Mr Draghi wants more free trade so why not accept the UK offer?

Mr Draghi’s recent speech about growth contained some important statements. He expressed concerns about the big increase in elderly people and the strain that will place on state budgets. He said that state debt and meeting state liabilities would become increasingly fraught if the productivity and output growth rates did not speed up. Whilst what he said seemed to mainly describe the economies of Spain, Italy, Greece and some other Eurozone countries, he sought to argue that all the richer OECD economies face these same issues. Indeed, he was a pessimist, expecting the OECD growth rate of 2% per annum pre crisis to slump now to 1% a year only.

So what was his remedy? Surprisingly his main recommendation was to intensify global competition in order to spread innovation and higher productivity more widely more quickly. He pointed to using international bodies to offer a common regulatory framework to make more international trade feasible in his terms. He gave as examples the Basel Committees and the FSB as global bodies for regulating the finance sector.

He had a notable omission from his speech. If he is keen to keep trade flowing with minimal tariffs and other barriers he should be urging his fellow officials in the EU and Eurozone to welcome the UK’s offer of tariff free trade with no new barriers. I wonder what held him back from making this obvious statement? Did he forget the clause in the EU Treaties which requires the EU to develop friendly and positive relations with neighbouring states, including free trade?

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92 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Exactly but he does not seem to be remotely interested in what is good, for both the EU’s member states and the UK. He seems to be only interested in what is good for the EU elite.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      At the risk of repeating much of what has already been said on these blogs, the politicos of the EU (the EU elite if you like) have said that the UK must be no better off after leaving than we are now. By ‘no better off’ they imply ‘worse off’.

      What they seem unable to realise (and why should they; they are second or third-rate or failed politicians from different EU countries) is that they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

      EU industry is just beginning to wake up to the fact life will become much more difficult for them if the so-called ‘negotiators’ (I haven’t seen anything approaching a negotiation yet) fail to acknowledge the needs of business rather than their own pride and prejudices.

    • NickC
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, That is exactly why the EU displays the attitude towards Brexit that it does. The EU comes first. Always. If the EU is prepared to sacrifice a generation of young people in southern EU, it will certainly sacrifice trading sense to (in their view) punish the UK and make us accept that the Referendum vote was a “mistake”.

      The only realistic option (as I have said before) is to leave with 12 month’s notice and accept 3rd country status with WTO trading rules. But Theresa May’s government shows no evidence of seeing the blindingly obvious.

      The government must prepare people for what will be termed a “no deal, hard Brexit” by the Remains. Yanis Varoufakis has observed that the EU is like the Hotel California. We can only leave therefore by being totally determined and making sacrifices. For that we have to carry the majority of people with us.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    These UK/EU negotiations are a charade; if the EU wanted to do a trade deal why does it have to be negotiated in 2 parts? There is obviously only one intent to get the UK to agree a ludicrous gratuitous payment only. (look how many EU clerks are demanding payment!) If we were so stupid to accede, they would then delay and defer any further discussion. The UK must be seen to lose from departure from the EU. Thankfully it looks as though Mr. Davis has understood this. But why keep up with the charade, we are looking foolish to even continue with it.

    • Len Grinds
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Peter, take care, you are being played for a fool by Mr Redwood. The EU has not demanded any gratuitous payment or exit fee at all. All it has said is that the UK must meet its pre-existing commitments and it has asked that the UK discuss with it exactly how these should be calculated (it is not straightforward because no state has ever left the EU before). The UK is refusing to do this. The likes of Redwood are spinning false stories about gratuitous payments and exit fees in order to try to fool you into thinking it is the EU’s fault when all the Brexiteers’ promises turn out to be untrue. So, Peter, concentrate on the real issues. Where are all the new trade deals the Brexiteers promised – have you seen Liam Fox lately? Where is the quick and easy trade deal with the EU you were promised? Where is the cash for the NHS?

      Reply The UK and the EU will complete their calculations of our gross and net contributions in the usual way up to our exit, when our contributions will stop. We owe them nothing else! No-one has written in here to give us a legal citation requiring us to pay a one off exit fee or leaving present.

      • Andy
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        The UK has requested the Legal basis for any payment other than that required under the Treaties which cease on 29th March 2019. So far the EU has not replied, but come up with a list where it says the UK has ‘obligations’. These are entirely fictitious and have no basis in the Treaties or International Law. I note that although the EU have been talking about ‘obligations’, ‘liabilities’ they have not said a word about Assets.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Your obviously part of the Brussels elite Les and your counterparts can be found on all the other blogs.
        We have been the second largest contributor for the past 40 years, our money being used to bribe and build up their infrastructures to the detriment of our own.
        When Austria joined and became a net contributor, the EU didn’t rehash the budget to reduce the payment of existing countries so conversely they can’t expect a severance payment from an exiting country.
        Please provide treaty details where this is mentioned.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        While the legal advice is not completely consistent – as is usually the case – by far the predominant expert legal view is that a state withdrawing from the EU has no legal liability to pay anything at all. Looking at it from the other angle, those like this so-called “Len Grinds” who want yet more UK taxpayers’ money to be handed over to the EU cannot cite any legal basis in the EU treaties for the peremptory demands being made by the EU negotiators. It is not for the UK to make some kind of initial offer and see whether that might be a big enough bung to get the EU on to talking about other more important matters such as trade, it is for the EU to submit a fully itemised invoice with legal justification for every item. Until they do that, the UK answer should simply be “On the basis of expert legal advice we recognise no legal liability to pay you anything at all”.

      • lojolondon
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Len, you are speaking garbage. Every EU budget is annual, they have 24 months to calculate their requirements without our contributions. There will be no ongoing contributions and no ongoing commitments. We are LEAVING.

        However, we do own 16% of EVERYTHING the EU has ever purchased, built or created with member contributions. So we look forward to receiving that cash payout, which is clearly owed. Or perhaps we should sell our share of EU assets to another interested party – perhaps to China?

      • Peter Wood
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Hello LG,
        PLEASE do a google search on the recent utterances with regard to Brexit of: Mrs Merkel, Mr. Verhofstadt, Mr. Junker, Mr. Barnier and the Polish one; you will then be informed as to the EU requirements regarding an exit payment. They have not presented a legal demand, because they can’t. Mr. Barnier, the poor Maitre’D in the farce, is reduced to asking us to tell them what we think we should pay!

      • NickC
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Len, “Where is the cash for the NHS?” What are you talking about? When we leave the EU (we haven’t yet, if you’d noticed) then I would prefer to spend the saved cash on a UK space exploration program. The VoteLeave campaign gave an example of spending some of the money on the NHS. I wouldn’t do that. What would you spend the money on?

      • Dennis
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – JR you have not responded to Len Grinds point that -“The EU has not demanded any gratuitous payment or exit fee at all. ”

        So have they or not – if have then who has done so?

      • David Price
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        You have a very short memory Mr Grinds, do you not recall the Juncker-Salmayr leak of what were supposed to be confidential discussions in Downing Street in May? It has been reported that even the Danish politician Pernille Vermund was aware of them and stated that Juncker’s demand for a £50b exit bill was “deeply unreasonable”.

        The EU “negotiators” are not negotiating but issuing demands for money before they will talk about anything else and have used UK/EU citizens status, Ireland and Gibraltar as pawns in their game while jeopardizing EU access to the UK’s common market.

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        If I was employed by John Lewis and left would you expect me as a partner to have to negotiate an exit fee?

      • rose
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        You are misleading yourself, not the rest of us, in suggesting Liam Fox can make trade deals before we leave the customs union. He can, however, lay the groundwork, and he and Boris are working hard at that. As it is mostly abroad, you won’t see much of them here. Similarly, we cannot have “the cash for the NHS” until it stops going to the EU, i.e. until we leave.

        No-one promised a quick and easy trade deal with the EU. They pointed out it was in our mutual interest but that if they wouldn’t co-operate we would still be fine with WTO. Nigel Farage was the most blunt in saying even no deal at all would be better than the rotten deal we have now.

        No-one promised anything. There were no manifestoes and it wasn’t a general election. To continue with these misrepresentations only emphasises the weakness of the remainiac side of the argument. If it had any strength, there would be no need to depart from the honest truth.

      • lp
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Greenland left the equivalent of the E.U. in the 1980s and Algeria also left in the 1960s on achieving independence from France.

  3. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    I haven’t seen an official UK government offer of tariff free trade, have you?
    With the unavoidable Norway style transition in 2019, there will be time to negotiate a new tariff free trade deal with the UK if that will be your government’s wish. Obviously Draghi and Barnier won’t meddle in each others work.

    Reply Yes that is the UK offer

    • margaret
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      But Juncker is supporting Barnier’s position and using delaying tactics.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: This might need some clarification (in a future blog?) in which you make a clear distinction between your own preferences (WTO based zero precent free trade with the whole world?) and stated UK government policy (realising that a single market membership emultation without the 4 freedoms will not be on offer).

      Reply The UK government is seeking an FTA with the EU based on the current tariff free arrangements.

      • Len Grinds
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Mr Redwood says – “The UK government is seeking an FTA with the EU based on the current tariff free arrangements”. What is your source? This is what you keep saying the government should do, but – not least because it ignores what really counts, which is non tariff barriers – it is not what the UK government says it wants

    • Bob
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      @PvL
      We’re leaving, free Trade or WTO, take your pick, the ball’s in your court.

  4. Tasman
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    You are becoming an embarrassment, Mr Redwood. The UK has not made an offer of tariff-free trade. This is simply your own fantasy.

    Reply It has

    • margaret
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply Is the offer in writing i.e . draft , official or verbally ?

      Reply It is stated government policy.

      • margaret
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        In what form is it stated? Everyone wants bits of paper.

      • bratwurst
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. It may be stated government policy but it is not yet a formal offer. The negotiation process has not yet reached the point of considering the future relationship so nothing will be formally considered by the EU at this time until progress has been made with the 3 key issues of phase 1.
        The EU proposed the phasing of the negotiations and, at his first negotiation meeting with Barnier, Davis caved in and agreed to the EUs negotiating approach.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Maybe provide a link Mr Redwood to shoot this particular fox?

      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-governments-negotiating-objectives-for-exiting-the-eu-pm-speech

      Number 8 suggests an intention but do you have a link for a firm offer?

      Reply There are various references to the wish to continue with tariff free trade with no new barriers. I don’t believe people can suggest otherwise, but then I have to get used to endless lies by those who dislike the result of the vote.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        @Narrow Shoulders: It seems to me that here Mrs May is trying to square a circle – making impossible combinations of demands and offers. Maybe the EU27 will offer her a Norwegian style transition, otherwise it will be a WTO regime in 2019, which is not tariff-free.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Quite, the remainiacs are getting more vociferous and shrill as the end game approaches.
        We have made it clear what we would like but all Barnier wants is a golden goodbye which is totally unjustified. Then they will talk about trade no doubt specifying an annual contribution which will be remarkably similar to our net contribution, for free trade.
        i.e. no free trade but a 7% tax on all we sell to the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Maybe it’s a bit difficult to have any firm offer on trade when the EU refuses to even talk about trade until it is satisfied that it has extorted as much money as it can hope to get for the “exit fee” …

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Theresa May said in that speech:

        “I also want tariff-free trade with Europe”

        The question is, could this mere aspiration or desire stated by the British Prime Minister in a public speech realistically be construed as an official offer of tariff-free trade with the EU?

        Note how she refers to “Europe” rather than “the EU”. Under Dutch law, that could be held to vitiate any apparent offer made to the treaty-based international organisation known as the European Union, rather than to the continent known as “Europe”.

        Just as under Dutch law a “No” referendum result can instead be construed as “Yes, go ahead and do what you want despite what we think”.

        Thank goodness that we have an interfering Dutchman to put us right on these matters.

        Reply You can be too clever. Yes, the UK government is offering continuing tariff free trade to the EU!

        • Know-Dice
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          Yes much too clever 🙂

          But always worth reading…

          Keep it up Denis!!!

      • NickC
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        JR, You are right to be exasperated by the likes of PvL and Tasman. Endless quibbles about definitions and pieces of paper simply attempts to disguise (but not very well) the Remains antipathy to our leaving the EU.

        The UK government position is clear – in favour of a comprehensive FTA. We won’t get it, of course, but that is another argument.

      • Dennis
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – “There are various references to the wish …”

        Mot a single reference given and ‘wish’ is not a written policy.

        JR please respond properly otherwise we will think you are dodging the queries. Vagueness is one of the criticisms levelled at Brexiteers.

        Reply See the White Paper and the EU “Withdrawal Bill.

        • Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          I looked at the White Paper and the Bill. They do not include what you claim. You are deceiving us

          Reply The White Paper makes clear the UK’s wish for free trade, and the Bill takes no powers to restrict our trade with the EU or alter its current basis!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Liar.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Denis Cooper

        Sorry, but your comment is very rude and not necessary.

  5. zorro
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Indeed, is it not bizarre how the legendary Single Market cannot seem to boost growth, productivity and innovation in the EU? Notwithstanding the fact that it is far from uniform and doesn’t include our services….. Every time Juncker and Mr Clock Tick start droning on about clarification, and settling accounts, we should be thrusting A8 TEU in their faces and tell them to live up to it instead of conspiring and playing games!

    zorro

  6. alan jutson
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Seems like the EU has a fixed idea in political terms, that they should try and make things as difficult as possible for the UK, simply because we have chosen to leave their Club.

    They hope the lesson of punishing the UK will deter others from following us out.

    They will come to terms with it in the end, and realise that they are cutting off their nose to spite their face, but in the short term they seem prepared to undertake this sort of self harm for political reasons.

    Given the above we should not be afraid to walk away and encompass WTO rules, they will settle in the end, but only after they have convinced themselves that enough time has passed for it to be politically acceptable.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Alan, you are 100% correct there. The greatest threat ever to the EU is that Britain leaves and thrives, and their economy continues to shrink, and the other countries – especially the gross contributors – start to look around. They are determined to smash us, because they cannot risk us showing the way out. Which is why we are going to end up walking away, paying nothing, and letting them deal with it. 1 in 7 cars manufactured in Germany are sold into the UK, they could kiss their entire economy goodbye if they persist with this idiocy.

  7. agricola
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I think it is called not intruding into others area of responsibility. It does not prevent him making his views known to Barnier et al privately. Until the EU get down to substantive discussions these diversions will occur on a daily basis, and from molehills the press will make slag heaps. The wasps of remain will continue to seek succour whenever they sniff the opportunity.

    • formula57
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Mr. Draghi and the ECB defer to the malevolent Commission, since that latter has the responsibility.

      And the Commission has shown repeatedly it is ready to disadvantage some or all member states in furthering its view of what is good for the Evil Empire.

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Can we please just tell the EU we are not paying an exit fee and do it publically and then there will be no clarification needed.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      This isn’t Monopoly. This is real life (just look at the concerns of businesses up and down the country who depend so much on the EU for their exports). There are economic consequences. And if we get things wrong (and lots of people lose jobs and their wages drop), there could even be a call to a return to the EU. We return, on even worse conditions (with Labour back in power, and the Tory party out in the wilderness).

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      It has been explained above that the EU is not asking for an exit fee

  9. Mel Cornwell
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    There is nothing to ‘negotiate’ at this stage, the UK can only use the time to indicate what it intends to do once we have left i.e. laying down a Brexit guidance mechanism for the EU, for when they eventually come down out of their tree…

    Negotiation is where two parties have a broadly similar common goal, and wish to fine tune it, but there IS no common goal: the EU wants us to stay, hand over our cash and resources, and do as they say.
    The UK intends to leave, stop paying, and make our own decisions about any future involvement. Two polar opposites. Hence, the EU has no interest in any discussion or offer that involves Brexit progress. When they ask for ‘clarity and compromise’, what they mean is, “Have you changed your minds yet” (NO, we haven’t, and won’t).

    There is no ground to give at all that will aid our exit – in fact “Resolve, then Leave’ is never going to work.
    We need to “Leave, THEN Resolve”. Only when the EU can see we have walked away (and stopped payment… this is ALL about money), and Brexit is a definite fait accompli, will they stop posturing. Self preservation will kick in, and we might just start to get some grown up responses from them.

  10. margaret
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I am tired of people in the media and politics saying that we have a legal obligation to pay huge amounts of money on exit. They keep stating the legality of it . Whereas contracts are sometimes not clear ,I am assured by my more learned blogites that there is no such contract. Even young Kinnock talked about breaking the law if we did not pay up!
    When it was clearly stated in a news programme on ch 5 that there is no legal obligation to pay, the commentator simply carried on talking bout the legal contract. What is wrong with them? Cannot they not see that we are talking moral obligations or the lack of moral obligations ? Can they not make any distinction between ethics and legality .!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Margaret,
      The broadcasting media daily infringe their obligations to accuracy and impartiality in relation to Brexit (and Trump as well). Ofcom is meant to supervise this but does nothing. It has become so bad that I now listen to far less from the main broadcasters and their endless pro EU propaganda.

    • Andy
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Quite so. These EU morons just do not understand even basic things. Financing the EU is through a mechanism which is subordinate to the Treaties. Anything and everything the UK agrees to ‘as a member of the EU’ it does in that context. Thus the UK agrees to the spending of the EUs money in this, that or the other way. Yes part of it is UK taxpayers money, but it is EU cash at that point. It is like being a member of a golf club, sitting on the committee and agreeing to a new club house roof in 2 years time. You resign from the club, or die, does this mean that when the work starts in 18 months time you or your estate is liable for a portion of the cost ? It is absurd to suggest that. So it is with the EU.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      These TV channels receive funding from the EU either directly or indirectly so they sign up too pushing the Brussels line. That is why any Brexit people interviewed are quickly removed from the screen.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Page 62 here:

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

      “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.”

    • MPC
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Had there been an exit bill to pay then that would have been raised within Project Fear along the lines of ‘our exit bill will be (say) £60 billion equivalent to 6 years’ net contributions so any savings will not accrue quickly enough to support Vote Leave’s case’.

      Mind you I do worry that Daniel Hannan is talking about the matter being best referred to Arbitration. Hopefully that argument is not gaining traction Mr Redwood?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Whatever the details, we’re going to have to pay money to have as much access to the single market as possible. It isn’t rocket science even though some Brexiters are denying this obvious reality (Mr Portillo, one-time Brexiter, suggested after the Tories disaster at the general election, that Hard Brexit is now no longer possible – there isn’t the leadership in the Conservative Party to implement it – and called Brexiters such as Liam Fox, as living in a FANTASY land for ignoring where we’re at now. We’ve got to be as pragmatic and realistic as possible now, for the l0ng-term future of our country (and the Conservative Party). If not, we’ll become the laughing stock of the world, and the second South Sea Bubble – but far worse than the original – that historians will pour over for centuries to come. That is how serious this whole Brexit thing has become.

      We’ve tried Hard Brexit. It failed. And things can only get worse for Hard Brexit, not better.
      We need to lick our wounds, and get back to reality. Soft Brexit is the worse of both worlds. The best is to return to the EU, whilst trying our hardest to get it reformed for our benefit and the benefit of the EU.

  11. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Yes I was puzzled at Draghi’s plea for free trade. The whole point of the customs union is to erecting a tariff barrier around the EU specifically to prevent free trade with countries outside it – look at the massive tariffs it imposes on food imports from Africa for example.

  12. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps his silence is an acknowledgement that the EU is a house of cards and supporting free trade and helping developing countries is a load bearing card. CAP, single market, customs union are all barriers that keep the idea of a federal EU intact.

  13. Mark B
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    He pointed to using international bodies to offer a common regulatory framework to make more international trade feasible in his terms. He gave as examples the Basel Committees and the FSB as global bodies for regulating the finance sector.

    This is the meat in the sandwich – international bodies and regulatory framework. In other words, he who makes the rules by which we all follow.

    Outside the EU the UK will once more have its own voice. It will have its own seat and, more importantly, its own vote. All 27 remaining members of the EU, once they have told their masters in the Commission what they want, have to wait outside the negotiating room to see if, if anything, they get. The UK has no such qualms. We will have a good idea before we go in as we would have done much back door negotiations beforehand, including with members of the EU who will want to access our vote.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Still in moderation. Trying to set a new record ?

  14. Duncan
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The UK is a relatively low cost, entrepreneurial and dynamic economy and as such represent a significant economic threat when we leave the EU. We can slash our tax rates and attract even greater levels of FDI than we do at present

    Meanwhile the docile, inflexible and high cost EU economies are managed markets which are to a degree controlled by Germany and France. And that is the point. It’s about the political control of the UK and its competitive nature. Inside the EU the UK can be tempered and controlled. Outside the EU we will become a different beast and the EU’s control will disappear. This terrifies them. it absolutely petrifies them

    Thanks to Thatcher we diluted the autocratic unions and allowed the market to generate the prosperity we all enjoy today. The public sector is a different matter, waste and sloth is the order of the day

    Goodbye EU, we will see you on the economic battlefield

  15. Bert Young
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Draghi is entering the political game ; he obviously does not like the negotiating stance of the EU knowing what the economic loss to EU countries means if a trade deal is not reached . A free trade area for the world would remove many barriers and give a realistic base of price comparison .

  16. Beadle
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    We never hear the names of Draghi, Barnier, Juncker anywhere except on telly. In truth many “household names” of celebrities are not. Hillary Clinton and here in the UK Remain Campaign tried the celebrity game too. It did not work. Draghi plucking his mandolin or even Blair strumming his guitar do not strike a chord with us. Barnier is becoming an annoyance to those of us who have heard of him. He should stop playing about and get on with the job. Otherwise we should either walk out of the”negotiations” or insist we deal only with another person of the EUs choice or no-one. Draghi will be gone soon. His successor cannot be a success.

  17. Epikouros
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Trade is the basis from which all wealth is derived. From buying and selling to ones own countrymen and to Johnny foreigner. They are not indistinct. What is good to buy and sell at home which is free of tariffs is good for doing the same internationally if it is free of tariffs. Without tariffs all consumers benefit a few producers do not. If we protect producers who are not good enough to compete then we protect the few at the expense of the many. However that is the what we do and which gave rise to tariffs and even more pernicious the creation of the EU and the single market and it’s like.

    We do not need free trade areas if all consumers are to benefit from the wealth that trade creates. We need a free trade planet. That is what Draghi and most of the rest of us fail to recognise and accept. If he and we did then the call would not be just for Brexit but the abolition of the EU, Nafta and their like. Then redistribution of wealth that we rightly desire would be applied fairly and responsibly. Nothing works better for a fair way to spread wealth than to exchange goods and services for money to enable others to spend that money on things they want.

  18. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    John

    Anyone interested in the decision by the Murdochs to switch off the Fox News service (formerly Sky channel 509) from UK subscribers abruptly yesterday at approximately 4.00 p.m. ?

    Does that decision have implications for other media outlets in print or via the airwaves if something is deemed to be unpopular/inconvenient by an elite.?

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I think it is a monopoly issue relating to their bid to take full control of Sky rather than a conspiracy to silence a certain viewpoint.

  19. James Neill
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Draghi is head of the european bank only and like Yellen in america is quite entitled to give his/her opinion and forward guidance on financial and fiscal matters but he really has no say on UK/ EU brexit talks or indeed in any future trade deals, if we ever get there.

    EU trade discussions is a matter for Barnier then Junker then Verhofstadt and the EU parliament and then after all of that the EU Council representing the remaining 27 countries, any one of whom can scupper the whole business- so we shouldn’t hold our breath.

  20. robert lewy
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    On reading the speech I don’t see mention of the words “Global Competition” even once although the term “Global Co-operation” was used.
    Even the words “competition” and “competitiveness” only figures once each.

    His enthusiasm for Open markets is muted by his perception of the need to provide multilateral standards and supervision to temper its effects.

    Surely, this interpretation is highly questionable.

    The rise of China has had monumental affects on reducing the cost of manufactured and other goods in the world. This has certainly increased living standards on average globally although the benefits are not equally spread. A skilled worker having lost his job through cheaper Chinese imports is unable to fully take advantage of the lower prices available on
    their goods. Unless China spends its surplus in such a way that new jobs are created antipathy towards “unfair” trade will persist. The problem with Free Trade theory is that
    it takes TIME for trade to adjust to allow benefits to be fully achieved.

    How does his analysis address this point? It certainly was not multilateral co-operation which provided the benefits of trade with China. Open trade itself supplied benefits which were too attractive for the world to forgo for the sake of saving jobs by maintaining or increasing protection.

    The ramping up of multilateral co-operation in this area conjures up the image of substantial security based construction work on a stable block on the unexpected departure of its occupants.

    However, returning to the theme of UK Brexit and EU, surely the EU can pride itself on the imminent rise in the level of its Exports to the rest of the world.

  21. Martin
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    1) Mr Draghi is head of the ECB, not any other EU institution, so his remarks are just a wish list.

    2) Why should the EU-27 accept our offers? They are sick of being insulted by the British Press. e.g. “** yours Delors” etc. There is at least one journalist in a UK “quality” newspaper who gets paid (presumably) to write the same tedious tripe every few months about the Euro collapsing. This has been going on for over a decade. The EU has got the message “Francis Urquhart means Francis Urquhart”!

    3) As for trade deals there is an assumption peddled by many Brexit fans that these take 5 minutes to negotiate. How long does even buying and selling a couple of houses in Wokingham take?

  22. Peter
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The EU appear to be intransigent. Not prepared to move one millimetre.

    How long can this go on? Do they hope to win more and more until Britain has effectively caved in?

    The ball is in the UK’s court. At some stage it will probably be necessary to just walk away and go to WTO terms.

    • Helen
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Do you understand WTO terms means tariffs and so massive price rises in the shops?

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish, the average tariff is 3% and we do most of our business already under WTO rules.
        Go have a look.

  23. BOF
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    fedupsoutherner & margaret

    I agree, and until our team publicly, loudly and repeatedly state that we have no obligation to pay any more than our legal requirements, and will not be doing so, the EU will continue to attempt to extort this fictitious payment. This should have been done a long time ago as it simply adds grist to the remain mill.

    David Davies can and should end this nonsense now, as there is no other way to move discussion on to constructive trade talks.

  24. VotedOut
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I have to say I am totally fed up with these EU bureaucrats. Yanis Varoufakis told us what to expect and it is proving true. They don’t want to negotiate because they don’t negotiate they simply issue orders – or in the case of one in particular, kiss people a lot…

    The UK voted decisively to leave the EU, single market and customs union. We did not vote for an endless transitional deal or indeed any transitional deal. We did not vote for any more money to be paid to the EU after March 2019.

    We are making a “generous offer’… Yes we jolly well have !

    We have paid enough into Europe – WW1 and WW2, 1.7million British dead plus the cost and £500 billion over 40 years on their ‘project’. We have lost our industries to continental owners (via bias EU company take-over rules) who strip them of intellectual property and assets, transferring it all to their home countries.

    Enough is enough. £100 billion – go whistle, with bells on!

    No, no, no she said.

    • G
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Well said, well said indeed…

  25. Brit
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The patience of the UK voter has run out.
    Most do not know who Draghi is. Anyway he will be replaced in 2019 and they may have another unknown name and another unacceptable face of the EU banking system.
    The EU is praying for a Corbyn /SNP / LibDem overthrow of our government and will not get off its knees stuck into a Black Forest rotten tree stump below a tannenbaum until Corbyn is gone for good. He and Sturgeon are the EU’s only hope apart from our fishermen getting amnesia.

  26. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    ‘to welcome the UK’s offer of tariff free trade with no new barriers’

    – The EU will obviously see his as an insult. Why not just tell them just to get lost?

    The EU then walk away, our economy crashes, Labour get back in. And we’re in real trouble. Our country sinks economically. And there might even be a call to return to the EU where we have to join on worse terms than now, whilst cripped by socialism, and having wasted so much time and energy on Brexit when there are so many other important issues to focus on.

    So ‘to welcome the UK’s offer of tariff free trade with no new barriers’ is an invitation to something far, far worse than the South Sea Bubble, holding back our country for years, whilst, no doubt, leading the end of the Conservative Party.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Ed

      I doubt that Labour would last very long before people realised just how useless they really are. Yes, damage might have been done as it has before with Labour governments but the UK will pick up again. We always do.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        @fedupsoutherner

        Although I voted remain (but not by much), i was then a supporter of Brexit (even Hard Brexit) after the referendum result. But since the general election result, which i think was a disaster for the Tories and Brexit, i’ve returned to remain (but where we MUST try and reform it).

        There are so many challenges to Brexit for which you need a strong leadership to deal with. The lack of leadership has now clearly been exposed. But we haven’t even had any leading Brexiters own up to these challenges (and then offer a detailed plan how to deal with them).

        The socialists are a serious problem. But unlike other times, they could compound all the other problems we have at the moment, such as the need to pay off our national debt, and focus on building up our economy through capitalism not socialism/borrowing. Etc ..

        I want the best for my country. But i think we can only achieve that if we have clear goals, with a detailed plan about how to achieve them, including looking at all the negatives will we might encounter and the best response to them. And, finally, we need the leadership to implement something as tricky as Brexit.

        I think i’m just trying to be logical / pragmatic / strategic-minded, and so on. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.

        Regards

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It’s not just Mario Draghi who wants more trade, ostensibly that desire runs all the way through the EU treaties and our diplomats and other representatives should be actively pointing that out to governments and other influential bodies around the world and making sure they fully understand that when they are dealing with the EU they should always expect to be dealing with hypocritical and untrustworthy people.

    Apart from the general Article 8 TEU on the EU’s neighbourhood policy, mentioned above, here is a list, not necessarily exhaustive, of other relevant provisions in the EU treaties:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228848/7310.pdf

    Article 3(5) TEU: the Union “… shall contribute to … free and fair trade … as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter” – which must include the UN prohibition on the unauthorised use of economic sanctions to attempt to coerce another country into changing its political policies.

    Article 21(2)(e) TEU: the Union shall “encourage the integration of all countries into the world economy, including through the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade” – which cannot include unnecessarily reintroducing restrictions on the two-way EU-UK trade which have long ago been abolished.

    Preamble to the TFEU: “DESIRING to contribute … to the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade” – not their reintroduction.

    Article 32 TFEU: “In carrying out the tasks entrusted to it under this chapter the Commission shall be guided by:

    (a) the need to promote trade between Member States and third countries”

    Article 206 TFEU: “the Union shall contribute … to the harmonious development of world trade, the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade and on foreign direct investment, and the lowering of customs and other barriers.”

    Deliberate creation of unnecessary obstacles to free trade, especially with a neighbouring country, runs directly counter to commitments made by all the EU member states through their treaties; and doing so as a form of economic sanctions against a country for political reasons, without any justification, runs directly counter to UN rules; moreover I note that the EU and its member states have actually signed up to a new WTO initiative to facilitate trade:

    https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tradfa_e/tradfa_e.htm

    even while they are threatening to actively disrupt existing trade with the UK.

  28. BrexiteerwivMusket
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Mrs May was on TV being interviewed in Japan speaking about North Korea. You have got to hand it to her. She has taken daily hammering by the media since the Election. Also every political Party person from pipsqueak to a noble celeb such as myself have shot broadsides at her and peppered her with Brexiteer musketshot. Yet, she carries on. Looks worried, sounds worried and hurt, very much wounded. But carries on! Maybe, just maybe she was and still is the right one for the job. We’ll see.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Brexiteer wiv musket

      Yes, I thought that this morning when I saw her on TV in Japan.

  29. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s not too late to change course – remaining in the EU but working hard to reform it for our benefit and the EU’s.

    In fact, we can even turn a failure into a success, by demonstrating that there is a real call for reform of the EU (not just from within the UK but from those outside in the EU who sympathise with us). A lot of Brexiters talk a lot of sense, bringing a dose of reality to the reality of the EU. But problem is they often go overboard. Become to extremist, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Fantasy.

  30. ian
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see the point of him offering free trade when he already has free trade, just like money argument, if you have no money and your not going to print any money by way of bonds to give to him, then he can’t have any money can he. That all any body needs to know. Your the ones who triggered article 50 when nobody ask you to. I suspect this all about keeping people minds off other things that are going on, like 1.7% growth instead of the 3% promised by Mr osborne, and on going migration, which is needed by globalization to take place in this country according to 600 PMs in parliament, businesses, and any body else who thinks they might earn something out of it, apart from the voters who don’t want it, but hey who cares about the voters, and non voters, there just have take what they get.

  31. ian
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Just heard about, pick your own credit limit on credit cards, spend as much as you like. Think things must be bad to tell people hear to print their own money with no limits.

  32. ian
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I have just made a offer to buy all the countries in the world and there debt for 750 trillion on my credit card.

  33. BillyElliot
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Is the UK trade offer without no barriers pretty much the same we have now?
    Well you know the reason for EU not accepting that – it is too good for UK.
    As someone has said: out is out.
    Behind these link you find all EU trade agreements. We need to negotiate something similar once we have the third country status.

    http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/agreements/

    Obviously the terms won’t be as good as they are now but that is the price both parties seem to be willing to pay

    So Draghi&Co are developing friendly and positive relationships with their neighbors.
    Their time span is just different compared to UK:s.

  34. Dennis Zoff
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    John, are you provided with an official insight into each Brexit discussion with Brussels; such as minutes on agreed points, sticking points, redlines, etc….or is this left to the bias Remainer MSM to make mendacious stories.

    I trust you will publish this comment, as I have noticed several previous comments have not been posted for whatever reasons? Please let me know if I am breaking any house rules?

  35. Mick
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/847547/Brexit-news-EU-UK-Juncker-Brussels-trade-deals
    Time to say up your jumper juncker and walk away, and to believe there are still remoaners who want to stay in this club, deluded or what

  36. Peter Martin
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    My expectation is that the EU will want to make an example of us for political reasons. So Mr Draghi is unlikely to accept the offer. That won’t do our relationship much good but once we get past that the real negotiations can start.

    Sure the EU could increase their trade to compensate with other countries but no-one else will be prepared to do it on the basis that EU exports are much larger than EU imports. It’s not all about volumes it’s about surpluses and deficits too. The EU is hooked on the need to run a trade surplus. Only the UK offers this option. Incidentally, whether we should too is a debatable point!

    The EU really can’t afford to manage without a healthy UK.

  37. Original Richard
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    The EU commission is still intending to punish and weaken the UK for wanting to leave its control. As Mr. Hollande said 07/10/2016 about Brexit :

    “There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price, otherwise we will be in negotiations that will not end well and, inevitably, will have economic and human consequences,”

    To achieve this end the EU commission is wanting to implement any deal/relationship with the UK which is NOT the one the UK seeks. Hence the need for Mr. Davis to proceed with “constructive ambiguity” and to keep repeating that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

    Ironically the Labour Party is inadvertently helping this UK approach by trying to run with two opposing sets of Brexit policies hoping that both EU supporters and leavers will only be hearing what they want to hear and continue to vote Labour.

    This is really confusing the EU commissioners and may explain why they are stalling on negotiations by their unwillingness to produce an itemised exit bill.

  38. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Apologies, i don’t mean to exaggerate my position (i really don’t think Brexit would be an economic disaster but it could well lead to economic decline leading to all kinds of problems regarding the long-term future of Brexit, as well as letting Labour into power, and other important political consequences).

    I just wish people could give a detailed overview of how Brexiters intend to deal with all the potential challenges of Brexit (not the benefits of leaving – I understand these although one could debate about these in another topic). Because at the moment, no-one really seems willing to do this. As if relying more on a wing-and-a-prayer, than cool, pragmatic thinking / planning / strategy.

    Thank you and best wishes.

  39. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Lastly, Mr Davis said that aspects of Brexit are more complicated than a moon-landing. Well, even in starting up a small business, you would put together a section detailing the most challenging aspects of the business-where you are most likely to fail-and what you’ve put in plan to address these serious problems. And even this for a small business can be challenging to do. But i don’t even see anything like this for leaving the EU. If so, please point me to a document, looking at this aspect of Brexit.

    It’s the lack of cool, pragmatic planning / strategy that worries me (and i don’t mean by government negotiators who might want to keep things to themselves, but by leading Brexiter thinkers in general). All i’m seeing is vague plans / ideas, negative subjective feelings about the EU (much which i agree with), and lots of wishful thinking.

    If someone can enlighten on me, would be delighted to hear.

    • Helen
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Ed,me too. But don’t hold your breath while you wait for a coherent case for brexit

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Also, what also troubles me is that important as the EU is (whether you’re for or against), there are also so many important issues affecting our country today—economic, political, security and social (such as the break up of the family).

        It’s like we’re focusing on just one of the Hydra’s tentacles, when there are so many more to slay. Or, there is more than just one golden fleece to grasp, there are many.

        In order to deal with all the challenges, and grasp all the opportunities, we need to deal with Brexit as quickly as possible. But in order to do that, you need a detailed plan how to deal with all the negative situations (not just focus on the positives, important as that is). I just think there isn’t this detailed plan in place. We could get so bogged down with this tentacle / golden-fleece of Brexit / the EU, that we even fail to win this golden fleece, whilst missing out on all the others.

  • 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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