A GUY's View: Sovereignty versus economics 2
Mon, 07/11/2016 - 12:55am
R E Guyson Mayers
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3 .The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
The foregoing constitutes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This Article sets out the procedure which must now be followed as Britain separates itself from the European Union.
Two things are important to note. The next critical move lies with Britain which now has to give formal notice to the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the Union. The other thing to note is that it could take a full two years before the separation is complete.
The contents of this treaty anticipates a common future for signatories to it. However, association is voluntary. There was no attempt to hold members by force.
The European Union arrangement provided an ideal foundation for member states to promote common interests and project European power abroad. They are in the vanguard of globalization because that concept works for their economies and their status.
Globalization probably means different things to different people, but it is of major importance to all who occupy some space on this earth. It touches us all.
For the business elite, it is the best thing since sliced bread. If you live in Europe or North America, the world is your oyster and every country that can afford your goods and services is your market.
Pistol, a character in Shakespeare’s, “The Merry Wives of Winsor”, resolved to use his sword to open the world, his oyster. This was his response to Falstaff vowing not to lend him a penny. Only those with a big sword can see the world as their oyster. The language may be different, but to many, globalization may seem like another description for the old arrangement where one group of countries control the resources of all the others.
The global economy works well for the business elite, but it holds few goodies for workers. It is the business elite that open businesses in China and India to produce the goods that are consumed in their countries. Not all citizens of these countries are in a position to benefit from these arrangements, but this is not a problem for the decision makers. In some countries, governmental decisions are good when they reflect the interests of the business elite.
If you are a western worker, chances are you are not too sure about the security of your job. The desire to move production of goods to lower waged areas is strong. The only consideration of whether this should be done is the extent of the profits that businesses stand to make from such a move.
If you are a worker in a country where jobs are scarce, the standard and cost of living are low and wages are low, new factories and other production plants would be a welcomed source of employment, even if what is earned is minimal. A small wage is better than no wage. Desperate people are not in a position to refuse a paying job.
While the business elite continue to benefit from relocating their businesses in developing countries, workers in their countries have to settle for underemployment and reduced social benefits. A study of the Greek events would disclose the slide that workers suffer when the structure of former prosperous economies change.
Modern technology makes the export of services just as easy as the export of goods. Multinational companies are able to perform different aspects of their services in many parts of the world.
These events may be seen in microcosm by events right here in Barbados. Most of us remember Cable and Wireless and its metamorphosis over time. There was a time when we took our complaints to Government Hill. A call for service now is answered in some foreign country. Apparently it is cheaper to pay workers in the second country to answer Barbadian concerns. This is not good news for personal service for Barbadians, but that is not of any concern for companies of this nature. The promise of good service ends when you buy their product. It has nothing to do with delivery.
For the global business arrangement to continue, it is necessary to keep those who lose from it from having an opportunity to decide its fate. Otherwise, one must find a way to convince them that they should keep a system that marginalizes them. The British people probably spoke for many across the world when they voted against it.
The Brexit vote was a blow against globalisation and the much vaunted new world order that leaves out the developing world and the ordinary citizen in all worlds. Fortunately, the European Union’s foundation treaty entrenched freedom of association. The British people, contrary to the view of their Government, chose to disassociate. Whatever view we may have from this distance, the British people have spoken.