What agenda should the next EU Commission President follow?


As someone who would never be considered for the EU Commission Presidency, coming from the wrong country and holding the wrong views, let me enjoy the privilege of the interested outsider and sketch what needs to be done.

Any incoming President has to be wedded to the success of the Euro area, and aware of the remaining dangers to it. He or she would also be wise to want a solution to the British problem, where the UK wishes to reinforce its absence from the Euro by avoiding political union. Solving the two problems together is easier than regarding the British problem as a nuisance or a different issue. They are in fact two related problems. The British wish for more distance from the EU core has grown as the core has centralised more to make the Euro work.

It is fashionable to think the only way to make the Euro work better is to centralise everything more. One possible answer to the recurring Euro crises would be to create a country called the USE. Political union would mean not just a common criminal law, open borders, free movement and a common foreign policy. It would also need large transfers of money from rich to poor. Bavaria would need to pay the unemployment benefit bills of Greece. German taxpayers will need to stand behind Spanish banks and be willing to  bail them out if they fail. I am not sure German, Dutch and Austrian taxpayers are ready for that amount of commitment yet.

The other way to allow the Euro to survive is to build on the compromises and concealed assistance apparent  in the current scheme, but to add policies to the EU generally which promote greater growth and more employment. This would ease some of the tensions and cut some of the bills for economic failure in the countries which are struggling within the Eurozone. Such policies might also be more attractive to the UK.  Today the richer countries stand behind the weaker banks of the poorer countries via the ECB. They allow transfers of money through the cheap credit lines the ECB extends to banks in struggling countries. They may end up allowing money printing in some form or other to try to get the value of the Euro down and the levels of economic activity up.

So what are the policies which the EU could pursue which would promote more growth  and reassure moderate Eurosceptics from the UK? They would have to be policies which cut the amount of legislation and regulation from the EU. We need actions which return control of activities to national governments from Brussels, or give national Parliaments more say over which proposals from the EU any given country adopts. Failed common policies like fishing and agriculture need reform. Many laws and regulations can be removed as you do not need to force everyone to make and do things the same way to be able to trade with each other.

More importantly, the EU needs to see that its biggest mistake in recent years which is doing great damage to the potential of industry across the continent, is the energy policy. EU countries cannot sustain the industry they have or increase the industry they generate all the time the EU imposes much higher energy prices on economies than the USA or Asia. This still leaves the vexatious issue of free movement of workers  and benefit seeking , which I will return to in another post.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Policies that promote growth!

    Small government, low taxes, fewer market distortions, fewer regulations, less parasitic government, cheap energy, freedom, a better more efficient legal systems, a far better education system concentrating of needed skills, easier planning in the EU, fewer religions such as HS trains, no road blocking and road and house building, no green religion, no CAP or fishing distortion nonsense, no gender insurance drivel …..

    This all sound rather unlikely in the EU or even the UK under pro EU Libdem ratters like Cameron.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Sorry to go OT so soon;

      Lifelogic: “no gender insurance drivel”

      LL, you keep ranting on about this but I fail to understand why you are so against it, surely insurance premiums should be based on risk not gender, anything else is a market distortion that you appear to be against in any other field of government or business?!

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        But gender IS a risk when assessing motor insurance, female drivers in specific age groups (particularly younger ones) have less accidents than equivalent male drivers, so why should they pay the same for insurance ? Would it also be a market distortion if the insurance premium for a 17 year old driver were the same as that for a 57 year old driver ?

        Similarly, if I am stupid enough to buy an annuity for £100,000 why should I get the same annual income from it as a woman of the same age who also buys one given that her life expectancy is significantly more than mine ? Gender IS a big factor in life expectancy. I would note that someone who smokes would get a higher annual income than me, likewise someone older than me – do you regard that as a market distortion too ?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          @Roy Grainger: I have worked within motor vehicle insurance claims and it is a fallacy that female drivers are any less of a risk, they might have been at one time but if so it is no longer and hasn’t been for some time [1], and yes “it would be a distortion if the insurance premium for a 17 year old driver were the same as that for a 57 year old driver” (assuming both drivers have held a licence since their 17th birthday or so such), that is the very point, insurance risk is more about experience and age rather than gender – a 19 year old female can be just as much the “boy racer” as a 19 year old bloke can be, a “dithering” 80 year old male can be as much of a risk as 80 year old female etc.

          As for annuities and life expectancy, men died earlier in the past because of the sorts of work men did often did [2], who knows (but I bet the insurance market and politicos have made a good prediction…) what the average age expectancy will be in another 20 – 40 years for each gender now that both men and women are often doing much the same sorts of work.

          [1] even though the insurance sector used such discounts as a marketing tool

          [1] in the past quite a few husbands who had lived an easy working life often found that their wives died before them due to illness

          • Lifelogic
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            Insurance is about averages and on average women drive fewer miles and have fewer (and less serious) accidents. They also still do live quite a bit longer than men. Perhaps it will change as science advances, but no idiotic “equality law” from Dopey Dave Cameron will change it.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: That might have been the case once, not any more. Oh and people living longer because of science would affect women, duh! Why do I get the feeling that you just do not like gender equality period.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          Exactly it is totally bonkers and hugely damaging all in the name of the absurd all be be the same religion. Except of course the state sector who earn 50% more with pensions. Doubtless some girls will be attacked walking home because they cannot afford to insure a car for themselves thank to Cameron.

          No the Bishop of York wants them all to have a “living wage” too – (they were living before were they not?). All paid for by taxing the private sector (who are only earning 2/3 rds even more).

          The economics of the mad house but I suppose he is only an “expert” if Christianity not basic logic- but then how would we know.

        • A different Simon
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          Roy Granger ,

          We only have to worry about annuities because the Govt :-

          1) Will not contemplate a livable state pension (it prefers means tested benefits instead)

          2) Refuses to consider measures to control the cost of living (especially accommodation costs) .

          3) Instead of coming up with largely demographically neutral solutions has gone for the ever increasing population ponzi scheme instead .

      • stred
        Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        His argument is that EU legislation does alter the risk based assessment and insists that gender cannot be taken into account. Presumably, before long it will be illegal to increase insurance premiums for anyone with a disability, or young people. We will all be equal and paying the same. In the new PC world, risk based insurance will be a thing of the past.

        • Bob
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink


          “before long it will be illegal to increase insurance premiums for anyone with a disability, or young people. We will all be equal and paying the same. In the new PC world, risk based insurance will be a thing of the past.”

          Precisely, the responsibility for assessing risk should lie with the insurance company that covers it.

          This kind of government diktat just serves to distort the market and makes it easy for high risk drivers to gain insurance cover at the expense of safer drivers.

    • Hope
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Great post JR. On a day when the Polish foreign office minister sauys he f..up on the fiscal pact and the EU renegotiations. A former Bullingdon Club member it is reported.

      A day when Van Rompouy tells Cameron what the EU plan is for the next five years and no inclusion of anything Cameron wanted. In short a message that says keep paying and do what you are told, we decide where your taxpayers’ money will be spent.

      A day when it is reported savers pay more tax than sinners- IHT, stamp duty etc. This from a party which makes claims to be a small tax party. When are those significant cuts going to happen? This parliament, the next one? The EU machine wants more and more money that we do not have.

      A day when Coulson found guilty of phone hacking. Cameron lacks judgment and is on the wrong side of every major decision. It appears Cummings claims are right.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        @Hope: “A day when it is reported savers pay more tax than sinners- IHT, stamp duty etc.”

        I don’t understand this claim -well I do but read on, someone who pays all their taxes will pay more than someone equal who legally avoids their taxes (or worse illegally evades them), talk about some media hack reporting the bloody obvious!

        Oh and “Hope”, let the man or woman who has never been duped stand up and receive the public applause…

      • Hope
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        And now learn Cameron has made another U-turn. He has dropped his opposition to Albania joining the EU unless transition rules were changed. How many ways can he be shafted by the EU and pass it onto the taxpayers of this country? Were we asked if we wanted the poorest nation in the Eastern block to have access to UK benefits and public services at our expense? To build on every piece of land to house the poor Albanians?

        Why should we have to suffer his Euro fanatical ways without having a say in the matter? etc ed

      • A different Simon
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Watching David Cameron having to prostrate himself before Frau Merkel is one thing .

        Also the Allies betrayal of Poland , especially after the second world war , was shameful and should not be forgotten .

        However , when Polish Cabinet members and unelected puppets like Van Rompuy get the idea that they too can make a British Prime Minister their bitch , things have gone too far .

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Cameron’s compass is invariably wrong by 180 degrees, from Maria Miller, Coulson and Chris Huhne, to the green crap, to gender neutral insurance, the coalition, the IHT and EU ratting, to giving Clegg equal TV billing, to the farce/long grass of EU renegotiation, the size of the state, the EU and IHT ratting, the HS train drivel and his idiotic windmill in non windy Notting Hill, Libya, Syria ……

        • Jerry
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: Nice rant!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps but all true.

  2. Mark B
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The EU is a creature of its treaties. It cannot be anything other than it is, and we have signed up to this. Eventually, if we remain in the EU, we will have to adopt the Euro, its all a question of time.

    It really matters not, who is in power, both nationally or supra-nationally, the march is ever forward and, the destination is, ever closer UNION.

    You are either in, or out, there is little that lay in between. The fantasy of a Euro-Lite option is just that, a fantasy. If anything, it is a far worse proposition than we currently have, and any sane individual would have little or nothing to do with it.

    The precursor to today’s EU, the European Coal and Steel Community (see links below) was designed by those that saw a USE in the future, as a means of controlling a countries ability to wage war. If you control the means by which industry can make things ie energy, then you effectively have them by the testicles.

    The purpose of the EU, is to destroy the nation state and replace it with a supranational one with a common citizenship. One people, one nation.

    There can be no renegotiation. Either you are in, or you are out. Simple !



    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      @Mark B: “The purpose of the EU, is to destroy the nation state and replace it with a supranational one with a common citizenship. One people, one nation.”

      Indeed and the ‘ideal’ goes back much further than the ECSC, back to a speech made to the League of Nations in 1929 by Aristide Briand, eleven times the Prime Minister of France.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed, and if you follow either of your links through to the text of the Schuman Declaration of May 9th 1950:


      then it becomes perfectly clear that the purpose was to set in train a process leading to the establishment of a pan-European federation comparable to the federal United States of America, or indeed any other of the many other federal states around the world such as Australia or Canada or Nigeria or Germany itself, where the institutions of the states or provinces or regions are legally subordinate to the institutions of the federation.

      “The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe”

      “this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.”

      This was a public declaration of intent, not some secret plan cooked up between foreign governments and not revealed to the British government, and it would be ludicrous to suppose that successive British governments have not always been fully aware that this was the end purpose.

      And successive British governments, formed by the Tory party and the Labour party, and now including the LibDems in the present coalition, have gone along with this drive to gradually establish a pan-European federation and extinguish British sovereignty while pretending otherwise to the British people.

    • Hope
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      In or out. There is no other choice. Cameron does not get it. Even the polish foreign minister claims this.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I was going to go through the Humboldt speech for quotations. Why bother? One of the biggest failures of all the media – not just the BBC – has been to ignore what the leaders of Europe are actually saying. The candidates for the Presidency of the Commission were not presented to us at all. As far as I could see from the internet presentation (Thank you Mr Hannan) every single one of them was in favour of “More Europe” and less nationalism. It is not a case of Mr Juncker being the one candidate determined to bring about the USE – they all are! I do not think that any Kinnoch, for instance, is going to be anything but integrationist. If I lived in Lithuania, I should cling to Europe like mad (Ukraine anyone?).

    From London, Europe is something which is a bit like the MCC. Club Members, just know how to behave properly, obey the rules and they never admit undesirables. If all fails, you can just walk out.

    From Brussels, the work of creating Europe is like constructing a building. The scaffolding is the only thing we can see at the moment. Underneath an edifice of great majesty and beauty is appearing which has all sorts of interesting aspects, pinnacles, windows and openings, but which in the end will reveal one magnificent architectural project. (This is Mr Barroso’s simile not mine.)

    The UK must be part of this building, but in no way is it central. It is just a historical monument tacked on beside the toilets. (That, by the way, is my simile not M. Barroso’s.)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Well, the candidates were presented to us to the extent that the BBC Parliament Channel broadcast one of their debates on May 15th:



      I don’t know how many other people in this country watched it – that channel usually gets less than 1% of viewers – but if so they would have heard the picked audience applauding and cheering for one candidate or another, with some of the women even screaming out for Guy or for Jean-Claude as if they were pop stars instead of rather creepy politicians.

      And they had a young chap keeping an eye on the reaction in the social media who excitedly reported at the end that it had been huge, all of 15,000 tweets and other interactions over the internet. He didn’t bother to mention that there were 350 million people eligible to vote and 15,000 was pretty pathetic, even if each one was from a separate person that would average out as about one weird person in every town.

      Plus I often saw adverts for one candidate or another to become President of the Commission popping up on various political websites, some of which may be visited by literally thousands of people …

      Most significantly, at the end of that debate, from 80 minutes in, all five of the candidates agreed that MEPs would not approve any nominee other than one of them; and they can issue that threat because they were granted the power of veto through the Maastricht Treaty agreed by Major, part of that “Game set and match for Britain” that he claimed to have achieved.

      • Hope
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Excellent and informative post. Thank you, Dennis.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        @Dennis Cooper: “He didn’t bother to mention that there were 350 million people eligible to vote and 15,000 was pretty pathetic”

        Why pathetic, I call it brilliant, it means that most Europeans are not married to their “iPads and Twitter” accounts, nor to a computer, most were actually paying full attention to the debate!

        Social media responses are even less valid than a partisan opinion pole commissioned by a newspaper with an editorial line to maintain…

        Dennis, if you want to have a rant about the lack of electorate interest then at least go find certificated viewer figures for these televised debates. Also do remember that for most countries these debates would have suffered from the scourge of simultaneous translation, indeed the debate shown on BBC-P was plagued with incompetent audio mixing close to the beginning, meaning that the candidates native language introduction speeches were at the same audio mix level as the translation, confusing at best, inaudible at worse, many viewers likely switched off or over at that point.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Were you aware that the BBC Parliament Channel was going to broadcast one of the debates? If so, did you watch it?

          • Jerry
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

            Denis, yes and yes (obviously, thus suffering the ear bashing at the start I mentioned). Next…!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            Then you are an unusual, even rare, person.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:32 am | Permalink

            Dennis, not quite, just informed, after all it’s not exactly hard to check the BBC listings for that channel, and as our own parliament was in recess it was always likely that the BBC would fill the time with such coverage.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          You really do come out with some tripe … how many people do you think were checking to see whether to fill the time there might be a broadcast of a debate of which they were totally unaware on a TV channel of whose very existence only a few were aware?

          • Jerry
            Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            @Dennis: “You really do come out with some tripe … [..//..] on a TV channel of whose very existence only a few were aware”

            I guess what you actually mean is that there are non so blind as those who chose not to see… After all anyone with a Freeview TV will have access to the EPG, and guess what, BBC-P (LCN81) is between the BBC News Channel (80) and Sky News (81), whilst such channels are grouped together on both the Sky and Freesat EPGs – so please Dennis, stop showing your own ignorance!

  4. APL
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Radek Sikorski: “It’s either a very badly thought through move, or, not for the first time a kind of incompetence in European affairs. Remember? He f***** up the fiscal pact. He f***** it up. Simple as that”.

    That’s the sentiments of an apparent ally of Cameron in the EU.

    The list of European Union politicians that are coming around to my point of view on Cameron, is getting to be quite impressive.

    He f***** up his negotiations on the fiscal pact. He had a strong negotiating position and got nothing in return.

    Gunther Krichbaum: “I can’t imagine that the member states would allow Britain to extricate itself from the ‘ever closer union’ clause. It looks to me like a desperate attempt on Cameron’s behalf to appease Ukip”.

    Cameron is a duplicitous fool. And the Conservative party is a bigger fool for electing him.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Perhaps this was what Osborne meant when he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think there is a fairly odd phenomenon at the moment – which does happen, believe it or not, in politics – which is that people are saying quite a lot of things privately that they are not saying publicly”.

    • Timaction
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Indeed. However the future EU President by fact will further the EU Treaties of “ever closer union”. Even the Coalition leader Mr Cameron can see this. I think the Juncker tantrum is a side issue as all prospective candidates will be Europhile by choice.
      This is all can kicking and a side show to mislead the British people again. Mr Farage will decide the next debate as the legacy parties are spent. They just lie and deceive as the whole point of the EU is a super state called Europa. We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it, or the CAP or fisheries or free movement of people, pay for it or anything else to do with the dictatorship. That’s the true message but the legacy parties can’t admit it or they are politically dead!

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m unimpressed by negotiations with regard to Scotland too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is a duplicitous fool. And the Conservative party is a bigger fool for electing him.

      I regret this is now very clearly true. Miliband will perhaps be even worse, with his idiotic rent act – but I would far prefer him to having to watch Cameron rat yet again.

  5. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure that I want a European SuperState based on the Euro to succeed. Certainly, if there is a Federal State and we are not part of it, we want it to be as small as possible. British foreign policy interests always involve divide and rule on the European mainland. We should be actively putting into play the idea of a two ring Europe – an inner Federal core and an outer free trading group of nations organised along Gaullist lines. And if some of the current Euro zone Member States want to jump ship, we should think how we can help them restore their national currencies as painlessly as possible. Bearing in mind that the French Front Nationale wants to restore the Franc, we should be talking to them.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      @Lindsay McDougall: “We should be actively putting into play the idea of a two ring Europe – an inner Federal core and an outer free trading group of nations organised along Gaullist lines.”

      I think you need to look at the graphic here Lindsay, multiple rings within the “EU” already exist. Unfortunately the further away from the central core, that will always make the final decisions and policies, the less voice member states progressively have, this is why I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to be either 100% in or 100% out, both choices might be painful for the nation (socially, legally and economically) but nothing less will do.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      As I may have pointed out previously:

      1. Apart from the UK and Denmark all the EU member states are under a treaty obligation to join the euro, with that obligation being imposed on all new member states as Cameron agreed would be the case for Croatia.

      2. There is no mechanism for any country to leave the euro once it has joined, and when the Dutch Prime Minister suggested that there should be a treaty change to create such a mechanism Cameron did not offer any public support.

      3. When eastern European states mooted that they wished to be relieved of the legal obligation to join the euro Cameron remained silent, even though one of the calls for that came from the Tories’ ODS allies in the Czech Republic.

      4. Back in the summer of 2010 when Merkel demanded a treaty change to provide a legal base for establishing a permanent eurozone bailout facility, the European Stability Mechanism, Cameron simply gave her that treaty change and asked for no other treaty changes in return for his agreement.

      5. Whatever federalising measures are adopted now for the eurozone states, as publicly urged by Osborne as part of his Save the Euro campaign, will eventually apply to all EU member states including the UK when some future government decides to end our “isolation” by bouncing us into the euro, if necessary without taking the risk of asking the electorate in a referendum.

      Reply If a country wanted to leave the Euro a way would be found. The Uk will not join the Euro and I do not see any UK government seeking to do so without a referendum!

      • Hope
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Oh, that is a rib tickler JR. Is this the same sort of cast iron referendum for the Lisbon Treaty? We will not leave it here, with serious expression on face, bold statement nonsense from Cameron. How about, we are the party of low taxation.

        Heseltine, Clarke Clegg and Blaire have not permanently ruled out joining the Euro have they? Was this not Major’s dream? Remember the scare stories if the UK did not join, how disastrous for business etc. It is almost a good as the story about weapons of mass destruction told by Blaire.

        Go on, tell us again about a referendum, it’s hilarious.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          @Hope: “Oh, that is a rib tickler JR”

          Why? After all people like you said that bailing out the Eurozone PIIGS [1] could not be done, that it would be against EU law etc, guess what, a way was be found…

          [1] I hope this acronym isn’t considered derogatory here

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

            Bailing out? What Greece and Cyprus have done is default by another name. Cyprus has stolen from the bank accounts of high value depositors. Greece has given a 75% ‘haircut’ to private creditors. The IMF and the EU are next in line.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            @Lindsay McDougall: Had either Greece and Cyprus defaulted, as you suggest they have, they would have likely taken the Euro with them, so I stand by my comment – Yes the medicine has been truly horrid for depositors but don’t forget that whilst they have had to take ‘haircuts’ they have not had to suffer being all but scalped as would have been the case had either country truly defaulted.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            It was against EU law, as Christine Lagarde openly admitted; and unlike some others I always said I expected that the eurocrats would do whatever they could, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, to preserve the eurozone intact. What I didn’t quite expect was the extent to which the Tory party would switch from Keep the Pound to Save the Euro.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            Dennis Cooper: “What I didn’t quite expect was the extent to which the Tory party would switch from Keep the Pound to Save the Euro.”

            You mean in the same way as it also switched from being saviour of the Pound to being saviour of the USD – the idea being, I suspect, not to repeat the failings of the 1929 Wall Street Crash which if it had happened in this interconnected, electronic trading, world we now live in might have been even more devastating than the events of that year and beyond.

            Don’t allow your hatred of the EU to cloud the wider picture.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            “You mean in the same way as it also switched from being saviour of the Pound to being saviour of the USD”

            No idea what you’re talking about there, did I miss the UK participating in a bailout of the US?

            I guess you’ve forgotten that the Tories repeatedly spun the yarn that the eurozone states would need EU treaty changes to keep the euro together, and that would be the “golden opportunity” for the UK to get treaty changes it wanted in return. In the event, Cameron asked for nothing in return for giving Merkel the treaty change she wanted.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

            @Dennis Cooper: “No idea what you’re talking about there, did I miss the UK participating in a bailout of the US?”

            Of course the UK supported the USD, or any other currency, being a member of the IMF and all that.

            @Dennis Cooper: “that would be the “golden opportunity” for the UK to get treaty changes it wanted in return. In the event, Cameron asked for nothing in return for giving Merkel the treaty change she wanted.”

            What treaty change was that, or did I miss the formal ratification of “Lisbon Treaty II”?…

            Perhaps you are you thinking about the ‘informal’ agreements to ignore the treaty, or perhaps the amendments made under the simplified revision procedure that doesn’t need a full treaty change and formal ratification -Dennis, if you think that the UK is going to get a rewriting of the LT via the nods of a few heads then you are in for a long wait I suspect- as I’ve said before, I don’t believe that what the Tories want will be available without going through the full ‘Ordinary revision procedure’ and that means every 28 member states will have to ratify the revised treaty just as they had to ratify the original LT.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 26, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

            “What treaty change was that, or did I miss the formal ratification of “Lisbon Treaty II”?

            This treaty change, Jerry:


            “EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION of 25 March 2011
            amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro (2011/199/EU)”

            ” or perhaps the amendments made under the simplified revision procedure that doesn’t need a full treaty change and formal ratification …”

            Are you really this ignorant, or are you just pretending?

            The treaty change was made under Article 48(6) TEU, and as stated in that Decision:

            “(1) Article 48(6) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) allows the European Council, acting by unanimity after consulting the European Parliament, the Commission and, in certain cases, the European Central Bank, to adopt a decision amending all or part of the provisions of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Such a decision may not increase the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties and its entry into force is conditional upon its subsequent approval by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

            And as far as the UK are concerned, the “constitutional requirements” are those laid down in the European Union Act 2011:


            and the minimum is approval by a full Act of Parliament, which in this case was the European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Act 2012:


            and it would have been a referendum as well if the treaty change hadn’t been exempted under Section 4(4)(b) of the Act, as explained by Lidington:


            “Minister for Europe David Lidington explains why the first use of the European Union Act 2011 does not require a referendum in the UK.

            This Treaty change will provide a solid legal basis for euro area members to set up the European Stability Mechanism to provide financial assistance to euro area countries in crisis.

            The Foreign Secretary has today laid a statement before Parliament under the terms of the European Union Act 2011. In it, he states his opinion that the EU Treaty change Decision does not fall within section 4 of the EU Act and no referendum is required in the UK.”

            Do you see the words “this Treaty change”, and “the EU treaty change Decision”, there in that official statement?

            Once again you are showing yourself up.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          It is indeed totally farcical, anyone who believes anything Cameron say is clearly rather gullible.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: “anyone who believes anything Cameron say is clearly rather gullible.”

            Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Who to believe, tuff choice, a ‘rant’ from Cameron or a RANT from Lifelogic?… 😮

      • Timaction
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn,t have beleived that a Tory led coalition would introduce gay marriage without any mandate either. Just saying…..

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        JR, the Greeks were told that if Greece left the euro it would have to leave the EU altogether and so be cast into outer darkness. And opinion polls which previously had a large number of Greeks wanting to leave the euro immediately turned round to a large number wanting to stay in it.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    A President whose concern was to take the EU forward for the benefit of all members would be looking to develop a two speed Europe with further integration and fund transfer for the Eurozone (including Scotland after 2016) but offering real opt outs and a trading zone for others, preferably with restrictions on unskilled worker movement. This should include a one off option to leave the Eurozone for all. I doubt any would risk leaving but the option would give legitimacy.

    This will not happen, the consensus among the federalists will prevail and bail outs and moves towards greater integration will be foisted on all.

    A more interesting question is what agenda will your government follow when this happens.

  7. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    It is of course fun to give layman’s advice to a new commission:
    * Construct more flexible forms of EU membership and/or association, based on opt-in rather than opt-out. Not just for the UK but also for countries like Turkey. The UK might end up in a kind of EFTA arrangement with an opt-in on foreign policy, but that is not for me to determine.

    * A strict agenda instructing the EC to focus on fewer issues, and stricter application of the subsidiarity mechanism.

    * Focus on youth unemployment (more money for the European youth guarantee), abolishing roaming charges for telephone, enabling one digital single market across the EU, a single market for services, completion of the banking union.

    * A different setup for the commission, with fewer portfolios, which means several commissioners in one major area with one as coordinating commissioner

    * Strengthening of organisations like COSAC (cooperation of national parliaments) and finding ways to make the the councils of ministers meetings more transparent and accountable to their national parliaments.

    * Enabling MEPs to take part in debates in their national parliament plus a procedure to scrutinise EC commissioners in national parliaments on occasion.
    I have to hurry, no chance to try and be complete.

    • Hope
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Peter, if you think this is best for your country then you are writing in the wrong place. It is not a matter for you to tell us in the UK how we should live our lives. You could also try telling the EU dictatorship the same!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        @Hope: this is not about the UK, this is about the EU. I’m not concerned how you live your life in the UK.
        I see no dictatorship.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

          @PvR: “this is not about the UK”

          Wrong, this (blog) is about what the UK would like, not what the EU wants.

          @PvR: “I see no dictatorship.”

          That might well be because you are not looking, and it gets close to being a dictatorship when the executive tells the people what should be done and is even prepared to ignore the results of referendum or elections…

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            @Jerry: the British moderator might have stopped me if he agreed with you. You obviously prefer not to hear other opinions from other EU countries.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            @PvR: Your comment is somewhat below the belt, beyond our host I am probably the commentator here who is the most open to others opinions – although I will argue a point, and I will often be the Devils Advocate whilst doing so, just to try and flush out the hidden or weak arguments…

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Advice to a new Commission? F-fade away?

  8. oldtimer
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I doubt that Germany is ready for the USE you describe. That leaves the current alternative approach of fudge and deception. This leaves little room for any meaningful reforms.

    I remain ready to hear what will be proposed by way of renegotiation of the UK`s relationship with the EU. But I am sceptical that anything acceptable will be achieved while remaining a member, – however that membership may be redefined.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Question – “What agenda should the next EU Commission President follow?”

    Answer – “He should follow the agenda set by the European Council”.

    That is what the treaties say:


    From Article 15 TEU:

    “1. The European Council shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political directions and priorities thereof. It shall not exercise legislative functions.”

    While from Article 17 TEU:

    “1. The Commission shall promote the general interest of the Union and take appropriate initiatives to that end. It shall ensure the application of the Treaties, and of measures adopted by the institutions pursuant to them. It shall oversee the application of Union law under the control of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It shall execute the budget and manage programmes. It shall exercise coordinating, executive and management functions, as laid down in the Treaties. With the exception of the common foreign and security policy, and other cases provided for in the Treaties, it shall ensure the Union’s external representation. It shall initiate the Union’s annual and multiannual programming with a view to achieving interinstitutional agreements.”

    Therefore it is wrong to suppose that appointing X rather than Y as President of the EU Commission will make much difference to the general direction taken by the EU, as that is set by the European Council; of course one person in charge of the Commission might be more sympathetic to the agenda set by the European Council than another, and more active and co-operative in pursuing it, but if you want changes to that agenda then first of all you have to persuade the heads of state and government of the member states on the European Council to agree with you and change the general instructions being given to the Commission.

    And as for treaty change, which is what Cameron has said he wants, the final word on that within the EU structure rests with the governments of the member states, and while the President of the Commission could try to obstruct and delay the process he could not prevent the member states making any change to their treaties that they wished.

    Reply The Commission has considerable agenda setting power regardless of the Council. It can propose and draft legislation but the Council cannot. It can play the Council off against the Parliament, as much is now up for co-decision. Above all the Commission is full time where the Council is very part time, and the Commission is stable for 5 years whereas the Council has a new head every six months.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      But for Cameron the President of the Commission sometimes not doing what the European Council wanted would be a minor problem compared to the European Council not agreeing to set the overarching agenda that Cameron wanted, or at least the overarching agenda he says he wants.

    • acorn
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      The European Council (Heads of State; non-executive) is going to be the first Institution to be ejected from the EU. The European Commission acts as the “Executive”. The “Legislature” is the European Parliament (House of Commons equivalent) and the Council of the European Union, known as the Council of Ministers or just, the Council, (equivalent to a very powerful House of Lords). http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/index_en.htm .

      You have to remember that the EU is envisioned as a collection of Regions under ONE federal Executive and ONE federal Parliament. Nations as we know them are to be abolished. All this to make it as certain as possible, that the conditions for Germany 1933 and a repeat of WW2 can’t happen again in Europe. If the citizens of the UK took more interest in the fundamentals of this EU thing, we wouldn’t look like the prize prats we currently do, when you look at the UK from the other side of the Channel.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        The European Council is not “Heads of State; non-executive”, it is “Heads of State or Government”, depending on whether the head of state is executive or non-executive. The Queen is our Head of State but it is the head of her government, Cameron, who attends, and likewise Merkel attends as the Chancellor of Germany but it is the President who is the Head of State, but Hollande is there as an executive President.

        As it is the governments of the sovereign member states who have created the EU and its institutions through their treaties, it is hard to see how the other EU institutions could arrange for the original source of their very existence, and their legal powers, to be “ejected” from the EU.

        • acorn
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          The idea for forming the European Union was originally proposed on September 19, 1946, by Winston Churchill in a speech at Zurich University during which he called for a “kind of United States of Europe.” December 17 of that year, the European Federalists Union was set into place in Paris, France. The early United Europe Movement was created in 1947, and was in favor of inter-governmental cooperation as opposed to supranational control.

          In 1948, the Western Union Treaty was signed by Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) was created.

          In May of 1948, the Europe Congress met in The Hague, The Netherlands, chaired by Winston Churchill. The participants recommended that councils be created to prepare political and economic integration of European countries. They also advised the adoption of a human rights charter and the creation of a court of justice to ensure respect for the charter. (HT: Rapture Ready).

          1949 the Council of Europe was formed and two years later, based on the French Schuman plan, six countries sign a treaty to run their heavy industries – coal and steel – under a common management. In this way, none can on its own makes the weapons of war to turn against the other, as in the past. The six are Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

          Of all the various outfits that were set up along the way, only the Council of Europe and the EU have any remaining international significance. If all goes to plan the European Council of the EU and the Council of Europe (currently just a talking shop), will likewise become redundant like all the rest. Its nature’s way of evolution.

          Reply As Churchill’s Fulton Missouri speech and his History of the English Speaking Peoples made clear Churchill did not for one moment think the UK would be part of the USE. He looked forward to NATO and further integration of the Anglosphere for the UK.

          • acorn
            Posted June 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            It may have struck you that the UK was in at the beginning of what eventually morphed into the European Union. The UK did not formally join the “EU” till 1973. Why was that? Are there similarities to the UK’s current attitude to the EU. “My way or I quit”.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          I don’t see how any of that supports your claim that the European Council will be the first institution to be “ejected” from the EU.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Whoever becomes the new EU Commission President will continue doen the road towards ever closer union and the eventual country called Europe which has been the direction of travel from the outset. Why pretend it will or can be any different? We have been betrayed by politicians in this country since Heath took us into this anti-democratic organisation in 1973. You claim to be a Eurosceptic and yet you continually write in support of Cameron and his shrinking re-negotiation ploy which, as I wrote yesterday, Dan Hannan says is so paltry it now has the support of Clarke and Clegg.

    Reply I am trying to get us a referendum, and the right to leave if there is no decent offer on the table. My route could succeed – you are always so negative, seeking to damage people you need to ally with.

    • Hope
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      No doubts your intentions JR. It is not negative because you do not want to hear it. Just because Cameron says something doe a not make it true either. His actions against what he has said demonstrate, quite clearly, that you cannot believe a word he says. Cameron allied himself to the Lib Dems and gave them 50 percent say in Government when they had 9 percent of the seats.

      Cameron’s actions, based on fact, not aspiration, hope or blue sky thinking shows he failed at every EU negotiation and failed to seize open goals like the fiscal pact. As the Polish foreign minister says he F…… It up. Blunt but succinct.

      Perhaps, relating to your previous blog about the England’s manager, there are clear similarities. Likes the kudos and rewards of the job but does not the ability to deliver results that would make the nation proud. Nor accept the responsibility of his failure to resign.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Why on earth should I be allying myself with Cameron when I know he is determined to keep us in the EU, because he has told us, and he is trying to deceive the British people as Wilson did in 1975. We know why you ally yourself with him and it is more to do with party loyalty than the EU.

  11. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Lets deal with the UK involvement first. Thanks to the report of Daniel Hannan yesterday the door is open to us to revert to EFTA status or some semblance of it. It is all a matter of leadership on our side.

    Cameron does not want this for reasons he has never disclosed. Our civil servants in Brussels do not want it either so they are treading water and not coming up with anything positive. I look upon this as a great confidence trick orchestrated by Cameron the front man of an conspiracy to deny the UK population a solution which they would grab at. Summed up as trade, cooperation, but political control of the UK firmly back in Westminster.

    As for Europe I float this unqualified radical solution that may help individual countries manage their own currencies and bring back economic activity where it is needed.

    How about a Northern Euro used by Germany, Holland, France, Belgium, France and Austria. This would have a common value and interest rates throughout those countries. After this create Euros for Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece. All individual currencies, controlled by their own governments, with their own interest rates, but with a strong oversight by a pan European body (ECB) to prevent abuses. In effect they revert to their own currencies ie. the Spanish Euro, but have a sense of belonging to a common project. Being able to borrow, lend and set values would offer them the degree of flexibility needed to re-generate their economies, without resort to the generosity of Germen taxpayers. Given the logic of this idea ,perhaps it would be possible to create an eastern bloc euro for individual countries like Romania.

    Europe has proved conclusively that one size of euro with common interest rates does not fit all. While boosting some economies (Germany), it kills off others (Spain).They therefore need a more flexible system that encourages economic growth and allows countries to qualify after a number of years to join the main club, the Northern Euro. Such a scheme would encourage a sense of belonging but allow for flexible economic development. Bit like your football John, three leagues with a goal of movement to the Premiership.


    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Roger Farmer: “Thanks to the report of Daniel Hannan yesterday the door is open to us to revert to EFTA status or some semblance of it.”

      That has been an option for the last 40 years!

      • Roger Farmer
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Possibly it has, but it has been kept well below the horizon by our political elite. A seeming conspiracy to deny us our democratic right at all costs.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 25, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          @Roger Farmer: Utter nonsense.

  12. Davison Ted
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your usual measured assessment of problems and possible solutions, unavailable anywhere else I know. Just how likely is it in your view that ‘policies which cut the amount of legislation and regulation from the EU.’ will be followed, now or at any time? I ask because in my observation, bureaucracies seldom voluntarily reduce the scope of their power.

    Reply It is unlikely but not impossible. Each of the main players – Germany,Uk Commission – say they want to remove legislation that is damaging to business. For it work the UK would need to b e outside the Treaty engines of more law and regulation in other fields.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      The European Union has forced the UK to make more than 150 changes to laws in the last year – that’s a good clue as to how likely it is that “policies which cut the amount of legislation and regulation from the EU.’ will be followed, now or at any time”.

      • Chris
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Brian:
        Have you seen the article “EU regulation:why all the fuss?” on the eureferendum blog by R North, where the true extent of the scale of Brussels law making is revealed? 150 changes represent just the tip of the iceberg. North gives the detail, but just as an example, the EU has already passed 507 “basic acts” this year alone, and in 2013 the EU promulgated 1,473 Regulations, a total of 69 Directives and 932 Decisions, making 2,474 legislative instruments for the year, according to North.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      I sometimes wonder whether you can see when people are trying to undermine your blog with the use of ‘iffy’ names which bear more than a passing similarity to others, when it would be quite easy for them to choose something more original. I have no time for trolls. Perhaps you need to be more discerning with your editorial control.

      Tad Davison


  13. Bert Young
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    A Robin Hood participation Europe would fail . The size of the pot the rich countries would have to give to the poor is not endless , apart from the bleeding away of the success and energy of the rich , the underlying psychology of encouraging the poor to do very little is the underlying flaw . We have many illustrations of this in our own Benefits System ; those who are encouraged to do very little seldom climb out of their pit and contribute – the cry has already been made to limit and restrict payments where there is no attempt to train and develop skills . On a larger scale there would be little inducement to investors to finance and support such a system ; financiers are not fools . A Federated Europe is doomed simply because of the cultural divide , however, a co-existence Europe is possible providing National identity and sovereign status are the core features . The European Common Market made sense -it offered a much wider appeal and the potential to attract other countries such as the USA , Russia and China into it .

  14. English Pensioner
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    In the longer term, if a federal Europe is to be built, the German and Dutch taxpayers will need to be persuaded that they have to support the more laid back attitudes to work in the southern European countries, and I simply can’t see this happening. Germany’s AfD party made gains in the European elections based on withdrawing Germany from the Euro, and should this ever happen, Germany would be in much the same position as ourselves, in the EU but outside the Euro.
    I think that the Commission President will be forced to accept, sooner or later, that there are those countries who are happy with a federal Europe and the Euro, and there are those that aren’t. The trouble is, I can’t see this happening within the next five to ten years.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Anti-EU sentiment in Germany, as expressed through the ballot box, is some years behind the UK and France but will grow in exactly the same way. It is only when that reaches a significant level that anything will change.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      @English Pensioner: “German and Dutch taxpayers will need to be persuaded that they have to support the more laid back attitudes to work in the southern European countries”

      They will also need to start comparing apples & pears, quite literally, something they are unlikely to do unlike many British!

      It is a fallacy that southern European countries work any less hard [1], it is often different work done at different times of day and even different times of year. In the words of Noel Coward; “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”, far more sensible to get up at 4am, start work at 5am, knock off for lunch and a sleep at noon, coming back at 4pm and working through till 8, 9 or even 10pm.

      Then of course, for those wanting to do business with/from the UK they often have to contend with losing 4 hours in any 24, due to GMT and CET even when people keep ‘conventional’ office/factory hours – GMT +1 and BDST anyone (no doubt the British would want CET -1)…

      [1] for examples, the third largest Ford (Europe) Factory is sited at Almussafes, Valencia, Spain, also not forgetting the VW groups SEAT factory close to Barcelona.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Your mistake is to suppose that the President of the EU Commission is the one who needs to be persuaded. Whether it was Junker or our host that would not be the case, it is the heads of state and government on the European Council who would need to be persuaded that some member states are so against absorption into a federation that they should reflect that sentiment by changing their treaties and then set a different agenda for the Commission and other EU institutions to follow. So if you were to pick out one person especially who would need to be persuaded it would not be the President of the EU Commission, it would be the Chancellor of Germany. After all it was the Empress Angela who expressed the view that all EU member states should join the euro, without even making any exception for the two countries which have treaty opt-outs from ever having to join the euro – from May 2010:


      “Merkel: “Our goal must be that all EU member States join the euro one day””

      • Excalibur
        Posted June 25, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Just love your forensic analyses, Denis. As someone else has said “listen to what they say’.

  15. Atlas
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Would an EU Commission President who did not want “ever closer union” be like a Turkey voting for Christmas?

    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      @Atlas: No, not necessarily, the Commission President pre-dates the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        But does not pre-date the treaty commitment to “ever closer union”.

      • cosmic
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Its origins are in 1951 under Jean Monnet, which might suggest something about it.

        It’s brief is to uphold the treaties and while one of the prime objectives of the treaties is ever closer union, that’s what it’s going to do. The commissioners take an oath to do that and not play for their home country. Furthermore, anyone not displaying a lengthy history of adherence to the principles of the EU is a tad unlikely to be appointed to the Commission, much less be made president of it.

        However having a President of the EU Commission opposed to the idea of ever closer union would not involve breaking any known physical laws, so it is possible, however unlikely.

  16. acorn
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    BTW. I don’t know if you noticed this wreck of a Euro Area, has just posted a BoP Current Account SURPLUS of €247.8 billion; 2.6% of Euro Area GDP.

    Frankly, If they gave me the job, I would keep the Euro Area 18, (broken up into Regions), and sell off the other 10 non Eurosystem States (i.e. the members that don’t use the Euro, including the UK). Then I would create a single Treasury that would own the ECB as its central bank and shutdown all the other national central banks and treasuries; absorb there assets and liabilities into the ECB.

    Yes it would be a United States of Europe; a Federalist structure, just like others such as the USA; Germany; Switzerland; Australia etc. A total anathema as far as the UK’s Soviet style central command at Westminster is concerned.

    • acorn
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      After two hours of careful consideration and a few icey sherbets in the sun celebrating, we came to the conclusion that the UK, not only does not fit in the EA 18 (Euro Area); The UK would not fit into a non-EA 10 spin off either.

      The euro area (EA-18) is composed of: Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland. With the right management this lot could go far.

      The Non EA 10 would be Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden and United Kingdom. By the time we had boosted the size of the Border Agency, we will have solved the UK unemployment problem!

      We reckon that the Non EA 10, with the UK in it, could probably out drink the EA 18 on a Euro Pub Crawl. Sweden and Denmark we could live with; especially as they have 50% greater GDP / capita than the UK. So they may have to sub us for a few rounds. 😉 .

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        “The Non EA 10 would be Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden and United Kingdom”

        Of which all but Denmark and the UK are under a treaty obligation to transfer to the euro area at the earliest opportunity – Lithuania is already being lined up to do so on January 1st 2015:


        Which would eventually make it Non EA 2, at most, against EA 26.

        Except that new countries like Albania will join, and they will all be put straight onto the conveyor belt into the euro; so it will become Non EA 2, at most, against EA (N – 2) where N is the number of EU member states, which could eventually approach 40.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      And anathema for most of the British people, not that their views count.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “give national Parliaments more say over which proposals from the EU any given country adopts”

    I wouldn’t want it to be “Parliaments”, plural, because that would just be another form of transnational majority voting; I would want our sovereign Parliament to have its own veto which it could exercise unilaterally without reference to any other body; that is after all what we were promised would be the case during the 1975 referendum, and nothing less than that would do; Hague’s nonsense about “red cards” to be deployed by groups of parliaments acting together is just another attempt to dupe the public.

  18. margaret Brandreth-j
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    John , I do not believe that you can be completely objective with the views you hold about Europe, but nevertheless I trust your subjective analysis.
    The two things which I cannot be clear about is firstly what concealed assistance could there be and secondly how can your print money in any other form than paper money?
    Perhaps we all need to know more about the E C B to understand where the power lies.

    Reply Concealed assistance is money routed via the ECB. You usually create electronic money these days – the Central Bank simply sets up an account and credits itself with cash as an electronic entry.

  19. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I would hazard an optimistic guess and say that the days of the European Union as we know it are numbered. An outdated institution with outdated and fossilized people running and leading it, the lumbering dinosaur does not have the ability to change rapidly and adapt to new times. The rigid attitudes of old 1970s style apparatchiks such as Kinnock and his extended ‘family business’ already stultify what is a tottering, unwieldy and obsolete construct.
    However, the EU is a manifestation of a greater problem, which is the inability of national governments of the west to adapt to changed conditions and circumstances. Until the cosy and complacent politicians who are currently in office in these dominant European countries are either shaken up or kicked out, Europe as a whole will continue on the its current dead end journey with dead end leaders such as Juncker appointed to the top posts.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      @Max Dunbar: Change a few names and geographical locations and some might suggest your comments apply to the USA just as much as the EU…

  20. yulwaymartyn
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    If Cameron had not pulled his MEP’s out of the EPP he could have had an influence on the EPP meeting in Dublin during which Junker was nominated. He could then have acted far earlier and with more persuasion if he had not gone on to offend the others with intemperate remarks which the German press then, unsurprisingly, got hold of and thus cornered Merkel. On top of this he allows his MEP’s to become allied to the AfD in the EP. I am no fan of Junker and I see the British Labour party has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in this respect. As far as I am aware Cameron has not put forward any others with any meaningful intent. The losers are the British political establishment who look isolated and ridiculous. This is definitely a low moment. As ever it is fortunate that most Brits are unaware of the stupidity of the situation.

  21. stred
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    There were a couple of interviews which gave a good perspective on the EU recently.
    The first was with Marie le Pen on RT. She had no preference for either of the presidential candidates, as in her view they were both full time insiders in the EU superstate project. The second was with a Spanish commissioner on R4- Today. He was asked whether they intended to take any notice of the electoral results in France and the UK and chose to accuse voters of zenophobia and racism. When asked why he, as a paid official, was insulting political groups he said he had a right to express his opinions and they would not be taking any notice, as the parties were not a majority.

    It really makes Mr Cameron’s protests seem like more of his PR skills for consumption by Ukippers. He must think they are daft as well as fruitcakes.

  22. Neil Craig
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Allow the building of a nuclear power plant factory and tell the EU countries needing bail outs that they must allow a free market in them. Ditto that they may not prevent fracking. Ditto ending eindmill subsidies. Add in the production of a trans-Europe HVDC power grid. Cheap energy would make Europe wealthy.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Presumably the USE will want us all to become part of a republic too. We can look forward to USER then.

  24. BobE
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    At the third attempt and without a shot fired we capitulate into a European Superstate. Why did we bother in 1914 and 1930, only to surrender in 2014. What a nightmare as my country, that I love, is destroyed by trough snuffling weaklings.
    How long before a common army is marching through London?
    How many men died to try to stop this?

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Bob – The American army marched through London already. Thereafter its culture supplanted our own in so many respects.

      • BobE
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        As you said “American Army” ie the were visitors, and welcome. The Eu army will be part of the EUSSR that is being created over in Europe. Its disgusting that we should have allowed our leaders to capitulate like this. England will be dived into regions and will dissapear. All who support this should hang their heads in shame. Words fail me…….. the sacrifices!!

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Bob E – America has shafted us in many ways. I believe it is she who has forced us into the EU blender.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      You may still get the chance to die for your country at some point BobE. Do you have a strategy in mind?

  25. cosmic
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the EU Treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate and it’s a fair bet that that will be the basic agenda whoever is chosen as president.

    I think the next step will be a move towards a Eurozone core and a second tier of non-Euro countries, including the UK, which will still be subject to the fundamental aims of the project and subject to the ECJ, etc.

    No doubt this will be presented dishonestly in the UK, as the European reform which has been fought for for years, and a triumph of moderate euroscepticism.

  26. Stephen Berry
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Apart from cheap energy, the EU needs cheaper labour. A root and branch reform of the labour market to lower the costs of employing people should be the first priority. People have come to accept as normal high levels of unemployment in southern Europe, but these are a function of present labour legislation in these countries. Naturally, paying people indefinitely not to work does not help here at all. I would not want it to be thought that this criticism should only be levelled at Brussels. Westminster has done its bit in this regard too.

    The ‘British problem’ is easily solved. Writing yesterday in the Daily Telegraph, Daniel Hannan puzzles as to why “British officials are seeking milk-and-water changes to the entire EU structure, instead of grabbing at the special status that Euro-federalists keep offering us.”

    The answer is simple. The British government wants changes which will enable the UK still to sit at the EU top table. If Britain opts for the special status, David Cameron will have to wait in the corridor to hear of major EU decisions. He won’t like that. More important, the Americans will downgrade the ‘Special Relationship’ because they want the UK on the inside of the EU representing their interests. If the UK can’t do that, they will expect Berlin to do what London cannot.

    So, special status on the periphery of the EU means a diminished political role for the UK in the world. A downgraded ‘Special Relationship’ means less chance to bomb countries around the world and less opportunity for Mr Hague to go to Kiev to lecture the Russian president. In short, it means moving towards a non-interventionist foreign policy.

    Bring it on!

  27. John Wrake
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    How easy it is to distract people from reality once there has been a departure from the truth.

    We can talk about the merits or demerits of individual office-holders, which is the best method of concealing motives, who will be quickest at achieving their aims, how can we ensure that everyone gets to record their private opinions, who will set the questions to decide on ‘public opinion’, what will get us to a statement of public opinion soonest and so on and so on.
    The truth about our membership of the European Union is that it is unlawful. The Treaties which set out its nature and purpose and which duplicitous British politicians have signed on behalf of the nation are contrary to our written constitution and have the nature of treason.

    The European Communities Act of 1972 was accepted by the electorate on a false premise – that it was just about trade. Now, the lawlessness is more open and superior force has replaced guile. We are threatened with economic meltdown if we leave, demands to honour international promises, though the promises were fraudulent, statements that change can only occur if further unlawful legislation is not followed to the letter.

    The Constitution of this country was written in such a form as to prevent greedy and dishonest kings and governments changing its terms to suit their plans. It is not subject to public opinion in any form other than a Constitutional Convention of representatives of all estates of the nation, including the reigning monarch and certainly not by some dodgy referendum like that for Scotland, dreamed up by a dodgy politician or political party to gain advantage over the citizens.

    We should have been able to trust our elected representatives to return Parliament to the rule of law, but weakness, venality and misplaced loyalty to political dogma, allied to a widespread ignorance of the foundations of this nation, have let them and us down.

    It is time for a return to the truth. Let the rightful members of the European Union choose their officers as they will. It has nothing to do with us beyond the interest shown by a friendly neighbour.

    John Wrake.

    Reply We have to live in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Most people in the UK accept the legality of our membership of the EU s do our courts. That is why some of us are working to try to get the public a new vote on this matter.

    • APL
      Posted June 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      JR: “Most people in the UK accept the legality of our membership of the EU s do our courts. ”

      Wasn’t there a case brought before the courts by Norris McWhirter challenging the status of the EEC.

      And oddly, the case was taken over by the attorney general and mysteriously dropped.

      If memory serves…

  28. Terry
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    It is abundantly clear Lisbon laid the ground rules for full integration into the Federal states of Europe. John, is there any way we can pursue the claim that the signature of Gordon Brown on that document was made, in haste and without consultation with the British citizens and therefore cannot be valid because it did not have the support of the British people? Or are WE that irrelevant to Brussels?

    It is devastating to our democracy that one person in the country can sign away the lives of 62 millions of people without first ever having gained their majority support to do so. Was there ever a consultation with the House before he gave away our freedoms? There is something very disturbing in the fact that a PM can do such unilateral damage without any redress nor avenue of appeal and repeal and it defines so well that the EU is NOT about democracy, it’s all about control.

    Where both control freaks, Hitler and Stalin failed to destroy European National spirit, the EU are nearly there and it’s just GB, again, who is making the last stand against their oppression. God save the Queen and our Nation. And please, you back benchers persuade Dave that, in reality, the EU do not want us in their coven – we are too disruptive and refuse to kowtow to their demands. Quite right too.

    Reply Lisbon was fully debated and approved by both Houses of Parliament and incorporated into law, against the votes and voices of Conservative MPs.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      And Maastricht was rammed through by Major with nearly full conservative support and his “subsidiarity” ruse, he should have be brought down.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 25, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Terry, I think you’ve got hold of the wrong ends of a couple of sticks here.

      Firstly, despite all its pretensions, formally the EU is still only an international organisation established by treaties between its sovereign member states.

      In some cases it is agreed that the parties to an international agreement can express their final consent to be bound by the agreement just by the signature of a minister, or even that of an official for minor matters; but that has never been the case with the EU treaties, which explicitly state that the treaty can only come into force once it has been ratified by all the signatory states “in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements”.

      You can see that in the Final Provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, which can be read
      here in the EU’s Official Journal:


      despite Cameron’s feeble pretence that it no longer existed as a treaty.

      The Final Provisions start on page 134, and Article 6 starts:

      “1. This Treaty shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Government of the Italian Republic.”

      We really don’t want any EU institution poking its nose in and telling us what our “constitutional requirements” are, not even to say that they haven’t been met and so our ratification of the treaty is invalid; they are already tempted to do that and are edging in that direction without our encouragement, and in fact one of the potential problems with the Article 50 TEU withdrawal clause is that it does not exclude the federalist lawyers on the EU’s Court of Justice from having any jurisdiction over the process of withdrawal, and conceivably they could entertain specious complaints that our government had acted unconstitutionally when it put in the notice of our withdrawal and therefore the notice was invalid.

      Secondly, if one was to lay blame in a foreign capital it would not be Brussels but Berlin; it was Merkel who insisted that the legal contents of the rejected EU Constitution must be decanted into an amending treaty, initially her “Reform Treaty”, later renamed the Lisbon Treaty; and it was Merkel who did her utmost to prevent any country putting it to a referendum, even getting Brown to ring up the Spanish Prime Minister and put pressure on him to drop any idea of holding a referendum; and having been unable to prevent a referendum in Ireland and seen her treaty rejected it was Merkel who insisted that the Irish must be made to vote again and get the right answer; and it was Merkel who was determined that this must happen and her treaty must be a fait accompli before our general election so that we would not be allowed to vote on it.

      It’s extraordinary that some people are now trying to present Merkel as being our ally within the EU; it’s been clear for years that she is not a friend of the British people but our enemy, and I can only suppose that the British government may see her as an ally because it is also an enemy of the British people.

  29. Martin
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    In view of today’s sports results perhaps an EU cricket league where England might have a chance given that the Commonwealth is now a bit much for Cook’s band of heroes!

  30. John Wrake
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Reply to reply at 5.14 p.m.:

    This charge of wishful thinking is often levelled at those who call for a return to the law.

    We may live in a world where many lie, where many are deceived, where many are deluded, where many only care for their own advantage, where judges flout the oaths they have made and preside over unlawful courts administering foreign laws or laws brought in by politicians who have, in turn, denied their oaths of office, but you and I do not have to join them.

    We do not have to grant to illegitimacy the false claim to the inheritance just because its voice is loud and the unthinking majority have listened.

    Truth depends on fact, not on opinion and the facts about our membership of the E,U. are a matter of record and that record is not subject to public opinion. Where is the leadership by those who claim the voter’s allegiance? Does truth no longer matter to them?

    The golden calf of ‘democracy’ is held up as a proper subject of worship, but it is a false god unless it rests on the truth.

    John Wrake.

  • About John Redwood

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

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