Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Lisbon Treaty Ratified

The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, has signed the Lisbon Treaty. It means that all 27 nations in the European Union have formally fatified the treaty and it will come into force within weeks.

In the UK this has been widely reported as more of Britain's sovereignty being handed over the EU - an institution believed by many to be undemocratic. The treaty's had a lot of bad press. Okay there are areas where the voting rules have been changed - some vetoes have been removed, and votes can be passed by a majority of 55% of the EU's member states (providing they represent 65% of the EU population).

But it has many advantages. And these are actually in the areas many have criticised the treaty. The EU will get a President and a Foreign Minister. Now if you want my opinion - and if you've read down this posting this far it seems you might - this is a great thing for the EU.
I've said before that we are a small country in a world becoming more and more dominated by large countries. The USA, China, India and Brazil are all much bigger nations that we are. Add in Russia which, although only the size of the UK and Germany added together in terms of population, has a massive surface area and enormous available resources.

In fact if you list all the countries of the world in order from the largest land area to the smallest, the first on the list for an EU nations is 43rd for France. It's the only EU country in the top fifty. If Turkey joins we will get a second (Turkey is at 37 on the list). The United Kingdom comes in at 79th, behind countries such as Gabon (75th), Burkina Faso (73rd), Oman (70th), Cote D'Ivoire (68th), Uzbekistan (55th), Madagascar (46th), Myanmar (40th), Mauritania (29th), Chad (21st) and Kazakhstan (9th).

In terms of pure population the EU manages slightly better. Germany ranks 14th, France 20th and the UK 22nd. But we are still small fry next to China's 1.4 billion and India's 1.1 billion.

But if we stand together we are half a billion. And in having a single figure representing the common interest of 27 nations (and hopefully 28 very soon with Croatia joining, maybe even 29 including Iceland) we will have a much stronger voice.

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