A vision for the EU?

As the 27 meet at Bratislava I thought I should offer the opportunity to all EU lovers to write in with what they would like the 27 to agree as their new “vision” for the EU. All the main players going to the meeting tell us they will pause for serious and honest reflection about the growing gulf between popular wishes and what the EU elites are serving up. It is also a chance for those of us who decided to leave to offer friendly advice to our former partners if we wish.

I must say I much prefer writing about the EU now I know it is no longer going to be our problem or partly our fault. I have long believed that as a good European the best contribution the UK can make is to depart from the monetary and political union. We never wanted either. We have been lied to by some in the UK debate that that is not the EU’s preferred destination. You feel the clearing of the air now the 27 can sit down and discuss the pace and scale of their integration without the UK trying to slow them down or pretending it is not happening.

Mrs Merkel has expressly called for some speeding up of integration. Germany of course wants quota systems for others to help to take the refugees, and more integrated approaches to economic policy so the other states accept more readily firm economic disciplines. France wants to re establish its influence over Germany and to be the main force behind more military union, working on the common EU forces they already have to make them larger and more effective. The Commission as always sees Brexit like all other democratic checks to the EU as a chance to increase Commission power and the range of matters it controls. Mr Tusk makes the most sombre and realistic assessment, as he has to deal with elected officials and the national Parliaments. He wants answers to the growing popularity of Eurosceptic challenger parties of right and left.

My advice to them is to understand that the Euro is the centrepiece of their union, the main achievement of their pressure to integrate so far. The main actions they take must be ones that make the Euro more like a national currency in a major country. These actions are required to tackle mass unemployment in the south and west of the zone. to strengthen weak banks across the zone, and to provide the free movement of capital labour and people that a currency zone needs. Trying to do this without a single official language is always going to be difficult.

To make the Euro more secure and the project more popular, the first need is to set up proper transfer systems so the richer areas can help the poorer areas on a much bigger scale than today. Regional transfers in the UK or US are many times the level of such transfers in the Eurozone, taking place through national benefit rates and schemes, through local authority financing and through large scale regional and sectoral programmes. German, Dutch, Austrian and other richer country taxpayers have to be persuaded that poverty in Greece and unemployment in Spain is their problem too, and they need to make a financial contribution to alleviating it.

The second task is to put in a comprehensive system of bank deposit guarantees that operate across frontiers, and to have a scheme for getting all major banks up to satisfactory levels of capital adequacy more quickly. The EU sovereign and the ECB must jointly stand behind all major banks in the system and be seen to do so. In practice member states customers and investors are on risk, but so also the taxpayers ultimately have to be on risk or be prepared to bridge or prop the parts of major banks that are essential to keep the cash points open. Of course I favour the investors being more at risk than in 2008, with better protection of the taxpayers interests than we then enjoyed. The EU itself needs a broader tax base.

The third task is promote an EU budget large enough and helpful to growth and enterprise. The extreme austerity visited on Greece and some other problem countries in the zone has been a social and economic failure. This needs to be sensibly reformed. Now the ECB has bought up large quantities of member states debts, the overall net borrowing position of many member states is more acceptable.

If the single currency cannot be managed in a way which gets down high unemployment, and spreads better paid jobs more widely around the union, it will be increasingly difficult to get political support for the project. If the richer countries and reigons are not prepared to pay more for the union then it would be best to abolish the Euro.

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  1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Interesting blog, but such processes as suggested can only go at a snail’s pace with a union as large as the 27. A so-called “wild ride to political union” is and was never on the cards. Listening to politicians in the four EU languages I know, has made this clear to me for quite some time now. Also the Bratislava roadmap reflects, that the pace can only be slow.
    I imagine that the sense of relief (getting rid of a spanner in the works) is shared by some continental politicians as well, even though they are concerned about minimizing the divorce costs.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink


      I agree. We all do need to minimize the costs. Costs to us have been far too high for too long.

    • James Matthews
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      The ride to political union has already started. The fact that it might be lengthy doesn’t mean that it won’t be wild (ask the Greeks).

    • APL
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Peter Van Leeuwen: “I imagine that the sense of relief (getting rid of a spanner in the works) is shared by some continental politicians as well, ”

      It’s not shared by any of the people of Europe I talk to. The foundation of their displeasure at the UK voting to leave the EU, was that the UK acted as a brake on Germany.

      Soon they’ll are on their own with Germany, and not too happy at the prospect.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        @APL: as a small country, the Dutch know very well on which side their bread is buttered. Usually we side with Germany and other Nordic countries. With Brexit, the relative influence of Southern countries will increase, and personally I don’t see that as a bad development towards more agreement between North and South.

      • Ronald Olden
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:48 am | Permalink

        If they’re not happy about being in a union with Germany they shouldn’t have joined in the first place. They can always leave like us.

    • Graham
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      You are to much ‘in the pay’ of the EU to say anything which can be believed- and you also have a blinkered and somewhat bigoted view of the EU ‘strengths’ but that’s been a long standing (and perhaps most noted feature of yours) over many years,

      I’m sure nothing you say will change but hay ho!!!

  2. DaveM
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The theme of High Priest Juncker’s speech and the meeting in Bratislava seems to be “get the political union done quickly before next year’s elections before more countries leave”. Your article is excellent but they’re not concerned with reducing unemployment and spreading wealth, Mr R. That’s why we voted to leave.

    • getahead
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I believe that sums up the problem with the EU. They want to live Monnet’s political dream but they (Germany in particular) don’t want the redistribution of wealth that this requires.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Exactly right. It is perhaps rather surprising they they have not tried to force an EU version of Esperanto down everyone’s throats through schools. Perhaps even they thought that was a step too far. After all they have managed to ram the climate alarmist religion down most school children.

    But under Theresa is the EU really no longer our problem? She is dithering rather and has already said the UK voted for just “some” control over immigration and has made the idiotic and profoundly depressing decision to continue with Hinkley which is so obviously potty.

    Still we shall see where she goes next, I have little confidence in her, she is competent at PM questions but has she got a working compass? Hinkley C suggests she does not have.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Any questions last night had another BBC think panel. With Arron Banks, Angela Eagle MP, Paul Mason, Baroness Wheatcroft only really Arron Banks who had any grip on reality.

      Paul Mason was absurdly lefty. Why on earth was he made Business Editor of the BBC, because he was suitably left wing I suppose?

      He admitted he could not cope with further maths at school, so perhaps it is not his fault that he seems to have no understanding of business at all. He is right in that it is a reasonable test of who can and who cannot think and reason. Even though both Maths and Further Maths have so been dumbed down over the years. Further Maths is still taken mainly by boys, about 80/20 for some reason. One assumes it must be genetic as clearly no one is forcing girls not to take it or physics or computer studies.

      Baroness Wheatcroft was right but just on one thing, Hinkley we should go for the far cheap gas and delay for a better nuclear project. It is absurdly expensive and we even risk EDF going bust anyway. The bonkers (and totally unnecessary) carbon capture from coal and gas would be far cheaper than Hinkley C.


    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Why is May pushing grammar schools so hard? She must know that most Tory MPs are far to Libdem to let her do much very about it. Is it just distraction signalling and pretending to be a real Tory a bit like Cameron’s cast rubber guarantee?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure that Theresa May is actually going to give us anything like a revolution. The only promise so far is Brexit mean Brexit and some Grammar School agenda she will probably be unable to deliver. We certainly need to undo the complete pigs ear that (IHT ratter, we are repaying the debt) Osborne has made of the fiscal and monetary systems. Peter Oborne thinks George is already sharpening his knife. The man should have gone as Cameron sensibly did, he should be pushed out if needed.


      • zorro
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Remember , it’s cast elastic ?, and Theresa is still studying it before making her mind up….. mind you, she had better study quickly if George is stalking her……..


  4. Margaret
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    If your piece could be read out at the meeting it would certainly put them off as what is seen as practical and what constitutes the history and identity of the 27 countries certainly creates a tension which I can’t foresee would be desirable.

    All these immigrants will not need to be saved from their previous terrors but employed. In this country the Asian/ Brits seem to help with immigrants from places such as Pakistan, however these immigrants are not the ones who are going to find it difficult to find employment. In my area one Somalian woman in her 50’s somehow arrived in England wearing layers of clothing on her person; her whole belongings .She could not understand a word of English, not even yes or no. Now this determined women can speak in English sentences after enrolling at our local college. She is an example of a survivor, but I fear there will not be many like her.

  5. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Answer comes there none how America and Canada get by without free movement–the irony being that for them it would be much more acceptable: same language, laws blah blah. Tell me again where Bratislava is and what they speak there.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Postscript–And the other ironies are that Canada’s is a much smaller economy than ours and the proportion of Canada’s exports that go to America is much larger (three quarters vs a half).

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:50 am | Permalink

        PPS–much larger than ours to EU

  6. Brexit Facts4EU.org
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Excellent idea and we look forward to reading the many interesting suggestions you’ll no doubt receive.

    This is certainly a time for serious thought about the future of the European Union. Yesterday’s ‘summit’ was little short of a shambles. Not only did it fail to address Brexit (the ostensible reason Britain wasn’t invited to attend) but it ended in acrimony. The fact that this involved Italy – which will be the 3rd largest economy in the EU after Brexit – is particularly worrying for those of us who wish the EU well.

    Taking in the reports during the night from many EU newspapers and TV channels, as well as the official ‘Bratisalva Roadmap’ issued by President Tusk last night, we produced an early summary which your readers might find interesting:

    Two of the key issues you highlight are those of cross-border transfers and cross-border bank guarantees. Undoubtedly these are essential to be resolved if the Euro is ever to work properly and if the newly-proposed sub-bloc of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta are to see living standards rise and unemployment fall.

    Unfortunately we see no appetite for these measures at present, except from the recipient countries. With elections looming in Germany and France, we’d be surprised if the German people in particular will be presented with the stark realities in the near future. Without confronting these issues head-on, it’s difficult to see how the overall problem of the Euro can be resolved. The EU must simply hope that Italy’s banking crisis doesn’t reach breaking-point before then.

    One more point to be considered in this is the economic reality for Germany (and for other countries) of the costs of picking up the UK’s £11 billion net contribution, as well as the cost of handling the massive influx of immigrants. The latter point is not yet being spoken about in realistic terms, even in Germany and Sweden. The EU Commission has of course put the cost at €250,000 per immigrant and if this is remotely true then the overall cost to countries like Germany will be frightening.

    The EU simply can’t afford to pay for its own defence, yet it seems to be busy deflecting attention away from bad news by accelerating the move towards a common defence policy and army. Without the UK this will be impossible.

    The only remaining realistic military force in the EU is France which most definitely has its own economic woes, with 0% growth in the last 2 quarters. Of the rest, those who are NATO members haven’t come close to paying the suggested 2% of their national budgets. The idea (which is prevalent in Brussels) that the EU can and should have its own army, navy, and air force is unrealistic. Thanks to massive contributions from the US, NATO isn’t broke and we don’t believe the EU should try to fix it.

    Much else we could say but we’ll just make one more point. President Tusk yesterday referred to ‘populist political forces’ in his official Declaration. [http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/09/16-bratislava-declaration-and-roadmap/] When members of the EU elites start using the term ‘popular’ instead of ‘populist’, we’ll know that they’ve started to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Like you, we wish our European neighbours well. We hope that the strong and refreshing democratic wind blowing from the United Kingdom’s decision to leave will eventually pervade the consciousness of those who seek to impose their will on hundreds of millions of our close neighbours. A realistic and revitalised EU will be good for a revitalised and independent Britain.

    Best wishes, the Facts4EU.org Team

    • Kevin Lohse
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Populist – a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people.
      Another English word given a new, derogatory meaning by our intellectual and political elite. Mr Redwood is most definitely a populist. The worthies of Brussels most definitely are not.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree.
        The left regularly try to hijack words and change them to have a negative meaning.
        Populist is one.
        Liberal and Free Markets are two others.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Wouldn’t it be wise for the EU 27 to ask their people before more integration? The EU gets more oppressive as time passes and doesnt do democracy. We will not be the last to leave this unpopular organisation.

    • acorn
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      (a) European Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGSD), €100,000 per account holder. Currently £75,000 in UK.

      (b) £11 billion is about 0.08% of the EU GDP. I don’t think there will be much of a struggle to find that.

      (c) There isn’t a Bank in the EU that the ECB can’t afford to bail-out. The Euro is a fiat currency, like the Pound. The ECB has a bottomless pit full of the stuff, just like the UK Treasury has a bottomless pit of Pounds.

      The EU will have no trouble paying for its own defence, just as the UK had no problem funding WW2 with full employment; see (c) above.

      Brexiteers have got to start upping their game. Pompous, arrogant erroneous prose, ain’t going to cut it. The “remainers” have got a whole Civil Service full of number crunchers, who can out gun you any hour of the day.

      • Brexit Facts4EU.org
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:47 am | Permalink

        (a) We made no mention of bank guarantees for individual’s accounts – our comments were at the macro level, in line with Mr Redwood’s original piece. The term ‘cross-border guarantees’ refers to the problems over Banking Union.
        (b) When the Germans find out that their own EU contributions will rise by say 20% as result of the absence of UK contributions, don’t you think this will be a political issue? Relating it to EU-wide GDP is hardly relevant.
        (c) No-one’s talking about only one bank needing to be bailed out. In any event our comments related to the question of subsidy from north to south. Again this is fiercely political and decisions on this don’t come from the ECB.
        (d) Most EU countries already seem to have trouble paying for their defence. They pay a fraction of the true cost, which is disproportionately borne by NATO’s main players.
        As for the Civil Service’s number crunchers, Facts4EU.org regularly and successfully picked apart their raw data during the Referendum campaign and our work was used by campaigners all over the country. Size isn’t everything.

        • acorn
          Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          No point in carrying on this debate on this site. On your first point alone, “cross border guarantees” are already handled by the ECB as part of the ESCB system. Target 2 has removed the national central banks from “cross border” settlement system, ready for Banking Union.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        You’re quite right, the ECB can print to infinity if it wants. Just ask Zimbabwe !

  7. Jerry
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    There are only two logical way forwards, with all the problems faced by the EU27, the most likely being the full federalisation (the USofE), otherwise there should be -needs to be- a controlled winding up of the EU and Euro and return to the old customs union model (EEC). A successful Brexit could prove a model for this, hence why I do not expect the eurocrats to make Brexit easy, and why should they, who willingly signs their own P45…

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    As the German politician said the other day we may get access to the single market in exchange for continuing payments into the EU budget.
    What planet are these people on.
    We have a colossal deficit with them and they expect us to pay a 7% tax on our exports.
    Not a very good deal for us.
    As for the Euro can you really see the hard working northern states subsidising the sunny southern contingent. Not really.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Quite right. What part of massive trade deficit do the EU not get!

      • acorn
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        The part where they no longer want to “save” in Pounds Sterling because the ECB says, it is no longer going to buy in Pounds Sterling to keep its exchange value up, so Germany can keep selling them BMWs into the Pound Sterling currency area.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          Hard luck on the German car workers.

  9. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “I must say I much prefer writing about the EU now I know it is no longer going to be our problem or partly our fault.”

    Really John? As far as I’m aware we are stuck firmly in this swamp until at least January 2019 and that’s being optimistic. Have you any valid information to the contrary?

  10. Javelin
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    let’s see what crisis the EU engineers next for ever closer union.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Just a couple of things JR.
    You speak as though we are no longer members of the EU, you’re wrong. We still are. We need the government to serve Article 50 before we even start to untie ourselves from the EU. Perhaps you would ask them to get on with it.

    Once we are out (if we ever are) What happens to the EU then, is of little concern to me.
    Throughout history every empire has eventually fallen.

    • getahead
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      This one before it was even built.

  12. agricola
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    A project created with the best of intentions post WW2, that has been hijacked by politicians of mediocre talent at best, but not lacking in personal ambition.

    If the Euro is to work where it currently exists then a USEu. is necessary with commonality of law and fiscal control. The wealthy parts must then pay for rhe poorer parts. Within such a construct there must be a return to democracy where the current members have equal power and the EU institutions revert to the role of a serving civil service with no power. There is no place for a two nation driven EU such as we have at present. This is urgent because the people of the EU are increasingly rejecting the top down, undemocratic dictat of various EU institutions. Both left and right are increasingly demonstrating that they are not in favour of this re-run of the USSR.

    In terms of trade it is at present a protectionist set up with far too much weight being given to the interests of big business and national commercial interests such as French farmers. The agricultural potential of Eastern Europe could be unleashed to the financial benefit of all Europeans.

    There is an alternative that could work just as well were the successful northern economies to remain in the Euro, and the less successful southern economies to revert to their own currencies and sovereign control. This would be a much slower route to a USEu, but it has more chance of taking the people with it.

    Whatever they do there must be a reversion to democracy and the will of the people must be heard frequently. It has worked for many years in Switzerland so I have little hesitation about such a course. The UK might consider it too.

  13. Liz
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The richer Northern member countries of the EU, do not in the main, want to subsidise the poorer ones – that is not why they are in the union and it is doubtful if they can carry their populations with them on such an enterprise. France and Germany do not see the 27 countries as all being equal – they view themselves, particularly Germany as the “boss country” with the others falling into line with their wishes. With such tensions can it succeed as a political enterprise? doubtful.

  14. formula57
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The American approach to giving advice should be employed, i.e. work out what is best for us that the EU should be encouraged to do and then recommend that.

    Ultimately, failure of the EU may suit us best (consistent with the 500 + years of our foreign policy objective of opposing the storngest power in continental Europe) so we should certainly advocate more integration and measures for the richer to help the sick men countries of the EU. In the shorter term, that will make it easier for us to deal with them, individually and collectively, as well as advancing the longer term goal. We would also be viewed by them as broadly supportive.

  15. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The only way the EU can work is as a fully-integrated United States of Europe with issues like economics and defence handled by a single federal authority as in the USA. One big barrier to the mobility of labour that is needed to oil the works of the EU economy and stop regional economic differences is a single language throughout the EU, I would suggest they standardise on one as soon as possible and the only sensible choice is English.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Dear Roy–To the contrary, some I believe French chap said just recently that English should be banned

      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        The French have been saying that for several Centuries!

        • getahead
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          I think he means “the English should be banned.”
          Il y a trop d’Anglais en France.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      @Roy Grainger; Total nonsense with regards a single language throughout the EU, you do realise that the USA has at least three widely spoken and official languages. Even if there was a need, a most sensible choice (even more so post Brexit) would be either French or Spanish, both also being international languages spoken across the world (indeed Spanish is one of the official languages of the USA, whilst of course French is equal to English in Canada).

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Business and computer language is English much to the chagrin of the French
        I don’t think Germany would agree with you.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          @Ian Wragg; If common language usage is to be governed by the needs of modern business then best we all start taking lessons in ‘Modern Standard Mandarin’ (to give it its full title)!

          As for computer language, I thought it was Binary code?…

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:55 am | Permalink

            Dearest Jerry–So you typed this in Binary did you?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton; No, I typed it in English, the keyboard then converted the key-stokes into Binary code, had it not done so you would not have seen it, in fact I would not have been able to have seen what I had typed either, and it most certainly would not have reached our hosts server even if I had. By the way, I was being pedantic, I suspect what Ian meant was Programming Language, indeed custom dictates that English is used but it is not set in stone like Binary is.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        The reason I suggest English is that because it is the second language throughout Europe and is already spoken well by many in all the EU countries and is taught in all EU schools – indeed some enlightened countries like Germany even offer university courses in subjects like science and engineering taught entirely in English. Your proposal on the other hand to use Spanish is simply absurd – what is needed is mobility of labour within the EU, not between the EU and Mexico.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          @Roy Grainger; [my emphasis] “what is needed is mobility of labour within the EU, not between the EU and Mexico.”

          Exactly, and that is why English would not be a good choice, but I agree, perhaps Spanish would not be suitable either, so that leave either French [1], or perhaps German.

          [1] which in some parts of Spain, is actually the second most common language used, pushing Castilian Spanish into third – what is more if you use Castilian in such areas you are likely to be ignored, if you do not speak the local language then try French before English!

      • libertarian
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink


        The USA has NO official languages. 32 States have local laws making English official and Hawaii also has Hawaiian and Alaska Inuit as second languages. As in the UK a number of local authorities publish official documents in other languages . All federal instruments are published in American English

        International air and maritime communication is in English, computer & technology is English and the language ( when including 2nd languages) most widely spoken is English after Mandarin .

    • miami.mode
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      RG. Mein Gott und sacre bleu!

  16. A different Simon
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The EU’s biggest excuse for the slow rate of progress towards total political and social union has just declared it’s intention to leave .

    We have just called their bluff .

    Now all those people in the (adjacent? ed) countries are going to have to live up to their word and become good little German’s and do what Frau Merkel says .

    Germans are in general not globalists . German companies will typically appoint German managers to be in charge of foreign subsidiaries rather than local people .

    We saw something similar with their appointment of technocrats to run Italy and Greece .

    I’m looking forward to the EU tearing itself apart . It should be quite delicious .

    • miami.mode
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      You’re certainly different!

      Whilst the majority of posters to this site would shed no tears if the arch-federalists of the EU elite received their comeuppance in the disintegration of the EU, I see no reason why it would be “delicious” to look forward to the havoc wreaked upon the EU populace.

    • bluedog
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      When one reads that the EU expects Brexit to fail if they take a very hard-line in negotiations, you are looking at the actions of a diplomatic enemy of the UK. It follows that the complete disintegration of the EU is a vital British national interest. The only surprise is that the EU seems incapable of thinking in terms of this possibility. But then that may be why it is a complete failure.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    JR, there are maybe three million true lovers of the EU among the UK population. But I don’t think you need fear that all of them will be offering you their thoughts, and I doubt that any who do make a submission will be completely frank about what they crave.

    How have I come up with that guesstimate of maybe three million fully committed British followers of the EU cult? From opinion polls such as that mentioned here:


    where just 4% chose the option “Work for single European government”.

    Yes, another 10% said “Stay in the EU and increase its powers”; but that weaker, rather half-hearted form of attachment is not the same as a total, quasi-religious, devotion to the vision of a single pan-European federal government, the intended ultimate destination as explicitly laid down in the 1950 Schuman Declaration which the EU itself officially takes as being its starting point:


    “Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman declaration’. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.

    His vision was to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. A treaty creating such a body was signed just under a year later. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.”

    And what did Schuman say in that Declaration?


    “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.”

    Those who reject the verdict of the people in the referendum claim “We are the 48%”, but in reality they are just the 4%, rather weird, fanatical, followers of the EU cult.

  18. MickN
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    This is not the first meeting of the club that has been held without British representation. Why is this ? Have we left yet ? If we have then why are we still paying the millions of pounds a day in membership fees?

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      They are discussing the best way to try and stitch us up.
      Fortunately with our massive trade deficit, the likes of France and Germany will not be too keen on playing hard ball.
      Honda seem to be defying the Japanese government with their extra investment in Swindon to manufacture the worldwide Civic. I’ve just taken delivery of one and its definitely a world beater.
      The nutters of Brussels certainly don’t want us to succeed but every time they open their mouths they reinforce the Brexit narrative.

      • rose
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        I wish we were having several little Japanese power stations instead of Hinkley.

        • rose
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          BTW Japan, despite reducing her population by a million, has increased her GDP. So you see we don’t have to have mass immigration for growth, let alone growth per capita.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Dear Ian–It may be just me and in any event probably just semantics but I don’t think it’s best to talk about “our massive trade deficit”. Is it not better to say that, net, they export to us–big time?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:09 am | Permalink

          Postscriptum–That would more clearly fly in the face of the twaddle about what they are going to do to hamper our (non-existent) net exports to them

      • Jerry
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg; “Honda seem to be defying the Japanese government with their extra investment in Swindon to manufacture the worldwide Civic.”

        Perhaps, but then the operative word there is “worldwide”, many of the factories europhiles talk about with relation to the risks of Brexit are producing products intended for the EUropean market. Brexit is at least two years away, plenty of time for welcome, or unwelcome, investment and other decisions to be made by such multi-national companies.

        The question that needs to be asked about such places is why they decided to come to the UK, if it wasn’t to access the European market (either for the purchase of components or the sale of the finished product) then what you suggest is probably correct but if not then you do realise that it is relatively easy to relocate such body shell, engine and assembly production line equipment these days, SAIC did just that with much of the old Longbridge production line and equipment, it’s even simpler to move production to an already extant ‘shadow’ factory/line elsewhere. Let’s not, in the after glow of the referendum result, allow ourselves to become complacent.

        Also, so what if your new Honda was assembled here in the UK, big deal, most of it was actually made anywhere but the UK, whilst the profits are banked and controlled -ultimately- in Japan.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Lots of “what ifs” in your post Jerry
          As I said recently if you predict every single day that the next day will be a rainy day then eventually you will be proved right.

          Having predicted a serious crash just after vote day you now are predicting economic woe but in two years time.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Life is full of “What ifs”, and quite a few “buts” too. You need to workout the difference between predicting something and being cautious (on guard) for unexpected or unwanted turn of events, making contingency plans as far as possible. Just assuming that next month, never mind next year, will be fine because the last six weeks have been OK is borderline recklessness -and to think you want us to believe that you are a company director, somehow I doubt you have even been a line-manager or charge-hand etc…

            If people like Churchill and Eisenhower etc. had not considered the “what ifs” we would have lost WW2, if our post war governments had not worried about the “what ifs” of our economic recovery the UK would have been a basket-case by 1960, if Mrs Thatchers government, in 1983, hadn’t considered the “what ifs” of the looming miners strike (such as making sure that there was at least 6 months coal on the surface and stock-piled by early 1984) it is likely her premiership and government would have gone the same way as Mr Heath’s did.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 20, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

            There is difference between planning and endlessly carping negatively about the future.

            Not addressing anything I raised but you carry on if it makes you happy.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Oh for goodness sake! How do you plan if you do not ask the difficult “ifs and buts” questions. Just assuming that the expected result will happen simply because that is what you wish to happen is not planning, its either daydreaming or pure arrogance.

            Also it’s a bit rich for someone like you Edward to accuse others of “endlessly carping negatively”, when have you ever had a good word for the EU?…

            Apologias if you do not like my answers Eddie but I am addressing the points you raise non the less.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      @MickN; Then by the same (ill-thought through) logic eurocrats should also be present in Downing Street etc. when our government wishes to plan our own negotiating positions or what ever, after all we are still technically a member of the EU… What is more, with the exception of Denmark (and the Brexiting UK), all other member countries present at the meeting in question have or will -in time- join the Eurozone, why shouldn’t EZ area members have such meetings?

      • Edward2
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        That argument doesn’t follow logically Jerry.
        We pay to be a member of the EU
        As you keep telling us we have not yet left the EU
        We have voted to leave and still pay our fees.
        Before the vote day we would have been at these types of meetings but we were not invited.

        The EU elite do not belong to UK political process.
        They are not MPS or UK civil servants so they can play no part in our domestic politics.
        So your assertion that they should be in Downing Street at cabinet meetings is frankly ridiculous.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          @Edward, “That argument doesn’t follow logically Jerry.”

          Indeed it isn’t logical but it was the same ‘logic’ that @MickN used, that was my point! I also pointed out that the meeting was also, in effect, a meeting of EZ members plus an invited guest (Denmark).

          “The EU elite do not belong to UK political process. They are not MPS or UK civil servants so they can play no part in our domestic politics.”

          But then surely the opposite is also true, the UK elite do not belong at EU political processes. They are not EU heads of state or EU civil servants so they can play no part in EU domestic politics.

          The UK is akin to a company director or senior employee who has allowed it to be known that they intending to hand in their notice, they are thus very unlikely to be invited to any further board or strategy meetings unless it is to discuss their exit terms, indeed most would expect to be escorted by security off the premises and placed on ‘gardening leave’ but remain under contract until their formal exit.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            We pay a membership fee to belong to the EU club
            We are therefore entitled to attend if we wish.
            The opposite is not true
            They pay us no fee and are not entitled to attend our meetings
            Unless we decide to invite them as guests.
            If we stop paying then we obviously should not attend.
            Personally I would stop paying to the EU now and then we can use some of the savings for the NHS as promised
            And I know you are very keen to see that happen.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 19, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; The UK has no right to attend EZ meetings what so ever.

            If you want the UK to ‘play the rule book’ then expect the EU to do likewise….

          • Edward2
            Posted September 20, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            Why does it have no right to attend EU meetings when it is still a member of the EU?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            You have moved to Eurozone meetings now Jerry
            Neat sidestep.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 20, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; Oh do stop wriggling … as you would put it!

          I have not sidestepped you at all, although you have tried to sidestep me, once again you show that you do not actuality bother reading and/or understanding what other says before clicking the “Post Comment” – check my reply to @MickN, you will see that I suggest that the meeting in Bratislava was as much about the future direction of the EZ as it was the future direction of the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

            Still not answering my point
            Which is we are a member of the EU and are paying our fees.We are therefore entitled to attend meetings in the EU if we wish to.
            To claim otherwise is wrong.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Best you then tell me what you want to read, I will then copy-n-paste your comment as my reply….

            I am answering your point Edward, just not how you would like me to -yet another argument picked that you can not win because you did not bother to actually read (or perhaps you just do not understand?) what I said in reply to @MickN.

            I will state again, the UK has no right to attend ‘Eurozone meetings’ because we are not in the Eurozone nor have we adopted the Euro, Monaco has more right to attend EZ meetings than the UK does and they’re not even in the EU28..!

            As I said, if the UK does as you suggest and try to play the EU rule book to gain entry to meetings they have no invite to then I’m sure the EU can play their own rule book too, and do so more effectively.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Presumably because Mrs May has informed them that she doesn’t object to them doing it, and using EU resources to do it, because while at present we are still in the EU with a full part to play as an EU member state we intend to leave, notwithstanding the fact that she cannot yet officially inform them that we intend to leave. It must be a bit tricky for her to tell Tusk confidentially that she will probably put in the formal notice that we intend to leave in January or February without him taking that statement as the official notice, albeit verbal, and starting off the Article 50 process. I seem to remember something about Cameron having to be careful exactly what he said at the European Council meeting on June 28th.

      • rose
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Let us hope there won’t be any female chauvinist briefings from Downing St about Donald Tusk being “slapped down”.

      • anon
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        The EU could (please) just take the referendum result as a collective letter to the EU. Proceed accordingly advising the HMG and the 27 that the clock started ticking 3 months ago.

        We have a UK legal smokescreen which needs to be cleared.

        May…or another leader … needs to force the pace of the UK legal system and start Actions that make it clear by all means verbal and legislative that the referendum to leave happens and happens quickly. The law if it becomes an impediment MUST then be changed.

        The fact both ALL seem unwilling to kick the ball in direction of the goal is telling. In due course “they” will tell us to vote again. I feel sick listening to them.

        Just leave now.

        No good will come of delay.

        Exit now and start trading with the world as a sovereign. We can just respond to the EU calmly in due course.

  19. oldtimer
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    After Brexit the EU will lose its second largest net contributor to its budget – unless it can twist the arm of the May government to continue to pay it money for access to the Single Market (not a course I would support). That leaves Germany even more exposed as the principal paymaster as well as principal beneficiary of intra EZ trade balances. Mrs Merkel has been reluctant to admit to German voters just how exposed Germany is to the consequences of EZ failure. Reversion to WTO tariffs on trade with the UK would compound the problem for the German economy because it would severely impact German car exports. No wonder Finance Minister Schauble commented, before it happened, that Brexit would be “a disaster” for Germany. In the circumstances one can see why It’s Merkel wants more integration (and with it control) not less (and with it the real risk of disintegration).

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Oops! Last sentence should read Mrs Merkel.

  20. Alan
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The EU does not need a new “vision”; its existing one of unifying the European nations is good enough.

    The UK has failed to rise to this vision, and failed to appreciate the dangers of a disunited Europe. I think it was a fundamental mistake for the UK not to join the precursors of the EU. We should have realised that we were one the three major European powers, together with France and Germany, and led the way. We could have achieved so much and instead we have achieved so little.

    It seems very unlikely to me that we will regain an important position in the world. Mr Farage has spoken of us being a “normal nation”: he aims for mediocrity, but we could fail even to reach that modest goal. We could have been part of a united Europe that at least has the possibility of achieving greatness, though it clearly has a long way to go. We could have taken part in that journey, but we have chosen to obstruct and delay, discouraged by relatively minor problems.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      One of the true believers, the 4%.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      What a load of sanctimonious twaddle. The EU is the most divided and dangerous organisation on earth.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      No.What should have been considered was what Mikhail Gorbachev suggested(and was taken up by Mr Putin in his early years)- the notion of a Common European Home from Lisbon to Vladivostok,encompassing trade and mutual defence architecture without sacrificing sovereignty or national interest.But that would have meant getting the US out of European affairs and,as we now know,the European movement was as much a US-driven cold war project as it ever was a utopian challenger to US global hegemony.

      If you think the recent problems have been minor I hate to think what you would consider to be major problems.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      @Alan: interesting contribution, especially as you place it in this largely EU-hostile environment.
      Maybe history would have taken taken a different course if the UK hadn’t left the Spaak Committee in 1955.
      However, the UK was a different, far more powerful country (empire) at the time and felt victorious, not a war-victim like the 6 founding members. This very different perspective has continued, reason why many British don’t understand what moves the continentals.

      • James Matthews
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Understanding what moves other peoples is one thing. Sharing what moves them quite another.
        Harking back to WW2 to explain or justify current political attitudes and policies now seems more prevalent on the European mainland than in Britain.
        Time for everyone to move on, even the Germans

    • rose
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Some people still haven’t got over the loss of the Empire.

      • rose
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        (“It seems very unlikely to me that we will regain an important position in the world.)”

    • libertarian
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Dear Alan

      Are you not from this planet?

      “It seems very unlikely to me that we will regain an important position in the world”

      The UK is listed as the 2nd most powerful Soft Nation in the World ( behind USA)
      The UK economy is the 5th largest in the world
      The UK is the 7th largest manufacturing nation
      We have our own seat at the UN security Council
      We are a member of G7

      You are talking the biggest bunch of piffle uttered on this blog. Customs Unions , protectionism and politburos went out of fashion and stopped working everywhere else in the late 20th century. We now live in a global, digital world. Do try and join us in the modern era Alan theres a good chap.


      I dont think you’re right, I think that a lot of Brits understand why the original 6 banded together after the war. I think a lot of us also see why there is some merit in some of the EU structures to those original countries. What most Brits see though is the land grad by a bunch of “male,pale and stale” dinosaur failed politicians who are trying to Empire build by the back door. If the original Common Market ( EEC) was still in place , I think we would still be part of it. Brexit is entirely a failure of the EU ruling class

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        @libertarian: You write that you and many British do understand . . . but you fail to see that from its very outset, even already in the Schuman declaration (1950!) the European project aspired to ultimately lead to some form of political union. It is often claimed by fellow eurosceptics that you ” were lied to” by your own government in the 1975 referendum, (how about the 2016 referendum? 🙂 ), but I think that many British are smply unable to connect to the way that continentals are thinking.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          As are a rapidly growing number of dissatisfied EU citizens of other countries.
          The current Commission and Council is taking the EU in a direction many are questioning.
          Especially as it is not bringing economic success.
          Libertarian is correct.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Many, most, British had never heard of the Schuman Declaration, and most of their elected politicians and the mass media deliberately chose not to inform them; in fact the reverse, they lied.

        • rose
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          As I say elsewhere, Sir Oswald Mosley connected very well to the European Project and was ahead of the game. After the War he founded the movement “Europe a Nation” and also the Union Party to further his dream. He was connected to far right parties all over Europe in pursuing this.

  21. Norman PAGE
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    With or without the EU, I remain concerned for the former communist countries in the East. They desperately need investment and development of their economies, to provide jobs and hope for the people, if freedom there is to survive. I wonder how many British businessmen, especially in the agricultural sector, are visionary enough to see the strategic and humanitarian importance of this?

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      @Norman PAGE: Apparently the British needed their imaginary 350 pounds a week for their NHS, so none of it could be used for helping to build these former communist countries. Don’t worry though, there are lots of Dutch and other businessmen who are already doing what you’re asking for, and benefiting too in this process.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Actually, wasn’t it 350 million pounds a week? Your NHS must be doing great! 🙂

        • graham1946
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          You well know that the 350 million a week cannot be used anywhere whilst we are still paying it to the EU. It was stated as a possible use for 100 million for the NHS of it when we left the EU. We haven’t left yet and may of us are dubious we will. Our stupid lot will probably still pay for access the the Market, even though we have a massive imbalance against us.Stop the distortion. We had it again on Question Time last night . There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see and would like to mislead.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          We haven’t stopped paying to the EU yet so there are no savings to be domestically distributed.
          I think you realise this Peter so you are actually being mischievous.

        • rose
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          It is still going to the EU.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Yes the £350 million was imaginary, just as the Brexiteer’s fear story about an EU army was imaginary. Oh ….. I just read the papers …. forget that ….

      • libertarian
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink


        So tell us Peter what your gallant Dutch business people are also doing to save Greece , Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as Bulgaria, Czech,Estonia,Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Lithuania

        Unemployment in the EU average 2007 7% average 2016 11%

        Oh and just so you know on the whole the former communist states have lower unemployment that the major Western ( southern states). In fact the Czech Republic has a stronger growing economy and lower unemployment than the Netherlands so it maybe that East European business people will have help you out if you stay shackled to the dying EU

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

          @libertarian: “dying EU” – there you go dreaming again!
          Dutch businessmen aren’t there to “save” whole countries, but they are quite active developing business abroad – after all our country is small. In spite of it being the world’s nr 3 agricultural exporter we NEED to go abroad to develop business.
          (I’m glad that the Czech economy is growing fast – it contributes to the growth of the singel market as a whole)

        • Mark B
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          And those figures you quoted would be a little higher if there was no free movement into the UK.

  22. Ed Mahony
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Respect to you Mr Redwood for asking this question. As a Remainer, this is what i think the EU needs to do:

    SLOW DOWN in general. For example, the euro isn’t a bad idea but only when countries have reached a certain level of prosperity. The euro was about 20 or 30 years too early.

    INTRODUCE RESTRICTIONS ON FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE. Once the poorer countries in the EU have become more prosperous, then you can consider introducing free movement of people (maybe in 10 or 2o years time but not now).

    COUNTRIES SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY. The EU should not be spending German money in Germany. Only German money in Greece or whatever. Why should the EU know better than the Germans how to spend their money in their own country?

    GET RID OF EU PASSPORT (more symbolic than anything else). And have national EU identity cards in general (perhaps including EU driver’s license as well). And then re-introduce the EU passport in 10 or 20 years time, when the EU as a whole is more prosperous / working much better.

    Reply All very sensible, but they do have the Euro and they are not about to abolish it for the poorer countries, so my points remain

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Ed, even though you don’t see it you should really have voted to leave!

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink


        I’m neither a Leaver nor a Remainer (both i think are the easier – but not the best – options – the hardest and best option is to be a Reformer – which is the midpoint position of wanting to remain in the EU whilst trying to grab its reigns and reform it).

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          The referendum was swung by people who had thought like you until February, but then saw that it was a hopeless endeavour.


          “British voters’ most popular choice on EU membership, backed by 38%, is to stay in the EU but to try and reduce its powers.”

          My own reaction to his pathetic reform “deal” was that by rights he should have just lost the referendum, but without expecting that it would actually happen.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Exactly Ed. You’ve just described a Europe of sovereign nations.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      ‘All very sensible, but they do have the Euro and they are not about to abolish it for the poorer countries, so my points remain’

      – I believe Germany has a moral duty to really put its hand in its pocket over doing more with the euro. What Germany did in WW2 still haunts many Germans and i believe a significant proportion of Germans would be willing to do more.

      I also believe the UK has a moral duty too to support the EU. I don’t mean absolutely free charity (what we put into the EU, we’ll get back over time, in terms of overall peace, prosperity and security on this continent). But a moral duty to try and make it work (and i strongly believe it can – but it requires effort). Overall, however, the greatest burden is on Germany. And if they want to try and do something really decent instead of go down in history associated with the Holocaust, the Nazis, and a war which killed millions, then they really have to dig deeper and work harder to make the euro and the EU to work (but we also have a moral duty as well – but not nearly as much as Germany).

      Lastly, the Brits of WW2 were extraordinary heroes. I love Churchill (he’s my favourite secular figure throughout history) and all those brave men and women who sacrificed so much for us. But the Brits today, I’m afraid, aren’t a patch on the heroes of WW2. If we want to be a bit more like them, then I think we should be supporting the EU (whilst – just as importantly – trying / FIGHTING – to reform it). That’s my frank opinion.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        You can take a horse to water, etc. What reforms might the British propose which would ever be acceptable to the continentals? If they had been open to reforms other than the kind that Merkel had in her “Reform Treaty” then it’s possible we would not have voted to leave, but they weren’t and never will be, not unless and until they are forced to accept them. Whenever I see somebody saying that we should stay in the EU and reform it I wonder where they have been over the past few decades, living under a rock?

      • Juliet 46
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


      • forthurst
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Clearly an avid consumer of war propaganda; try some real history for a change.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted September 19, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          ‘Clearly an avid consumer of war propaganda; try some real history for a change’
          – Never said the British were perfect. But it was a just war, in the moral sense, if ever there was one. And let’s not forget that many WW2 veterans came out in support of Remain in the EU as it seems Churchill would have done (and Lady Thatcher, according to Lord Powell, not forgetting that Lady Thatcher was a leader who took religion and eternal values extremely seriously and would have regarded Britain as having a moral duty to build up and protect the peace, prosperity and security of Europe as a whole so that we down return to economic depression / Communism/Fascism / military conflicts (however, equally, she would have regarded the EU as being in need of strong reform – and wouldn’t have been afraid to undertake this battle). Unfortunately SOME Thatcher supporters just focus on the secular side of her character as if her main focus was power and trade. Lady Thatcher was a highly principled woman – no saint – but highly principled all the same).

          Reply Lady thatcher was in favour of out before her death. Churchill made clear he wanted a united Europe without us in it.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            Btw, when mentioning religion in the context of Lady Thatcher (I believe her Methodist tradition played an important role in who she was in politics) must also be pointed out that some/many religious people regard the EU as deeply secular and, if anything, in opposition to religion (and other religious people who argue the opposite – or rather that the EU has the potential to support religion or religious ideals in the context of peace, prosperity and security for all on this continent).
            My point: the EU/Breixt debate is extremely complicated and certainly not black-and-white in a moral sense or economic, political or anything else. And no-one has the right to claim the moral high ground (which i certainly wasn’t trying to do). But it does annoy me when SOME Thatherites (as well as enemies of Lady Thatcher) make her out to be just focused on power + trade. She was a principled woman (although flawed like the rest of us) who took a large, holistic view of things, including geopolitics which is an essential argument in the whole EU/Brexit debate.

      • Brigham
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        first time I have agreed with Ed Mahoney. The reason that we no longer have the do or die wartime spirit, is the welfare state. Where fiddling gets you everything with very little condemnation if caught.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          ‘The reason that we no longer have the do or die wartime spirit, is the welfare state’

          – I agree. But there’s more i think. I think we’re living a more individualistic, atomised existence all the way through society (top, middle and bottom). In the old days, you’d hear a lot of with ‘privilege comes responsibility’ (connected to the idea of public service). If you said that sort of thing now, many people would laugh at you.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Nigel Farage has announced his intention to tour the rest of the EU fomenting revolt, but I have to say I don’t see that as particularly helpful when the EU’s negotiators will be partly driven by a fear of contagion to the rest of the EU should the UK secure good post-EU arrangements. It would be better to pretend that we really want the rest of the EU to hold together and prosper, and give the impression that we will do whatever we can to help them with that and do nothing to encourage disintegration.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      When Mr Farage comes to the Netherlands, maybe he can explain his early extreme right-wing tendencies, that his high school teachers already warned for (documented and well). Mr Farage, having been an immigrant in Brussels for the last 20 odd years, I do expect him to be fluent in both Flemish and French, although apparently he has been a very poorly integrated immigrant and can only read a French menu by now.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Wouldn’t have thought the Netherlands needs any outside explanation of extreme right-wing politics.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          @Roy Grainger: Indeed! Compared to the Dutch Geert Wilders, Mr Farage appears civil and moderate.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        I wonder what your school reports said.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

          They said: always remain kind to Mr. Cooper, he is sincere in his opinions. 🙂

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Did they also tell you to mind your own business?

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: “Minding one’s own business” would feature much better on Nigel Farage’s report, after all he is the one going to meddle (once again) in Dutch affairs. I’ve never done any campaigning in Britain and even have kept a total radio silence during your 2016 referendum campaign.
            I don’t find this one of your stronger arguments, Denis, neither is the frequent name-calling to which I’m subjected.
            Not to worry though, Britain is already descending on my list of interesting countries, although the happenings in the Labour party and movement will keep my interest for some time to come.

      • Timaction
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Is Mr Farage really extreme right wing or just RIGHT as the majority of Brits voted out of the undemocratic, bureaucratic and corrupt EU?
        He is the man who has deliberately worked to make himself unemployed and restore our independent sovereign democracy. Good luck to you if you want to be ruled by unelected Bureaucrats Mr Van EU.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

          @Timaction: No doubt, your source of ” truth” is the Daily Express?
          Success with your current, unelected prime minister. 🙂

          • rose
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            We are not the USA: we don’t elect our PMs. The Queen appoints them. She usually sends for the leader of the largest party in Parliament and asks them if they can form a government.

      • rose
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        But he hasn’t been an immigrant to Brussels, only an itinerant representative at the international parliament there and at Strasbourg.

        His linguistic weakness is a national one and we are nearly all guilty, whether right wing or left wing. It doesn’t help that the world and his wife speak our language.

        • rose
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          “that his high school teachers already warned for (documented and well). ”

          Read a bit more critically and you will see the teacher who wrote the letter 30 years ago did not teach him but picked up left wing gossip at a meeting. It was standard practice then to call people who supported Margaret Thatcher or Enoch Powell “fascists”. I expect you had similar fashions in Holland? The “schoolfriend” who wrote the present day letter is anonymous.

          • rose
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            PS Margaret Thatcher was a Christian Gladstonian Liberal and Enoch Powell was a Christian Conservative with classical liberal economic views. Both of them were as far as you could get from National Socialism and Fascism.

          • rose
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            We have had a real fascist, Sir Oswald Mosley, who was in favour of a United Europe.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          @rose: I wasn’t that serious rose, and wouldn’t hold Nigel’s youth convictions against him. All the same, and in spite of him calling a spade a spade, I don’t think that he is a benefit to your civilization. Just look at all the post-referendum xenophobia.

          • rose
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            Look at the crime figures (for convictions, not allegations)over the last decade or so and you will see no particular change since the referendum. You have been swayed by remainiac propaganda. Horrid attacks on people – and most of them here are on British people – have been going on for a long time, as they have across Europe.

            What is new is the institution of a web site here by the police for people to report “hate crime”. “Hate crime” is defined as being anything perceived by the victim or any other person to be a hate crime.

            I don’t think our razor sharp law lords of yore would have had much truck with that and I hope yours wouldn’t have either.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        He is an enthusiastic European
        It’s just the EU he doesn’t like.

      • James Matthews
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I doubt you form part of his target audience Mr Van Leeuwen However, anyone a British school teacher describes as “extreme right wing” is almost certainly just a bit further to the right than the average teacher , a position shared by most of the UK population.

  24. Ed Mahony
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I also think the EU needs to think about / plan for the future regarding:

    We need to consider more how we can work together in science and big projects such as space travel and exploration as well as building submarines, planes and so on together, even more – creating more jobs throughout Europe and increasing science and innovation. Things that countries can’t really do on their own so well.

    Instead of European governments collecting the tax revenues, it is the American governments and others.

    We have to have to really think more about what do we do with the Middle East and North Africa. Once Europe becomes more prosperous and stable then we can really start looking more towards the Middle East and North Africa (but there’s a lot we can do now and MUST do now TOGETHER in particular blocking people flooding Europe).

    Europeans, as a whole, aren’t having enough children. This is going to be more and more of a problem for all sorts of reasons. We need to do more to support the family, including parents being able to have more children.

  25. acorn
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The UK has never fitted into EU concept; basically, we do not have the continental mentality, never have never will.

    The Euro currency is the EU’s biggest problem by far. The EU Parliament is the second biggest. The first doesn’t work; the second gives the Commission a legitimacy – as the EU executive – that it should not have. There are far too many “presidents” to start with.

    The Euro currency works by its member country Treasury, creating Bonds and selling them for cash, in a foreign currency secondary market subject to market interest rates. They are not allowed to monetise Bonds directly using there own central bank. Eurozone countries have to do this to get spending money. The UK does it voluntarily with its “full funding”rule, it doesn’t have to sell Bonds to raise spending cash, it has its own currency, Euro zone members don’t.

    Additionally, the Germans are over exporting – 8% surplus – by EU rules, while other members are subject to an SGP limit of 3% deficit. So the countries running deficits end up shrinking their economies to stay within 3%, so the Germans can go on selling them BMWs. (Read Mark Blyth on the subject.) Get rid of the Euro currency and let all 27 member states rebalance their economies within the Union, with their own currencies again.

    The European parliament is basically a waste of time; money and a decent building. It has a few rubber stamping powers; adds little value except to its seven hundred odd members wallets. As they say, if you can’t gross a million in your five years as an MEP, you ain’t doing it right. Get rid of it, the elected Council of Ministers can take over all its remnants.

    Sorting the trade and customs and how many directives / standards for plugs and sockets etc are needed, will be easy after that.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      ‘The UK has never fitted into EU concept; basically, we do not have the continental mentality, never have never will’

      – That’s a fair point to a degree.
      But look at the Brits in WW2. What heroes (I assure you I hardly ever cry, but so often when I read books about WW2 I tear up a lot, thinking about the bravery and the generosity of spirit and modesty of the British men and women of the time) . They took the war to Germany. They didn’t retreat into their little hobbit-like, little-Englander worlds.
      The Brits are best when they don’t retreat into themselves but when they are out in the world (being in the EU doesn’t hold us back from being in the world beyond the EU – there are lots of British people in business doing really well outside the EU) getting on with others as well as FIGHTING for the right reasons (e.g. fighting to reform the EU so that it works for all and isn’t overly idealistic and doesn’t progress too fast).

      • James Matthews
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        The generation that fought in WW11 had a variety of motives. For quite a few it would have been the survival of the” hobbit like little-Englander world” that you so contemptuously dismiss. Some might have been willing to die in a ditch for an assortment of abstract ideals, but blood and soil probably animated greatest number – certainly the majority of those I met when growing up. I never met anyone who claimed to have fought for a united Europe, though I guess there must have been some.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:09 am | Permalink

          ‘For quite a few it would have been the survival of the” hobbit like little-Englander world” that you so contemptuously dismiss’

          – When Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings he was contemptuous of those hobbits who wanted to live in little hobbit-land when the real hobbits like Frodo and Sam Gamgee had the guts to go into Mordor and defeat the dark lord. The Hobbit was inspired to an important degree by what happened in WW2. And in part of the book, Frodo is given a vision of the dark lord invading, taking over and ruining the hobbit’s Shire.

          – Many in the UK at the time didn’t want to go to war with the Nazis. In fact, Churchill was, for some time, a very unpopular figure and nearly missed out becoming PM in 1940 under the opposition of Lord Halifax. But Churchill was a visionary and a real leader. He saw the danger of Germany and took the war to them, inspiring the country behind him.

          Lastly, never said Churchill fought for a united Europe. He fought to defeat the Nazis. But Churchill believed that we must learn from history and unite more in Europe. I think there are loads of problems with the EU and that it needs reforming. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. And should be in the EU, fighting for reform as I’m sure Churchill would have, and as Lord Powell said Mrs Thatcher would have as well – ‘Thatcher ‘would not have supported Brexit’ (Lord Powell) – ITV.

          • James Matthews
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            Your analysis of Tolkien’s subtext may be correct (though some say he drew his inspiration from the first world war), but when it comes to repeatedly putting you life on the line it takes more than a Churchilian speech.

            In defeating your “dark lord” Churchill allied with another who was arguably just as evil, though to a different group of peoples, and he was thrown out by the electorate (the losing margin being provided by the votes of servicemen and women) without delay once the war was over.

            Churchill allied with Stalin because national survival and independence were at stake. That is also why most people fought. Essentially to protect their country and their families. Not for some wider philosophical belief in international engagement extending to “sharing” (more accurately, losing) sovereignty. Governments declare wars. it takes soldiers, mostly conscripted, who are motivated to fight, to win them.

            Really, though, the suggestion that there is even a remote equivalence or parallel between remaining a member of the EU, reformed or, much more likely, unreformed, and resisting Nazism is absurd. Godwin’s law applies.

            Who or what is the dark force that might thereby be defeated?

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Virtually every time that Juncker opens his mouth he reinforces my conviction that we have done the right thing by voting to leave the EU, the sooner the better, and also that there is no point in trying to put off the evil day when we must confront our neighbours over the issue of the rights of their citizens to settle in our country.

    Given that unfettered freedom of movement of persons is represented as a huge benefit it doesn’t really make sense to threaten to deny us access to the EU Single Market unless we accept that boon. Only last night on TV I saw a previous Prime Minister of Finland being interviewed and he helpfully explained how mass immigration has been beneficial for our economy. Warsaw is closer to Helsinki than it is to London, but so far Finland has only attracted about 3,000 Poles, according to the Polish embassy, so clearly the Finns have more work to do on that if they are to get the full benefits.

    If trade is disrupted that will hurt them as well as us – it can be argued that it will hurt them more than us, or less than us, but for sure everybody will be hurt by it – while if we call a halt to unlimited and uncontrolled immigration into our country then by their lights that would be a foolish decision which can only hurt us, with their economies benefiting from the greater availability of cheap and biddable migrant workers.

    So logically they should be saying that we can continue to have full and easy access to the EU Single Market for goods, services and capital, but only if we agree to stop the diversion of invaluable migrant labour into our economy …

    I see little point is seeking to stay in the EU Single Market through the EEA or any other arrangement which does not restore total control over our immigration policy, sooner or later we would have to get that changed and it would be better to do that now.

  27. MickN
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    It should be remembered by the “27” that relative peace in Europe has been achieved through Nato. It took the Americans to enter WW1 and WW2 before victory could be achieved. If the Americans decide that the EU army can look after itself and decides to pull out what do they think Mr Putin will do about the constant expansion of the EU right up to his borders?
    I think that a lot of the remoaners would see that we were right in not setting the situation whereby their children might be conscripted into an EU army in the future.
    Better off out of the whole sorry mess before it implodes . Let’s get a move on !

  28. Kevin
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Off topic:
    During this extensive period of vanishing interest rates for savers, the Australian base rate appears to have been more generous. Is it possible to open up the savings account market so that ordinary consumers can take their money out of Britain without physically leaving? The current situation is almost the opposite of mass immigration driving down wage-earners’ bargaining power: savers cannot negotiate a better rate because they cannot get their money out of the country.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      You already can. But in doing so you are taking on exchange rate risk. An opposite situation were those people who previously took out a mortgage in Swiss Francs to “benefit” from their lower base rates.

      • Kevin
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        Yes, I am not a financial adviser: I am merely expressing an opinion about the powerlessness of British savers when no political party seems to care to represent them.

  29. rose
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    West Germany did an extraordinary thing in adopting the single currency and East Germany at the same time. Some might say it was too much. Now Reunified Germany has done something even more foolhardy in signalling to Africans and Asians who want to start a new life in Europe that they can, if they just turn up destitute.

    While it may seem logical to the German mind to share out the consequences on a mathematical formula, that is not how others see things. It may even be that the arrival of over a million single men on Europe’s shores helped to convince the British that Germany was no longer a reliable ally in the Union.

    Other countries in the Union don’t want to have a central authority deciding how many immigrants they should admit. Ireland is giving signs of not liking being bossed about on taxation. Will the others accept central taxation? I doubt it. The best future for the EU is as an Europe des Patries, and the sooner they get rid of the Euro the better.

    As for an EU army, the French leftwing politicians may like the idea, but ordinary French people are horrified at the thought of Mrs Merkel taking over their army.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      It is said that the adoption of a shared currency was France’s price for going along with German reunification, and the Germans did not particularly want it.

    • Chris S
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s far worse than that ! – we’re looking at General Juncker !!!

    • bluedog
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      The leaders of the EU seem inevitably to be individuals from the Benelux countries whose fathers or grandfathers served in the Wehrmacht. Handing the EU’s nascent military over to the Federal republic will hardly be a matter of concern. History tells us that German officered Muslim troops can be quite effective.

  30. Bert Young
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Avery good post this morning ; the problems the EU faces are all outlined indicating the almost impossible task of political / economic integration . The introduction of the Euro brought about considerable dissent and now lies at the heart of the EU’s problem future .

    We are right not to be involved ; we have always paddled our own canoe and to continue with our practised background in international affairs . The Junckers of this world are little men and do nothing to the general EU cause ; he is not an effective politician and personifies all that is bad with Brussels .

  31. Mark B
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    A brilliant article. Best yet.

    In order for the UK to address its problems the EU must address its.

  32. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I know energy was the topic yesterday but the Telegraph has an interesting piece on fracking in the UK. Well worth a read.


  33. Anna
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I think it is a pity that Brussels/Juncker seem to think that the only possible response to Brexit is to continue with the forced and spurious political union of countries with very different political traditions. It is a mistake to think that the enforced union of countries whose populations already harbour a large number of sceptics will preserve peace in Europe. If the EEC been founded with the idea of preserving the peace between democratic sovereign states through trade, prosperity and the celebration of our shared European heritage and culture, instead of covertly planning to foist political union upon us, it would be a stronger, more respected body than it is today, and the UK, I think, would be resolute in its support.

    Enforced political union will not encourage peace. We can see how the push to federalism has caused the rise of nationalism and internal political fragmentation in a number of member countries. The way to encourage peace is to build strong, independent, democratic sovereign states, and the operative word there is democratic. Why? Because I think I am right in saying that since the emergence of the fully-functioning, democratic state there is no occasion when two democracies have declared war on each other. Tyrannies fight tyrannies; democracies fight tyrannies; but democracies do not fight each other. Instead, they resolve differences by negotiation and discussion.

  34. Paola Distilo
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it would be better to abolish the Euro, but the feeling is that they’re going to drag on like this until some other crisis crashes down.

    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Our greatest vision for the EU and a real biggy as a negotiating ploy for Brexit would be to guarantee the EU we will not start an alternative EU banning the likes of Greece perhaps called: United Kingdom Union ( UKU )

  36. stred
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    The EU should proceed with its Youth Corps as soon as possible, with camps, healthy exercise and indoctrination. D. Coen-Bendit could be the leader, as co- chair of the Spinelli Grupen.

    The EUTO should be formed by integrating the Belgian army as the control centre, with ………….. Verhofstadt as supreme commander as co -chair of the Spinelli Grupen.

    The force would be given serious bang for the euro by putting the German panzer brigades and French Force de Frappe at its instant disposal. Then all Europeans will feel safe in a dangerous world, threatened by countries such as Russia, the UK, Norway and Albania which have almost surrounded it.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    At it again:


    “If you think Brexit will bring us control of our borders, you are sadly deluded”

    “The ultimate irony is that the only sensible way in which we could legally exercise at least some control over migration from the EU is one which would also allow us to continue trading freely with the single market: by remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA) and joining Norway in the European Free Trade Area. Although Norway has not chosen to exercise it, this would give us the right under Article 112 of the EEA treaty to claim partial exemption from the EU’s “four freedoms”; and thus to impose some limit on migration from the EU we deem to be harmful.

    This is the “safeguarding” principle, common in international treaties, which David Cameron asked for in his pitiful attempt at a “renegotiation” last February; and which was inevitably refused because it is not open to members of the EU. But it is available to members of the EEA outside the EU, who can unilaterally claim it without any need for negotiation; as, for different purposes, both Lichtenstein and Iceland have demonstrated.”

    Here’s a small point: yes, the UK is already a separate party to the EEA Agreement in its own sovereign right, but it is a party on the understanding that it is one of the EU member states and therefore committed to the unfettered freedom of movement of persons by virtue of the EU treaties; and although the necessary amendments to the EEA Agreement might be technically simple they would still need to be agreed by all of the other sovereign parties, as well as by the EU; so what are the chances that all of the other EU member states would agree to allowing the UK to stay in the EEA once it had left the EU, if they were aware that the UK government intended to use, or abuse, that provision of the EEA Agreement to regain the power to prevent their citizens migrating to the UK?

    I suspect that cunning plan could only have worked if its advocates had kept it secret until after the necessary adjustments to the EEA Agreement had been agreed and ratified by all of the other parties, and of course they have done the opposite.

  38. Newmania
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    You clearly grasp that coordinating economies in a free trade area cannot be achieved without a political project protecting people within it .This is not an imposition on capitalism it is the civilising order capitalism emerges from . Why do you pretend we can enjoy all the advantages of that Free Trade without any sacrifice of self-rule and contributions? You suggested a suitably worded letter might do the trick, can you conceive of how much my head hurts reading that sort of thing ?
    So what if we made things difficult . You think yourself in some sense, a good Conservative, I assume. Should you not leave the Party and join UKIP. Think how much more pleasant it would be to attack George Osborne and the Liberal Mainstream with likeminded support. You would leave a more unified party fighting for the centre ground, the only long term position any real Party can be in . Self-determination is more important than continued employment isn`t it. I thought that was the Brexit case?
    There are voices within the EU clinging onto a dead Federalist dream just as there are UK multiculturalists despite all we have seen. The problem of freedom of movement must be addressed with more sympathy or the rest of Europe will relapse into the diminished state we are set on. Europe agrees with itself no more than Britain does and neither were we powerless .We were a major player in Europe, in global terms we are a gnat ( Brexit seem to see it the other way around a stunning victory of dreams over maths ) .Our exit from European life is bad thing as a country we had much to contribute. No-one cares what we think any more.
    I vehemently opposed joining the Euro and was delighted that the UK was able to dine al la carte .That fact rather undermines your suggestion of a Borglike monolith from which we have been freed . I agree the Euro sets up tensions the obvious answer to which closer political unions enabling a robust regional Policy. That, however has to be weighed against the separate concerns of Nations with the club which, as the Brexiteer like to forget are by far the most powerful force within the EU ( hence the wonderful deal we have thrown away ). This means a thoroughgoing regional Policy will not be possible So there we have it the EU is not perfect Conservatives didn`t used to expect perfection, if you wish to suggest the Euro has impoverished Southern Europe however, prove it .
    The EU will continue with its stumbling and undignified efforts to set up the greatest trade area the world has every seen with the US .There is so much that is positive and exciting in the world, not least the signs that Africa is about to accelerate out of its relatively backward state. By the time my children are grown who knows what amazing possibilities there will be . This is a wonderful time of change and progress and Europe will set the tone as one of the three major blocks.
    Luddite Britain has chosen to go backwards, have no part in it . Not since Suez has there been such shame to be British we have chosen the past.

  39. petermartin2001
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    If the richer countries and reigons are not prepared to pay more for the union then it would be best to abolish the Euro.

    Quite right. I’d just make the point, though, that there really isn’t any paying involved. It simply means that Germany and other surplus countries recycle those surpluses to the deficit nations. If Germany wants to run a surplus then Germany has to recognise that others will consequently run a deficit.

    Another way to look at the problem is to acknowledge that the deficit countries can’t repay their debts in euros but they can by providing goods and services to the wealthier countries in the eurozone. Just like Germany repaid its post WW2 debts, or at least some of them, by providing goods to the USA. Germany could provide cars but it couldn’t directly provide dollars.

    So, if the everyone only knew it, the solution to the euro problem is a win-win for all concerned.

  40. Chris S
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Our host and several contributors here, including myself, have pointed out many times that the Euro is the root problem within the EU.

    Of course, now there is a second – the migration problem caused by Merkel’s catastrophic open door policy and that is just as potentially explosive.

    At least this problem can be kept in check by an undertaking from Merkel that Germany will keep all those she has taken in and cannot repatriate. She will also need her to undertake to deny them EU passports to satisfy the former Eastern Bloc states and ensure an end to Free Movement for non-EU citizens within the Schengen Area.

    Turning to the Euro, I have always been of the opinion that the strains within the Eurozone are politically unresolvable.

    Taxpayers in the richer countries of the North are NEVER going to willingly agree to the fiscal transfers necessary to make the Eurozone work.

    Juncker and Co are ultimately going to have to try their own version of Project Fear in a bid to pursuade taxpayers in Germany et al that the resulting break up of the single currency would be far worse than sending Trillions of Euros South. Good luck with that one, Herr Juncker !

    The grossly distorted trade imbalances caused by the single currency can only be reduced by the natural compensating effect of flexible exchange rates. That will be extremely painful for Germany whose own currency would be likely to appreciate by 50% against a new Italian Lira and French Franc. The resulting effect on German industry would be horrific.

    Years ago the problems of trade imbslances could have been mitigated somewhat by the opening of many new factories to produce German goods in EU countries with high unemployment. Greed – the desire to make and keep all the revenue in Germany – has been a large contributory factor to the current problem. Now it’s too late : there are now only two possible solutions : fiscal transfers of truly biblical proportions, or a break up of the Euro.

    We will not be immune from the fallout but it would be far more painful had we voted Remain.

  41. Colin Hart
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on an extremely mischievous blog – telling them what they have to do accordingly to their own logic – knowing full well that they won’t.

  42. bluedog
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    One reads with hilarity that the leaders of the Visegrad Four will not accept any deal between the UK and EU unless their citizens continue to have the right to work in the UK. The laws of Brownian motion dictate that it is the most active particles that migrate. Let us therefore retain the ability to accept as immigrants the brightest and the best of these talented nations. We will be the beneficiaries of the demand made by these four governments, by acting as a magnet for their finest human capital.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      As I have said in an as yet unpublished comment above, given the frequent claim that mass immigration is a boon not a burden:

      “So logically they should be saying that we can continue to have full and easy access to the EU Single Market for goods, services and capital, but only if we agree to stop the diversion of invaluable migrant labour into our economy …”

  43. Peter D Gardner
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Excellent advice, Mr Redwood. I love the sting in the tail. The underlying point, of course, is that democracy is a bottom up process. If it is to survive at all, the EU must step back, shrink and wait for popular demand for more European integration. Such a long wait wold exhaust the EU’s patience. So decline and fall will ensue.

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    The EC, France and Germany wish to move towards a Federal European State. The lesson that they must learn from the UK referendum is that this must be done by democratic means. The present method of trying to create a Federal State by stealth is doomed to failure.

    Step one must be to hold consultative referendums in each of the Member States that is either in the EuroZone or legally committed by treaty to join it. The question on the ballot paper would be:

    “The European Commission proposes the creation of a Federal European State. Its currency would be the Euro. There would be political, economic, fiscal and financial union as outlined in the 5 Presidents Report. It would involve military co-operation, probably enhanced, as authorised by the Lisbon Treaty. Do you wish your country to join such a Federal State?”

    Campaign issues would include:
    – Hard or soft currency?
    – The extent of German domination
    – The extent of transfer payments

    Once the results were to hand, it is possible that a group of geographically adjacent countries would vote “Yes”.

    Step two would be for these Member States to prepare a Constitution, for explicit endorsement – again by referendum, but this time binding – by their electorates.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      There was a moment when Cameron could have publicly thrown his weight behind a clutch of states which were moving roughly in that direction.

      From September 2011:


      “New EU members to break free from euro duty”

      “Seven EU members which joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007 are concerned about an obligation to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession and could stage referenda to change their accession treaties, AFP reported, quoting diplomatic sources.

      Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania said the euro zone they thought they were going to join, a monetary union, may very well end up being a very different union entailing much closer fiscal, economic and political convergence.”

  45. Ronald Olden
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Treaty of ‘Roam’

    This ludicrously elaborate plan to remedy the shambles of Mobile Phone Roaming Charges in the EU tells us all we need to know about this EU illusion of the ‘Single Market’.

    They have now abandoned the scheme to ban roaming charges because the are concerned that people might take out mobile phone contracts with providers in other EU countries when they find one cheaper than at home. That ‘abuse’ however what the Single Market was supposed to deliver as its standard benefit. The replacement ‘plan’ is near ‘Orwellian’.

    When Britain Leaves the EU we can simply pass our own law empowering people to take whatever contract they can get from any provider anywhere in the World including the EU. Just as we can empower people to buy whatever they like, such as food or whatever, from anyone who will sell it to them, and not pay tariffs to bring it into the UK.

    UK Residents will then have the cheapest mobile phone charges in the World. If Scotland does manage to stay in the EU however its’ residents will have to cope with this elaborate scheme and pay roaming charges when they go to England and carry on paying High EU Prices for food and everything else.


  • 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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