It is generally acknowledged that there are few areas in which the European Union cannot force national governments to enact new laws. In this context it is worth revisiting Articles 3,4 & 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:
1. The Union shall have exclusive competence in the following areas:
(a) customs union;
(b) the establishing of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market;
(c) monetary policy for the Member States whose currency is the euro;
(d) the conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy;
(e) common commercial policy.
2. The Union shall also have exclusive competence for the conclusion of an international
agreement when its conclusion is provided for in a legislative act of the Union or is necessary to enable
the Union to exercise its internal competence, or in so far as its conclusion may affect common rules or
alter their scope.
1. The Union shall share competence with the Member States where the Treaties confer on it a
competence which does not relate to the areas referred to in Articles 3 and 6.
2. Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following
(a) internal market;
(b) social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty;
(c) economic, social and territorial cohesion;
(d) agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources;
(f) consumer protection;
(h) trans-European networks;
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;
(d) tourism; education, vocational training, youth and sport;
(f) civil protection;
(g) administrative cooperation.
It is well known that the EU rules our energy policy in this country and within this area falls, of course, electricity and the means of production. It may also be recalled that during 2009, under the last Labour government, Ed Miliband who was the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was praising the proposed introduction of smart meters, evidenced by this report in the Guardian and this report from the BBC. Of course, true to form by our politicians and media, what we were not informed was that this was part of the EU2020 agenda and a further communication on the introduction of smart meters was issued by the EU Commission on 12th April 2011. In the communication mentioned in the last sentence it will be seen that: "Smart Grids could be described as an upgraded electricity network to which two-way digital communication between supplier and consumer, intelligent metering and monitoring systems have been added". Whilst smart grids may allow the consumer to monitor usage, the "two-way digital communication" will also allow the supplier to interrupt supply - ie to introduce power-cuts. Integration of eletricity supply has been on the agenda for some time as witnessed by this document in which it is stated that: "Bringing together latest progress in Information and Communication technologies and network development will allow electricity current to flow exactly where and when it is needed at the cheapest cost"; in other words it is intended that electricity can be supplied across member state borders.
Now supposing I was to tell you that the EU had their beady eyes on water? Ah, you may say, but water is not mentioned in any of the articles quoted above. This is true, but reading them again it is quite logical to see that water could be considered to fall into any number of the points mentioned in Article 4 & 6 - for example: environment, consumer protection and the protection of human health. Courtesy of Die Welt (and google translate) we find that, having imposed energy-saving lightbulbs on us, the present Slovenian EU-Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik now wishes to impose water-saving taps, showerheads, toilets etc, etc. It will be seen from the report that Commission Potocnik also talks about saving water in the northern part of the EU to assist drought-ridden southern areas. EurActiv also reports on these water-saving measures. How exactly saving water in the North helps out the South is not spelt out, but again by utilising logic it can only mean the transfer of water across member states.
One thing is for sure folks and that is - as with the present energy policy - this is going to cost us individually twice over; once in fitting these water-saving devices and twice in increased UK contributions to the EU budget.
And Cameron et all maintain that we benefit from being a member of the EU?