I recently attended a meeting of the newly reconstituted Nuclear Forum in the European parliament, under the Chairmanship of Welsh Labour MEP Derek Vaughan. The previous chairman Edit Herzog was sadly not re-elected last year, despite the amazing job she had done.
And I was horrified to discover that under the terms of the Euratom Treaty of 1957 , this lady and her agency have the right to block contracts for supply of nuclear materials, and especially Uranium, to member-states, on a whim. If Ute doesn’t sign the contract, there’s no contract.
This means, in effect, that if the UK wants to buy uranium from a supplier outside the EU, we have to go cap-in-hand and ask permission. Even after fifteen years in the parliament, I’m still finding new areas where we have lost the right to manage our own affairs.
But you may say – “OK, they have the right – but surely they wouldn’t use it?”. Sorry guys, but they just did. Hungary and Russia had worked out a supply contract between them – and the ESA vetoed it! Here’s the EU Observer version.
Now in this case I can see the logic of the ESA position. We are already far too dependent on energy supplies from Russia, and we don’t want to be more so. But that’s not the point. That is a judgement call to be made by the authorities in Hungary, not a Eurocrat in Brussels. And if they can stop Hungary making a deal – they can stop the UK as well. Yet another reason we’ll be Better Off Out.