The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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How the EU uses Article 308 to force ever-closer Union

Robert Oulds

How the EU uses Article 308

The British Government is conspiring with the EU to force through further integration using Article 308 of Britain’s membership of the European Union.

This article reads:
"If action by the Community should prove necessary to attain, in the course of the operation of the common market, one of the objectives of the Community, and this Treaty has not provided the necessary powers, the Council shall, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, take the appropriate measures."

This means that the EU can take extra powers in order to help the common market.

However, the European Court of Justice’s interpretation of this article allows for greater centralisation than what is permitted under our treaty obligations. The ECJ has decided that Article 308 can be used in matters that do not relate in any way to the common market. This shows that the argument that there is a limit to EU power is merely pretence. The Government has recently announced that they support the EU’s loose interpretation of the meaning of Article 308.

The European Union is even using the EU Constitution to back-up its arguments. Here they argue that Article 308 should not be considered as just a measure to help the operation of the common market because the EU Constitution has a similar clause that does not mention the common market. Choosing to interpret the meaning of Article 308 as it is set out in the Constitution, which incidentally has not been ratified, allows them to feel free to take more powers in any area they see fit.

Below are some examples of where Article 308 has been used to force further integration:

    Third world aid
    Regulation to grant exceptional food aid to the least-developed countries (Council Regulation (EEC) No 3723/81;
    Involvement in Northern Ireland
    Regulation to introduce an exceptional Community measure to promote urban renewal in Northern Ireland (Council Regulation (EEC) No 1739/83;
    Involvement in Mongolia
    Regulation to provide assistance to economic reform in Mongolia (Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 1279/96.
    Regulation to set up a Translation Centre for bodies of the European Union (Council Regulation (EC) No 2965/94;