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  • Merkel’s no to Cameron: time to settle Britain’s relationship with the EU

    31 December 2014  20:00, by giuseppe marrosu

    Iwantout has a point. Up to now we in the Eurozone have tolerated the UK’s footdragging on closer integration largely out of fear of a British disengagement. The reasons are that others might follow, that the UK is a major net contributor to the EC’s budget despite all the rebates, and that most of Eurozone governments are against the US of E either but are afraid to declare it, so they use the UK’s chronic anti-europeism as a shield. But, in my humble opinion, in this game everyone ends up losing: the UK loses its sovereignety (whatever that might mean for a US satellite that has a population 20 times smaller than China and 7 times smaller the rest of the EU and that relies on imports for most raw materials and energy) against its own people’s will (I believe) and the rest of Europe is stuck to a partner that vetoes much-needed reforms in the direction of more integration. The Eurozone should become a sovereign State to be more effective in facing today’s problem, but it should let England out (with or without Scotland, they’ve thrown away their chance at independence within the EU) if it chooses that. It’s time for the People in each country to debate and decide freely if they want to stay or not in a closer Union. Those who choose not to should be free to become friendly partners of the new Power.

  • Europe: A Denationalization Project For the Best

    30 December 2014  10:09, by Iwantout

    The word democratic appears four time in one form or another in this piece. Yet no where do you acknowledge the right of the electorate to vote or even be consulted on your grand design to dissolve their countries. Instead you adopt an autocratic elitist stance that those in favour of your scheme know best.

    Please could you provide any evidence / link / report / essay etc. from within the last ten years which suggests for one moment that 50.1% of the population of the EU as a whole would support such a move to abolish their states and create your preferred option. (I would even settle for an example of any state showing such willingness.) Failure to provide any such evidence will allow readers to draw their own conclusions with regards to the support you actually have. I would of course remind you that in a number of countries voting in May 2014 the anti EU parties won, hardly evidence of support for your case; aside from the fact that once again an ever increasing majority failed to engage at all.

    I would suggest that this shows that in some countries majority support for the EU even as it currently exists is highly debateable.

    In your section touching on subsidiarity you recognise its importance. I would point back to you that the EUs history is of the relentless accretion of power to the centre and the failure to accept subsidiarity in any real form. Why for example in political terms is it necessary for the centre to decree what light bulbs I can buy, can I not make up my own mind ? Is this essential for the ’project’, provide me the information and let me decide.

    You finished with a quote from Monnet, let me do the same illustrating his absolute recognition of the lack of support his ideas had. “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation." 30th April 1952. Hardly the words of a democrat are they! I assume you still support this position ? 30/12/14

  • Merkel’s no to Cameron: time to settle Britain’s relationship with the EU

    16 December 2014  21:53, by Iwantout

    We can agree that we have come to the point when the UK must decide what relationship it has with the EU. Your assessment that the UK can go no further down the federalist path is undoubtedly accurate.

    Your comments re migration and influence over legislation are too basic.

    The simplistic welfare cost benefit discussion ignores the social costs to health, education etc. Dept of Health figures show the current annual cost to the NHS of the 611k “non-active” EU migrants (EU figs Oct 2013) to be approx. €1.8 bn (£1.5 bn); about 1% of the NHS budget. The Dept of Education estimates that an additional 155,000 primary school places will need to be provided by 2017/18 largely as a result of migration. The debate is much more complex that net welfare payments.

    We can all agree that controlled migration is beneficial to everyone, but how can any government plan effectively (housing, schools, power, transport infrastructure, etc) when very large movements of people can happen at extremely short notice ?

    With regards to the impact on employment for the low skilled, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development surveyed 1000 businesses, the results were published 30/09/14. It stated “some younger British workers were likely to have failed to find work because of the huge influx of migrants from Poland etc”. More than 25% of manufacturers and 23% of all employers said EU migration had reduced job opportunities for young Britons. Two thirds of the migrants from the 8 east European states were in low to middle skilled jobs despite 60% being graduates. So low skilled UK people cannot find work and higher qualified migrants (educated at the expense of their home countries) end up in low paid work here. Difficult to see a winner, apart from employers having to pay less for their staff.

    Legislation from the EU largely comes from the comitology process, this has representatives from all the EFTA countries (and therefore would include the UK). The UK would not have a vote but given that since the 01/11/14 the EZ can pass QMV legislation against the wishes of non-euro countries that does not seem to be much of a sacrifice.

    The final point of course is that the free movement of labour is only one of the four pillars. The remaining pillars have not been completed despite strenuous efforts by the UK since 1992, so why is the movement of labour so sacrosanct?

    The EU has red lines, but so do the UK voters. Indeed one of the most interesting aspects of this situation is the way ALL the parties have lost control of the situation because they refused to engage with the public for years on this subject. A failure by the EU to recognise the popular feeling could well result in a “Brexit” regardless of how UK politicians campaign and how would that impact on the whole EU structure? All we want is trade, but you want to create a US of E, with a major country walking away would that becomes easier or harder ? (16/12/14)

  • Fiscal Policy of Europe and the Euro: Past, Present, and Future

    28 November 2014  20:49, by Iwantout

    The Europe has most definitely not been financially united since 1992. Remember ‘Europe’, the ‘EU’ and the ‘EZ’ are entirely different things and conflating them causes confusion. The euro is not even the currency of many EU member states. At least two have permanent opt outs and are under no obligation to ever join the euro, yet (at present) they remain full members of the EU and the needs of those states must also be considered by the EU with as much care as any euro member.

    It is almost impossible to even argue that the EZ states themselves are financially united. There is no banking union, no transfer union, no direct tax raising powers etc. I accept entirely that many federalists want these powers, but as of today they do not exist yet are symptomatic of a united financial state. Indeed currency controls are in existence within the EZ itself, I point to Cyprus. An entirely impossible position in a financially united state, imagine not being able to move your money between Yorkshire and Lancashire to see the point. I could also point out that some national euro coins (the commemorative ones) are not even legal tender across the whole EZ.

    When the euro was launched there were five qualifying conditions. Only one state ever met them all at the time of entry (Luxembourg), this is the foundation for the ongoing crisis that the EZ finds itself in.

    The Growth and Stability Pact has been routinely ignored by the larger states since its inception, long before the 2008 crisis. By 2011 it had been broken 60+ times yet absolutely no action whatsoever was taken by the EU. And this is the “preventative arm” that you ask readers to believe in ? Even today Germany, the strongest economy in the EZ has a debt ratio of 76.9% of GDP (and has been over 60% since before the founding of the euro and therefore constantly in breach of the GSP). Mind you when Greece is at 175%, Italy at 133% and the EZ as an average of 90.9% you begin to see exactly how meaningful the GSP is.

    In terms of the bails outs, these were of course entirely illegal and reference to Article 123 TFEU and Article 21.1 of the Statute for the ESCB show this to be the case. But laws in the EU can be ignored if political circumstances make it preferable.

    Given these realities why should any person seriously believe the GSP or indeed any of the other financial mechanisms within the EZ are credible or indeed will be followed as per the written word ? 28/11/14


    12 November 2014  14:34, by Iwantout

    “He also courted controversy when he defended banking secrecy and the Grand Duchy’s tax and economic privileges as a tax haven.” Well since the report of the International Consortium of Investigatory Journalists (05/11/14) we now know exactly what this sentence means and the industrial scale of the tax avoidance he oversaw.

    Mr Juncker spent time criticising those he accused of aggressive tax avoidance, and of national leaders who he declared were defending national interests over the needs of the EU. At the same time it is now clear he was doing exactly that which he was so publicly condemning in others.

    Today we have a situation where a commissioner directly under the control of President Juncker is investigating the actions of Prime Minister Juncker to see precisely what offences are disclosed and we the electorate are supposed to be content. At the same time as of today (12/11/14) Mr Juncker has declined to present himself to the Parliament to answer questions on the issue.

    Reports in Der Spiegel suggest there are at “least two cases of impermissible state aid” in the Luxembourg tax affairs which would of course be illegal.



    (These articles are worth reading if only to see a German journal berating European journalists for failing to investigate and challenge the EU leaders and structures to uncover just this sort of hypocrisy, and the way Luxembourg helped FIAT arrange a tax rate of 0.03% on 2.3bn euros.)

    In the final analysis Mr Juncker has a straight forward conflict of interest and at the very least should hand over control of the Commission and temporarily absent himself from all EU activities until the matter is fully investigated. Resignation is also a matter he should be considering.

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