This is a poster just released by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) for the 2014 European Election campaign.
The issue of how many of UK laws are generated in Brussels has always been a contentious one. Just after the second Clegg-Farage debate in early April, UKIP’s official Youtube channel (ukipofficial) uploaded a video titled ‘Facts’:
The video consisted of:
1) A clip of Nick Clegg from the first debate claiming that ‘only 7% of UK law is generated in Brussels’;
2) Followed by a clip of European commissioner Viviane Reding talking about ‘70% of laws’;
3) Then a clip of Nigel Farage in the second debate challenging Clegg’s 7% figure, accusing him of ‘willfully lying to the British people’ (accompanied by dramatic background music);
4) And finally, Farage’s rallying cry to join the ‘People’s Army and topple the establishment’, taken from the end of the second debate.
The video was also posted on the official UKIP Facebook page.
The intention of the video is clear – to claim that Clegg had: i) made up the 7% figure; and ii) had contradicted Reding (and therefore the European Commission).
It is wrong on both counts:
i) The 7% figure was not made up. It is clearly shown in a report published by arguably the definitive source on UK legislation – the House of Commons Library, as Clegg correctly cited. It refers to UK primary legislation (the figure is 6.8%, to be exact) that ‘had a role in implementing EU obligations’.
ii) UKIP had cherry-picked what Viviane Reding said. At the Citizens’ Dialogue event in London on February the 10th 2014, Reding said:
“..the European Parliament is co-decider with the member states on European laws. And European laws then are integrated into national laws in the member states. So 70% of the laws in this country are made/co-decided by the European Parliament.”
Note she clearly states ‘EUROPEAN laws’; the last sentence was a bit of a throwaway. Here is the video of the event:
The Citizens’ Dialogue tour aims to engage ordinary people right across the European Union (EU). The above video shows Viviane Reding speaker to a medium-sized audience, many of whom were members of the British public. It was also the first time the tour had gone to the UK, and to this date remains the only time.
UKIP however, picked a more obscure recording of Reding for their video, taken from a Hangout (Skype chat, basically) to a group of bloggers:
In other words, they cherry-picked a section of her words to suit their agenda, ignored her words on the topic in a public event (that was widely covered by the UK press) and then had the nerve to claim that Nick Clegg was the one ‘willfully lying to the British people’.
This misinterpretation of EU legislation as EU member state legislation originates from a YouTube video with Hans-Gert Pottering, EPP MEP and President of the European Parliament from January 2007 to June 2009 stating:
“If we were not that influential,” the subtitles show Pottering as saying, “then we would not be the legislator of 75% of all laws in Europe.”
(The video is handily provided by ‘ukipmedia’.)
Those who have listened to the full speech know that what Pottering was actually saying was that the European Parliament has a say in 75% of EU laws. EU laws do NOT refer to the laws of each individual EU member state; rather they refer to laws generated by the EU that may then be applied to the member states’ own laws. The other 25% of EU laws are passed by the European Commission, who act either alone or together with the Council of the European Union in such cases. For a fuller explanation of EU legislative procedure, see here.
So we know UKIP got it wrong.
But as it turns out, THEY know too.
For instance, here is a clip of UKIP’s Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall, admitting that his party had misinterpreted Pottering’s comments.
And not only have they now hidden that ‘Facts’ video on Youtube, but they have also deleted it from the official UKIP Facebook page. (Yet they continue to peddle the myths of the 75% claim.)
Remember, this is the only purpose of their existence: this notion that Brussels determines our laws. They simply cannot afford to be challenged on it as it’d expose the whole party as utterly pointless. The UK Independence Party was created by Alan Sked with one aim: to get UK out of the European Union, on the basis that the EU, or its affiliated bodies the European Commission and the European Parliament, generated most of our laws.
So given they have overestimated the impact of Brussels on UK laws, one has to ask: what is the point of UKIP?
We need as many people to spread these 3 links on the net:
The URL of the hidden video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb-6fZa8Vok