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  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    11 June 2015  18:20, by SBogat

    Hey Hoosier,

    I’ve got a question for you - For how long have you been living in Macedonia? If not, then I have another question - For how long have you been following Macedonian politics?

    Best regards from Macedonia

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    11 June 2015  18:06, by Hoosier

    Yep. How did that go yesterday with the extortionist Zaev?

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    10 June 2015  14:29, by Damir

    Hey Hoosier, look at what the New Your times have to say about this, they must be paid by Soros as well.


    Kind regards from Skopje,

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    10 June 2015  04:08, by Hoosier

    This article is nothing but Soros propaganda spin. It doesn’t state that the socialist opposition leader has been recorded on video demanding a bribe. So, he is desperate to destabilize the country in order to avoid jail with his party cronies.

  • Polish Presidential Elections: Analysis and Implications

    31 May 2015  00:27, by Aleksandra Sawa

    Thank you for the feedback, Michal! To address your comment: firstly, the last header is a question, as I wanted to show that I indeed doubt some of the voters know what/who they vote for. It is a fair point that you make about people voting against Duda or against Komorowski rather than FOR one of them - I briefely referred to this earlier in the article, when I said Komorowski was the ’last resort’ for some left-wing voters in the second round and also in the next paragraph when I wrote on how Komorowski focused his campaign on ’how different he was from his opponent’ in that he was not radical, especially in socio-cultural issues - aiming for those against Duda’s approach. And also when I mentioned that Duda got some additional support from the dissatisfaction of the society with recent bills of the current governement - so again, there he got the voters who voted against Komorowski and the Civic Platform. However, I didn’t want to put too much focus on this, since you can only feel this trend (of voting against rather than in favour) somehow in the atmosphere of the elections and it’s not really tangible or backed by any data (I hope you know what I mean by that). As to the second case: well, I suggested ’people voted for Kukiz’ because they did. He got 21 percent, so people DID vote for him. And I did raise the point of him being just a’tool’ - ’a yellow card. for Komorowski and Duda’. Lastly, ignorance of the voters as to what the SMCs are and what their introduction would cause is exactly what I meant by the ’lack of awareness’. I hope this clarifies a bit, as I do in fact agree with the points you made. As to Law and Justice, I guess we will have to wait and see (and vote) in October :)

  • Polish Presidential Elections: Analysis and Implications

    30 May 2015  20:42, by Michal Jarski

    Great article! But I think you are wrong in two cases: last header suggests that people vote “for” someone, whilst in Poland it looks mainly like we vote “against” someone. The campain is more about what other site didn’t do, and not about what we did. The second case is that you suggest that people voted for Kukiz. I think that they mainly voted against Komorowski and Duda, and Kukiz was only a tool to demonstrate their dissatisfaction- most of them don’t even know what SMCs are... So it shouldn’t be called “lack of awareness” :) And now the Law and Justice party is too confident of its victory in the parliamentary elections (like the Civic Platform was during this presidential elections) and their predictions are based on nothing (a lot of people voted for Duda, because they didn’t want Komorowski to be re-elected, not because they wanted Duda and “Law and Justice” party to rule the country...).

  • PRESS RELEASE: 10 Years Later Youth Takes Back the European Debate #10yearslater

    29 May 2015  13:01, by Iwantout

    Good and bad memories. A period when at least some people were asked for their views on EU direction, but were then just ignored. A time when the true nature of “democratic deficit” was revealed.

    As a matter of elaboration, while Luxembourg and Spain (the latter after the EU contributed 7.5m euro to the Yes campaign) did vote Yes and France and the Netherlands No, six other countries that were scheduled to hold referenda (Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and UK) with strong likelihoods of rejecting the Constitution cancelled the vote. Most political analysts agree that it is entirely possible that all would have rejected the Constitution.

    The reassuring (for federalists) idea that the people simply didn’t understand what was under discussion, were misled and only need more information to come to the correct decision is called ‘false consciousness’ by Marxists and tells you more about the mind set of those invoking it than is comfortable for democrats. A comment immediately prior to the vote from Laurens Brinkhorst (D 66), the vice prime minister and economics minister for the Netherlands illustrates this view admirably “It would have been better if no popular vote had been agreed to. The topic is too sensitive for the population.” (By the way, why are Spanish and Luxembourg voters implicitly assumed to have voted on The Constitution while the French and Dutch voted on national matters?)

    Subsequent polling by Maurice De Hond in the Netherlands showed the largest proportion of No voters voted for reasons related to the Constitution itself. In addition the aggressive style and tone of the Yes campaign together with the imposition of the euro without a public decision were also seen as contributing to the large No majority (61% v 38%).

    In France of course many high profile Pro EU campaigners actually fought against the Constitution because they believed it was insufficiently protective of the French economic model and was too ‘Anglo-Saxon’. They presumably knew what the Constitution was all about.

    All sides had access to the media; copies of the Constitution, simplified explanatory notes together with official pamphlets were widely available and it was the main news story across the countries. Any lack of knowledge by the voters was then surely a positive decision on their part, ie they didn’t want the broad thrust of what was being offered and thus felt the fine detail was irrelevant.

    Still in the end the Constitution was foisted on everyone regardless under the guise of The Lisbon Treaty, so no harm done. Of course for Lisbon care had to be taken that referenda were not to be used, except in the case of the pesky Irish and even then they had to have two goes, but so what. I assume the closing comment in your article “Furthermore, both organisations stress that a democratic Europe needs to be built with the consent of its people” is meant to be humorously ironic.

  • New Finnish government: mixed feelings about Europe

    27 May 2015  14:24, by Juuso Järviniemi

    Sipilä, Stubb and Soini’s press conference where the 39-page government platform was discussed finished a minute ago. Contrary to expectations, Stubb will be Minister of Finance while Soini is going to be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. Soini will also have the post of the Minister of European Affairs.

    Sylvia Bjon of Hufvudstadsbladet, the leading Swedish-language newspaper of Finland, reported from the conference. She quotes Soini (my translation from Swedish): “The European Union must be reformed so that it can better benefit the citizens. Finland respects common rules and expects others to do so, too. We are pragmatic.”

    The terms of the British EU membership were briefly discussed by Soini. He suggests that the Finnish government would understand Cameron in the upcoming negotiations, referring to the ECR Europarty.

    Stubb has messaged commitment to balance the budget and tackle Finland’s debt issues. As the Minister of Finance, he will now have a chance to turn words into action.

    Even though the appointments were surprising, in my view the nature of the government’s actions when it comes to Europe aren’t necessarily different from what they could have been if the rumours had turned out to be accurate. It appears that the website of the government is down so I can’t access the platform :/ Anyway, despite the aforementioned surprises, I can’t expect Finland to be too pro-Greece or pro-integration in the Eurogroup or, on the other hand, a notorious CFSP criminal.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    25 May 2015  22:25, by Alexander Peters

    Dear Mr. Iwantout,

    you seem to mistake me for a government implementing policies. As such I would need the “mandate”, you inquire after. However, I am merely an ordinary European citizen holding political views and trying to win over fellow citizen to those views by participating in public debate, neither of which activities requires a “mandate”. Indeed, it is my conviction that a EU as weak as now or even weaker would be a disaster in the medium term and that it would be folly to choose that option. But democratic electorates, of course, are entirely free to do exactly that.

    As for the politicians: As long as both national as well as European Parliament elections in individual countries return MPs/ MEPs which in their majority belong to parties known for their long-standing support of European integration, I do not think that it would be illegitimate for them to work on reforms aiming, e.g., at strengthening the EU in the field of foreign policy. This, I think, is the case in most EU countries - though not in Britain, of course.

  • What Cameron’s Victory means for Europe

    21 May 2015  23:16, by Iwantout

    Cameron certainly does have a mandate for EU reform, the question is whether the EU chooses to reform and to what extent.

    In this and previous articles you compare UK membership of the EU and the Scottish Independence vote. We are likely to be about two years from a referendum. With only a year to go before the Scottish vote, 52% were against independence and 32% were in favour. This 20% lead in the polls was pretty static until early August 2014, then as we all know it got ‘very exciting’ in the last month, with people who had previously had little involvement in politics suddenly becoming energised to change the status quo. An energy that has continue and even grown.

    The establishment had to make major changes in the conditions of Scottish ’membership’ in order to win that referendum and yet demands for more powers continue. Now we have 56 of 59 MPs belonging to the SNP and the question of Scottish Independence has not gone away. You rightly see the earthquake in Scottish voting as causing long term problems for Cameron, what would a similar situation do for the EU in the 2019 elections?

    As you say the pro EU side currently have a lead of 9% but are ultimately dependent on the Government selling any deal to the public. A Government which you acknowledge is likely to be unpopular due to austerity. Additionally you fail to mention the major problem of uncontrolled migration, increasing levels of public anger on the subject and the complete inability of the Government to do anything about it whilst in the EU.

    With regards to the list of backers for EU membership, it is far from as comprehensive or as solid as you suggest. For example some big business voices have already spoken out against EU membership, eg JCB, Digby Jones ex DG of the CBI. Oh and don’t forget that in all the referenda the EU has lost, the EU side has had the support of the political parties, business, unions, press etc. But this time a lost referendum will not be casually rerun.

    Yes it is all to play for, using your parallel I suppose the question is what devo max for the UK within the EU look like? (21/05/15)

  • What Cameron’s Victory means for Europe

    21 May 2015  09:31, by Richard

    The Conservative Manifesto said nothing about withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights.

    What they have said is that they would abolish the existing Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. Both of these codify the Convention rights into British law - one of the original reasons for doing so was to limit the number of cases brought before the European Court, instead they could be brought before British courts for judgement. The only real bone of contention might be that which says the British Supreme Court shall indeed be supreme, taking precedence of the European Court.

    Of course the European Court is foreign; it is not British, it does not sit in Britain, most of the judges are not British.

    The Lords will not block the legislation, under the Salisbury convention the Lords do not block manifesto commitments. In any case, the Commons are supreme; they can over-rule the Lords with the Parliament Act.

    It is worth noting that the majority of NATO members do not meet the 2% requirement. We do not see endless criticisms of these countries.

    So pro-Europeans express a deep sigh of unhappiness at the prospect of a referendum? It all seems to stem from an attitude that it is better to not ask the question just in case you get a wrong answer. The EU is averse to referenda and inclined to insist on reruns until it gets the “correct” response.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    21 May 2015  06:43, by Hans L. Schmid

    What kind of Europe do the citizens want? What is their opinion? Let’s ask them on www.our-new-europe.eu!

  • The outcome of the UK elections: towards a federal UK?

    18 May 2015  10:43, by Richard

    “Pro-Europeanism” in Scotland does not stand up to close scrutiny. It is largely a fiction created by the Scottish National Party - part of their relentless drive to convince the Scots that they are fundamentally different from the English living a few miles further south than themselves. Only if the Scots are convinced of such differences will they ever vote for separation. This is in fact the same technique used by UKIP who seek to convince the British they are not culturally European and therefore have nothing in common with other Europeans.

    Moreover, of course, the SNP recognise that should Scotland separate from the UK, it would immediately require the European Union to provide things like free trade with England - the destination for 80% of Scotland’s exports.

    However, every social attitudes survey has shown that the Scots are virtually identical to the English in most regards. Certainly the Scots are little more enthused about “Europe” than the English. For example, the White Paper produced by the SNP as a blueprint for independent Scotland rejected membership of Schengen and the euro - and a survey of Scots conducted by the SNP in regard of currency options indicted the euro was by far the least supported, gaining only 6% approval. Hardly a Scotland fired by a burning desire for “Europe”, then.

    Of course, as we might expect, the Nationalists will use the Eu referendum as an opportunity to justify a second independence vote. They will portray, as ever, Scotland as the unwilling victim of English bullying, “dragged out of Europe” - just like UKIP’s vision of the perfidious French and Germans ganging up on the British.

    The regionalist parties in the UK are regarded as a joke. Unlike the SNP, such parties cannot play on themes such as historical grudges and grievances, nor can they claim anyone “stole our oil”. There is certainly no desire within England to see our country divided up into faceless “regions” that hardly anyone identifies with. I do not see the English supporting “regions” they have already so thoroughly rejected simply to appease Scottish inferiority complexes.

    In the same way, the European Union does not demand that large member states divide themselves into smaller units: Germany is the member state as is Luxembourg - try telling the Germans they must instead become a handful of Luxembourg size members in order to not frighten the neighbours. Of course, as you say, the online petition is a joke - it should be regarded as nothing but a joke. There will always be a minority who favour petty tribalism, a retreat into nationalisms and particularly in times of economic trouble.

    The siren song on the Nationalist is always that “we” are better than “them” and that all of our problems are caused by “them” - with separation being a quick and painless solution. It was ever thus. Once independence happens, of course, the lies are exposed...but by then it is too late.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    18 May 2015  10:11, by Iwantout

    Hi Alexander Peters,

    We have both made our opinions clear through repetition.

    Our difference keeps coming down to essentially the same point. You want to fundamentally change the way the EU operates, moving towards a more federal integrated state, QMV decided foreign policy and single military force, I do not.

    Several times I have asked where you are drawing your mandate from for this massive growth in EU power? You simply ignore this question and continue to state yours is the only way to go. Without clear direct agreement from the electorate that such powers should be ceded to the EU, I believe there can and should be no movement in these areas. We will have to agree to disagree.

    Using Tony Blair (the most pro EU British politician in generations) as an example is inherently unsound. Yes he took us to war and it now seems entirely possible that he did so using evidence that was at the very least highly unreliable. But he did so for his own reasons, I have never seen any suggestion that he was ‘strong armed’ into it by George W Bush or indeed that he did so because of the alleged ‘special relationship’. The attached interview (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/dec/12/tony-blair-iraq-chilcot-inquiry ) gives some insight into what you might describe as “Blair’s thought processes.” The Chilcot Inquiry may give us some more information but who knows.

    The counter argument is of course the refusal of the UK, rightly or wrongly, to become involved in action in Syria despite clear US indications that this was the path they supported. I have even seen claims that the refusal of the UK to become involved impacted on US policy and options. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10275381/Syria-crisis-US-reacts-to-British-vote-and-setback-for-Obama.html ) Who can tell.


  • The outcome of the UK elections: towards a federal UK?

    16 May 2015  18:32, by Iwantout

    Some facts for your readers

    An analysis by a Scottish academic and published by the respected LSE examining how ‘Scottishness’ impacts on voting behaviour. Interesting it shows “Scottish identity or sentiment has not been increasing, but decreasing gradually since the advent of devolution.” Remember Nicola Sturgeon stressed again and again that SNP success in the election would not lead to a new referendum. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/there-was-no-rise-in-scottish-nationalism-understanding-the-snp-victory/

    We are told how pro EU the Scots are, indeed it is virtually taken as a fact. It is simply not true, over the last 14 years a significant majority of Scots have indicated they want to leave the EU or have a looser relationship. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2014/03/29/25009/

    A position re-emphasised in this poll by the BBC (08/04/15) showing more Scots wanted a vote on EU membership than a second independence vote http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-scotland-32194983

    With regards to regional parties, yes they exist, but the level of support is slight. Last week Mebyon Kernow (Cornwall) managed 5,675 votes across the entire county (pop 536K) and every seat returned a Conservative MP, this despite being in existence for 45 years. The Yorkshire First Party managed 6,811 votes in a county with 5.2m voters. Plaid Cymru increased their vote by a whole 15k to 185k, less than they managed in 2011 and pretty much on the same level as they have achieved every election since 1970, despite contesting elections since 1925

    The rejection of regional government in 2004 was largely seen as a refusal of the electorate to accept yet another layer of government. They also have also rejected the opportunity to have elected mayors in a number of cities. There is very little evidence that this view has changed, certainly not from the response to regional parties you mention.

    Ultimately there may be some form of federal arrangement with Scotland, (although I see Ms Sturgeon is currently backing away from full fiscal autonomy, nothing to do with the £10bn black hole I am sure http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/scotlands-black-hole-under-snps-fiscal-autonomy-plan-would-balloon-to-alm.123849628 ) but I would be exceptionally careful regarding how far it will go. Likewise the ‘English votes for English Laws’, is possible, but remember, SNP MPS have previously refused to vote on English only matters and the number of occasions in which Scottish Labour MPs did vote to support the Labour Government was extremely limited.

    As for the comment regarding abandoning eurosceptic rhetoric, I would remind you of the 3.8m people who voted UKIP across the entire UK, as well as the 11.3m Conservatives (434k in Scotland), a significant majority of whom seem to be Eurosceptic. They want to be heard.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    15 May 2015  21:10, by Alexander Peters

    Dear Mr. Iwantout,

    - NO, I am not advocating “aggressive war” against Russia. I am advocating a “campaign of severe and lasting economic sanctions” - as I clearly stated in item 10/ April 25/ 22:18. The necessity for unanimity has made the EU´s response both slow and weak, and furthermore left Putin with the hope that he may shake the sanctions off soon by just bribing one Orban or Tsipras into vetoing them when they come up for extension again in June. Because of the unanimity principle, Europe is prevented from fighting Putin´s imperialism effectively by non-military means at an early stage and may find itself left with no option but to go to war at a later stage - e.g. if Russia should conclude from its present easy conquests in Ukraine that it will get away with a Baltic adventure as well.

    - NO, I do not want to go to war with the US either. I want Europe to be able to stand up to the US and, for example, to end NSA spying or CIA torture on European soil. - You are “not aware of situations where EU states have been forced into supporting the US?” - Strange; - in contrast to you, I remember vividly, how the British people were taken into Bush´s Iraq war by their government in 2003, despite the fact that the people in their great majority opposed this war and that the government internally was not convinced of the „reasons“ officially given for it. So, why then, did Tony Blair defy the will of his voters, ignored the biggest steet protests in British history - two million people! - and joined a war against „weapons of mass destruction“ in the existence of which he did not believe?! Well, apparently out of an enormous urge on his part to please the White House and earn „special relationship“ favours, an urge overiding all other considerations, such as party creed, common decency, reason or democracy, an urge, ultimately caused by Britain´s desire to embody that world power - security council seat, Trident and all that - which the country has ceased to be a generation ago. If anything, the example of Blair´s disgrace demonstrates the dangers awaiting the medium- to small-sized European nation state, pretending to still be an “independent” player - great power - in world affairs.

  • The European perspective – opinions of the UK General election

    11 May 2015  20:02, by Alexander Peters


    This election has yielded a real Matryoshka doll of separatism. Tory-governed BRITAIN wants to leave the European Union, while SNP-governed SCOTLAND wants to escape from British Union. Tories deny being “European” and do not want to be governed by Brussels, while Scottish nationalists tell Westminster that - there being no such thing as “British” identity - it has no business to rule them.

    The one amusing aspect of this situation is the impossible Jekyll-and-Hyde posture into which it forces David Cameron. In Edinburgh he reproves the Scots for the very kind of petty-minded, tribal selfishness which he himself employs so unhesitatingly, when dealing with his fellow Europeans in Brussels. In Edinburgh he is the noble advocate of higher “common endeavour” values and trans-regional solidarity, while in Brussels he plays the part of the greedy “everybody-for-himself” hooligan, who only wants the best deal for his country without any regard to the well-being of Europe as a whole. - Cameron DESERVES the SNP: Now he can experience for himself the pain of having to watch helplessly as separatist fools destroy a political union dear to one.

    Otherwise, the whole thing is merely depressing: While dangers and war are encroaching on them from all sides - the Euro, Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Mediterranean refugee crisis - Europeans frantically strive to transform their political world into a chaos of helpless, outdated dwarf states.

  • Translation: UK election: penalty shoot-out to decide the outcome?

    11 May 2015  10:29, by Iwantout

    It IS the relationship of the UK and the EU which I was discussing. I suggest you read my comments again, there is single ‘maybe’, in my analysis and two assertions.

    Assertion 1. - Cameron will be under pressure from his own Party regarding the renegotiation. Given the history of the last Parliament and the 1992 – 97 experience this seems a reasonable prediction.

    The maybe - In 2017 the government that is trying to win the referendum MAYBE unpopular due to its promised austerity programme. Not a hugely contentious suggestion surely ? Many governments are unpopular mid term even without austerity. The degree of unpopularity will impact on the way people vote regardless of the question put. This is a widely recognised phenomenon

    Assertion 2. - The EU will have to decide what it is prepared to change in the relationship with the UK in order to have a better chance of winning the referendum. They are perfectly entitled to make no concessions at all but this is likely to impact on the result. Simply statements of fact.

    I would be extremely interested in knowing which of the above three points in my analysis you regard as unrealistic and why?

    Optimism is a good characteristic. I accept elsewhere (http://www.thenewfederalist.eu/the-european-perspective-opinions-of-the-uk-general-election#comment21069 )that it is entirely possible that we will remain in the EU, but I really struggle how it will be on the same basis as is currently the case.

    As to who needs who the most, that is a contentious claim. There are well argued papers on both sides but most seem to suggest that the economic aspect of full membership is marginal at best and I would be happy to debate the cost / benefit of membership. If I might quote a respected German economic commentator “In macro economic terms, EU membership is virtually irrelevant for a member state that is simultaneously large and not in the euro zone. The EU budget is tiny, and free trade and free capital movement would continue under any conceivable scenario. There may be reasons to stay in the EU, but whatever they are they are not macroeconomic.” Wolfgang Munchau FT 13/01/13 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/659572a6-5b57-11e2-9d4c-00144feab49a.html#axzz3YaLYuHZP (Please note, no mention of freedom of movement)

    With regards to the political aspects a very light summary of some of the political impacts on the EU of UK exit is found in the following article. http://www.europeangeostrategy.org/2014/06/brexit-european-union-without-united-kingdom/ 10/05/15

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    10 May 2015  16:31, by Iwantout

    Hi Alexander Peters,

    Sorry it was not clear to me that you were suggesting QMV for foreign policy. I doubt anyone would agree to this as I do not believe any country would be prepared to be told what their policy should be on a given subject when they have been elected by their own voters perhaps with a specific pledge on the subject. Certainly the need for unanimity on foreign policy is clear in the Lisbon Treaty.

    With regards to Moldova etc., you seem to be suggesting that we should intervene in order to let them join the EU (always assuming that is what the majority of Moldovans etc want to do) Good luck persuading people that we should go and fight Russia on what you seem to be portraying as ethical grounds with no legal basis at all. Personally for me the word ‘defence’ says it all. NATO is a defensive organisation and what you are suggesting is tantamount to aggressive war. I believe the options available are seriously constrained by realpolitik, you seem to take a contrary view, fair enough.

    We can agree that the EU is dependent on the US for defence, largely because as I indicated before (and you have not challenged) the vast majority of EU states are happy with this position. They demonstrate their happiness by refusing to spend the necessary amounts on their armed forces.

    I am not aware of situations where EU states have been forced into supporting the US, indeed on several occasions they have condemned the US for its actions. I am a little concerned about the comment “You cannot have a serious conflict with someone on whom you depend for your very survival.” It seems to suggest you could envisage conflict with the US as well as Russia !

    We will have to disagree regarding the appeal of fighting for the EU (with presumably QMV foreign policy) as opposed to a country you identify with. Other than the June – Sept 2003 mission in Congo and possibly the anti-piracy actions off Somalia, virtually all the EU missions under CSDP that I am aware of have been training or policing missions with often very few personnel committed.

    In the final analysis the difference between us is that in my view at most the EU should be an intergovernmental organisation concentrating on trade and I suspect yours is that it should be a supra governmental one developing eventually into some form of federal state. (Apologies if I am making a false assumption.) But I ask again where is your mandate for such fundamental changes? Put the choice to the people in new treaties and demand that they be ratified by public vote rather than the political elite. I hope at the very least we can agree on that. (10/05/15)

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    10 May 2015  16:25, by Iwantout

    Giuseppe Marrosu, I know how it can take this site a long time to publish comments.

    I don’t think you and I have a fundamental disagreement. I want the UK out of the EU and just good trade relations. We both seem to believe that the people should be consulted and that at the moment that simply is not happening.

    You are right in that the various opt outs etc deforms the EU and creates further difficulties but they seem to have been necessary in order to get even this far. I suspect after the recent UK election result we will find all sorts of new ‘flexible options’ will be made available to the UK to try and keep us in (the price to win the 2017 referendum) and these will exacerbate the problem you describe. Whether or not this is blackmail as opposed to negotiation following demands of the electorate is dependent on your perspective. Whatever it is, such discussions will clearly now have to take place.

    From a perfectly selfish personal view I would love the EU to present the UK (and the other reluctant states you mention, as well as those that sign agreements and do implement them fully) with an ultimatum, ‘become a full member and obey the rules or leave’, but I doubt that will happen because of the inevitable result.

    As I have already said, I wish you good luck with your ambitions and agree absolutely that many non British citizens of the EU would like the awkward UK to leave so they can concentrate on their own plans, and frankly I do not blame them. (10/05/15)

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