Treaties, agreements, rules and regulations are made in Brussels and enforced by rulings from the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Member states in the EU sign up to the treaties and thereby agree to abide by its laws, rules and regulation. Countries linked by bilateral agreements to the EU, including Switzerland and Norway, sign agreements, for example the EEA and EFTA, which bind them to accept the rules and regulations in place at the time they sign. These are known as “static agreements”. However, there is pressure from the EU to turn these into “dynamic agreements” under which signatory countries would have to accept all new developments in EU law, whether rules from Brussels or rulings from the ECJ, as they come into force. Member states of the EU are obliged to accept laws and rulings as they are made, that is what they signed up to; the proposal is that bilateral agreements with states outside the EU should also be dynamic. It is likely that negotiations between the EU and the UK over Brexit will include an insistence that any bilateral agreement should be dynamic in this sense.
Obviously it would be convenient for the EU if its laws and rulings were carried automatically into force in other ‘related’ states. More to the point, the whole process of dynamic agreements illustrates the underlying ambition to create a super-state that governs both members and non-members in Europe. The super-state ambition is not restricted to members of the EU.
We have a way to make you obey.
The insidious process is exemplified by the provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, drawn up in 2012 and no doubt made irrelevant by later events. Nevertheless the expectation from the EU is clear:
“Another guiding provision sets out the concept of dynamic approximation. There was a need to set out this concept as the EU law and legislation is not static but under constant evolution. Thus the approximation process will be dynamic and should keep pace with the principal EU reforms, but in a proportionate way, taking account of Ukraine’s capacity to carry out the approximation.” (European Commission)
The British, and the Swiss and Norwegians, are asking themselves whether they wish to be subsumed under such a super-state. In a democracy such as Britain’s the decision will be made by parliament and will be influenced by the views of voters, who can remove a government the actions of which they disapprove. Not so for the EU, whose voters do not have such a power (and responsibility).