Mr Macron guides France

There is a lot of nonsense talked about how the election of Mr Macron will lead to a much tougher French stance over Brexit. Mr Macron, after all, was not so long ago a Minister serving the outgoing President, who has not been critical of the outgoing President’s stance on all this. Anyone leading France will of course be putting EU and French interests first, but this does not mean they will wish to punish the UK.

Recent press comment tells us that the EU itself has researched the legality of sending a leaving bill and realised there is no legal basis for any such payment. That is doubtless why they did not put the phrase leaving bill or equivalent into their statement of how they wish to handle the negotiations. They want the UK to settle the bills it owes, which the UK has always said it will. We are still paying our regular contributions even though we have told them we are leaving, and will doubtless do so up to departure.This implies Mr Macron will be unwilling to make a huge financial demand on the UK, knowing there is no legal back up to it.

Mr Macron has already stated his task – to bring greater unity to France by dealing with the economic hurts parts of the country feel. This will mean securing a good deal for French farmers and others to carry on selling produce into the UK market on favourable terms. IT is difficult to see how Mr Macron could keep faith with farmers if he insists on World Trade tariff levels on agricultural trade between our two countries.

His language of wishing to mellow the discourse and soothe tensions would also sit ill with stoking a wider trade war with the UK. People are affected by the emotions of the moment when they make decisions on what to buy. There are global alternatives to many well known French products, so it behoves the President to help woo the UK customers, just as the UK government wants to reassure and keep UK exports to France which we value.

I wish the new President every success in his stated aims after the election. I see no reason the UK cannot get on well with him in our mutual interest. I expect him to take a firm line in defence of French interests, but to see that it is in France’s interest to have a good deal with us. The French people will of course decide next month just how much power to give him ,when they decide on a Parliament to promote his ideas or to tame his reforms.

Promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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105 Comments

  1. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The recently published (and little reported) EU position on the bill seemed mostly unobjectionable on the debit side – for example UK to pay for relocation of EU institutions currently located in the UK back to the EU. On the credit side their simple statement that UK is credited with no share at all in EU assets (for example buildings) is plainly unacceptable.

    One interesting part is where they say UK must assume sole ownership of all EU fissile material currently stored in UK – I understand much of this nuclear waste (I assume that’s what it is) originates in the other EU countries. The fact the EU highlight this indicates they know that if UK prepared a bill for handling this waste in perpetuity then it would be very high and offset whatever else the EU is claiming. The alternative of sending the waste back to the EU is probably not acceptable to them either. This is a good negotiating lever.

    • Hope
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Naive JR. He will follow Merkel. She leads the EU. Germany very defensive of its trade surplus and unfairness on southern EU countries. Macron being encouraged to distance himself from these campaign remarks. I suspect he has already forgotten what he said to get in office.

      May trying to get elected on Labour policies, price capping energy companies! How about scrapping the Climate Change Act? Get rid of wind farms, create new power stations and stop the madness of scrapping coal and encouraging wood chip from the US. Goodness, JR, next she will say she wants the U.K. To leave the EU after campaigning and lying to scare us to stay! May, Macron are just politicos with no views of their own or values. Sheep who follow what they think we might like to hear, overwhelmingly getting it wrong because it is jibber jabber from the swamp of Westminster. Trump succeeded by being himself.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Hope. Exactly. We will only get bills down by introducing a sensible energy policy based on things that work 24/7 and with no subsidies and no carbon taxes for fossil fuels which do the job.

      • Francesca MacFarlane
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it would be refreshing if just once JR addressed the £300 billion cost to the UK (as calculated by Peter Lilley in his December 2016 GWPF report) of the Climate Change Act. While Theresa May makes ludicrous election promises about freezing energy costs, these costs are now starting to come home to roost. They are substantial. They are set to grow rapidly towards a figure of £560 p.a. And they are borne disproportionately by the less well off, the elderly and the vulnerable.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t expect the EU to produce any sound rational arguments why the UK should cough up for anything, any specious pretext will do.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-germany-idUSKBN1820CQ

      “Germany proposed charging Britain for EU single market access”

      Why? Because our use of the single market would significantly add to its costs? Eh, no, if that was the reason then the EU would be seeking to charge all of its trading partners around the world, wouldn’t it?

      No, it’s just that we have been helping the Germans to subsidise other EU member states through the EU budget but now that will come to an end, and so the Germans are looking for other ways to extract the cash from us:

      “The ministry officials calculated Berlin would have to pay an additional 4.5 billion euros ($5 billion) a year into EU coffers as a result of Britain’s departure from the bloc.

      To mitigate the cost, they floated the idea of charging Britain for access to the single market.

      “Such a future financial contribution should be used to alleviate the financial consequences of Brexit (reduction in EU spending or increase in payments for other member states),” Focus quoted the officials as saying.”

      Well, the answer is quite simple: if the EU charges us for access to its single market then we will charge the EU for access to our domestic market at the same rate, and netted off they will end up paying us.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted May 10, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        Interesting point Dennis.

        As a transitional arrangement I would not object to paying to access the single market. I recognise that no other country does so and would move towards no paying after five years.

        Part of those transitional arrangements would be the ability to trade with whomever we wished however we wished and for EU institutions to have no jurisdiction over us. Trade and nothing else.

        That settled the other shared interests can be negotiated separately.

        • Hope
          Posted May 10, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          Transitional arrangements should no be allowed unde any circumstance. It is May’s strategy of keeping us in EU light and to pay a huge exit bill by disguise.

          Remember she wanted to be governed by Brussels, was prepared to lie and scare us to remain in the EU! Why would anyone trust her to deliver a true Brexit?

    • James Matthews
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Paying for the relocation of EU institutions currently located in the UK back to the EU is in no way acceptable. They can leave them if they wish.
      If (or more likely when) Scotland becomes independent does anyone seriously believe that the Scots would (or even should) pay for the relocation of the rUK share of the Difid facilities located there, or national savings, or military and naval assets? Pull the other one, it has bagpipes on.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Given the EU lawyers now say there is no legal claim for us to pay an exit fee, my worry is that we will feel out of some sort of strange good will, that we should cough up something, and that as usual we take ourselves for a financial ride , so much like we do with many gestures of Foreign Aid.

    Cameron in particular was good at this, as every time he went abroad, he gave away large sums of our money.

    With regard to renegotiation ref Calais:
    Mr Macron should remember who paid for all of the security fences and walls, and he should be reminded of that.

    • Hope
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      He is no friend of the U.K. As we saw by his impolite behaviour visiting May.

    • John Finn
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Given the EU lawyers now say there is no legal claim for us to pay an exit fee,

      Do they actually say “an exit fee” or are they just referring to the bit added on last week?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Any payment at all, according to the preponderance of expert legal evidence given to the Lords EU committee and endorsed by the legal adviser to the committee, page 62 of the report here:

        https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldeucom/125/125.pdf

        “22. The expression the “Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” in Article 50(3) TEU is unqualified by any condition about ongoing liabilities under EU law, no doubt because this is exactly what the withdrawal agreement is intended to cover. The meaning of the words are clear: the foundation of the whole edifice of EU law – the acquis communautaire – is abruptly removed for the State in question. Given that the EU Treaties are at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of EU norms, once they cease to have effect, the legal base for every aspect of the UK’s membership of the EU comes to an end. This will include all of its legal obligations under the Own Resources Decision, the Multiannual Financial Framework, and the Annual Budget. It will also include the supremacy of EU law over UK law, and the jurisdiction of the CJEU over the UK.

        23. It follows that, under EU law, Article 50 TEU allows the UK to leave the EU without being liable for outstanding financial obligations under the EU budget, unless a withdrawal agreement is concluded which resolves this issue. (This advice does not address the political consequences of the UK withdrawing from the EU without settling outstanding payments to the EU budget and related financial instruments.)”

      • Chris S
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        To be strictly correct, the minutes supposedly seen by the Telegraph say that demanding we pay anything after we leave in March 2019 will not be defendable in court.

        Furthermore, the commission officials say that the EU cannot demand a payment of our liabilities without allowing us a fair share of the value of the assets as these are listed in the EU’s balance sheet. Germany and others

        If they give way on this point they will try and give us the minimum : 1/28th of the listed value. However the values in the accounts for things like buildings are not open market book values they are way below that.

        I would contend that the calculation should be as follows for each individual asset acquired in a particular year :

        Take the proportion of the overall EU budget we paid in that year ( based on all country’s net contributions in the year and the number of members in the EU at that time ).

        Gross up the % of the initial value we paid in proportion to the current market value and that is the amount we should be credited with.

    • Bob
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      The EU could set up a crowd funding account to collect donations from individuals including the likes of Richard Branson, Tony Blair and Lord Sugar who may like to contribute something towards the up-keep of the 85,000 overpaid EUrocrats.

      I know that the EU has given away billions in aid to it’s favourite causes and I hear that bookkeeping and financial prudence in the EU are not strong, but let’s just hope that Brussels has funded it’s pensions properly, or there could be some disappointed retirees in the coming years.

      Surely they wouldn’t expect to be bailed out by ex-member states.

  3. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Macron will fail before he starts if he refuses to recognise the status quo works against the interests of France. Compare and contrast the rates of manufacturing output between France and Germany since the introduction of the Euro. BREXIT will be a mere side show as the EU goes through its death agony, if Macron will continue to allow France run at a deficit and Germany at a surplus.

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Countries like Germany can only run a balance of trade surplus because other countries run a deficit .

      It is not possible for all countries to simultaneously run a balance of trade surplus .

      As with the old Roman empire , the money and talent just get sucked into the centre . This was widely predicted as what would happen to a modern Europe wide empire as early as the 1950’s .

      Just scrapping the Euro currency alone would not rectify this situation .

      The German people have to be persuaded to become put EU citizenship ahead of German citizenship and redistribute German wealth to the EU periphery and to buy the products of their trading partners rather than home grown .

      One can at least admire the French for resisting flogging off the family silver – the worst trait of successive Conservative govts .

      To succeed Mr Macron has to reform Germany , not France .

    • acorn
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      There is not much Macron can do about it. The French Euro exchanges one for one with the German Euro. French Balance of Payments can’t be balanced by a shift in exchange rates. IMO France should get out of the Euro and the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). France like other states still has “excessive debt” under SGP rules, (another piece of IMF nonsense). The only way Macron can get out of that is to shrink the French economy with more fiscal austerity. Not a vote winner.

      BTW. In the MMT world, one of the bigger fascinations is the The Norwegian Wealth / Pension Fund. Just what the hell are the Norwegians going to do with it. Neil Wilson explains https://medium.com/modern-money-matters/savings-are-an-export-product-e1db780d1c1b . His piece on “The Bond Economy” is worth a read

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        I have seen reports that the Norwegian Debt is around 90% of its Wealth Fund, so don’t assume anything. 🙂

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Indeed it is clearly in the interests of both France, the EU and the UK to put a sensible deal in place. Not that the EU have much of a record of doing what is in the interests of the peoples rather than those of their bureaucrats.

    Matthew Taylor to come out with more drivel today I see. Does the man know the first thing about real industry, has he ever created a business or employed anyone, does he understand the need to be competitive to survice? Why on earth did May appoint him?

    Persistent scandals over bad working conditions and insecure contracts demonstrate that society must do more to create fulfilling, decent jobs, according to the man leading a Government review into modern work. “Bad work is all too common. We need, therefore, to talk about quality of work, and not just quantity,”

    So government is now going to define “bad work” and “good work” is it?

    The only real protection is lots of choice of available jobs, regulation produces the complete opposite in general.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Matthew Taylor – analogy “A childless, inexperienced woman, explaining to mothers how children should be reared?”

      Rather than asking successful business professionals’ advice, they would rather lecture and regulate!

      As a political colleague once noted, “it’s hard to be successfully dumb in Government, there is just too much competition!”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Indeed a very good analogy. I thought I knew about bringing up children (having had two younger siblings to look after as a child), until that is I had three of my own to nurture.

        Then again was T May only ever elected due to the absurd and vile attacks on Andrea Leadsom pushing her into giving up – this due to her gently pointing out such obvious truisms?

        • rose
          Posted May 10, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          We now have seven leaders in Western Europe without a stake in the future. Even the Italian PM has no children. Stand by for howls of outrage at this being noticed. (M Fillon had five.)

          • rose
            Posted May 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            And I suppose we must include Jean Claude Juncker as a Western European leader. So that makes eight.

  5. Richard1
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    M Macron certainly needs a radical reforming agenda. We read he wants to lure back the many able and ambitious French people now living and working in London with lower taxes. Excellent if we can get some competition going there – the UK will have to play close attention to making sure our own tax regime is competitive. This is competitive tension at its best. M Macron will be helped in this by the absurd newly complicated procedure for applying for residency in the UK, introduced by the home office under Mrs May as part of the ridiculous pledge to reduce immigration to “tens of thousands”, which depressingly the Conservatives seem to be sticking with. I hope the traditional free market side of the Conservative Party speaks up and explains to the statist-nationalist wing that attracting and retaining law abiding and productive foreigners here is good for UK prosperity!

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      No-one has ever disagreed with that.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Tens of thousands of productive migrants is all we need.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Plus we have Greg Clark & T May with their half baked, damaging, socialist, energy price cap.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Still at least the election meant that the the damaging “Quarterly digital tax reporting plans shelved…for now” (and many other daft budget measures too).

      Let us hope they have been ditched for good.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        I understand Estonian tax returns can be filled in online in approx 1/2 hour. They also have the most competitive tax rates in the OECD with a flat tax on income of 21%. How about that for the Tory manifesto? The savings on HMRC plus the huge savings throughout the economy and the Laffer curve boost to receipts – what’s not to like?!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Indeed it would be a huge positive for the UK economy and living standards. But what would all those bureaucratic parasites in the state sector, the consultants and the tax lawyers do to keep the wolf from the door?

    • Richard1
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      There doesn’t seem to be much distinction between the May-Clark energy price cap proposal and the freeze proposed by Ed Miliband, except perhaps in extent. The thinking behind it is equally woolly (or “Marxist” to quote David Cameron). Don’t Conservative MPs have any say in stopping this sort of nonsense?!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Non at all. No longer “the nasty party” just the thick as pig shit & economically illiterate, the socialist Conservative party!

        T May seems rather upset about “rip off energy prices” but she voted for the Climate Change Act did she not – with nearly every other Tory MP?

        What about rip of rents and house prices in Chelsea, rip of ladies shoe prices, rip of prices for fake smoked salmon, rip of tax rates, the rip off motorist mugging taxes and similar?

        Where will it end, is the lefty dope going to get government to intervene everywhere?

    • eeyore
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      A gross political blunder. She’ll need the wriggling skills of a greased weasel to get out of it.

  7. sm
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I only wish France well, but as someone with family links there, I sometimes think it is its own worst enemy.

    The new President has led a remarkably charmed life so far; I hope for France’s sake that he will have the strength to keep standing when reality comes along and smacks him in the face.

    • David Edwards
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      I could not agree more. Herding cats/teaching crows to swim is a doddle compared to the task facing President Macron given that many of his policies are inimical to the French way of life (When he tried to introduce some of them as a Minister in the last government Hollande swiftly cut his legs off in the face of the huge protests they provoked).

      John: Throughout history every foreign policy decision the French have made has been a disaster. Macron may break the mould, but for all his good intentions the French talent for cutting their nose off to spite their face could well come to fore despite the logic of your argument re tariffs.

    • Jon p
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      SM.. when talking about reality hitting us in the face.. surely you are talking about the UK side when the brexit talks start? as i have no doubts that Macron within the EU fold will be well able to hold his own.. its the uk government and UK negotiating team that we should be concerned about..so when the going gets tough? are they going to walk off in a huff?.. and what then?

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    As there is no legal basis for the UK to pay a leaving fee I do hope this is not part of the negotiations for Brexit. Meanwhile is it true we are going to be paying out another £billion in foreign aid over the next 4 years? Why, when we cannot look after our own properly here in the UK?

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Don’t mistake overseas aid as charity alone? Very often, foreign aid is simply a euphemism for political bribing (ask Brown and Cameron) and consequential governmental largesse!

      “Poverty and space programme in the same bucket, springs to mind!”

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted May 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Don’t mistake removing the compulsion to give away our money, no matter how well it is used, or not, and refusing to give away money.

        Even after this absurd law is repealed, we will be able to donate money to worthy causes, even more than the 0.7% if it is judged by the Government​ at the time that the situation demands it. What will be different is that we will be able to hold the Government to account.

    • Bob
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      @fedupsoutherner
      A new law is needed to suspend foreign aid payments while the country is in debt.
      Payments should only resume when the national debt is cleared.

      • Bob
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        We have
        – people dying on hospital trolleys due to lack of beds.
        – 2-3 weeks to get a GP appointment
        – lack of school places
        – lack of public sector housing
        – unfunded state pensions
        – elderly care crisis
        – a huge and growing national debt

        But we can still give away billions of pounds to countries with their own nuclear weapons and space exploration programs.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          It seems so!

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted May 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Repealing the stupid and unconstitutional 0.7% law would be simpler that bringing in a new law to limit the existing law. Foreign aid would still be possible.

        Foreign aid is not a fundamental duty of the state. It is a generous action when affordable. Sensible people would be astonished if they heard of a neighbour donating serious amounts of money to charitable causes when they were up to their necks in debt (that is not part of a good business plan, like a mortgage) and spending more than their income.

        In first aid, safety of the first aiders is more important than saving the lives of others, though this does not stop calculated risks being taken.

  9. Nig l
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    You always expound a very common sense approach in relation to the EU’s negotiating position. However you never factor in the ‘punishment’ element and they have a history of putting the ‘bloc’s’ interests over the people in the member countries. They are trapped between two contrasting elements, your common sense based approach to benefit their businesses and the need to discourage others (Italy?) from wanting to leave when they see the UK prosper outside the zone.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I’m quite fed up with hearing from the MSM that we “might be punished” by various sub-states of the EU, or by the EU itself. We’re not cowering shrinking violets who are afraid of our continental neighbours.

      As someone said the other day, I’m sure our Mrs May will be more than a match for Mrs Merkel’s new Vice Chancellor.

  10. JimS
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I can understand that EU leaders might act against our, (and their), interests, but I don’t understand why the BBC, Farron, Miller etc. do work against us.

    • ian wragg
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Because they hate the English and think living under a communist inspired EU is preferable to our form of democracy.
      Note Corbyn and Mcdonnel spouting Marx, Brussels would be proud of them.
      BTW Captca 10 goes today.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      The BBC has been working against the interests of the British and for the anti-democratic EU for years. They are clearly continuing to do so. The staff nearly all seem to be left wing second rate, chip on the shoulder art graduates, with little or no experience (or even understanding) of economics, business, industry, science, engineering or of the real world. Andrew Neil perhaps the sole exception in their political coverage. He is bright and about in the middle politically the rest way to the loony left. As is “price and incomes policy” T May it seems.

  11. Margaret
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    We all pray that no other terrorist incidents occur, but one more would tip the boat for Macron . France like us wants to keep France French and safe .

  12. Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you are making a serious mistake here.
    In 1975 we voted to keep Britain in “the Common Market”. Since then we have rejoiced in free trade with Europe until now, at this moment, lorries can travel freely (owing to the Approved Operator Scheme and to the coming of computers) from Romania to Scotland. You see trade as the defining object of the Brexit negotiations.
    The EU (and M. Macron) do not.
    For them, Europe is a project in progress to unite the continent under one government, with one anthem, with one flag, with one army and one parliament . (See Spinelli Constitution.) Trade comes after that. Hence the demand to settle the “divorce” before discussing trade.
    French farmers are always mucking up the road system. (words left out ed)
    The deal is this: You want trade to continue? Cough up.
    I call that blackmail. The EU calls it “Associate Membership”.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I like the term “unite the continent” . .a very polite version of taking control of the whole of European countries, by demands and threats, no bombs, no guns, no German lives lost. Probably calling it Germania afterwards.
      If you didn’t see a program last night, called Never mind the age Gap?” . try and catch it somehow. .and be open mouthed when the woman says she has never heard of Angela Merkel and didn’t know what she was trying to do. That woman, and many like her – have the vote. It is staggering.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      You’re right that the preservation and promotion of international trade is not their highest priority, despite all the hypocritical high-flown language about it in the EU and other treaties.

      But their demand for a massive parting gift from the UK – plus possibly ongoing payments for access to the single market – is less to do with their eurofederalist ambitions than their need for our money.

      Which is why they want to give top priority in the withdrawal negotiations to the extortion of the maximum cash from the UK, when in the longer term that is a relatively unimportant economic issue:

      http://bruegel.org/2017/03/brexit-bill-negotiators-must-answer-these-12-questions/

      “Negotiations over the Brexit bill, the expected payment by the United Kingdom to settle its financial commitments when it leaves the EU, are likely to be contentious and attract vivid public attention. In fact, this financial settlement is the least important economic issue in the Brexit negotiations, as we argue in our new paper breaking down this Brexit bill. From an economic perspective, future arrangements for trade, financial services and labour mobility between the EU and the UK are much more important.”

    • ian wragg
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Wait until French and German produce is rotting in queues waiting for clearance to board the ferries for Dover and watch how quickly things change,
      If we have to pay a small exit fee say £5 billion to cover incidentals then as long as it comes from the aid budget hence no net cost to UK taxpayer, all well and good.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I call it sovietisation. (Racketeering)

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Mike, we hear what the EU says at the moment.

      Let us just wait a while, to see what they actually do in the face of some opposition and different views, I assume of course that we will also be strong minded in our negotiations and demands..

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    It is very difficult to see the new President resolving France’s economic woes. CAP has been a lifeline for them and our exit, with the EU having numerous countries in the financial mire, will undermine this unsustainable subsidy. De Gaulle probably saw the UK as an irritant in the EEC and the difficulties for France in its expansion. His reservations about our commitment have always been justified.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    It is a question of wait and see as far as Macron is concerned . He , like Cameron , suffers from lack of real world experience ; he is obviously ambitious and intelligent but the wiles of the world are there and a considerable number of French wanted real change .

    He was foolish to believe that the Germans would fall in line with his desire for a common economy and that the Germans would open their coffers ; he believes that his enthusiasm for the EU would be enough for it all to link together with energy and goals that were the same everywhere – tell that to the Greeks , the Portuguese , the Spaniards , the Irish and the Italians .

    He will in a short period of time fall into the laps of Political groups who will all make demands of one sort or another ; he stands alone without Party support of his own . The French are an unpredictable lot who are still trying to fly a flag of unity when underneath they struggle for nationality . I don’t believe he will pull it off .

  15. Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I read that his first phone call on being elected was to Angela Merkel.
    As Le Pen said before the election, “Whoever wins, France will be run by a woman”.
    I’m glad he recognises that Merkel is the boss!

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      EP

      First anthem Played, ” Ode to Joy” I wonder who thought of that and how well that went down.

  16. Chris S
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Last weekend French voters seem to have missed that Macon is still pushing for a single EZ finance minister, an appointment which would inevitably result in budgets and taxes being set centrally. They won’t stand for that !

    He has set himself a target of reforming the Eurozone which, without the UK, pretty well meaas the whole EU. He won’t succeed. Merkel will see to that. She will squash him like a bug, just like she did Hollande.

    The lack of a transfer union has been at the heart of the Euro’s systemic problems since the single currency was launched with such a fundamental flaw designed into it.

    This was because German politicians realised at the time that their taxpayers and voters wouldn’t stand for so much of their money going to those feckless and lazy ClubMed countries. Nor would French voters agree to their budget being set in Brussels, or in reality, in Berlin.

    They launched the currency anyway, banking on being able to bring voters round to their way of thinking before the inevitable car crash. Well, there have been several collisions on the way with the most severe injuries to Greece but by hint of some sleigh of hand and downright breaking of their own rules, the fatal accident has so far been avoided. But this can’t go on for much longer.

    It is now widely recognised that the only real beneficiaries of the Euro are the Germans and it has been severely damaging to many other countries such has Italy, France, Eire, Spain and Portugal. Just look at the youth unemployment figures in those countries.

    Remoaners out there should already realise just how cynical, devious and crooked Merkel and her cronies can be from their antics in the short time since Mrs May declared Article 50.

    If they are still not convinced, they really ought to read Yanis Varoufakis’ new book “Adults in the Room.” I followed the Greek Tragedy closely but even I was shocked by what Yanis said had gone on.

    etc ed

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Not forgetting, Yanis needs our money too.

  17. Prigger
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The EU and her collaborators in the UK; namely, the SNP, Lib Dems and Labour Party, wish to profundicate our Brexit.
    President Macron is worse off than Corbyn.He does not have a single MP and heaven only knows whether he will have loyalty among those who join his gravy train. In that the French Constitution would allow it, we can expect another French election within two years. Therefore we should terminate the Brexit discussions asap as we don’t not want further French complcations that Marine Le Pen would bring us when she undoubtedly wins.

  18. E.S Tablishment
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    An anti-Macron demonstration by the Left took place in Paris the day after he won. The BBC announced ” The very next day France has come out and is demonstrating against him” ( There were 700 demonstrators ) I always believe every word the BBC utters.Yet it is a surprise France has only 700 inhabitants. Maybe more French are living in London than we at first thought. I worked with a French woman once. etc ed

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    No doubt one of the purposes of the threats and outrageous demands made by the EU is about intimidation, influence and making an offer far above that which is fair and reasonable in the hope of getting more than what they are prepared to accept. Nothing unusual or unacceptable for parties to do that in preparation for negotiating a deal. Sound tough and act tough sometimes works however the UK’s approach of saying little and being more reasonable often works better. The former may very well point to the EU being fearful and the latter point to the UK being quietly confident.

    As I understand it Macron has been reported as saying that he wishes to renegotiate the bilateral deal on the French UK customs arrangement. Coupled with his very pro EU sympathies almost to the point of fanaticism there is little doubt that he will vigorously support the EU against the UK. How far he or any of the other EU leaders will go in their goal to punish the UK for Brexit is very much debatable. The rhetoric so far would indicate very far even to the point of self immolation. Deterrence alone will be a strong motivator but we are also dealing with those who are driven by feelings and beliefs of almost religious intensity for a Utopian supranational United States of Europe.

  20. Kenneth
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    At the moment the eu commission seems to be leading the charge for the eu side of the Brexit talks.

    When the talks begin in earnest I can see the centre of gravity shifting to the European Council and member states as the “grown ups” lead the talks.

    The commission has no voters to worry about but the members states do.

  21. A Briton
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Macron is all “Gob and Trousers” and has already over-stepped himself with regard to Germany and has just been reminded about ‘WHO is the Boss here’.”Missus”will not stand for some little jumped up school boy rattling his little sabre and “The Missus” will be in charge for YEARS to come! Whist we are on it but slightly off point: why we do we still say that we need ‘immigrants’ here in the UK? We don’t need ‘ immigrants’ we need ‘Guest Workers’ – there is a difference and an important difference.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      A Briton. Yes, agree about immigration and why should it be so difficult to control? After all, Australia, NZ, Canada and the USA manage to keep out most of whom they don’t want. I wish it were as easy for us to move to NZ – I’d be off like a shot.

      • rose
        Posted May 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        We are subject to the Geneva Convention, the ECHR, and our own human rights laws which together greatly increase the numbers. Family reunion alone accounts for much of it and explains why non-EU immigration is higher than EU, though that last could change after 2019. The categories under which quotas of people with certain desirable qualities are allowed in don’t get used up. See Migration Watch for Lord Green’s figures on all this. It is well worth looking at. And of course don’t forget students, whom the mass immigrationists want excluded from the figures.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Mutti would never be so blunt(and I’m sure she would use the familiar tu with petit Emmanuel)but it will be a case of the Emperor Napoleon’s “Roi de Baviere,taissez-vous”…but with the roles reversed.

  22. jack Snell
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    We seem to forget that the UK is the odd man out in all of this- when it comes to the brexit talks the UK will have to negotiate with the remaining 27 countries and not only Mr Macron although I do acknowledge that he and Mrs Merkel will hold considerable sway when it gets to the talks about a new relationship. But before that we will still have to face up to the cost of disentanglement and the other hot potato of the rights of UK and EU citizens in the various countries. But by then Mr Macron will have his feet firmly under the table and we’ll know a little bit more about his strengths and weaknesses so until then lets hope the initial brexit talks go well as I fear Mr Macron could have a napoleon side to him, young handsome and charismatic, he even looks a little bit like the old oil paintings of Bonaparte. Anyway the future looks better for Europe now which can only mean that the UK will also have a place and a part to play, maybe not at the top table, but thereabouts. Lets hope it all works out!

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Little Napoleon was fond of the “whiff of grapeshot”;better have some ready just in case!

  23. Shoe!
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Social media tells us it is Europe Day today. Victory inEurope , VE Day was yesterday. It seems Europe Day is an event dreamed up by the EU. Really EU Day, ( otherwise known as Schuman’s Day). Rather insulting that VE Day is less important than EU Day. Makes you want to leave the EU doesn’t it.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s Victory day in Russia today-I’ve just seen part of their immaculately drilled mass parade on TV.

    • Qubus
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t see any Brits at the celebrations in Paris yesterday for the “liberation” of France. How quickly they forget.

  24. rose
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I agree with much of what you say, but Macron’s speech suffered from the same weakness the reactions to Brexit and the election of Trump did: it tried to diagnose a different reason for people voting as they did, and refused to recognize what they were rejecting, i.e. the EU and mass immigration; the erosion of their independence, national identity, and culture. These patriotic and practical people are always characterised as “angry”, never right. But as far as I can make out, the anger and the violence are on the left, in all three ountries.

    • rose
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      PS On Le Touquet, it should be emphasised that this agreement is in the interests of both countries: the French border is at Dover and the English border is at Calais. No-one seems to understand this, as the illegal immigration industry has been hard at it convincing everyone it is terribly unfair on the French, in the hope of making it easier to get their clients into England.

      England has a responsibility for the problem in that the English welfare state is far too generous to illegal immigrants and is therefore acting as a magnet across continents; but France also has a responsibility in allowing the madness of Schengen to persist, and in not preventing the illegal settlements. So both countries need to continue as they have been, working together to mitigate the effects of their respective policies.

  25. Nick Good
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I’m not entirely convinced reasonableness, logic and national interest will be the deciding factor in the French stance vis-a-vis their contribution to the EU’s handling of Brexit.

    Not with the French track record of bloody mindedness, pique, hubris, wishful thinking and willful un-noticing of uncomfortable facts.

    • Qubus
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that they have ever really forgiven us for rescuing them from the clutches of the Third Reich.

  26. Pragmatist
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I do not know what reverence if any the French have for their Head of State. Why they have a Head of State at all as in proper countries like the UK with a proper Head of State.
    Apart from shouting Vive la France” and “Vive la republique” and lighting candles, looking glum, over victims of terrorists,he does not have any real purpose.

    Reply He does have executive powers and can choose a PM in the Parliament to work with him.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      In practice, he has to appoint a PM who has majority support in the Legislature, so it will be interesting to see the outcome of those elections in a month’s time. The globalist bankster fabrication, En Marche!, has managed to achieve the Presidency but can it realistically expect to achieve a majority in the Legislature simply by standing in all the seats with a slate with a majority of political neophytes? Obviously those parties which recommended their supporters to vote for Macron in the second round will now be seeing the blinding stupidity of their action, but would that be enough to legitimise Macron’s candidates in the election? It would be predicatable that the Republicans and FN will gain ground and the Socialists will lose ground, but how successful will be En Marche! is uncertain, especially with those French people who prefer the Marseillaise and the Tricolore to the emblems of the Brussels regime so admired by Macron. He may be helped by the MSM which will continue to propagandise that his globalist puppet party, En marche!, is ‘centrist’ in the same way that they have damaged FN by branding it extreme right.

    • rose
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      He is said to be the most powerful head of state in the western world – more so than the US president.

      Notice how the last one was able to wield power to influence the election: he sank the best candidate, M Fillon, and he shut down all discussion of the Macron leaks. No-one else in the West could have done the latter. It was formidable.

      • Pragmatist
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        rose
        “He sank the best candidate”? Did he? I thought there was some concern about jobs and salaries? Without knowing the authenticity and content of those leaks then it would seem permissible to prevent their premature release in purdah in that the French purdah means a loan shark’s curse. The “leaks” will see the light of day and you can trust journalists of some country or other to hit out and if Mr Macron is wanting in some respect then all who stand with him now will fall with him.

        • rose
          Posted May 10, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Of course it is permissible but what other head of state in the west would have been able to do it so effectively? That was my point.

      • hefner
        Posted May 10, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        What about President Trump sacking the Head of the FBI?

        • rose
          Posted May 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          PS it remains the case that the US president could not have controlled the media in the way Hollande did.

  27. Pragmatist
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I see now on TV an audience of more than a hundred in Manchester awaiting a talk by Mr Corbyn.
    Tory boasting of the merits of British education rings hollow. Formal institutional education from five years old to sixteen and Mr Corbyn has an audience of hundreds! So why don’t we use our last few years in the EU to recruit proper teachers from Europe and elsewhere, anywhere?

    • James Matthews
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Not clear whether you think better education would give Corbyn a greater or a lesser audience, or why you think it is relevant. Good education gives people the tools to learn anything, but leaves them to choose what they want to apply those tools to.

      • Pragmatist
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        James Matthews
        Not clear? I should have typed it using block capitals and a larger font.

      • Plato fish
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Dear James Matthews
        “Good education gives people the tools to learn anything, but leaves them to choose what they want to apply those tools to.”
        Those tools are pretty blunt, at least in the case of the comprehension of the English language. The more I learn, the less I know is a phrase attributed by some to Socrates or Lao-Tse. IT people know, generally, it in their own terms and framework. I certainly realise there is more wrapped up in words and texts and between the wrappers than the spoken word can tell or many minds eyes discern.

  28. John Finn
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The only positive thing I can see is that Macron might not see himself as part of the “rejected elite”, since he came to power after the UK’s decision to leave. He might therefore adopt a less sulky attitude. That apart, Macron will undoubtedly set his sights on attracting UK financial services businesses and I suspect he will be a lot more successful that many commentators think. Any reduction in key services business will be a huge blow since we’ve clearly demonstrated that we are unable to build a significant, long standing share of the goods export market.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Don’t mistake overseas aid as charity alone? Very often, foreign aid is simply a euphemism for political bribing (ask Brown and Cameron) and consequential governmental largesse!

      “Poverty and space programme in the same bucket, springs to mind!”

  29. Hair Dieu
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Sky News and the BBC’s hourly coverage of the French Election before and after including speeches. Why? Oh it was interesting for me and a couple of other people. But so are the elections in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Bulgaria. Each has the same equal vote in the EU as it affects the UK. I cannot recall such coverage of France before. Can the best of us, from the top of our heads, name the political parties of Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy? So does France and the other ugly sister Germany have a secret and dispropotionate control over the EU?

  30. MickN
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    It also seems that Ms Le Pen has changed her name to “The far right Marine Le Pen” as this is all I hear every time she gets a mention on the news. Apart from her views on immigration she appears to be left of Mr Corbyn. Good old Beeb !

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      It seems 34% of French voters are far right. Aren’ t the Beeb lucky the British aren’t like that!

  31. DaveM
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “Mr Macron has already stated his task – to bring greater unity to France…”

    Maybe he should have played the Marseillaise at his victory appearance…! That’ll will have irritated at least 11 million French folk straight away, not to mention the millions of others who didn’t really want to vote for him.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    It is becoming clear that our best negotiating stance is not to negotiate at all but to present the EU with a fait accompli and walk. The components will be.

    We will have left the EU by March 29th 2017 come Hell of high water.

    We will pay to the EC the net annual contributions that we are obliged to make until that date. We will also pay for that portion of the pensions of EC employees earned up to March 29th 2017 that we liable for. The UK Treasury will audit that figure in detail, since the EC is an institution whose accounts have not been signed off for over 20 years.

    We will, on the date of leaving, impose neither additional tariffs nor non-tariff barriers on goods and services imported from the EU. If the EU impose such barriers on our exports, we reserve the right to retaliate, although it might be in our interest not to. We are amenable to maximising free trade with individual Member States. All Member States negotiating as a bloc is an EC requirement, not one of ours.

    We will take total control of decisions on immigration, agriculture, fisheries and other sovereign matters and will built up our Royal Navy to ensure that these decisions prevail.

    The European Court of Justice will play no part in any negotiations; we do not recognise the ECJ in this role. Nor will the ECJ have any role in enforcing the rights of EU citizens living in UK. These rights will be determined by agreement and enforced in British courts.

    The border with the Irish Republic will remain open only if the IRA does not restart Republican violence, if the Irish Republic accepts that its citizens can no longer vote in UK elections and if the Irish Republic co-operates with the enforcement of UK immigration policy. Otherwise, we will institute border controls and put an end to the Good Friday agreement.

    If we are allowed to leave earlier than March 29th 2017, i.e. if we are allowed to IMPLEMENT trade deals with US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc, then we will make an additional one-off payment to the EC. It would be really useful if Mr Redwood computed what a suitable figure would be if we exited by 1st January 2018.

    Practical measures of co-operation that don’t involve statute law could continue if they were in the interests of both UK and EU Member States. There is no issue of principle here.

    Reply I do not agree with your approach to Ireland. I do not think we should pay them more if we get early trade deals elsewhere.

  33. Dennis Zoff
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The UK should not be afraid to reinvent itself with regards to becoming a manufacturing force once again. Britain has intrinsic abilities; excellent education system, resourcefulness, resiliency, pigheadedness, strong entrepreneurial spirit, a serious “can do attitude” and most importantly a “need to succeed historically” that is still envied and in many ways feared globally.

    For sure Germany, France and Italy would prefer the UK to remain heavily dependent on financial services, which would ensure the UK does not become a major competitor to their manufacturing aspirations and status quo!

  34. Julien Tabulazero
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I cannot help to think that Mr Redwood is a little bit disappointed by Mr Macron’s win. I do remember Mr Redwood posting on this blog an article about Marine Le Pen a few month back. While a victory of Marine Le Pen would have likely proven to be a body blow to the EU, the French have chosen otherwise. With hindsight, I hope Mr Redwood will realise that a victory for Mrs Le Pen would not have necessarily been a good thing for the UK given the uncertainties it would have created on the continent.

    As to Mr Redwood’s comment about politicians needing to be careful as to the sentiments they stroke, he isnaturally right.

    We can therefore ignore Mr Howard’s comments about the UK going to war with Spain on Gibraltar or anything Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson may say in the near future when President Macron makes good on his election pledge to denounce the Le Touquet Treaty and move back the border (an the associated jungle, of course) from Calais to Dover.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      34% of the French voters are far right and anti immigrant. The ‘stroking’ of sentiments is to satisfy the racists in France. Indeed. A Le Pen victory would have created a far worse refugee crises towards this generous and tolerant country.

  35. A different Simon
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr Macron talks about wanting to unite France and represent all Frenchman but from the off his actions have contradicted his words .

    After election victory he came out not to Le Marsaillaise but to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy ; the EU Anthem .

    Surely all but the most fanatical EU supporting French person must have felt deeply hurt by this crass playing of another countries national anthem in place of their own very good one .

    At minimum Macron was badly advised and his judgement must be considered as suspect as that of Fillon who allowed himself to be set up so easily .

    I was prepared to give him a chance but after that insensitive little stunt he doesn’t deserve one .

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    all my French friends want a referendum on leaving the EU

    says it all really

    • Julien Tabulazero
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      All your french friends are therefore extreme-right. What does it say about you ?

    • hefner
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      All my French friends, if not pro-Macron, sound very happy that La Marine has been sent back to harbour. Furthermore what is happening within the FN is as bad as what is happening within the Socialist Party and within Les Republicains.
      In this respect, in the UK it is clear, to me at least, that there has never been such a kicking of the anthill.

  37. hefner
    Posted May 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Among all the rumours circulating in France today, one is about Sylvie Goulard becoming a Minister if not the PM. Not really a good news for Brexiting UK, I would guess.

  38. Na
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    People should be told if you do the understand politics then don’t vote.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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