As a future United States of Europe takes shape, its member states will share a common political structure, modelled on the existing federal structure of various countries such as Germany. The EU’s 111 regions will each have its own government relating to Brussels … The really significant step was the Government’s Regional Development Bill. This proposed setting up agencies for each English region, to exercise powers handed down from Westminster on a wide range of issues, from planning to negotiating for funds.(Daily Mail, 1 April 1999, page 10, Article by Christopher Booker)
These agencies … are far more than just an extension of central government bureaucracy. They are truly regional governments in the making that Brussels wants to see throughout the EU.
At its heart will be a wholly new tier of government, created like a Trojan horse to lock Britain into our new centre of government in Brussels. And the cleverest stroke of all has been to unroll this whole secret agenda, replacing the United Kingdom by a series of client ‘Euro-regions’, without even letting on how all its different pieces fit together.
So closely has the EU been involved in this project that the European Commission office in London has helped set up regional conferences behind closed doors to brief local authority representatives on what is going on.
The new Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are appointed by, and accountable to, the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and were formally launched on the 1st of April this year, following an Act of Parliament. Their creation has nothing to do with “Europe’s Bureaucrats”. The boundaries of the nine English regions, to which Christopher Booker is referring to, were set out in the UK Government’s White Paper entitled “Building Partnerships for Prosperity” published in December 1997, by the DETR.
Ten similar formal regions of England (Merseyside was designated separately from the North West) were introduced by the previous UK administration in 1994 in the form of Government Offices for each region as part of their 1992 election manifesto commitment. These designated regions (with slightly different boundaries) had existed prior to that date for UK central Government planning purposes.
As regards the constitutional paranoia exhibited by Christopher Booker, the only forum in which EU regions have a direct interest in is the Committee of the Regions. The British members of the Committee are appointed by the UK government. The Committee was created in 1994 as a consultative body, with no legislative power whatsoever, to be responsible for bringing a local and regional viewpoint on European Union legislation and policy.
All legislative decisions in the EU are in the power of the Council of Ministers (national Governments of the Member States) and/or the European Parliament.
It would be difficult for the European Commission’s London office to brief local authorities on what is going on concerning regional government of the EU, when all we have to rely upon is Christopher Booker’s imagination.