A German led Europe

One of the most notable features of the modern EU is the growing dominance of Germany in its deliberations. This is inevitable as the Euro and the freedom of movement of peoples become central and often all consuming issues. Germany is the paymaster of the Euro and the generator of many of the jobs on the continent that people wish to move to.

UK commentators and media take too little interest in the German philosophy and policy towards the EU. It is critical if we wish to understand why the EU is as it is, and as we assess whether it is the right club for us.

Some say the Germans want similar things to us. This is completely false. It arises because the Germans do want a strong single market, as somewhere to sell their exports and keep their factories in work. However, they want a single market subject to iron disciplines laid down in Germany’s interest. Germans see the Euro as a necessary part of the single market. They see the UK’s absence from the Euro as a temporary and unfortunate delay in getting us inside it. They do not think the UK or any other country in the single market should be free to vary its exchange rate. Having locked themselves into the Euro at a very favourable rate for Germany, they want to preserve that and keep the trade surpluses it allows them to generate.

Germany thinks that having locked most countries into the Euro it is up to the others to struggle to keep up with German levels of efficiency and cost. If another country like Greece or Ireland cannot compete, then it should cut wages to price itself back in. If a country needs to borrow more than the permitted amounts under the EU scheme, they should cut their public spending or put up taxes instead.

Germany is coming round to the view that the EU’s future is for some additional EU taxes like the transactions tax, and in due course some additional EU borrowing. In the meantime they want to see more discipline, and want to see the UK join the Euro and have to face what the others face.To them a single market is a strong set of rules, usually favouring the incumbent large companies. The rules can make it more difficult to innovate and for challengers to compete. They tend not to like “disruptive” competition, but orderly competition to agreed prior designs and standards.

Germany is willing to take some migrants because she is short of new people for the workforce. However, Germany now realises freedom of movement is delivering too many additional people to Germany. Rather than change the policy of free movement, Germany believes other countries should be made to take more migrants instead. Germany does not think the UK should opt out from this either.

The UK’s problem is a membership based on opt outs is counter to the German view. In the longer run the Germans and their allies in the EU will wish to squeeze out or circumvent the UK’s refusal to join in all features of the discipline. As the main continental paymasters of the scheme Germany will continue to exercise disproportionate power in this club of 28 with just one permanent leader. The UK was not a founder member and has found it difficult to control the number of rules or to prevent rules which are unhelpful to smaller competing businesses.


  1. Brian Taylor
    November 2, 2015

    All the above is why we should use the Norway option which would protect our access to the Single market and be a base to negotiate a new deal for those in EEA and EFTA which would be a large trading bloc that others in Europemight wish to join.

    1. Richard1
      November 2, 2015

      The In side will be talking more and more about the practical difficulties and uncertainties of renegotiating all the trade deals – see the letter in the Sunday Times from retired senior civil servants. Their argument is it’s misleading to say we’d get alternative trade deals in place – it would take years and the result might be worse since the UK is just 2% of global GDP whereas the EU is 16%. Outers will need a good answer to this one – if there’s uncertainty, the Inners will have it.

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 2, 2015

        There’s uncertainty either way, because the present European Union treaties set up a process rather than provide a settlement; so far we’ve mainly heard about the uncertainty if we leave that process, and not about where we’ll be heading if we stay in it. I’ll just say that if I’d known back in 1975 where we’d be heading if we stayed in the EEC then I’d have voted to leave not stay, and personally I’ll not be making the same mistake a second time.

        1. Know-Dice
          November 3, 2015

          @DC whole heartily agree with your sentiments there Denis.

          Would also like to thank you for the amount of effort you put in to research and your posts…very helpful.

          Keep it up 🙂

      2. Chris
        November 2, 2015

        There is a good answer, the Flexcit plan by Dr Richard North (shortlisted for the Brexit prize), which is based on a staged withdrawal:

      3. Tom William
        November 2, 2015

        16% and shrinking. We trade as the UK, not as the EU.

    2. Denis Cooper
      November 2, 2015

      But if you call it “the Norwegian option” then you’re opening yourself up to false arguments about what terms we would get. It’s also not clear to me that it would actually be necessary to join EFTA to stay in the EEA, but either way would need some changes to the EEA Agreement.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        November 5, 2015

        The trouble is that there have been two Norwegian options. The first was when Norway was simply not in the EU and presumably suffered from a small degree of EU protectionism, both tariff and non-tariff. The second, now in operation, has involved Norway getting full access to the Single Market, in exchange for accepting many of the EU directives and contributing financially. I can’t help but feel that they would have been better sticking to the first option.

        Why is the UK investigating this option or that option at this stage? We simply need to prepare a detailed list of what is unacceptable in our current relationship with the EU. If this is done, the EU will gladly negotiate a Brexit. The reason it hasn’t happened is that Messrs Cameron and Osborne are unwilling to entertain the idea that EU treaties are reversible or that the UK can opt out of any of them.

  2. alan jutson
    November 2, 2015

    I have no problem with one set of rules for everyone, as that is the same for every Cub that you join.

    Without rules you have chaos.


    Unfortunately the EU does not have one set of rules.
    There is not one set membership fee, there are not common wage scales, there is not one tax rate, there is not one set of employment laws, there is not a common pension scheme, there is not a common benefit system, there are not similar unemployment rules, there is not a common retirement age, there are not similar financial budgetary controls, etc, etc.

    What the EU has is a mish mash of different rules for different Nations, all of whom are seeking to gain a benefit over other Countries in the same Club for their own interests.

    The EU is actually the worst of both Worlds, and in time all Nations will come to the same conclusion, unless they (the people and their elected representatives, the politicians) are prepared to give up National control of their own Countries.

    The simple solution, as with any Club.
    If you do not like the rules, cannot change the rules to your liking, or cannot afford the membership dues, is to leave.

    1. Ken Moore
      November 2, 2015

      Furthermore the Uk with it’s legions of public servants always seems to ‘gold plate’ whatever EU regulation is thrown it’s way.
      For example Germany seems to be able to rely on cheap coal generated power while we busily blow up perfectly serviceable coal fired plant to appease a small and noisy climate change lobby.
      It beggars belief that just 30 years after the end of the second world war we signed up to what is in effect a ‘German run racket’ that Dr Redwood describes so well in today’s post.

    2. Kenneth
      November 2, 2015

      Alan, I think you have summed up the battle that is going on in all eu member nations.

      On the one hand there are those who want to step up standardization and streamlining and therefore ultimately ditch democracy. I would call that the “Soviet option” (or the Brezhnev Doctrine if you prefer).

      On the other hand there are those who want to maintain democracy and freedom (and this would surely result in diversity, innovation and therefore only limited standardization)

      The first group are the so-called elite groups of politicians, large organisations (including some large businesses), mainstream media, academics and those who are very mobile (usually well-off).

      The second group are the rest, who, when asked to make a choice between the two options (in past referendums) have usually voted for democracy and freedom.

    3. Edward2
      November 2, 2015

      And a club where there are 28 members, many of whom do not pay any membership fees but still get a vote.

  3. stred
    November 2, 2015

    It may be time for Mrs Merkel to see about altering their national anthem, before the rest of the world catches on. Gideon Powerhouse obviously thinks it isn’t a problem. He is over there crowing that Deutchland and the various powerhouses of the UK are both Uber Alles in the EU.

    Got up early as the bird is flying off. Now she is coming back in the cold fog. But the lovely weather ladies, about 4 of them, are warning that we have had another record hot day. It was in mid Wales. Curious that the last record in November was at Prestatyn too. Ever heard of the Fohn effect? But, as the Heathrow record, it counts for the rest of the country.

    Last time the Grantham centre for warmist propaganda suggested it was time to step up measures to prevent imminent melt down. Wait for the next one.Lord Stern is an economist.

    While, on the World News, the reason Tony Abbott was given the pineapple was because he gave Phil a knighthood, and Malcolm Turnbull is a republican who think this was a big mistake. Nothing to do with Tony being a climate skeptic and Malcolm being an ex GS managing director and an enthusiast for the green industry. But they did say only 40% of Aussies want to dump Liz.

    1. Bob
      November 2, 2015


      “It may be time for Mrs Merkel to see about altering their national anthem, before the rest of the world catches on.”

      Yes indeed.
      Germany, Germany above all things,
      Above everything in the world,
      when, for protection and defense,
      it always stands brotherly together .
      From the Meuse to the Memel,
      From the Adige to the Belt,
      Germany, Germany above all things,
      Above everything in the world!

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 2, 2015

        Apparently only the third stanza is used as the anthem now:


      2. stred
        November 2, 2015

        Yes. At least we only rule the seas.

        1. Mitchel
          November 3, 2015

          These days its “see the rules”!

      3. stred
        November 2, 2015

        Bob PS. In case any German friends have read this, I did point out that they have not sung the 1st 2 verses for a while and stopped the ‘We have the technology and Truth in engineering ads’ for the Yanks.

    2. Stephen Berry
      November 2, 2015

      The German national anthem is commonly misunderstood outside Germany. The lines “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles/Über alles in der Welt,” (“Germany, Germany above everything/above everything in the world”) is not about Germany dominating the world. It was written before the unification of Germany and was an injuction to 19th century Germans living in their numerous small statelets to put aside petty squabbles and get behind the movement for united Germany.

      A better example of this sort of thing might be “Rule Britannia!/Britannia rule the waves”. This definitely is an injunction to Britain to dominate the seas. Don’t know whether the world has caught on yet.

      1. Bob
        November 3, 2015

        @Stephen Berry
        Rule Britannia isn’t our national anthem.

      2. Denis Cooper
        November 3, 2015

        The world understood it very well until the Second World War. Some doubt had come in during the First World War; but it was the British naval disasters and the simultaneous massive expansion of US sea power during and after the Second World War which really put an end to it.

  4. Richard1
    November 2, 2015

    Probably an accurate summary and a nice illustration of why the EU as currently constructed is a problem for the UK. But you leave out a key point which should also be made. Underlying the German attitude is the horror and shame of decent and civilised Germans – the very large majority – at their own C20th history and their wish to see permanent political union in order to stop the nationalism and racism which they see, rightly, as having caused the terrible disasters they did. We should give credit to the post-war generations of Germans, people and politicians, who have faced up to their terrible past, atoned for it, and ensured stable liberal democracy in Germany. In our discussions on the EU we should recognise this, rather than – as often happens on the eurosceptic right (though not from you of course) – denigrating the Germans and claiming they want to take over Europe. It’s more likely we’ll get a better result.

    1. Bob
      November 2, 2015


      “Underlying the German attitude is the horror and shame of decent and civilised Germans – the very large majority – at their own C20th history”

      Post war, it seems impossible to find anybody in Germany that agreed with the Nazis. It makes one wonder how they ever managed to cobble together such formidable military capability leading to death and destruction on a global scale.

      Britain has a track record of standing against European tyranny, but by destroying our industrial base, farming, fisheries, armed forces and control of our borders we will be completely hobbled if such intervention were ever required again.

      Europe without an independent Britain will be a less safe place. It’s all about balance.

      1. Tad Davison
        November 2, 2015

        He who pays the piper calls the tune. That is, until it comes to the United Kingdom and her relationship with the EU. In order to please and to placate, we give our money and do our best, but we always seem to come off worst. We fund, but find little favour or advantage.

        Let’s not forget that Germany had a helping hand after World War Two called ‘The Marshall Plan’, where we in the UK had to struggle to earn every pound we could through an export drive to pay down the massive debts we incurred in two great German-inspired conflagrations. We were actually making progress, then we elected Wilson in 1964!

        So history has a nasty habit of repeating itself unless we learn from our mistakes, which curiously, we seem reluctant to do. Some say we twice misinterpreted the real intentions of Germany during the last century – in 1914, and again in 1938-39. Wrong! They completely missed out 1972 when we began the process of perpetual subservience to them!

        We finally have a chance to extricate ourselves from this tanged EU web, but if we fail, we will sink into the abyss of a new dark age. Make no mistake about it. Through stealth, Germany has already (gained influence over ed) most of Europe, and not first time, we’re next.

        Tad Davison


      2. Anonymous
        November 2, 2015

        If there is any doubt that Hitler was fully supported by the German population then I recommend people watch The World at War series.

        Hollywood lets them off lightly by blaming it on the Nazis.

        1. Denis Cooper
          November 3, 2015

          I would only go as far as saying that many Germans supported Hitler and the Nazis. Once it is dangerous to be seen as somebody who does not support something then it becomes hard to say how many people really support it and how many people are just scared into pretending that they support it. In my view the Nazis would never have taken over Germany if the German government had been able and willing to put a stop to their intimidation and suppression of opponents, but the Weimar government was too weak to do that. This is why I am increasingly concerned about the direction of this country where the urge to suppress free expression has taken hold and is now rampant.

    2. Wireworm
      November 2, 2015

      You are quite right to add this. It means that there are two separate German agendas: the self-interested and rather implacable economic agenda outlined by JR and the liberal, penitent let’s-dissolve-Germany-in-Europe agenda. It’s good cop/bad cop. The bad cop is well concealed until he has to bang the table; meanwhile all the propaganda organs, including the BBC, are solely attuned to the good cop’s persuasive and emollient line.

  5. stred
    November 2, 2015

    Apologies to our cousins. The Uber Alles der Welt bit is now missed out and they concentrate on the more humble verses, at least according to wiki. I think the Advancement through Technology and Honesty in Engineering ads have disappeared for a while too.

  6. MikeP
    November 2, 2015

    Their “disciplines” occasionally spill over into arrogance or misguidedness:
    – on the UK’s relationship, Martin Schulz said, “the UK BELONGS to the EU”.
    – having set a unilateral target to accept 800,000 migrants, with no clue as to how they were going to get to Germany, Angela Merkel said, “Germany is a strong country, we will cope”. Shame she didn’t explain the consequences to Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia,……
    etc ed

  7. Ian wragg
    November 2, 2015

    You are only telling us what people of our age already know.
    The (new order ed) is being built economically etc ed. The end game is the same. Rule from Berlin using the Soviet styled EU to administer it’s wishes.
    Germany is stoking up discontent around Europe with its haranguing over immigration after causing an almighty problem.
    The sooner Murky is consigned to history the better.
    I see the so called negotiations are getting weaker by the day. Will we ever be told what the end game is.

    1. Andy
      November 2, 2015

      Reading a biography of the Kaiser last year it was striking how German Foreign Policy aims have not changed in a 100 years. They just aren’t using tanks anymore.

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 2, 2015

        That’s pretty much what these German journalists say, except they take it further back than Kaiser Wilhelm II:


        “The “reorganisation” of Europe is a recurring justification, as well as an expressed goal of German expansionist policy. At the time of the foundation of the German Empire (1870/1871) this “reorganisation” was already being carried out by means of war … ”

        Somehow I don’t think the German government will readily accept the idea of a British “reorganisation” of Europe instead.

  8. backofanenvelope
    November 2, 2015

    If Germany is so short of young workers, why don’t they recruit Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese? Lots of unemployed youngsters in those countries. And they would be literate Christians!

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      November 2, 2015

      There are loads of kids from Southern Europe working in Germany right now. People from those countries have worked there from the 50s onwards. What nobody has credibly explained is why they have opened their borders to all and sundry now? Its not as if they do not know the problems they are going to encoounter, if the track record of the descendents of the original Turkish gastarbeiteren is anything to go by e.g. only 14% of children of Turkish origin get their arbitur (A levels) in Germany.

      Something seems to be coordinated in the West. Last year it was all countries allowing gay marriage. This year its open the borders to anybody e.g. Obama taking in a load of unaccompanied child refugees from Central America. An assisted dying bill is defeated in parliament. A couple of days a similar bill is introduced into the Californian legislature. The elites of the West seem to be working to their own agenda.

      1. Bob
        November 3, 2015

        @Dame Rita Webb

        “The elites of the West seem to be working to their own agenda.”

        Yes, it’s Agenda 21.

    2. Sean
      November 2, 2015

      Well said.

    3. Anonymous
      November 2, 2015

      The EU politicians (and our own) have totally lost control of our countries and are trying to save face by making out that the immigration crisis is not a crisis but is all by design.

  9. Charles
    November 2, 2015

    Yes we are seeing a more German led Europe. However, the key reason is that the UK is walking away. Leaving the EU, if it happens, will be the biggest strategic blunder of the UK since ‘Splendid Isolation’. We should be in there, gaining allies and influencing the European debate and direction. We were doing so in the 1980’s and 1990’s and there is no reason why we can’t do so again.

    1. ian wragg
      November 2, 2015

      Britain has never had any influence on the EU and never will have. Germany and France have been the rulers and it will always be so.
      It’s good that some of the Eastern European states are starting to rebel and I can’t see Poland ever joining the Euro.
      I do think the EU project is waning and will eventually collapse just like its predecessor the Soviet Union.

      1. Tad Davison
        November 2, 2015

        You could be right Ian, Mikhail Gorbachev would certainly agree. He could never understand why anyone would want to recreate the former USSR in western Europe.

        The EU is where it is through lies, subterfuge, and trickery. They depend upon people being misinformed and ill-informed to get their way. But the model is ultimately unworkable and doomed to failure – with one exception. And all the little feeder nations are subsumed beneath its overbearing yoke.


    2. Graham
      November 2, 2015

      Hi Charles

      Help me out here will you.

      What exactly have we influenced during this period which has so helped the indigenous population of the UK.

      Thanks in advance for the huge list.

      1. Charles
        November 2, 2015

        Influencing other countries is not about picking a fight with them, but about creating a common set of aims and then edging other countries towards them.

        So how did the UK influence other EU countries? In the 1980 and 1990’s Britain led the creation of the single market. We made sure there was a level playing field by stopping other countries subsidizing ‘national champions’ and competing unfairly. We helped write into the Single Market the permanent removal of capital controls.

        It is easy to go on with more ways we influenced the expansion of the European Union, got the principal of subsidiarity written into the treaties. etc etc etc.

        1. Denis Cooper
          November 2, 2015

          The principle of “subsidiarity” is essentially a federalist concept, promoted by a party which voices opposition to federalism.

        2. Denis Cooper
          November 2, 2015

          That would be the Single Market which required the wholesale abolition of national vetoes, so destroying the basis for the popular consent extracted in the 1975 referendum, attacking the sovereignty of our Parliament, undermining our national democracy and setting the precedent that there was no need to bother asking the people before further disempowering their Parliament, just do it and if anybody objects refer them back to Thatcher and her Single European Act.

        3. Timaction
          November 2, 2015

          I read only last week that whenever we have objected to any EU development in the last 40 years we have NEVER got our own way.
          We pay £12 billion net annually for a £77 billion trade deficit? We have only been a net beneficiary once in all the years as a member. Regulations for the 8% of our businesses that trade with the EU apply to 100% of the business world and cost billions more. Billions in lost fish revenues, billions more in the CAP. Billions more for the Health, education, in and out of work benefits for the millions of mainly minimum wage workers from predominantly Eastern Europe
          I see the USA Trade rep was a fully paid up EU official in their Forward Planning Unit and the CBI receive over 180,000 Euro’s every year from the EU. The BBC receive an EU grant and the EU have set up a propaganda Unit that will grow at our expense in advance of our referendum. Are you part of that Charles?
          I want the return of my independent sovereign Nation. Trade and friendship only, not part of the unelected dictatorship.
          Go read the unelected EU Five Presidents report if you want to see what will happen if we stay in this monster!

        4. David Price
          November 4, 2015

          It is not a level playing field. Have you tried selling technology to the Germans and French? In my experience in computing and telecoms they positively discriminate in favour of their local and national suppliers, the reverse of what happens here.

      2. Michael Walzer
        November 2, 2015

        Graham, If I can add to Charles’ … Nowadays most parties in Europe are within some varying degrees economic liberals of the type introduced by Mrs Thatcher.
        It might not have helped the UK indigenous population but that is certainly a huge influence of the 1980s UK.
        Obviously it is possible to argue that the effect of such a economic revolution has only benefitted a limited fringe within the U.K. (bankers, hedge funds and the like) but look around Europe, there are very few parties which can pretend to be governing now or in the future which have not accepted this liberal credence.

        1. Mitchel
          November 3, 2015

          But the impact of Thatcherism wasn’t restricted to Europe.I seem to remember Chile ,to name one elsewhere,which reformed itself on Thatcherite lines.I don’t see what it has to do with the EU;countries saw the benefits and adapted accordingly.

    3. alan jutson
      November 2, 2015


      I think you need to look at the success or not of our voting record, and the final outcomes agreed on policies within the EU.

      You can talk as much as you like, but there comes a time when you must feel like you are just wasting your breath.
      I think we are at, or have gone past that stage now, after 40 years of trying and failing.

    4. forthurst
      November 2, 2015

      Personally, I’m sick to death of europhiles gibbering about ‘reforming the EU’ from ‘within’; it’s the standard ploy they use to parry criticisms of the odious reality which the EU is and always has been from it’s very inception under its original nom de guerre, the ‘Common Market’: it’s duplicitious and insincere and takes us all for fools, whereas only some of us are. The EU is and always has been a frontal assault on European nationalities, European ethnicities, European survival, by its self-loathing leaders (eg left out ed) and the enemy within which assiduously directs the public discourse through its chokehold on the media including the ‘free’ press.

      1. alan jutson
        November 3, 2015


        Just take some heart that those who preach change from within, are also accepting that it does need change, as it is not working as planned.
        As they are all but one step from out,.

        They will eventually see that after 40 years trying to get change is not possible, unless it is change to more integration, more control, more socialism not less.

  10. formula57
    November 2, 2015

    It begins to look as though the EU itself has become “a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe”, as Nicolas Ridley said of the Euro currency!

    1. fedupsoutherner
      November 2, 2015

      Mmmm, tell me why we had the world wars??

    2. Richard1
      November 2, 2015

      Nicholas Ridley said that of the EC as was, not the euro, which wasn’t then even on the drawing board. It was an exceptionally foolish remark for such an able and intelligent man, and greatly harmed the eurosceptic cause.

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 2, 2015

        Not so.


        “On 14 July 1990 he was forced to resign as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry after an interview published in The Spectator. He had described the proposed Economic and Monetary Union as “a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe” and said that giving up sovereignty to the European Union was as bad as giving it up to Adolf Hitler.”

  11. Martyn G
    November 2, 2015

    Thank you for a good summary of how Germany sees itself in the structure and functioning of the EU in its current entirety. Would I be far wrong to precis your words into a single sentence? Germany rules the EU as a benevolent (at the moment) dictatorship.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 2, 2015

      I don’t see it as benevolent.

      Was it benevolent to resurrect the contents of the rejected EU Constitution as a “Reform Treaty”:

      make every effort to avoid any national referendums on it, force the Irish people to vote again after the Irish government had been unable to avoid a referendum and the people had said “No”, issue dark threats against President Klaus of the Czech Republic for holding it up, and generally move heaven and earth to make damn sure that it was in force before the latest date for the UK general election so that the British people would be denied a referendum?

      I don’t think so, I think it showed that Merkel had no respect for either democracy or the British people and no qualms about vitiating British democracy.

  12. agricola
    November 2, 2015

    Your thoughts suggest that even were we to remain on the fringe of the EU, like Norway for instance, then any concessions gained in re-negotiation by the UK would in time be eroded to the point of being worthless. I do not think such thoughts concern your leader because his game plan is to remain in come what may. A quite traitorous course to pursue.

    It convinces me that the Germans should be left to get on with it to their own ends and ever increasing responsibilities within the EU. It will continue until such time as the German people tire of it and or the peoples of the member countries become so rebellious as to destroy it from within. I suspect that the German desire to keep us in is less through love of the UK , but more because they see our departure as a catalyst for others to follow. The laws of natural selection could reduce the EU to a rump of Northern European nations whose economies equate. Then it could well work if it acquired a democratic basis.

    We the UK are better off out to pursue our future through World trade, unencumbered by the plethora of control that flows from Brussels. We have seen our greatest historical achievements as an innovative free trading country, with on balance a good humanitarian record. This we should continue. It is not without coincidence that our system of democratic government has been adopted around the World. We should not ourselves abandon it for the totally alien system that operates within the EU.

  13. Alan Wheatley
    November 2, 2015

    The EU that we have today is the evolution of noble ideals born of two World Wars in a generation. The intention was to stop the rise of Germany. The result has been to hand to Germany on a plate the dominant position.

    The exposition today’s post gives us explains some of the feeling that in the EU we are living in something akin a Fourth Reich.

  14. mickc
    November 2, 2015

    Germany has been the main problem for Europe since its first unification in the 19th century.
    It is economically more powerful than any other Continental country, and its people have an absurd over-respect for “rules”, no matter how ridiculous. The latter is a consequence of Civil Law systems, as is the corporatism which it favours.
    The UK is a Common Law country, which suits the character of its people. The UK is entirely unsuited to the sort of closer political union on offer.

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      November 2, 2015

      “absurd over-respect for “rules”, no matter how ridiculous.” eh have you ever been to Germany? All though they have virtually disappered now, during my time as a student Berlin was full of squats. Even today in the big cities May Day often descends into a riot with the police. If you were watching the news in the 80s you may remember the huge demonstrations against nucler power and Helmut Schmidt bringing Pershing missiles into Germany. The idea that Germans are automatons is ridiculous. VW does not seem to have had much respect from rules and regs recently either.

      1. mickc
        November 2, 2015

        Yes, I have been to Germany, and yes, I was imprecise in citing “rules”.
        What they actually have is too much respect for ideas and the rules they generate.
        Thus they are overly enthusiastic about Imperialism, then democracy, then National Socialism, then democracy, then European Union….
        They are incapable of treating ideologies with the cynicism which the Anglosphere generally does.

      2. Mitchel
        November 2, 2015

        @Dame Rita…,and they also gave us Baader-Meinhoff/Red Army Faction,perhaps Continental Europe’s worst urban terrorist movement.

        1. Dame Rita Webb
          November 2, 2015

          The BM/RAF did not do anything as deadly as the people behind the bombing of Bologna railway station in the 80s. If you want to restrict your scope to continental terror groups.

  15. Bert Young
    November 2, 2015

    German discipline and its approach to how the EU should co-exist is a reflection of its regimentation doctrine . This sort of attitude is entirely different to the motivational characteristic we have ; it is one of the reasons we create ideas – the ideas and design the Germans depend on . For years the automotive industry in Germany has relied on British designers and innovators ; without them it would not be where it is today . Italy has also supplied creative designers to them and the present appearance of the BMW models reflect this influence .

    There is no question that the alliance of German manufacturing and British design and innovation is and can be a vibrant partnership , but this does not mean that we should be subservient to Germany or become , in any way , driven by them . What the Germans want from a politicised and united Europe is not what we need or want ; we have a place in the world that is recognised by our own approach to enterprise ; the respect we have generated for ourselves stands as an example for others to follow – not the other way round .

  16. turbo terrier
    November 2, 2015

    Germany is willing to take some migrants because she is short of new people for the workforce//Germany does not think the UK should opt out from this either.

    What a surprise no surprise.

    Have the Germans ever done anything other than for the betterment of themselves?

    Our island cannot asorb the numbers, when people talk about infrastructure it does not stop at schools, hospitals and housing.

    With the predicted population increase it will be a mega problem to provide better policing services, prisons, roads, energy and industries that will be of a real benefit to the balance of payments and to impact on the national debt.

    This is why we have to be out of the madhouse before it all collapses as it surely will. The sole survivor being in better shape than the rest will be Germany with total control something they have always wanted.

  17. Antisthenes
    November 2, 2015

    Draconian rules and regulations have been introduced and will continue to be. It has to be suspected not that it is good thing for trade or the EU single market but because bureaucrats love them. They love them because it makes their lives so very much easier. A few large companies are easier to police and control than thousands of smaller competing ones. This of course is good for the non productive, the bureaucrats and their large corporation cronies but not for entrepreneurship, competition or the consumer. This is nothing less than centralised socialism with a capitalist face.

    Germany certainly is the main beneficiary of the euro. It has made them richer and others with that currency poorer. However the irony is that Germany does not admit her liability in causing this situation and accept the responsibility that would go with that acceptance. If she did she would start by compensating the likes of Greece and Portugal for what the euro has done to their economise (not in full as they also were complicity in making the mess they are in). Then they would find a way to solve the problem of the disparities the euro has caused where it sees some countries the euro is too strong against other countries currencies like Greece and too weak like Germany. The simple answer of course is to scrap the euro.

    The political integration path will not in the end cure the systemic problems of the euro-zone it probably will exacerbate them. Germany will find like the UK the North South wealth divide will not be cured because Germany demands it and it will always be a drain on her economy and other Northern states in the euro. Germany dragging the UK into the euro would be a handy way of passing the burden onto others just like they want to do with the immigrants that Merkel so foolishly invited in.

    The EU and euro are foolish projects the harm of them is is fairly easy to discern once the blinkers and rose tinted glasses are taken off.

  18. Lifelogic
    November 2, 2015

    Indeed the German agenda is essentially incompatible with the interests of the UK.

    Alas Cameron and Osborne do not seem to have grasped this. They just seem to want to delay benefits for some migrants for an hour or two after their arrival and change the wording of “ever closer union” it seems. What a complete joke, as Simon Heffer wisely outlined yesterday.

  19. Mike Stallard
    November 2, 2015

    “In the meantime they want to see more discipline, and want to see the UK join the Euro and have to face what the others face.”

    I am so glad you can see this. Not a lot of people can.
    The EU is not a “club” at all. It is a dynamic institution moving majestically and inevitably towards More Europe. If people question this, they simply have not been doing their homework.
    The EU membership – Associate membership, EEA, Norway option – are all of them being swept along on the strong current towards the Federal Democratic Republic of Europe.
    If we do nothing, we will be carried on towards this inevitable end. And it isn’t just the Germans. It is in the very fabric of the EU society.
    “Remain” is not an option.

  20. brian
    November 2, 2015

    A German minister advises the UK to stay in the EU because “the British Empire is gone”. He omitted to say that the EU is the beginning of the New German Empire.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    November 2, 2015

    I note that you agree that membership of the €uro will be subsequently foisted on us should we be so foolish as to vote to remain in the EU. The proponents of remaining in the EU (including the Prime minister) always attempt to dismiss this notion as of no consequence, in much the same way as similar people dismissed the political consequences of joining the Common Market in the 1975 referendum. We cannot allow people to be lied to again as they were in ’73 and ’75.
    The EU you describe is clearly dictatorship led by Germany. Why does your leader and so many of your colleagues wish to succumb to this? Have they no confidence in their abilities to govern without diktat from Berlin and Brussels? The worst aspect is that they appear to have no confidence that the UK, with the 5th largest economy in the world, is capable of being a self-governing, independent country trading with the world. I see that as a poor reflection on them and their capabilites rather than this country and its people.

  22. MPC
    November 2, 2015

    I worry that rational analyses such as this are not being heard beyond those of us who already want out of the EU. As expected, the ‘remainers’ are increasingly publicising the tired lie about possible mass job losses should we leave, with some on the leave side saying this just shows desperation, which is true but insufficient as a counter argument to remaining in. I personally feel the recruiting of Stuart Rose and Karren Brady could unfortunately prove to be a masterstroke. Rose will surely soon start implying that if he were still in charge of M&S (and other companies he has led) with Brexit he’d have to plan to relocate M&S’s HQ elsewhere and reduce the workforce . The televised media will lap that up ‘Thousands of jobs in retail could be lost on EU exit’ etc. Karren Brady is an appealing figure to younger people and will no doubt join in.

    We have all the strong arguments on EU membership but need some equally charismatic leadership as otherwise the remainers’ scaremongering may well prove sufficient, given current media coverage, to persuade wavering voters and keep us in the EU.

  23. Richard Roney
    November 2, 2015

    Another very good, if not compelling, reason to leave the EU. Which of us wants to be part of a German hegemony?

  24. ChrisS
    November 2, 2015

    An accurate summary of the position.

    It begs the question : If the EU really was a true union of peoples and ideas, the views of every member state would carry equal weight but simply adjusted for population size.

    This is clearly not the case.

    Even though it’s true that Germany has the highest population in the EU by a modest margin, it exercises influence and control out of all proportion to its population. In short, anything Merkel wants, she gets. This is no way to run a United States of Europe and will cause ever more non-violent conflict until it reaches a point where the voters of other countries will no longer put up with it.

    The fact that we are ahead of the curve here is hardly a surprise, our entire history is based on our refusal to bow to pressure and up till we joined the EU our leaders always guarded our independence fiercely.

    We can only hope that Cameron and the Europhiles will pay a heavy price for running down our position in the world every turn.

    If the Out campaign chooses its issues carefully I believe that, despite the ceaseless efforts of Politicians, the BBC and the education establishment to diminish our role, our citizens will see through them and vote to restore our independence.

    They forget that pride and self esteem makes a person and a nation feel good but the opposite is also true.

  25. oldtimer
    November 2, 2015

    Thank you for that clear analysis of German interests. Germany will want the UK to remain in the EU because it is a major contributor to EU coffers, because it is a major market for German products and because, as you point out, the City offers a rich source of transaction tax plunder to fund the EU project. If the UK votes to leave the UK EU subscription would be lost and the UK market would be at risk and future transaction tax revenues would be lost to the EU. That would never do.

    I assume that Mr Osborne has gone to Germany to discover what is and what is not acceptable to Germany as the UK`s negotiating “demand”. As a Bilderburg regular it is difficult to see him returning empty handed and declaring that no sensible agreement is possible. All that remains to be seen is the nature of the stitch up that will be offered. Do not rule out an early push for a referendum.

  26. Oscar De Ville
    November 2, 2015

    Your latest ever-erudite entry is a very welcome analysis going to the heart of our ” European problem”. Yet it is still guarded, polite and and rational as befits a senior political figure.

    To be really plain-spoken, do we really expect German policy to forget its thwarted Teutonic past when it is now “winning” at last, without needing to arm or fight ? (words left out ed)
    It would simply be folly for us to decide to stay within the German-led EU embrace.

    November 2, 2015

    Even in a local meeting some years ago of the former British Transport and General Workers Union ( TGWU ) it was noted that German sponsored EU European truck transport plans and regulations would lead to Germany being a hub of lines of road communications in its territory and even in a benign way being almost utterly in control of trans-European road trade. It was complicated. It involved a whole series of driver regulations relating to working time on the road and driver permissions to drive on other states’ roads.
    The TGWU meeting benefited greatly by the input of hands-on truck drivers who were able to explain their intimate knowledge which very few outside their work would possibly know.

    The EU is an overly massive organisation and its time-spaced/ department-spaced voting on regulations make it impossible to follow in many cases the implications not only of one particular law but the interaction of those laws on the ground. You have to know what you are looking for. If there is a particular pattern emerging. Figuratively speaking, sometimes, a road map of bits of highway not yet joined one stretch to another. With our eyes focused instead looking in narrow small-picture orientation.

    If one steps back from the political easel ( such an apt word ) and perhaps another step further but not a step too far, then one sees in stark relief Germany’s agenda as JR asserts: “…they ( Germans ) want a single market subject to iron disciplines laid down in Germany’s interest. “

  28. Atlas
    November 2, 2015

    Quite, John.

    It is slightly fortuitous that today “Find my past” has put the 1939 register on-line. (Of interest to all those concerned with last time the Germans got a bit ahead of themselves)

    P.S. Have you changed the layout of your web-site?

  29. Paul Cohen
    November 2, 2015

    Another insightful piece from JR, although I can see civil unrest becoming widespread before the fruition of a German “cunning plan”.

    Mr Cameron is a disapointment, seemingly not the hard nosed, canny negotiator we hoped he was. The EU has a lot going on at present, and will not want to spend much time debating the UK attempts at renegotiating its position. We still don’t know what our requirements are to be and the last thing we want is a last minute cobbled together affair a la the Scottish referendum.

    Mr Cameron needs to communicate to the electorate more, and on a regular basis as to the state of the talks he is having so we can get some proper debate going. Unfortunately he has already signalled his preference to staying within the EU – why did he do that?

    1. Bob
      November 3, 2015

      @Paul Cohen

      “Mr Cameron is a disapointment, seemingly not the hard nosed, canny negotiator we hoped he was. “

      You’re not serious?

  30. David Edwards
    November 2, 2015

    It’s difficult to work out if German dominance is due to German philosophy or that the Euro zone is an unstable equilibrium which gives disproportionate advantages to those countries that do well and consequent disadvantages to other countries that do less well, but unlike a typical commercial competitive market that requires companies to fail in order that the market as a whole progresses, no country in the Euro zone can be allowed to fail, so the Euro zone as a whole stagnates. The thinkers behind the Euro zone (Mitterand et al. scared of German reunification) created a bit of a dogs breakfast, and I suspect the EU, or Germany, will not be prepared to take proper corrective action to write into law what is necessary which seems to be that it formalizes the transfer of cash (not spurious loans) to the countries that do less well. Either way we are hugely advantaged by not being part of it.

  31. ChrisS
    November 2, 2015

    Further to my post about our politicians running the UK down, I have been looking at our status in the world.

    It is often bandied about that we have the fourth largest economy in the world. The truth is that we actually have the fifth largest economy according to the UN, the IMF, The World Bank and the CIA. These are based on 2014 figures and place us behind the US, China, Japan and Germany, but ahead of France, Brazil and Italy ( in that order ). All four countries with GDP larger than ours have very much larger populations.

    As far as the EU is concerned, our economy is the second largest and has outperformed all of the other leading EU countries since at least 2010. 2010-2014. The facts are that the economy of Germany has grown by 12.9%, France by 7.36% and Italy by a miserable 0.82%. while the figure for the UK is an excellent 22.24%.

    As a result the economy of Germany is now 31% larger than ours although back in 2010 it was almost 42% bigger. Predictions are that by 2030 our GDP will overtake that of Germany.

    We have already overtaken France whose economy is tanking : it was 10% larger than ours in 2010 and is now 3% smaller. Socialist Governments don’t work, Corbyn please note !

    Turning to that other measure of status, the military, we are ranked as having the 5th greatest combined fire power of any nation in the world behind the US, Russia, China and India. This is remarkable as even the smallest of those countries, Russia, has a population double that of the UK.

    We are, of course, also one of only nine States in the world who possess Nuclear Weapons.

    Then we also have our permanent seat on the Security Council, a leading presence in other world forums including the G7, the G20 and the Commonwealth and have a formidable Diplomatic presence throughout the World.

    Finally on the basis of current population, the UK is within the top 10% group of countries. (The UK is the 21st most populous State out of 122 ).

    With all this going for us, how can it possibly be true that we are nothing without being a member of the EU ? It is a totally ludicrous and disingenuous argument.

    Can there be any doubt whatsoever that we would regain our own seat on all the world bodies we have been forced to leave at the behest of the EU ?

    As for US trade representative, Michael Froman’s comment that the US would not do an individual trade deal with us, it is laughable.

    The US currently has 14 trade deals in place with countries as small as Peru and Morocco. In fact all 14 countries with current US trade deals are very substantially smaller than the UK.

    There are another 16 US trade deals currently under negotiation plus the one with the EU. The proposed partners in every one of those 16 deals have economies that are considerably smaller than the UK.

    Given these facts, you have to doubt Mr Froman’s motives or sanity. Perhaps both !

    So why don’t the BBC, the Educational Establishment and our Politicians celebrate our important position in the world ?

    Are they still hung up over the British Empire or could there be some other reason ?
    One thing is certain, if they blew our own trumpet more often and teach our kids where their country stands in the world they would strike a more confident attitude.

    There is a potent feel-good factor here that can be made to work for the Out campaign if only it can get the message out there.

    Sources :

    World GDP :
    GDP Europe :
    Military :
    Population :
    US Trade Deals Current and Proposed :

  32. fedupsoutherner
    November 2, 2015

    Mr Cameron has made it quite clear he is willing and wanting to stay in the EU no matter what. Merkel know this and is happy to call all the shots while Cameron and Osborne bow and scrape.

    1. JoeSoap
      November 2, 2015

      So it requires others to make the point that these two basically subscribe to David Owen’s old SDP – not quite full blown left wing Labour, but appeasers and mid-road socialists in every respect. The other problem is that they will similarly distort the truth in a charming way in order to achieve their goals.

  33. Ken Moore
    November 2, 2015

    If we are so feeble minded and un-questioning we charter private jets and afford near celebrity status to certain individuals ,brushing aside any inconvenient questions, what hope is there of climbing out of the web of lies and national humiliation that is membership of the European Union ?

  34. Kenneth
    November 2, 2015

    It seems to me that the Guardian and BBC are trying restrict the debate about our eu renegotiation around the PM’s floated ideas of (i) protection from Euro-centred decisions; (ii) member states allowed to form a voting block to introduce/repeal regulations; (iii) drop ‘ever close union’; (iv) reduction in welfare for immigrants from eu states

    It seems to me that these ‘demands’, if correct, amount to tinkering, yet they are being talked up as something substantial.

    I’m afraid to say that it looks like history is repeating itself with those that want a return to sovereignty and democracy being painted as mavericks and freaks as they were in the John Major days.

    The real extremists are those who the BBC/Guardian are giving prominence to. In this situation, the moderates – that’s most of us – don’t stand much of a chance.

    However, there is one thing the BBC cannot resist and that is to find ‘splits’ in the Conservative Party. Sooner or later they will be trawling for dissenters and this will give the OUTers some voice. However you can guarantee that the questions will be less about the eu and more about Conservative Party dissent.

  35. Chris
    November 2, 2015

    I agree with You Mr Redwood about the need to understand the mindset of Germany. Developing this theme further is a very interesting analysis of the EU mindset by Richard North including the impossibility of the EU countenancing a change to the four freedoms or to the direction of travel of the “project”. This analysis puts Cameron’s attempts at renegotiating in context and should be a warning to all involved:
    EU referendum: the better deal fallacy.

    November 2, 2015

    Meddling populist sillinesses by UKIP and other tiny groups craving attention are exemplified by a letter released by UKIP on Oct 30th 2015, written on Oct 22nd 2015.

    In it William Dartmouth MEP and UKIP Trade spokesman told EU Trade Commissioner Malmström action must be taken preventing Chinese steel imports being sold at a lower price of production in the UK. Thus from UKIPs daft perspective and ignorance it is dumping.
    Firstly no proof whatsoever has been provided by UKIP that China is selling steel below its own production costs. As is obvious, Chinese workers tend to work for a bob or two less per hour than their European and British counterparts. Her Energy costs are proportionately much lower and America has been bombarding her with ever lower prices of iron ore to knock out more expensive Australian and Chinese producers making redundant thousands of workers and closing mines.

    The end result, if UKIPs nonsenses and demands for tariffs against the Chinese were taken seriously, would be German subsidized steel continuing to dominate Europe and close off our steel production. Also an irate China would retaliate with perhaps a broader brush stroke than we might like.

    One must be careful in accusations of dumping. It must be remembered that the multi-billion dollar (US company produces items ed) with predominantly Chinese labour , Energy and materials. Certainly, its products are priced well-below the production costs if they were done by American workers. Perhaps UKIP dunce-like will accuse the Americans of dumping too. Heaven help the UK from the wrath of UKIP if we decide to export anything our companies build in China.

  37. DaveM
    November 2, 2015

    This is the problem – German Dominated Europe perhaps, but not Led.

    There are no leaders in the EU structure, just bureaucrats and economists who ignore the real issues. Talk about fiddling while the empire burns.

    Right or wrong – however you may view him – Putin is a leader. The EU has no-one of that calibre in a position of power. We have a collection of people who bury their heads in the sand of taxpayer-funded lunches.

    You frequently state, John, that war war has to be resolved by jaw jaw, and you are absolutely right. But action has to come first when there are problems, and Germany, France, the UK, indeed any nation that has the power to do anything, doesn’t have the right people in place to do it.

    It’s truly frightening sometimes to look at the Top Table of any European or World organisation and to think that we have entrusted them with our taxes, our livelihoods, our protection and prosperity. Merkel and her cronies (including British ones) have gone a long way to fatally weakening Europe in so many ways. The hour is cometh-ing. I hope the Man hurries up and cometh soon, otherwise our kids and grandkids might as well start to apply for Aussie citizenship now.

    1. DaveM
      November 2, 2015

      PS. I shouldn’t think many people here read it yesterday, but there was an article in the Sun on Sunday which is probably the Leave campaign’s best bit of propaganda yet. And was probably read by about 10 million people.

  38. Maureen Turner
    November 2, 2015

    I wonder did Mr. Redwood intentionally write “A Germany led Europe” rather than EU. One of the things that struck me about this blog, which I completely agree with, was his use of certain words /phrases – growing dominance/iron disciplines/disruptive/orderly. Whatever Germany does it always has to have all its beans in a neat row. I suppose that is what makes it the most powerful EU country – control.

    “UK commentators and media take too little interest in the German philosophy and policy towards the EU.” Yes, but unless the media ask challenging questions as to what Germany’s aims are as the dominant partner we can only assume its main aim is to continue to drive the other 27 countries in a direction that keeps them reasonably happy but above all else is economically beneficial to Germany – that’s it – that’s the philosophy. What it appears to be developing however is an ideology which is worryingly socialistic, ie., adherence to every diktat – that failing financial punishment.

    If you were to go out into your street and ask people at random who is the President/PM of Latvia, Sweden, Portugal etc., I doubt if many would know. I wouldn’t. At the present time the EU is Germany’s baby and Angela is its star attraction but how the migrant crisis is handled could change things – her invitation to 800,000 Syrians hasn’t gone down too well.

    This week we should learn more as to what is involved in the PMs renegotiations but don’t expect much other than contented smiles from those who govern us from Brussels.

  39. Donna
    November 2, 2015

    I’m sure the German Government would like us to join their Teutonic straight-jacket but there would only be one beneficiary from that, and it wouldn’t be the UK.

    We do not need to be in a political union in order to trade. We don’t need to be in a single currency in order to trade. We don’t even need to be in the single market in order to trade.

    Membership of the German-dominated EU is not in the UK’s interests. We are a global trading nation, not a Little European one like most EU members.

    The Euro and the Teutonic straight-jacket won’t serve us as well as the freedom to set out own laws; agree our own trade treaties and engage with our friends in the Commonwealth and the wider global community.

    So thanks Germany, but no thanks. You keep your straight-jacket ….. and we’ll keep our flexibility.

  40. Jon
    November 2, 2015

    Was the Schengen area not meant to change attitudes of people from being German, French, Italian, etc etc to being EU people? If it was it has failed.

    I think Schengen was introduced to facilitate a common currency and tax regime, to remove nationhood but still exists.

  41. adams
    November 2, 2015

    All true John . Have you told the Great Leader from Witney ? He really does not get it and even if he does he still wants us IN .

  42. Original Richard
    November 2, 2015

    The UK voters should remember that it is currently Conservative Party policy to admit Turkey (75m people) into the EU.

    So our current political leaders want us to remain in a EU which will be dominated by Germany and Turkey.

  43. Tad Davison
    November 2, 2015

    If anyone wants to see the German pro-EU mind-set for themselves, I recommend they watch Hans-Werner Sinn, an advisor to the German government, who gave an interesting interview on RT’s Sophie and Co. Freely available to view on their website. He favours a total political union and says the EU cannot work the way it is today, no doubt with Germany at its head calling the shots. There’s a lot to take in, but it really is interesting viewing for anyone who loves this country of ours.


  44. Vanessa
    November 2, 2015

    You are describing the old USSR and I don’t think most, in the UK, want to join another USSR. It set everything in rigid forms so no competition was allowed making it useless to work hard and try to rise about the crowd. It collapsed quite rightly and I can’t wait for this new EUSSR to collapse and let us get on with our lives.

  45. rick hamilton
    November 3, 2015

    Quoting from “Ring of Steel” by Alexander Watson about Germany’s secret war aims, drafted in 1914:
    “……..a central European economic association (Mitteleuropa) through common customs treaties, to include France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria-Hungary, Poland and perhaps Italy, Sweden and Norway”
    “……..under German leadership and must stabilise Germany’s economic dominance over Mitteleuropa”
    Excluding, of course, the British who were no doubt to be defeated economically by this means.
    It didn’t quite work out that way – or did it?

  46. Original Richard
    November 3, 2015

    “Germany is willing to take some migrants because she is short of new people for the workforce.”

    Why did Mrs. Merkel not invite to work in Germany all the unemployed young people from the southern EU countries instead ?

  47. Lindsay McDougall
    November 5, 2015

    Rheinish capitalism, which favours incumbent businesses, and the practice of bank managers and chief executives knowing each other socially, has always been different from free booting Anglo-Saxon capitalism.

    Reading your excellent analysis and agreeing with it, I am tempted to say that we should do our best to wreck the EU before leaving it. At the very least, the battle of ideas should be made fully transparent to the UK electorate, some of whom are very slow to wake up.

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