White Paper on the future of Europe (sic- they mean EU)

The EU this week issued a White Paper on its future. As many of us argued before the referendum, and as the EU’s 5 Presidents Report argued, the Commission sees the future of the EU as one of far more integration. This new White Paper complements the 5 Presidents Report which I explained at the time of its first publication, and goes beyond it. The Paper starts by reciting favourably the Spinelli/Rossi vision of a united Europe in their “Il Manifesto di Ventotene” published at the end of the 2nd World War.

As the authors of the White Paper say, “The Lisbon Treaty and the decade long debate that preceded it, has opened a new chapter of European integration that still holds unfulfilled potential.”

It is true that this latest White Paper does contain five possible pathways forward for the EU, including one which envisages less integration than they currently enjoy. The Paper also makes clear that the Commission thinks that a bad option. They seem to strongly favour the fifth option, the one that  entails “doing more together across all policy areas”.  The President of the Commission in his foreword urges the EU to be radical and to opt for much more integration.

Option 2 is the only option that allows less EU control. It is based on doing nothing but the single market, fairly widely defined. The Paper raises the possibility  of more border controls and some limitations on freedom of movement under this scenario which they dislike.

Option 1, the carrying on option, envisages slower and piecemeal progress to more integration, highlighting possible advances on more integrated border and asylum policies, more EU defence and some stronger controls over the Euro and economic policy.  Again, this is not a favoured proposal.

Option 3, coalitions of the willing to drive ahead much more integration in various areas, and Option 4, doing less more efficiently by targeting areas like counter terrorism for more common action, are also not preferred. Option 4 does not seem to involve scrapping areas of competence in any meaningful way and still entails more integration in selected areas.

The proposal the EU wants its members to sign up to is Option 5, “Doing more together across all policy areas”. They envisage the EU having just one seat on each international body, with a common foreign policy on all main issues. They will make defence a priority for more integration. They will lead the global fight against climate change, and  have the largest world overseas aid budget. They will turn the European Stability Mechanism into the European Monetary Fund and get it to raise money to finance investment programmes. The Euro area will need more controls and a fiscal stability function, entailing more EU involvement in taxation and doubtless more “own resource” EU tax revenue.

I welcome their launch of this important debate. The 60th birthday of the EU is a fitting moment for its remaining members to take stock and ask themselves what next. The document reminds us just how central the Euro is to the whole project, and how much more they need to do to back their currency and tackle the high unemployment they have in many parts of its area. The UK being out will make it easier for them to use their institution in the way many of them wish to. A successful single currency needs a powerful central government with tax raising powers to stand behind it. As the 5 Presidents Report made clear, a single currency needs a Euro Treasury.

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59 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Indeed, the EU bureaucrats just career ahead on the same, one size fits all Brussels knows best agenda. The agenda that Cameron & the remainiacs assured us was dead. This to try to win the referendum.

    Rather like John Major and his dire “group think” supporters, when he took the UK economy over the cliff with the entirely predictable disaster of the ERM. This when he was trying to force the UK into the EURO – rather than claiming to have kept us out with his opt out.

    Even after that fiasco the daft Tory MPs kept him clinging to office to bury the Tory party for three plus terms. Leaving the EU to suffer the dire counter productive war on a lie Blair and Brown.

    The UK role is surely to leave, deregulate, lower taxes, reduce the size of government, go for free trade, selective immigration and fully abandon the damaging, anti-scientific climate alarmist, expensive energy religion.

    Such an agenda would clearly result in a far stronger UK economy and the UK would become a beacon to indicate the route for others. Alas we still have the big state (ex?) remainers, May and Hammond in charge. Can they be turned round by the few sound Tory MPs left?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    John Major in his absurd speech the other day said:-

    “But – to those who wish to see us adapt to a deregulated, low-tax enterprise economy – it (a clean break with the EU) is an attractive option, and wholly consistent with their philosophy.

    However, it has worrying implications for public services such as the NHS – and for the vulnerable who, I’m delighted to say, the Government has pledged to help …. and I know how personally committed the Prime Minister is to this.”

    What can be more worrying than the current dire NHS. It cannot even feed and water patients let alone treat them efficiently. Let us hope he is wrong on May and she can be brought to see the light that the state is nearly always the problem and not the solution.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Did those who voted remain understand all of these possibilities before they voted to remain to keep us in the EU.

    I did not hear a word about this at the time, and the 5 Presidents report which was available, was never mentioned by any remain politicians.

    Much comment about levers not knowing the future at the time, hardly a word about the remain future.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Oops leavers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      This was JR a while back “wild ride to political union” but true we certainly heard nothing of it on the BBC or the likes.

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2015/07/20/political-union-is-the-eus-aim-why-do-so-many-deny-or-suppress-this-basic-truth/

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I actually asked this in a letter in our local paper last January, and just to get the ball rolling I invited supporters of the EU to answer a pretty basic question – how many member states did they expect the EU would have in 2056? It was 9 at the time of the last referendum, now it is 28, so how many more did they think would be added over the next four decades? Answer came there none.

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I have spoken to many who voted remain and none were aware of the “5 Presidents Report” or the fact that vote remain gives Brussels the green light from the UK for further integration.

      Listening to Radio 2 today there were comments from several Scottish contributors that they wanted to be out of the UK and be an “Independent” country in the EU, there really don’t understand where the EU is headed do they!!!

      Out of the UK and an EU member means Scotland WILL become a region of the United States of Europe ruled from Brussels, note withstanding that 75% of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK…madness…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm, I remember the couple interviewed in Glasgow, and the girl said that she’d voted “Yes” because it didn’t mean leaving the United Kingdom …

  4. Brexit Facts4EU.org
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    A very good summary Dr Redwood, thank you.

    May we draw your readers’ attentions to three pieces which we’ve produced about the EU27’s White Paper in the last 24 hours? In the latest one this morning, we show how the EU’s document lays claim to their being the top donor of international aid.

    We would also just point out the title of the document: “White Paper on the Future of Europe”. This title may come as some surprise to the 20+ european countries which are not part of the EU.

    Regards, the Brexit Facts4EU.Org Team
    http://facts4eu.org/news.shtml

    • hefner
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Interesting to see facts4eu in the White Paper on the Future of Europe use a nomenclature that put Gibraltar, NI, Scotland and Wales separately from the UK, and obviously distinguish Faroe Islands, Greenland from Denmark, Holy See from Italy, Monaco from France.
      A similar comment can be made for the way they display aid, taking out UK and Germany from the EU when comparing to the USA.
      It is a shame that this type of stupid manipulations by people too keen to make a point ends up as a ridiculous result when a proper use of statistics would have made more or less the same point, but honestly.
      What do you take your readers for?

  5. stred
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Spinelli. Noton our nelli! Bendit’s wiki-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cohn-Bendit

  6. margaret
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Most see the future of the EU as far more integrated. This is the public perception. It will be great to see a stronger Europe being led by the new multiculture brought by immigrants and refugees . The genetic lines will only be strengthened by the fusion of many races. The demarcation lines between different nations broken down and the most dominant religions taking over.

    The single currency will allow the EU to realise that they are one huge nation and the differences sought by those clinging on to their national identity will be broken down. It is not important that they are Germans, French , Baltic etcetera. It will not matter whether they are Roman Catholic , Muslims , or other Protestant denominations for all will serve one purpose the glory of Brussels ;their centre of amalgamation .

    With this oneness will come on the one hand the strengthening of Europe and on the other hand, the melting down of identity to reform this new identity where the most influential by numbers will dominate. Hitler tried to do it by force , but the collective culture will do it by peace , influence by wealth and numbers.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I wrote a reasoned reply to you Margaret but it suddenly disappeared due to my jittery mouse. I can’t type it all again. In a nutshell, I would love to be able to agree with you but I think your projection is wholly unrealistic and takes no account of the evidence of what is occurring in the EU nor of its well documented aims and ambitions. In short what you project is a fantasy.

      • margaret
        Posted March 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        didn’t you spot the satire?

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Most?

      Have you asked the former Yugoslavian countries, the Warsaw pact countries, Catalonia, the Basque country, Scotland..I’m sure they would disagree.

      I reckon that they mostly want the benefit (money) of EU membership but to stay independent…

    • margaret
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Some think that this is complete nonsense but the possibility is overwhelming Innit..

    • forthurst
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      I truly hope that this is satire as it is a prescription for the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan and those who propose it are either evil beyond measure or stupid beyond redemption.

      • James Matthews
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Concur.

      • margaret
        Posted March 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        but just ‘ Imagine’ and he was assassinated

  7. Mark B
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The EU this week issued a White Paper on its future.

    I bet like many here thought, “Boy, that’s gonna be short !” 🙂

    They will lead the global fight against climate change, and have the largest world overseas aid budget.

    Typical Socialist clap-trap ! How can you fight Mother Nature and naturally occurring events ? And I bet all those Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Irish, French and Italians’, to name but a few would really welcome all that money being spent elsewhere rather at home. Just like we do – NOT !!!!!

    How about an addendum to their plan – Option 6 ? Close the whole sorry thing down and let every country just work through the Council of Europe instead..

    Nah ! Sounds too much like common sense. It will never catch on. 😉

    Have a nice day all.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and anyway we have had no warming since 1998 despite the increased CO2 concentration and ice coverage at the poles entirely within the normal range. The world’s sensitivity to CO2 has been hugely exaggerated.

      Trump’s people will hopefully expose all the massive climate fraud that has gone on. The fiddling the temperature and other records to suit the alarmist religion of climate catastrophe.

      • Jon Davies
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Maybe one day you will cite some reputable scientists to support your dubious claims on the world’s sensitivity to CO2 or are you just making up most of it? Repeating something in every post you make does not make it true.

  8. Peter Wood
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    It is indeed time the EU had a long hard look at itself. The main issues that it needs to address, and it does not appear to see these are:
    1) Demonstrably democratic institutions with impeachable transparency,
    2) Creative and effective financial solutions that provide value for money,
    3) Solutions to critical social issues that require a multinational effort.

    The EU system does non of these things, moreover it appears to be an expensive club run by and for minor political leaders from around Europe. Who in fact speaks for the EU?

    • getahead
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Functionaries, Peter.

  9. Alan
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The paper does not do much more than describe some aspects of a range of possible alternatives for the EU in the coming years. It’s hardly surprising that the EU Commission favours greater integration within the EU, since that makes their job easier and more influential, but it is not their decision to make. That will be decided in the Council. The rising forces of nationalism are likely to limit integration in the near future.

    What I find most depressing about the document is that the UK has already been written off. Hopefully that is just the Commission’s view and at least some EU nations will want a closer relationship.

    • getahead
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      The Commission is interested more in political control. Trade to the Commission is a secondary aspect.
      The EU nations will be keen to continue trading with the UK. We are a good market for them.

  10. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Of course only option 5 is being considered
    The rest is just waffle.
    What is Letwin up to telling the interviewer on Radio 4 that it may cost us more annually after we leave the EU.
    Why are we blessed with such idiots.
    God help us If he’s the quality of negotiators

  11. ChrisS
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Why should we be surprised at this document ?

    The Brussels answer to everything has always been “More Europe” and that will never change. However much voters protest, Euro-fanatics like Verhofstadt, Juncker and Schulz are hell-bent on creating their vision of a United States of Europe.

    The only way to stop them will be for another major country to leave. That’s the reason (the only reason) why I’m hoping that Marine LePen will win the French Presidential election. If she pulls France out of the Euro the whole edifice will crumble and will almost certainly revert to just a trading block without a political dimension.

    What they will do with all those buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg ?

    Can there be any doubt that when the single currency is no more, everyone will breath a collective sigh of relief ?

  12. acorn
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    As you say JR, Option 5 is the “federal” solution. The model will have to be more like the USA than Germany. The USA has diminished the role of the states to the equivalent of UK counties.

    Turning the European Stability Mechanism into the European Monetary Fund (EMF) will be a waste of time. The EU is trying to make the latter more like an EU “federal” Treasury. I assume the EMF will become the monopoly Euro currency issuer, taking over from the ECB which took the job on when Draghi arrived. It appears that it will issue non-tradable Bonds to raise cash, even though as a sovereign currency issuer it has no need to do so. The monopoly currency issuer has to be the final currency redeemer, in the form of taxation, that’s how fiat currencies work.

    The only solution is to get rid of the Euro currency. Member states go back to issuing their own currencies and controlling their own fiscal money creation and redemption (spending and taxing). The current system of Euro member states spending Bonds at market interest rates, instead of their own currencies, was always (in MMT terms), a daft idea that has and is still, doing much economic damage, in a toxic combination with IMF / World Bank neo-liberal austerity.

    • acorn
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      If you want a demonstration of the blind leading the blind, have a look at Treasury Committee of 1st March. Marvel at Mr Bean and co, trying to explain helicopter money. Typical mainstream economists that haven’t got a clue how fiat currency sytems actually work, but still managing to bamboozle a flock of MPs.

      http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/600aaddc-1c53-4df1-9fce-e0a35b9d5f9d

    • Peter Martin
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      “Turning the European Stability Mechanism into the European Monetary Fund (EMF) will be a waste of time”

      Possibly. It might not be though if there’s more than a change of name involved. The new body would need substantial new powers to ensure that effective fiscal transfers take place between the the more prosperous and less prosperous regions of the eurozone.

      But the sums of money would need to be substantial too. Huge even. Germany’s trade surplus is reported to be some €253 billion. This all, plus a bit more, needs to be recycled back into the wider EZ economy. Not as loans but as fiscal transfers. The Dutch have an €80 billion surplus. This too needs recycling.

      I can’t see the voters of either country being ready to sanction such a move, although it would be very much in their interests too. They just wouldn’t see it that way.

      So that takes us back to the only other workable option of getting “rid of the Euro currency”. I can’t see that happening any time soon either.

      So the EU is stuck in an unworkable half one thing half another state. The sooner the UK leaves the better.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    “A successful single currency needs a powerful central government with tax raising powers to stand behind it. ”

    And powers to redistribute those taxes to poorer regions in the wider EU as it becomes a superstate. Away from cities such as London, if we remain in the EU and lose further control.

    The “we know best brigade” forget this.

  14. bigneil
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    The on-going argument of EU nationals having their rights here after we leave.
    We have thousands of people here who have literally come here to sponge and be a burden on our taxes and services. Any argument on their so-called “rights” should include OUR rights to get rid of them. We can deal with non EU nationals doing the same after we leave.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      We can get rid of them. It is just that we have useless people running the show. Witness the behaviour towards, Lord Tebbit who, when he wanted the Lords to consider our citizens on the continent over those EU citizens in the UK, was roundly booed. A disgraceful thing to do in my opinion.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Immigration should not have featured in the Lords’ debate on Art 50. It wasn’t anything to do with ‘rights’ – just an attempt to thwart Brexit.

      No-one is talking about deporting decent migrants or stopping qualified ones coming in.

      A total block on migrants is a lie concocted by Remain, the BBC and … Newmania !

  15. Pragmatist
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    There are many areas of the world where integration of people, religions, nations is impossible. Europe is top of the list.

    So we have Europeans including those of the UK, who have escaped because of religious, economic national persecution- the Huguenots and a kaleidoscope of ethnicities and religious groups scattered in every country worldwide. Our history books form one gigantic horror story. European groupings still live in separate neighbourhoods and streets in We Are The World America.
    UKingdomers and Europeans are too aggressive to be kept in the same paddock. Ship ’em anywhere on earth and they still fight one another like cat and dog
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

  16. Daft Brexit
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Having a mini-EU here in the UK with questionably better chosen persons from the EU making a composite British is Daft Brexit.

  17. Antisthenes
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    It is hard to imagine that economic and political integration is ever going to be possible. Already full economic integration has stalled as the net contributors especially Germany have come to realise that the financial burden of doing so is untenable. When Germany and other net contributors taxpayers fully realise the extent of their current and future financial liabilities from bankrolling the poorly performing members they are going to refuse to participate. Brussels of course have ensured that their unaccountability makes it very possible to override them. Which if they do they will do so at their peril.

    Brussels has cunningly and deceitfully in the absence of full integration used the ECB and other financial instruments making them already liable for the hefty debt that the poorer nations have built up. It is nothing more than a massive exercise in the redistribution of wealth. A socialist form of forced altruism which impoverishes the contributors and creates a culture of dependency on the recipients.

    Political integration also relies on socialist principles hence the authoritarian and bureaucratic nature of the EU. I do not see 27 nations acting in concert especially as we have seen the damage of Merkel’s unilateral policy on immigration not being universally accepted. More of the same is inevitable and Brussels as it did with this policy will be called upon to instil discipline and as there is still some semblance of democracy not totally effectively. Full political integration would be the object to make it fully effective but even then there will always be dissenters.

  18. agricola
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Opinions are personal on the subject of the EU. Before finding a way forward they should have a long hard look at what has gone wrong.

    To me the principal that nations who trade freely together are less likely to show belligerence to each other is admirable. So a genuine free trade area , FTA, was a good thing. The mistake they made was to allow the FTA to become protectionist, creating a false market, particularly in food. In other areas it has allowed big business to dictate the market and reduce competition. It’s core premiss is therefore flawed.

    It wanted a USE far too early in it’s development and created the Euro to exert power over nation states that they would not have granted freely. Many nations, and I mean the people not the politicians, are waking up to this, Greece Italy, Spain, Holland, and France ,but to mention a small selection in the wake of Brexit.

    The result is the development of the very situation the founding fathers never wished to see again. All because the EU deplores democracy. In my judgement no good will come of the present situation until they revert to a clean sheet of paper to re- create themselves, but only with the express consent of the people.

  19. jeffery
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with all the focus on Article 50 negotiations, is the way it obscures a/the key reason for Brexit – exiting the euro project entirely. It was conspicuous that Blair did not mention the euro at all, while Major just mentioned it as a prop to try to show he was not slavishly pro-EU. The euro is a botched construct which will require considerable self-sacrifice by Germany and others to make work. So far, they show great reluctance. Cameron’s negotiations only exempted the UK from ‘crisis’ contributions to the project. There seems every chance that the UK might have had to make large financial contributions to ‘stabilise’ the Eurozone, without even being a member. Verhofstadt’s description of “rats leaving the sinking ship” may lack tact, but when it comes to the
    euro not necessarily a bad analogy.

  20. Original Richard
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    “The Euro area will need more controls and a fiscal stability function, entailing more EU involvement in taxation and doubtless more “own resource” EU tax revenue.”

    To survive the EU will need additionally a fully functioning and fair mechanism to compensate populations and countries who suffer adverse consequences of EU wide decisions and policies. Especially when QMV is fully operational next month.

    Such as from the introduction of the Euro.
    Or from trade deals or trade sanctions or other foreign policy decisions.
    Or from asylum and immigration policy.
    Or even from large scale migration within the EU itself.
    Or from environmental or energy policies.
    Etc.

    Fortunately we are leaving the EU as I do not think such a mechanism is feasible within an institution of 27 member states on course to be expanded to 34 or more.

    The Europhiles believe this too which is why the EU governing structure has not been designed to be democratic.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      QMV is already as fully operational as it’s going to be under the present treaties.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    They think they are “building Europe”, and every so often they have to crowd around the blueprints to review how the construction is going – and often going wrong – make a few changes, and then issue an inspiring, but also self-congratulatory, declaration.

    In 2007 it was the Berlin Declaration, “on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome”:

    http://europa.eu/50/docs/berlin_declaration_en.pdf

    Interesting that Merkel should have signed a declaration saying that:

    “… the individual is paramount. His dignity is inviolable. His rights are inalienable.”

    when she has blocked May’s efforts to get a speedy resolution on the rights of EU citizens living outside their home member states, and made it clear that it will be the extraction of the maximum cash from the UK which will be paramount in the exit negotiations.

    Interesting too that she undertook to fight illegal immigration, but has since encouraged illegal immigration on an unprecedented scale.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there is much future for the EU no matter what option is finally decided . Imposing a political/economic will on very diverse people is not practical or sensible . The Germans will not give up and share their wealth and the Greeks will never be able to adopt strict economic regimes forced on them . These 2 extreme examples are merely the tip of the iceberg ; dig underneath with other EU countries and many other features of discrepancy emerge .

  23. a-tracy
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The questions the EU does need to answer is – does the EU have a pension fund set up or are all MEP and EU institution personnel or are their pensions guaranteed from future taxpayers of the EU like a big ponzi scheme. I always assumed the EU would have an investment pot for these matters but this week we’re hearing otherwise?

    How are the EU buildings funded when built and who owns them? Do these small nations that don’t pay in (around 20 EU members) have a share in the ownership or is it only the initial five EU partners or those that pay in that own them?

    Shouldn’t the bigger nations who all pay in the most, or even those with the biggest populations to talk for in the EU, to run the parliament have more goes at the revolving Presidency of the European Council, just how powerful is this position? It’s no wonder the tiniest members like Luxembourg, Malta and the biggest beneficiaries of the EU Brussels come out in their major %’s to vote for this all to continue and gather more momentum, integration and make their nations the most powerful spokespeople.

    We need to say quite clearly we only want to control future immigration numbers, all those settled we are more than happy to continue as now as long as our emigrants are treated equally in the EU. Leave made that very clear but the EU have tried to make our people a bargaining chip and won’t agree to this in advance so neither can we.

  24. Peter D Gardner
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I have only skimmed this report but it gives the lie to all those Remainers claiming before 23 June that the EU is not aiming for political union, not going to acquire its own armed forces, not going to expand the euro area, not going to expand its territory to include Turkey and others.

    My view is that it is mainly because Britain voted to leave that the report even recognises the possibility of alternatives to ‘ever closer union’, even though it is grudging.

    Just imagine if Britain had voted to remain. It would be Scenario 5 on steroids. The EU-sceptic political parties on the continent would lose popularity. Although the report recognises a two speed EU in some form, it is almost certain Britain would join the euro and end that as a significant prospect.

  25. A different Simon
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I think we need to rearm incase the EU becomes a military threat to us .

    Sadly , HM Govt seem to be entering into joint defence commitments with the EU/EU countries without this being put before parliament .

    Brexit ? what Brexit ?

  26. A Scottish Thing
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    SNP are 100% in favour of the right to stay for EU persons in England. Why the SNP does not wish Scots to be returned by a UK government to a separate “independent” EU member Scotland is hard to understand. But then the position of Scottish nationalists wishing subservience to 27 European nation states with fluctuating national governments is something no nationalist revolutionary in the whole world understands. It must be a Scottish thing. Che Guevara would stub out his cigar in disgust.

  27. rick hamilton
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    It was enough for me to see that fanatic Verhofstadt telling the BBC that the solution to the current dysfunctional mess was – more EU.

    He wants more integration, an EU government run by people like him, an EU military, no more referendums about anything and no doubt the abolition of national pride in every corner of the Orwellian monster.

    Strange how these deluded dreamers always come from tinpot countries.

  28. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I wonder which European countries are not in the EU. Maybe we could do a trade deal with them.

    The reCAPTCHA thing on here is inane. Difficult to see some of the pictures. Why not just have one of the ones that make you add a couple of numbers?

  29. Stephen Berry
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Unaccountably, the commission has left a sixth option off the table, namely which road the EU takes if Marine Le Pen is elected as President in France. I don’t think there has ever been a woman elected to this office, so what joy there will be if Marine breaks the ‘glass ceiling’ to compensate for Hillary so narrowly failing.

    But no British government can expect this. It should work on the assumption that the EU will stagger on for another ten to twenty years, option one, and negotiate as good a trade deal as possible. After that, it will be a matter of rapidly building up trade and connexions with those parts of the world which are the economic future.

    We can be pretty certain of one thing. The option that would most benefit the EU – the abandonment of the Euro – will not get a look in. For instance, I will guess that option two, the EU doing less, did not include a return to national currencies.

  30. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    “They will lead the global fight against climate change, and have the largest world overseas aid budget”

    Oh, please, don’t make me laugh. Isn’t it about time they realised that even if they all bandied together they couldn’t change nature. Has anyone noticed a change for the better in the climate in Scotland? I for sure haven’t and yet all we hear about is the reduction in CO2 they have managed to achieve. Yeah??? Well I’ve got news for them. It’s a waste of money but then it’s our money so who cares? As for the biggest overseas aid budget. I am sure there are many in Greece and other countries who wouldn’t mind a bit of that spent on them and I know there are many elderly in the UK that would like a slice too. Get real.

    • Jon Davies
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      You maybe don’t fully appreciate that it is not a reduction in the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. We are simply reducing the rate that CO2 concentrations are increasing.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        That’s only important if you think CO2 is a problem

  31. confused and dazed
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Reading DI General Posts re Robert Mercer and DI Today’s News video re composition of Trump’s cabinet or whatever they call cabinet, am getting totally dazed and confused.
    ( what’s with the robot thing, I am a robot )

    Reply The robot check is needed for the new service otherwise I am inundated with nonsense in the form of endless contributions that are not English words.

  32. David Taylor
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood ,
    thank you very much for publishing this information . It shows the intention of the EU to move to ever closer union is as strong as ever , despite disquiet in a number of its member countries , never mind in Britain .
    Is the opinion of the general public given much thought by the EU , it appears not .

  33. Juliet
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Option 2: Less is more approach

    On EU citizens, turn back the clock
    Only have country citizenship
    Remove ‘EU’ citizens citizenship

  34. Atlas
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Re option 5 (The EU luvvie one).

    I wonder how keen the French will be to relinquish their UN Security Council seat? Also I wonder how keen the Germans will be to be out-voted and forced to pay out monies to the Southern parts of the EU which have been impoverished by the Euro?

  35. Den Perrin
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    I think the EU to most of us this side of the Channel appears to be an unfathomable jungle. Yanis Varoufakis, ex Greek finance minister, has some revolutionary insights into it. For anyone who wants to try to get to the bottom of the EU and its machinations, I would recommend his book: “And the Weak Suffer what they Must?” He may be left wing but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got an excellent insight into the EU, through direct experience. His book recounts how his negotiations with Dr Schauble, German finance minister and others, met with stonewalling and brutally illogical arguments.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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