Monday, 23 August 2010

The Coalition Lies On Road Pricing 'Surprise' - Not

The Express on line has an article about the possible mandatory imposition of road-charging by the European Union. I have already posted on this subject here, likewise IanPJ on Politics here.

From the Express article we learn:

"The DFT said last night: “The Trans-European Transport Network allows the UK to bid for funding for transport projects but does not give the EU any control over UK roads. “We have ruled out charging for existing roads and any decisions on this matter are for the UK Government to make."
As an aside, do note the wording used: 'but does not give the EU any control over UK roads' and the omission of the word 'yet'. Note also: 'We have ruled out charging for existing roads' and the word 'existing'. Note also 'any decisions on this matter are for the UK Government to make' and the omission of the words 'at present'.

What is it that the DFT do not understand from Articles 90 and 91 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) especially those words which I emphasised? I would also remind the DFT of the provisions of Article 5 (3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) which states:

"Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action be better achieved at Union level."
'Subsidiarity' is presently best known as a fundamental principle of European Union Law. According to this principle, the EU may only act (i.e. make laws) where action of individual countries is insufficient - which opens what might be termed a 'Pandora's Box' in that it allows the EU to initiate any law on any subject it so desires.

The attention of the DFT is also drawn to Article 6 of the TFEU which states:

"The Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States. The areas of such action shall, at European level, be:

(a) protection and improvement of human health;

(b) industry;

(c) culture;

(d) tourism;

(e) education, vocational training, youth and sport;

(f) civil protection;

(g) administrative cooperation.
 Under the above, all subjects - other than possibly (e) - can and no doubt will be used by the EU to initiate laws governing transport matters.

The Coalition's
programme for government has been disingenuous (no change there then) in its statement on Transport (page 31):
The Government believes that a modern transport infrastructure is essential for a dynamic and entrepreneurial economy, as well as to improve well-being and quality of life. We need to make the transport sector greener and more sustainable, with tougher emission standards and support for new transport technologies.
 which leaves them all the 'wriggle-room' they need to 'accept' any EU 'law' on transport - and any aspect of transport - and which shows that besides the DFT, the Coalition also need to re-read the Articles quoted above.

So much for 'honesty' and 'transparency'!