily signs the Lisbon Treaty can -
one late night of a Council summit - even more comfortingly support a
proposal like "decisions according article 93 (113) shall be adopted in
accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure".
of this article is not to
describe all the changes included
in the Lisbon Treaty. We have just shown a small example whereas the
Lisbon Treaty is full of similar "innocent" provisions.