topperfalkon wrote:Unfortunately there's no quick fix here. As tuoni stated (and he should know really as it's his 'real job') the EEC is one of the good products of Europe, but that doesn't strictly tie us into the EU. Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland I think all make use of the EEC despite not being part of the EU. However, the one good thing about the EU itself is that it provides a sense of international legal standards, especially in terms of the ECHR, which comes in a sizeable portion from our own laws.
The EEC is part of the EU, formerly it was one of the Three Pillars. You probably mean EFTA, the European Free Trade Association. and by extension the European Economic Area, which is the EU27 + 3 EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, excluding Switzerland which rejected the EEA treaty).
Also, the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU (except that the EU is mandated to accede to the ECHR by the Lisbon Treaty; something that the UK is blocking in the Council of Ministers), it is part of the Council of Europe, an all together different organisation that includes 47 member states (including all of the EU27).
Again, as tuoni wisely pointed out, the main issue with the EU is chiefly the Parliament and the rest of the legal structure, which ranges from inept to farcical to insane depending on people's moods. There is also a drive towards a greater political and economic unity I believe within the continent that is very much non-existent here, which causes inevitable friction between us and Europe.
The solution isn't particularly clear, although I personally suggest that we do our best to minimise reliance on the EU states, but the only way we can promote our agenda is to have pirates within the EU Parliament. Hopefully we'll get nearer to achieving that aim by 2014.
IMHO, part of the problem is that the EU Parliament does not have the right to legislative initiative. Only the European Commission can start the legislative procedure. The Commission president, at present, is appointed by the Council and ratified by the Parliament, and his commissioners are ratified en bloc by the Parliament. At least now we have the Lisbon Treaty the Parliament itself will elect
the Commission president, but there's still a huge amount of democratic deficiency.
I think one of the other problems is that people just don't know how the European Union works (or doesn't, as the case may be). There's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding around, which only ever leads to distrust of the institutions.