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Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

, by Hadrien Bajolle

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David Cameron’s stance is a little bit confusing. The British Prime Minister hopes to find a common ground on which to work with the Union but at the same time threatens an in-out referendum for 2017. This conflicted stance makes visible the uncomfortable position in which the Tory leadership finds itself. Aware of the serious damage that an exit would entail for the UK but hard-pressed by the party’s grassroots and the threat of UKIP, the leaders of the Conservative Party seem to have somewhat lost control over events.

authors

  • Etudiant à la London School of Economics, il est rédacteur en chef du Taurillon en Seine, l’édition parisienne du Taurillon.

David Cameron’s stance is a little bit confusing. The British Prime Minister hopes to find a common ground on which to work with the Union but at the same time threatens an in-out referendum for 2017. This conflicted stance makes visible the uncomfortable position in which the Tory leadership finds itself. Aware of the serious damage that an exit would entail for the UK but hard-pressed by the party’s grassroots and the threat of UKIP, the leaders of the Conservative Party seem to have somewhat lost control over events.

Ironically, the Brexit risks losing the UK that which it hopes to recover: its independence. In leaving the EU, the country would be abandoning the power to set the rules. On the contrary, the standards that are set in Brussels will continue to have a strong impact on Britain, all the more so given the highly disproportionate relationship that would exist between an isolated UK and a united Europe.

Besides its independence, there is also the unity of the UK that could be put at risk again. Scotland and Wales are far more pro-European than solitary England and could well disassociate themselves from the English politics of isolation.

It would also pose the question of Ireland. The Irish Republic and the UK have shared a “common travel area” since 1923. The UK’s exit would make the border with Ireland an external border of the European Union, which would undermine free movement between Belfast and Dublin. This would therefore serve to reinforce the division between the two Irelands, a subject which remains sensitive. It’s not likely that the Brits would be excited by the idea of reopening unhealed wounds.

Finally, without going into details, it seems clear that a Brexit would come with a high social and economic cost. A recent report by Open Europe concluded that in 2030, in the case of an exit, British GDP could be as much as 2.7% lower than if it had kept the current situation. The think tank has predicted that the UK could limit the damage, but only through the strong liberalisation of its trade with the rest of the world, itself leading to inevitable consequences for society. Finally, it is a safe bet that many of the big financial players, the heart of British economic power, would choose to be closer to the advantages that come with the huge, unified capital market that is the European Union. This probably explains the scepticism with which the idea of a referendum has been welcomed in the City.

The position of British conservatives stems from a logic that is no longer suited to the world of today. What weight does a middling European power have nowadays? Who could believe that they could negotiate on equal terms with the new Asian giants? There are already worried opinions now in the way negotiations are going with the Americans over TTIP. What would happen if our member states had to negotiate alone with someone ten times more powerful than them? There is a level of historical short-sightedness in believing that England could reign once again over the oceans as it did in the 18th and 19th centuries. Only the European Union today can protect our states from relative decline, and be heard in the new concert of nations.

Now, instead of contributing to a common effort to create a Europe that is stronger but also less complex, more comprehensible to its citizens, a British exist would weaken an already difficult integration. Europe would lose the British contribution to the common budget (to the tune of €14bn), the fourth largest contribution in the Union after Germany, France, and Italy. Importantly, it would leave a military and diplomatic apparatus that, used on its own, would be dismissed by the emerging powers but if it were wielded collectively, would give power to the countries of the European Union that they represent as a whole.

For the Union, a British exit would set a very negative precedent. The danger is not so much that there would be further exits but rather the establishment of a culture of blackmail in the European institutions: “Give me this or that or I will jump ship”. Even more than today, discussion at the Council will look like the petty haggling of street merchants and the common good would be increasingly ignored. In short, it would be a death blow to community spirit. To conclude, let us recall that Thatcher herself, in her famous Bruges speech of 1988, defended British membership of the European Union, refusing “an existence isolated and on the margins” for her country. Europe has already shown that it can take into account the peculiarities of the British case. There is no reason to believe, besides electioneering, why the UK and the EU could not forge a compromise that is acceptable to all parties.

See online : http://www.taurillon.org/le-brexit-...

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  • On 4 April 2015 at 17:07, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    I am not in favour of the UK staying in the EU at its own conditions, only for its own sake, and against its own people’s will. I don’t understand why the Brexit would “establish a culture of blackmail”. Quite the opposite, I believe that blackmailing is what we are seeing now: Cameron hopes to convince its partners to concede to all his requests in order to keep the UK in the EU . If the EU does bow to this, then the culture of blackmail will only strengthen. But if the EU resists, then the UK will have to decide whether to accept to be just another member without special privileges (as it should be) or “leave the ship” and sail alone. Then the EU will show to everybody that such blackmail strategies do not pay. UK’s net contribution to the EU was 8,641 milllion euro in 2013 according to the EU’s website (not 14 billions); that’s what the rest of the EU would lose if the UK left. That’s a lot of money, that’s true, but they say freedom is not free. Last but not least: we need to reduce the EU’s democracy deficit. It is unjustifyable from a democratic point of view to keep the UK in the EU if most of the British want out. And if they do not want out there is no reason to fear a referendum on the subject. That is obviously true for any other EU Member State. The rest of us have an interest in staying in the (possibly smaller) EU and developping a deeper integration within it; and I believe that we should be able to decide on our own future democratically, without the UK or other out-opters, anti-europeists and foot-draggers interfering. For all this reasons we should wish the UK all the best and give them a big goodbye kiss, unless they accept to go back in the ranks. Off course we should allow them to apply back for membership if and when they think they’re ready. And off course that would mean they accept to adopt the Euro. Just like any other new member.

  • On 9 April 2015 at 20:52, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    @ Iwantout.

    I agree 100% especially when you say we are seeing democracy in action. The people should get to choose. EU leaders too often have deliberately chosen to boycott public voting on European issues or even national voting that could interfere with EU programs: it is terrible that they are not genuinely democratic. People are often wrong, you might say they are actually wrong on some major issue most of the time, so the temptation to decide against their will when you know you are right and the people are wrong is understandable. Monnet felt that european integration was neceBut on the long run if the People is not involve then it will feel it is being stripped of its rights and it will be difficult to win its approval when it is finally needed. We want to be active citizens, not passive subjects. As for the 2014 rise in UK’s contribution to the EU I can say it is less that you should give if you did not get the infamous rebate and that for our independence on your regard it is a bargain. I mean, 20 billion euro in a bad year for Europe is cheap. If it was for me I would say no thanks, you can keep your lousy money. We don’t want it. Finally after agreeing with everything with you I want to underline something that distinguishes my position from yours: I believe a US of E, or better a European Republic would be good for us AND for you. Keeping our borders and our old divisions is wrong morally and counterproductive on the long run. I dream of an inclusive Europe where we would welcome any territory which wishes to join, is democratic and free and has compatible living standard, and where there is no discrimination, and that would be a world power. If we do not realize that goal we will have no say on the future of the world, including our own lands. And that is true for Italy, Germany or France, but also for the UK, a tiny island in a big world, struggling to be noticed there in the shadow of the US.

  • On 10 April 2015 at 16:13, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    @ Iwantout from: Giuseppe Marrosu

    Since getting out of the EU is what you really want then I support your exit, even if I think it will be dangerous both for the UK and for the rest of the EU. Even if it could eventually end peace. THAT is democracy. What you cannot legitimately call an “internal matter” to be solved by a popular vote in the UK alone is a negotiation where you get from the EU, and at its expenses, even more than you have obtained so far, else you would call a referendum sure to see your exit from the block. That is BLACKMAIL.

    But it’s not your fault, it is the EU’s fault. It has a problem with accepting to be left, so it accepts compromises that are bad for itself. Our motto is “United in Diversity” and we have a lot of diversity; it’s the Unity we’ve being missing. We should not trade the quantity for the quality of the Union, that is: trying to be many, but divided. It is time for selection: we do not need a lot of partners that don’t like neither to be with us or do things with us.

    The EU should not (and I am pretty sure it will, unfortunately, but what I am saying here is it shouldn’t) accept any further opt-out, exception, foot-dragging from the UK or from Denmark, from Sweden of Ireland, Hungary or Greece or any other member State. We should all accept the same rules or just leave. Period. We do not need the UK. We do not need your 18 billion Euro, you can keep them, we aren’t gonna die without you (look at the USA or India). We are not for sale. You should not get to set the rules, just because you can pay more than others.

    I dream of a more integrated and democratic EU, open to new members and even ex-members, possibly smaller and less powerful than the present one, but one that would set its own destiny. Or fail and leave the dream to a future generation. Anything but the present, depressing marketplace where dignity, independence and democracy are for sale.

  • On 18 April 2015 at 20:14, by Alexander Peters Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Mr. Iwantout,

    you write, “the UK is one of only 2 military powers in the EU”. To me it seems there is only ONE military power deserving that description in the whole of Europe - namely, the Russian Federation. Which leads to the core of the problem. During a previous exchange, in 2013, I argued that Europe should have the ability “to deter on its own a Russian neo-imperialism in the Baltic area, Moldova or Ukraine, if it should emerge.” (http://www.thenewfederalist.eu/Should-we-fear-the-exit-of-a-European-Union-Member-State,05659)

    Since then, this imperialism HAS emerged. Don´t you think that the situation Europeans are facing now, clearly demonstrates the folly of the “no-further-integration” policies you advocate?

    Democratic Europe has a fundamental, common interest of seeing Putin´s anti-democratic challenge off, but this cannot be done by a Europe relying on unanimity for its foreign policy decisions (e.g sanctions) and thus at the mercy of any Tsipras or Orban or Zeman. Neither can it be done by a Europe relying on “national” armies for its defence. The option of NATIONAL armies defending NATIONAL territory does simply not exist in the case of Russia - whereas a proper EUROPEAN military could easily protect EUROPE. Europe´s present humiliation is the result of your beloved national sovereignty nonsense. The EU´s population is more than thrice, and its economy is more than eight times as large as that of Russia; if this superior weight were represented by ONE European foreign policy and military, Putin would never have dared to provoke the Europeans in the first place.

    In this case, however, Europe´s weakness is not all Britain´s fault. As your remarks about the EU´s “2 military powers” rightly imply, the EU country of greatest population and economy - Germany - has no army worth speaking of und thus clearly lets its Eastern partners down. While the desperate Baltic frontier states rearm and return to conscription, Germany still enjoys a “peace dividend” and retains less than 300 of the 5.000 tanks, it had at the time of the Cold War. Where there should be the backbone of European defence one only finds a gaping void. Only after Germany has rediscovered the virtue of solidarity in defence matters, Europe will be able to overcome its present, dangerous impotence in the face of Russian aggression.

  • On 20 April 2015 at 07:19, by Hans L. Schmid Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    http://www.thenewfederalist.eu/brexit-a-danger-for-both-eu-and-the-uk#comment20980

    2015-04-19T21:50:05Z

    Hello,

    At the end of the day, Europe will only exist as a Europe of its citizens, with its citizens, by its citizens and for its citizens. So let’s start by asking the citizens throughout our continent, what kind of Europe they want, on www.our-new-europe.eu !(20/04/15)

    hlschmid

  • On 20 April 2015 at 11:29, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Thenewfederalists, I have sent a reply to Iwantout but you did not publish it. I sent another, milder one and you still did not publish it, but I see you keep publishing his messages. Is it because he’s from the UK and I am not? Or is that because only the british can support the UK leaving the Union? I think I have a right of reply since he sent me a message. You can choose either of the replies I sent. Thank you.

  • On 25 April 2015 at 22:18, by Alexander Peters Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    (Part I) Dear Mr. Iwantout,

    if Europe moves to majority or qualified majority decisions on foreign policy that does not mean that “some leaders have no voice” or are not “permitted to interfere with EU foreign policy" as you claim. It merely means that leaders who do have a voice - and a vote - can be outvoted if they fail to convince a majority (or qualified minority) of their colleagues of their views; a well-known and in no way outrageous occurence in democratic life. Also a very necessary one: there would be no efficient British or German foreign policy if regional governments - Edinburgh, Munich - could veto national decisions. Neither will the EU be able to stand up successfully to an adversary such as Putin as long as the paralysis of this 500-million-people-union can be as easily bought as by a bribe - a generous gas-contract - to just one veto-wielding member state, that may contain no more than one or two percent of the overall population.

    According to you, NATO makes a stronger EU unnecessary. Well, on preventing the tragedy of Ukraine, NATO has been as powerless as the EU. Russia now in effect claims property of some 59 million people in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova: They must not follow the post-1989 example of Poland, Hungary etc., must not join the European family of democracies , and if they try, Russian punishment will be upon them. To become capable of countering this outrage, NATO would have to engage in the same kind of sovereignty-infringing so abhorred by you in the case of the EU - and would be much less suited to do so. NATO is only a military alliance - orchestrating a campaign of lasting and severe economic sanctions is not really its job. And the East Europeans` drive is primarily towards the EU - “Euromajdan” - not to NATO, so also the EU and not NATO should lead the effort to assist them .

    (-> continued)

  • On 25 April 2015 at 22:21, by Alexander Peters Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    (Part II)

    As for the defence of EU-territory: No, reliance on NATO is not “satisfactory” here either. Under present conditions that simply means that Europe leaves its defence to the US. After 1945 this could be justified; a war-torn Europe facing a Soviet bloc extending to Lübeck and Triest simply could not have defended itself. By contrast, a 500-million EU asking for help against a 140-million Russia is the elephant frightened by the barking dog. It is ridiculous – and unsatisfactory: If Europe makes itself dependent on the US for its basic security, it would have to acquiesce in numerous US policies which large majorities of Europeans reject – e.g. on military aggression, on torture, on Guantanamo, on climate change, etc. – because you simply cannot afford a fundamental conflict with someone on whom you depend for your very survival. Such dependence is incompatible with Europe´s democratic freedom. It is also dangerous : what, if a future East-European threat coincided with some major conflict in the Pacific absorbing US military resources?

    Your assertion, that as soldiers of an EU army people would “die to defend an artificial political construct” instead of “their country” astonishes me – isn´t that, what they are doing under NATO- arrangements all the time? In order to please their US protector-master, European governments have - very often against the will of the electorate - sent their soldiers to remote places such as Kabul or Bagdad, where these soldiers died not so much defending their country but probably the business interests of Halliburton and provided military cover for American war crimes such as, for example, at Abu Ghraib. - Don´t you think that after all the dirty Foreign Legion work European servicemen had to do for the Pentagon in recent years, it should come rather as a relief to them, if for a change they were employed for something as obviously meaningful and decent as protecting their home continent and assisting fellow Europeans next door?!

  • On 8 May 2015 at 19:50, by Alexander Peters Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Mr. Iwantout,

    a late answer, as a previous one apparently got “lost”:

    - Qualified Majority voting on foreign policy does not mean that “some leader will not have a voice”. It merely means that leaders who have a voice - and vote - can be outvoted, if they fail to convince a sufficient number of their colleagues; that is not an outrage but democracy. Its also a necessity: The EU will never be able to stand up to adversaries if no more is needed to paralyse it but a gas contract bribe to just one tiny, veto-wielding member state.

    - NATO is not the “solution” to the Ukraine challenge. Russia now claims property of some 59 million people in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. “Do not try to join the family of European democracies”, Putin tells them, “or you will be punished.” On this outrage NATO has been AS powerless as the EU.

    - As to the protection of EU-teritory istself, NATO does not “work satisfactorily” there either. Yes, one may rely on US protection instead of defending oneself. But such dependence comes at a price. It requires that European governments aquiesce or even take part in US policies abhorred by their electorate (Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, drone killings, NSA spying etc.). You cannot have a serious conflict with someone on whom you depend for your very survival. Therefore, as long as Europe does not defended itself, its politicians cannot effectively pursue the policies in internatianal affairs their voters have elected them for.

    - Dying “to defend an artificial construct” instead of “their country” - well, that is, what European soldiers are doing now. To please their US protector/ master our governments have sent them to remote places such as Bagdad or Kabul, where they died not so much for their country but probably for Halliburton and provided military cover for American war crimes. I think, that after all this dirty Foreign Legion work, European servicemen would find it rather appealing, to be employed, for a change, for something as decent and meaningful as assisting fellow Europeans next door.

  • On 15 May 2015 at 21:10, by Alexander Peters Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    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.

  • On 21 May 2015 at 06:43, by Hans L. Schmid Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

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

  • On 25 May 2015 at 22:25, by Alexander Peters Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    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.

  • On 11 June 2015 at 19:21, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Iwantout (by the way, is that your real name?!), we sure have in common the idea that people should decide democratically about their future. But that’s about the only thing we can agree on. You seem to think that, since present EU treaties rule out central decision-making, and since most European are also against, then those like me who say we should head that way are wrong and mean. Instead, I think that treaties and minds can and must be changed in the interest of the next european generations. It makes no sense forcing the public in a direction they do not agree. It reveals a deep distrust in the people and it often backfires when they totally lose confidence in their rulers. However it is also wrong to give poison to the people if they ask it, without even trying to convince them it’s bad for them. Politicians today do not defend the European project, not because they believe it is wrong, but because they are afraid they would lose votes if they did. And this not only reveals the same distrust in the people but it also shows a total lack of interest for their well-being. We both know that Pro-European ideas are unpopular. But we also know that many people are simply afraid of the new, are ill informed or do not understand what the whole thing is about. Ill informed, emotion-driven voters are on both sides, that’s sure, but be honest, don’t you think most are on yours? After a thorough, free debate, the vision would be clearer for all and there will be surprises. You say the EU should be just a free trade agreement. I say it shouldn’t and it can’t. The EU carries the dream of political union from the beginning but now it is even in the name: it used to be “European Economic Community” (makes you think of some sort of a business club). Now the U stands for Union. It is like a marriage between 28 Countries. If you have no love and respect for the rest of us and if you do not want equality between partners just leave, but don’t say you did not know what you were doing when you joined, because you just had to read the name “EU”. I also think the UK would go against its own interests in leaving the EU. You say that with a good trading agreement you will have more advantages and less headaches than you have now. But what makes you think you can negotiate a new agreement with us that is better for you than the present one? You have many privileges now, that you have negotiated as EU member with your fellows: Euro and Schengen opt-outs and the contribution rebate, while keeping voting rights, EMPs, full access to EU markets. Summing up the economic and political balances you managed to get from the EU more than you give. When you negotiate alone as a potential former EU member with 27 EU members that are not thinking of leaving, you should at the very least expect a deal where you get just the equivalent of what you give instead of more.

  • On 12 June 2015 at 20:25, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Mr. Iwantout, I’m still waiting to know your name. “I do not think your future can be reached by ignoring the responses of the people today.” Neither do I. In my opinion there is a democracy deficit in the EU and in many “Europhiles” and I view that as one of our worst problems. But if it is wrong for politicians to ignore public opinion it is also wrong to be dictated by it. A good politician should try to persuade voters to support the policies he/she thinks are best even when they could make him/her unpopular. Otherwise he/she is just a puppet.

    “You believe that politicians have not tried to persuade UK people to support the EU.” Did I really write that? Honestly I think that what your politicians try to sell you is your problem as a British, not mine. Citing your words, this IS an internal issue. The british have been cheated by their own politicians? Too bad for them, they should have known better.

    “We have had many senior leaders who are fervent supporters of the EU, David Cameron...” Really? All these guys were just trying to assure the UK had a strong influence in the EU so that the EU could never become so strong as to threaten the UK’s undeserved place in the world. As for Blair, I suspect that if he had spent his credibility for the Euro a tenth of what he has spent for the war on Iraq you would not have the Pound today.

    “The EU trade balance with the UK is far greater than that with Korea. Why would you not want a similar deal with us ?” I don’t know... maybe just because the trade balance is so big... both negotiating sides will try to maximize advantages. And the UK will be in a weaker position than the EU-27. Also, the UK is one of the main if not THE main pro-free trade members of the EU. A UK-free EU would not be as nice when negotiating a trade agreement as the EU that dealt with Korea. “Outside the EU we can negotiate our own trade deals, Switzerland...” So your model is Switzerland: a rich, tiny, specialized-economy, isolated and irrelevant country, trading with everyone (including drug lords, tax dodgers, dictators) and feared by no one. Good luck.

    “the bottom line is we see our relationship with the EU in terms of a cold economic cost / benefit exercise. You see it as a political dream beyond economics.”

    Yes I am a dreamer and I am proud of it. Some of us, you know, believe in something other than money.

    As an englishman said: “you may say I’m a dreamer/ but I’m not the only one/ I hope one day you will join us/ and the world will be as one”

    bye.

  • On 24 June 2015 at 12:27, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    To Iwantout:

    I’m not sure I will campaign for the UK to leave the EU. That depends on the outcome of the negotiations (if there is any). I do not want the UK to leave the EU, I want it to accept to be part of the EU with the same rules as the others: no rebates, no opt-outs. If you think you deserve more than the others I would not wait for any referendum, I would just cancel you from the Union immediately. And if you refused to leave I would withdraw from the EU my country and promote a new Union based on France’s republican ideals: liberty, freedom and fraternity.

  • On 24 June 2015 at 12:40, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    We cannot agree on what leadership means in a democracy. For you, it is doing everything the people wants, for me, it is being honest with the voters and doing what one thinks is right. People often do not know or want to accept what is best and right. At the end history, not just the voters, will judge the decision-makers.

    Blair did not have the people with him on the Euro, so he did not insist on the issue. That is not leadership, but rather cowardice, or maybe he was not that much in favor of it after all. He knew that getting into the Euro would have limited his power. With the war in Iraq it was different. He saw a way to increase his Country’s and his personal influence by participating to a dirty war and he seized it.

    The part when you say the monetary union is dangerous without the “supporting political structures”, I completely agree with. But that is as much a reason to give birth to a political union along with the monetary one, as to renounce to the single currency! And, to me, the former option makes a lot more sense.

  • On 26 June 2015 at 00:14, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    To Iwantout:

    As for a prospective trade agreement between a smaller EU and the UK, I did not say and do not think there will be none, I am only saying I do not think that the negotiations would be easy or that the arrangement would be better or even as good for the UK than the present situation. It could be worst for both the UK and the EU, as both, but especially the latter, try to protect themselves against the commercial and financial influence of a counterpart that has become less of a partner and more of a competitor than it used to be. When we’re not living together anymore you should not expect to keep my house’s keys.

    Switzerland is the model for a UK that severes ties with his allies to seek friendship with everyone. Yes the swiss are welcome everywhere with their fine products and their money, but that’s largely because they’re small and do not want to take sides. They are not a threat because they like the world as it is, with all its dictators, all its wars and all its corruption.

    If you just had Crimea for breakfast the last thing you want is some huge, influential foreign power ruining your digestion with lessons on the rules of good neighbourhood and things like that. Switzerland does not have the size or the interest to worry the Russias of the world. You might say the UK does and you might be right... or might not. The UK has been a very weak power, if compared with the main global players, ever since at least 1956. Without NATO or the EU its influence in Europe and the world would be even less.

    The british bull dog could end up his carrier as a chihuahua, liked by everyone as long as he stays quiet, but uncapable of defending itself, and even less his friends, if needed.

    Do I want the EU to be feared? This is a dangerous world and there are three options for any independent country: be feared by the bullies, seek the protection of someone they fear or bow to them.

    Is the EU feared? If ridicule could kill yes, we would be a superpower right now with our chronic inability to solve external and even our own internal crises, stemming from lack of unity. But our potential is huge. If only we decided to use it.

    S. Korea? I like her too, we should invite her into the EU in replacement of the UK.

  • On 26 June 2015 at 00:45, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Having dreams does not mean ignoring reality. I know that the EU and the european people(s) have terrible limits, but taking down barriers makes sense to me. And while the direction history is taking right now is the opposite and I might live to see Europe falling again to an era of chaos and wars, no one can know exactely what the future holds. Who knows, maybe your polls are not a good predictor of the actual turnout a referendum would have, and maybe my dreams will become reality, and your certainties will turn into your worst nightmares. Next year incredible things will happen, things neither you nor I can predict, just as it happened this year. We will have to change our minds on something. And that’s why you should sign with your real name.

    I see you blame the integration process for mainland Europe’s economic and social problems. There are very integrated european countries that have done better than the UK in recent years; the UK does have very big social problems. Much of Europe’s trouble stems from few births, too many elderly, too much technology making workers obsolete and unemployed, too much globalization allowing chinese and other goods to compete with our more environment-, workers’ rights-friendly, costlier products (the UK is one of those we can thank for the latter): none of them has to do with the Euro or intra-European migration. However I admit that the EU’s bulky decision making process contributed to our problems, but I think we could solve that with a closer union and a stronger central governance. The european people and its democratically elected leaders should decide how to develop the EU’s structures and projects: I have my ideas, other people have different ideas, we should discuss them and vote the best solutions.

    Of one thing I’m sure: if we do not unite not only we’re not going to be able to have an influence in the world, but our lives will be determined by the influence of others outside the EU. The egotism the anti-europeist preach is morally despicable, but it is also short-sighted.

  • On 29 June 2015 at 19:28, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Iwantout, may I call you Andrea? This may be a girl’s or a boy’s name, so it’s perfect for a person that is not disclosing his/her identity. Dear Andrea, I wrote much because I care much, even if I do not have much time. I am surprised by your faith in the public, remember people like Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez or Tsipras came to power because of an overwhelming public support. Now, unless you think all these gentlemen had the right agenda for their people, you have to admit that more sane leaders and sensible projects were discarded by the demos for some bizarre or outright criminal people and ideas. I find the notion of an anaware public riding a train headed towards “ever closer integration” is in deep contrast both with this faith in the public of yours (they know better than their leaders, but do not even know where they’ve been going for decades now?) and with reality. What were you guys thinking all the times we voted in the European Elections? What purpose is a democratically elected parliament supposed to serve in a simple economical union? And if you are against it, all you have to do is vote a majority of EMP opposing the EU (which you never did). Why can’t you just admit the UK wants to cancel a commitment it gave knowingly and freely? It is dishonourable, but you can do it. After all you are a souvereign Nation. Your contradiction is obvious: “it is not possible to claim that the direction the EU / EZ is taking is a sudden surprise”, you say! That’s also true for the public, and their electoral choices. But if they keep voting for people who would not pull the country out of the EU, then your claim just two letters down: “any country passing new powers to the EU /EZ without a mandate is acting undemocratically” is COMPLETELY ILLOGICAL. Andrea, are you really a Euroenthusiast, posing as an Antieuropeist to show how incosistent their ideas are?

  • On 29 June 2015 at 20:05, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Dear Andrea Iwantout, “I am not sure who would campaign for the EU here”: I am not sure about not being sure... but anyway, that’s your problem. You want to be special? I say “stay out”. I am for free choice and against privileges. “why do you constantly reject open trade that benefits ordinary people?” I never spoke against open trade benefiting ordinary people. You are twisting my words. I am against free trade with some unfair competitors. India, for example, is another thing. India is almost fine with me. CAP: I agree with you. “The UK is simply not going to get any closer than it is already”: then I want it to leave the EU. Remember that “ever closer integration” applies to you, too. I hope this will not change, it would set a dangerous record. “why if it is so bad are almost 300,000 EU citizens a year coming here, as well as migrants jumping on lorries in Calais?” I never said it was “so bad” in the UK. I just wanted to point out that having or not having the Euro is not the only predictor of the wealth of a Nation. Germany has the Euro, Bulgaria does not. The UK has the Euro, Greece does. People’s net flow is from countries which fare bad and have more unemployed people from countries which fare best and have less unemployed people. From the UK to Australia for example ;). But do not cite Calais before looking at the map: Africans and Syrians are on this side of the English Channel, so how could they be going the opposite way? “could you please produce a single piece of evidence from any member state showing that a majority of the population would vote to join a US of E ?” No I can’t and here’s a quote: “The only poll that matters is the referendum vote. Opinion polls are often inaccurate... We will all have to wait” (Andrea Iwantout, 2015). And I don’t have to, either. Remember, I’m a dreamer, I’m not making predictions, I just make statements. But we might have a test on July the 5th when the Greek are going to choose between the EU and “independence”. Because that’s what the next referendum is about. If the “Yes” side wins it will be another nail in the coffin of nationalism, another step towards the US of E, another referendum won by Europe. And not the only one, look at how many there were, one even in the UK. “I keep saying, progress to your federal state by all means, but first ask the people if that is what they want”: Well you can stop telling me. I AGREE 100%. “Remember, the UK is not the only Eurosceptic country, just the most visible”. I wish they ALL were cancelled from the EU. And it is not “Skepticism”. It is hostility.

  • On 4 July 2015 at 18:04, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    1. Dear Iwantout, english seems such a difficult language... “Your lack of faith in the public and unwillingness to allow them to control their future really does not surprise me”. I think the people should have the control over their future. I never said the opposite. BUT I just say that the majority is not always right. And sometimes is dead wrong. Call me a Demosceptic. You try to hold your point to technicalities like Hitler or Mussolini not having being elected directly or their use of violence, but you certainly do not ignore their huge popularity in their respective countries even before overtaking power really made them the most obvious “people’s choice”. Chavez and Tsipras had/have the wrong agenda for their countries. It’s not me telling it, it’s economics. Both earned their seat through the polls, was that a wise choice?

    EU referenda: I don’t understand (or I understand all too well) why you want to start from ’92, but in that period I counted 7 “No” and 7 “Yes”. The score becomes 9-16 if we also count EU accession referenda and the Swiss referendum on foreign workers (you excluded referenda on the EU held outside of it). Of the 6 “No”, 3 were unfortunatelly followed by renegotiations with the two small countries that held them (instead of simply excluding them from further integration) and by 3 reruns with an easy victory, 2 were totally accepted contrary to your claim (so there is no Euro in Denmark or Sweden despite Maastricht treaty requiring the latter to adopt it) and in only 2 cases the EU “ran around them” even if it respected them formally (France and the Nederland said “NO” to the Euroconstitution... not a tragic loss... Spain and Luxembourg said “YES”, though, so a compromise was eventually found).

    “With regards to the election of Eurosceptic to the EP, in every election since 1999 in the UK the winning party has been Eurosceptic [antieuropeist]...” I do not doubt it, but I just checked the 2014 European elections results for the UK: what you call the “winning party” got less than 30% of the vote. While it made it to No. 1, the No. 2 and 3, the truly Eurosceptic, not outright Anti-europeist, Conservative and Labour almost got 50%. You cannot pull the UK out of the EU with 30% of the UK vote! That’s what I meant.

    On Greece again, I have been sympathetic with them until Tsipras won. Austerity has certainly be harder than needed and all of us will have to respond to history for our mistakes. But, despite that, Greece’s trouble are not the fault of the rest of the world. We in the Eurozone in particular helped them more than anyone else, we made sacrifices. But Greece’s case is so bad we could not bring back the prosperity they enjoyed. In part because it was a fake one based on debt.

  • On 4 July 2015 at 18:06, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    To Iwantout 2/2 “other euro countries are not prepared to suffer the loss, no fellow feeling there. (Germany is owed 68.2bn euros, France 43.8bn, Italy 38.4bn, etc)” over 150bn euro “no fellow feeling”? Are you joking? How much did the UK give? We will take Greece’s debt on ourselves when we have more control on how Greece spends its money, just like the USA has on Lousiana or Detroit, or Germany on Berlin. But Greece has so far refused that. So if it fails they will be to blame, not us.

    “I am at a loss to understand why you feel it is dishonourable to cancel a treaty using the legal means that are available if you no longer believe the treaty is in your best interests” Not all that is legal is honourable. But go ahead and do it if that’s what you want. Off course we might also cancel some of the treaties benefiting you if we conclude they are no longer “in our best interests”. Maybe you will find that’s honourable, too. “You hope that the requirement for ‘Ever Closer Union’ will not change...” yes I do “...and that we will be forced” Nooooo! I don’t want to “force you” to do something you do not want! I NEVER said that! Please stop painting me as an antidemocratic!

    “Paragraph 27 of the EU Summit Communique 27/06/14” I am dismayed. But I can see the language is very generic and I could give the following interpretation: we respect the will of some countries who do not want to go ahead: but they’ll have to be suspended or leave the EU. You’ll note that the principle of “ever closer union” is not questioned. “You say we want special conditions” you have special conditions: the EU-UK rebate, no Euro, no Schengen. “we just want a trade relationship plain and simple” it might surprise you but I would be ready to accept that, if that’s really what you want. But in that case, no UK EMP, no UK officials in EU institutions, and so on. And we’ll go ahead and build a European State, if we can find the popular support.

    Best regards from the Eurozone.

  • On 6 July 2015 at 00:32, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Now it’s 8-7 (Referenda score of Anti-europeist forces vs. Europeist forces in the EU since 1992), Iwantout. Congratulations to you and all Anti-europeists (so-called Eurosceptics) out there. We lost Greece. We might lose the UK.

    But we won’t give up.

  • On 6 July 2015 at 00:36, by Chris Powers Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Giuseppe don’t be so pessimistic. The Greeks have rejected austerity, not the EU, or even the Euro. Greek people love both, they want to remain with both.

    Hopefully this will force people to reevaluate why we are embracing an old ideology that has never worked, and will never work if you want a federal Europe.

  • On 8 July 2015 at 18:54, by giuseppe marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    I’m sorry Chris but if you say you love something you should also be ready for all sacrifices its defence requires. The greek are not willing to do that anymore.

    Austerity was necessary for a Country living above its means like Greece and it was beginning to work, too. But even if you think it was wrong, I say Greece could have chosen a better strategy to convince its partners to put it aside: fight privileges, extend sacrifices for a few months, until a new agreement was reached, avoid insulting, provocking and blackmailing your partners and flirting with rivals like Putin, cutting spendings on arms, agreeing to proposals to give Bruxelles control over the budget (they could have counter-proposed to generalize that to all EMU Countries, they turned down the idea as an attack to their independence)...

    There is still hope but time and margins for a deal are running out.

    Also, a smaller group of countries willing to respect the rules might make a better Union than a larger but unruly federation.

    I say if the rebels - Greece, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark and off course (sorry) the British Islands left the EU or accepted all the rules that apply to Portugal, Italy or Estonia, we would be much stronger and better set for more integration.

  • On 8 July 2015 at 19:05, by Chris Powers Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Indeed you should make sacrifices for the things you love, and therefore the creditor countries should sacrifice a little now, to make sure all countries remain in an ever closer union, as per the Treaty of Rome. The Greek opposition to austerity and support for a fiscal union shows they are more in favour (and in need) of Europe than most. I certainly don’t agree with or endorse everything Syriza is doing and saying, but I disagree with austerity even more.

    I suppose there is an ideological difference here between a smaller and faster integration process and a much slower but more inclusive European project with the same ambition as those charged with rebuilding Europe from the ashes of WW2.

  • On 15 July 2015 at 18:35, by Giuseppe Marrosu Replying to: Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    There is a problem of democracy: Greece said “no” to the compromise that was offered; our representatives at government level in the other 18 Euro countries were not ready to give anything better than that. Today the greek parliament could contradict the referendum result by accepting what the people rejected. That could save Greece, but it would be a black day for democracy.

    There is also a problem of equality: for Greece, but also for the UK, it is about living by the rules that apply to everybody else. Some of my taxes go to the EU. I don’t see why someone with the same economic status as me should pay less, only because he lives in the UK, as long as the UK is a member of the EU.

    Look, I am for an inclusive EU. Every free territory that meets the requirements, wants to join and accepts the rules MUST join, even if it is a Muslim Country in Sub-Saharan Africa. But those who join must stick to the rules or leave, even if they’re the craddle of our civilization, or one of the top net contributors.