What is the EU negotiating position?

So many critics of Brexit in the UK have dominated the debate, that it has been mainly about the UK’s position. More interesting and more useful for us as a country is to explore what is and should be the EU’s position? How easy will it be for the 27 to agree one? How quickly will tensions emerge between the member states who need goodwill and trade with the UK, and some in the Commission who want to make a political point that no country should be allowed to leave?

The aim of the EU is pretty clear. In their make believe world they want to try to make the terms of exit difficult so the Uk suffers on exit. There is of course no way they can do that. All they can do is damage the member states who remain. Their problem is the UK gets such a poor deal out of the EU that leaving even without an agreement is much better than staying in. On leaving we save our big net contributions, we get back control of our own laws, and will be the winners from the modest tariffs on our exports against the much bigger tariffs on their sales to the Uk under WTO rules. We will be free to lower tariffs with the rest of the world, to buy cheaper food from emerging market countries helping them and us, and be free to regulate and promote business as we see fit.

The EU of course talks in a contradictory way about Brexit. It both argues it is better to stay in, and argues if we leave more might want to leave! So which is it EU? Is it so good in the EU that any other country would be mad to leave? Or is it so bad that once we have dug the escape tunnel others will want to use it? One of these propositions must be wrong, or possibly both. Their cruel and unpleasant rhetoric about punishment, like their many threats to us all the time we were in the EU, makes it less easy for them to strike a good deal for their member states.

The member states are altogether friendlier and more circumspect. No member state government has said it wishes to impose WTO levels of tariff on our exports to them, because they know it will be more damaging to their exporters. They not only sell us more in total than we sell them, but the rest of the EU sells much more of the agricultural goods and cars that can attract higher tariffs, whilst we sell many goods and services that remain tariff free under WTO rules. Most of them understand that their many exporters to the UK do not want the EU and their government getting in the way of an important trade.

Of course the EU would like us to make contributions into the budget, but no other country outside the EU and EEA does and there is no need to do so to trade with them. If they want us to contribute to export to them why not they pay to export to us? Of course they would like us to continue to generate lots of jobs for their unemployed workers. That is something we wish to limit. Of course they would rather we accepted all the same laws and rules as them. There is no need for us to do so for all the trade we do at home and with the rest of the world.

I want us to be friendly and generous in our offer for after exit. We should tell them we want to stay friends, to maximise our mutual trade, and carry on without tariffs and new barriers. They also need to know there is no way we can or should offer to let them control our migration policy, or to carry on placing levies on our budget. I suspect the member states will welcome our friendly and helpful approach, but if they don’t it will still be good news for us.


  1. margaret
    December 9, 2016

    I agree, There isn’t any need or desire to become unfriendly with any member state of the EU.In the minds of many there is a problem .If ideas and opinions chime with one another it is seen as ‘creeping’ and some will become quite competitive in trying to point this out.It doesn’t indicate in any way that by sharing an opinion ,it is cow towing or demonstrating a position of vulnerability. The position to agree does not have a subtext which only the enlightened can see. It is far more simple than this.It goes something like this: Yes we want to trade with you and would welcome your business.

    1. Hope
      December 9, 2016

      JR, what has come out of the Supreme Court hearing is how much EU directives and regulations have been applied, negating all the false claims by the Clarke and Clegg types. It should be seized upon while we are still in no mans land leaving the EU with May.

  2. Prigger
    December 9, 2016

    “What is the EU negotiating position?”
    They do not have one. They do not need one.
    To state the obvious, we are a member of the EU.
    Nothing has changed.

    It is like asking what is the position of the company which employs you on your resignation. Six months ago you hinted you would leave. But no resignation. You hint you will leave in four months time. But no resignation. Your boss can see that you have all kinds of personal legal problems which remain unresolved. Any one of them could mean you will delay any resignation still further…possibly cancel the whole idea as your family is getting uppity.

    What would I do if I were the EU? Nothing at all. If you do come to me at some vague time in the future with your resignation I would listen patiently to your requests after you had built up massive expectations ( over time ) of your quarrelsome family ( with your batty lawyer stabbing you in the back ) ,. I would drag out negotiations as long as possible until you had an option to extend negotiations or just leave….knowing your quarrelsome family and batty family lawyer would never allow you to just leave when the option for more time is available. Then I would make negotiations drag out even longer. For I know in so doing I cannot lose.

    Answer: Get shut of the pompous batty lawyer. Do it directly after he next opens his stupid mouth cum January 2017. Then press on and stop loitering with no intent upon the EU.

    Had article 50 been signed on 24th June 2016, the ball would have been in the court of the EU. Europe never was any good at defending itself from rapid attack. It was and actually is a very slow entity . The silly UK should have known that. I believe it did. Those in power in the Tory Party are dragging their feet in unison with the EU. They are allies of the EU. Plain as day.

    1. Dave Andrews
      December 9, 2016

      The employment analogy suggests a master-servant relationship between the EU and the UK. If that is what it has been, then no wonder the country voted to leave.
      The UK must have had a poor relationship with the EU given the country actually did vote to leave. We can therefore expect no goodwill from the current powers in the EU.
      Look at the fluctuating political map of the EU, as premieres look over their shoulder at Eurosceptic forces in their respective countries. By the time negotiations are completed, we will be looking at a much different profile to the leaders, so attitudes that prevail today will not prevail tomorrow.

    2. Hope
      December 9, 2016

      Cameron’s failure to act upon his word, although predicable to some of us, and May becoming PM was the plan B for remainers.

      I trust Clarke will have the whip taken away.

      1. rose
        December 9, 2016

        Leave Clarke where he is: like Heath in old age before him, he is doing a grand job of uniting the party.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        December 9, 2016

        Dear Hope–Or the whip could be taken to him–As I keep saying, who cares what the likes of him say these days?

        1. Hope
          December 10, 2016

          Interesting to see the traitors who were on the benches to watch Davis, including the lying Osborne.

          1. Denis Cooper
            December 11, 2016

            And Dominic Grieve, who on past evidence clearly transferred his primary loyalty to the EU long ago.

    3. alan jutson
      December 9, 2016


      The EU may have a negotiation position set in principle, but do all of the 27 Countries like it.

      We have yet to find out, and it has yet to be put to the test.

      I simply cannot see Germany and France or indeed any Eu Country that is in a trade surplus with the UK, wanting penalty tariffs being put on their goods.

      We simply need to stand firm and fast on our requirements to test their resolve.

      When push comes to shove the German Unions will decide about trade terms for the EU, because the danger for the EU is that they may well split the EU from within if they play too much hard ball.

      Our Government must rely and use its strong negotiation position to its maximum, otherwise it will be accused quite rightly of selling us short.

    4. SM
      December 9, 2016

      Your comparison ignores the possibility that the dithering employee might be of very great value to the company, who should therefore surely be making every effort to help solve the problems and possibly offer an increase in salary?

      But of course article 50 should have been promptly signed, sealed and delivered by the end of June.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 11, 2016

        The government cannot properly do something while the courts are still deliberating on whether the government has the legal power to do it, not unless Parliament intervenes to make clear that the government has that power and effectively takes the decision out of the hands of the courts.

        1. rose
          December 11, 2016

          Would this new breed of judge allow Parliament to do that?

  3. Pragmatist
    December 9, 2016

    Stop the UK from leaving…play for time. Two years or the 3 years minimum Mrs May has kindly donated to the EU is a long time in politics. She HAS TO get a good deal, for her and her party’s survival. The EU has had time to think this through. No good deal will be offered, They will not be bluffing.

    1. Bob
      December 9, 2016


      “No good deal will be offered”

      Leaving will be all the “deal” we need. Billions of pounds saved, a whole world to trade with and we wash our hands of Merkels self inflicted immigration problem.

      It’s not the UK that will suffer.

      1. Ed Mahony
        December 9, 2016

        ‘Billions of pounds saved’

        – Billions of pounds lost by reduction of trade with our nearest trading partners.

        ‘a whole world to trade with’

        – We can already trade with the whole world. Look at Germany, currently export 2.5 times more than us to the US, 3 times than us to China, and 4 times more to Japan than us.
        Blaming the EU is just an excuse for problems with our business / work culture back here in the UK

        ‘Merkels self inflicted immigration problem’ – and that might give us the opportunity we want now to get a deal for us (and perhaps later, for the whole EU – reforming the EU on this) on immigration.
        – Let’s be pragmatic and not ideological in our approach to the EU.

    2. Mockbeggar
      December 9, 2016

      Look at it from this point of view. There is a ‘disconnect’ between the businesses of the EU (which includes ours at present) and the unelected second-rate politicians and bureaucrats who run Brussels (incidentally, my principal reason for voting to leave), Juncker, Barnier, Tusk and the rest can offer all the threats about ‘punishing’ the UK, but actually what can they do? As Mr Redwood pointed out in his lucid blog, we can leave with no agreement at all and, whilst that would probably create anger and ill-feeling in the corridors of Brussels and attempts to wreck our first-rate financial markets (of which’ I understand, ‘Passporting’ is a relatively small part) they are actually pretty powerless to stop us from selling products (financial or otherwise) that are more valuable to our customers than they are valuable to us or, indeed, us from purchasing what is more valuable to us than it is to them. It’s called trading.

  4. E.S Tablishment
    December 9, 2016

    They may take the position, when the coast is clear, of awarding a medal of honour to the UK Supreme Court and High Court judges. Also a medal titled ” Slug Speed” to most of the Tory Party Cabinet. Also, yes there is more, a personal Thankyou to the Tory Cabinet as a whole for services rendered to the EU signed by Mr Juncker himself.

  5. The Great Binocular
    December 9, 2016

    “What is the EU negotiating position?”

    Do nothing. They have 27 elections to fight but conveniently not all at once. The UK has just the one election.. at a specified time or sooner, but definitely not later. Only a bit of the governing party is against the EU. The rest are muppet-head EU-ers and want an unelected procession of their sons and daughters to lucrative EU jobs for life positions.

    1. Mark
      December 10, 2016

      Then, so long as we submit notice, we will be out of the EU two years later. I think the EU will want to negotiate to try to keep us in – but they will fail. Then they will have to negotiate afterwards anyway. They may mess that up too, but they have an opportunity to improve on that for themselves by actually conducting Article 50 negotiations is good faith.

  6. Sam Stoner
    December 9, 2016

    It is very disappointing to read such a false prospectus. You write: “No member state government has said it wishes to impose WTO levels of tariff on our exports to them” – well, of course not, because such decisions are not taken by individual states, but instead by the EU in the exercise of its exclusive trade competence. So it really does not matter what German car makers or French cheese producers want, it’s what the whole bloc wants.
    As for the canard that they need us more than we need them – has any EU politician suggested paying for access to the UK market? No. Has any UK politician suggested paying for access to the EU market? Yes, Mr Davis this week, the very man in charge of the process

    1. Ian Wragg
      December 9, 2016

      Well done Sam. A ray of sunshine as usual.
      The EU’S negotiating position isn’t really that important.
      We are in a tarrif free zone.
      We should announce that we will continue with free trade but reserve the right to reciprocate on any tarrifs imposed by the EU.
      That way all nations know that it is Brussels being stupid.
      When there is a 35% duty on French agricultural products or 10% on BMW and Mercedes wait for a u turn.
      We have much less to lose than they have.

      1. John O'Leary
        December 9, 2016

        The EU is recognised as a Regional Trade Area (RTA) by the WTO and under WTO rules, once we are no longer members, will have to impose their Common External Tariff (CET) as otherwise they will be seen as positively discriminating in favour of the UK. Similarly under WTO non-discimination rules, if the UK were to reciprocate imposing tariffs on the EU then we would have to impose identical tariffs on our non-EU imports so the idea that we would be able to buy cheaper outside the Single Market is flawed.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 11, 2016

          They won’t have to impose their common external tariff on us if they are prepared to agree a tariff-free trade deal with us, which could in fact being merely a continuation of the existing terms on a different legal basis. That is, provided that we and they don’t want to make any changes, which we may wish to do, eg for agricultural products, but not necessarily straight away, we could do that later. Likewise even if they decided to impose tariffs on us we can make tariff-free trade deals around the world while still reciprocating their tariffs.

    2. WingsOverTheWorld
      December 9, 2016

      Davis merely said the option was there for consideration. He didn’t say it was the primary option or even one being seriously considered.

      1. Yossarion
        December 9, 2016

        Hed id and then talked about ERASMUS and other more scientific research type initiatives, not to pay over the odds for french farmers etc

    3. Qubus
      December 9, 2016

      I really don’t think that you get it. The car manufacturers etc. in the EU apply pressure on their governments, who in turn apply pressure on Brusssels, e.g. VW etc. would apply pressure on the German government and so on …….

    4. libertarian
      December 10, 2016

      Cheer Up Sam,

      Things are looking good.

      Japan’s Softbank chooses London to base its £80bn high-tech investment fund.

      It just keeps on coming #Despiteremoaners

  7. Party Strategist
    December 9, 2016

    Sleaford and North Hykeham. A good enough win. If and only if Brexit continues apace. There must be no “Oh the terrible implications!!” from the nut-jar Supreme Court Soviet in January 2017.
    Everything depends on a clear path to Brexit for a victory of Mrs May and the Conservative Party at the General Election.
    Labour , obviously should be out of the reckoning.
    LibDems as the momentum of Brexit continues will be traditionally seen as useless. Failing that, there are more than one of them now so they will have a “massive” split soon.
    UKIP threw everything they had. It didn’t work. They are finished, again if Brexit continues apace.
    The BNP are not..they are the only party totally opposed to immigration. Brexit does not mean an end to immigration. In fact, modern ideas on economic growth and how it is staticised for electoral purposes mean more immigration not less.

    The Home Secretary has a good idea in outlawing organisations such as the BNP alleging “racism”.It will stop the necessary free speech and sanity which could very well derail the Tory Party.

    1. Cheshire Girl
      December 9, 2016

      I would’nt write UKIP off just yet if I was you. They came second. I don’t believe they are finished, even though there are plenty of those who would like to believe they are. Other parties should not get too smug. They could be in for a surprise in the future.

      1. Party Strategist
        December 10, 2016

        Cheshire Girl:
        It is not I who have written UKIP off. They are not fit even for a local councillor role. In fact none of the big wigs in UKIP have got above 13% of the turnout in any non-EU election. 10% usually for a UKIP prospective local councillor of those who put up for the position. The great British public do not appreciate “altercations” etc ed

    2. Ian Wragg
      December 9, 2016

      Ukip are finished really. Coming second is a good result and augers well for a general election.
      Paul Nuttall is a good leader and membership has risen since the referendum.
      Remainiac MPs should be very afraid.

      1. Party Strategist
        December 10, 2016

        UKIP membership has NOT risen since the referendum. It has gone down by many thousands! Their branches are deplete of members. Labour areas are not going to vote for altercating Tories with purple ribbons. If they want a Tory there are enough of them locally who can keep the peace and conduct themselves with decorum.Also they, the Tories, are educated.

    3. Roy Grainger
      December 9, 2016

      I don’t agree UKIP are finished – what other choice do Labour voters in the North have if they don’t like Comrade Corbyn and the Islington Trots ? I expect UKIP economic policies to veer leftwards (they are already) to target exactly those voters and at the next GE at least they should show well.

      1. DaveM
        December 9, 2016

        Agreed. I think Ukip are just starting. The LibDems and the current Labour fromt bench will end up forming some kind of neoliberal protest party. Called something like Newmania perhaps! Hilary Benn will probably be the man to try and salvage the Labour Party. Interesting to see where Ukip will land.

      2. Populist
        December 10, 2016

        The BNP will beat UKIP in the north. BNP…. is…. left-wing.

        1. Populist
          December 10, 2016

          BNP Headquarters is also North. The north wind will blow…..

    4. Denis Cooper
      December 9, 2016

      Given the huge popular upsurge of opposition to Brexit evinced in Richmond it’s a bit surprising that the LibDems didn’t win this by-election as well. But the mass media don’t seem to be making much of that, I’ve looked in vain for the Sky News analysis exploring why public opinion has undergone this sudden reversal so that the party calling for a second referendum only got 11% of the votes.

    5. fedupsoutherner
      December 9, 2016

      Cannot believe anyone could think the BNP would take the place of UKIP. They are poles apart. For a start UKIP is not racist. People like to paint that picture of them but it is far from the truth. I noticed Dimbleby could not introduce Farage last night in a sensible manner. He always has to take the p—s. I think UKIP will do better than people assume as they are a far safer bet than Labour or the Lib Dims and at least they are passionate about getting a full Brexit unlike some parties. If it weren’t for FPTP system in this country they would be a lot further than they are now.

    6. Athelwulf
      December 9, 2016

      I don’t think UKIP are finished, and the notion that UKIP are simply about leaving the EU is erroneous. There’s need of a right-wing alternative to Labour in the North, a working-class Conservative Party, for want of a better expression. Many Labour voters in the North have little in common with Labour, it’s simply that they prefer them to the other lot.

    7. Anonymous
      December 10, 2016

      “Ukip a distant second” according to the BBC on Sleaford.

      So biased and infantile. How distant was Labour and the Lib Dems then ?

      The BBC is a joke.

      1. Ane Ominous
        December 10, 2016

        Con 17570, UKIP 4426. How do you measure distance? The Conservatives got four times as much as UKIP.
        One can wonder who is a joke, the BBC or some “courageous” Anonymous

        1. Anonymous
          December 11, 2016

          My ‘courage’ is irrelevant whereas your dishonesty is not.

          You fail to mention the gap betwixt the Conservatives and Labour/LibDems.

          1. Anonymous
            December 11, 2016

            I can’t find your name in the telephone book either.

  8. Newmania
    December 9, 2016

    Economic illiteracy as ever
    1 The balance of trade balances. If we buy lots of BMWs they make lots of investment
    2 The BOP is matched by the Foreign Investment surplus
    3 Tariffs therefore hurt all Parties misdirecting resources
    4 The one it hurts most is simply the one most affected by the reduction of trade
    5 We do half of our trade with the EU
    6 They do about 10 % with us
    7 We have far far more to lose
    8 We have already let our borrowing slip form 80% up to 90% of GDP and anyone who thinks we`ll stick to that has not been watching the show so far;we will not.
    9 As for services as we will not be able to sell services at all inot the EU without pass-porting that really takes the palm for a poor argument .
    So Brexit has already cost hundred of Billions to be paid back by the children of working remainers to retired Brexit voters whilst carrying the burden of their endless holidays and housing market windfall .

    The EU is in favour of Free Trade between members . To keep the advantages of this sacrifices must be made , they include some pooling of sovereignty a regional Policy as far possible and a level playing field on working conditions and standards

    Naturally many people would like the have the advantages of Free trade and pay none of the political and other costs , so what . They can choose , what they cannot do is have their cake and eat it

    The reason there must be a political dimension to Free Trade in Europe is that without it , any opportunist rabble rousing selfish politician can rustle up cheap popularity by telling everyone they have been ripped off by terrible foreigners and thus protectionism resumes .

    Again you cannot have your cake and eat it , if you start an ethnic English revolt , you will have to make sure they do not find you actually meant a load of cheap imports smashing up their jobs and lives . At least Trump was honest about the consequences of isolationism.

    Another day another missive form loony land and we are all goig to pay for it .

    I`m so pleased

    1. WingsOverTheWorld
      December 9, 2016

      Yet there are more than two parties that engage in trade of the same class of product in the real world, most of which are not in the EU. If trade with a country or political entity becomes harder economically due to impositions on trade, then the money flows elsewhere. Inward investment continues. The reduction of trade therefore hits the exportert who fails to account for cheaper options available from other suppliers. Your argument that the EU only exports 10% to us is also disingenuous, as many of your arguments often are. Each country within the EU has its own reasons for wanting its exports to us to continue for their own good. When it comes to the good of their own economy, they do not act as a bloc.

    2. Anonymous
      December 9, 2016

      Screech, screech, screech. (Get the babba his dummy)

      So the EU isn’t corrupt, sclerotic and collapsing ?

      Hard Brexit is the EU’s position on negotiations (in answer to Dr Redwood’s question.) It would not budge on our small demands and so we are leaving. We’d like to leave smoothly but Hard Brexit it is going to have to be – at the EU’s behest because it wants to scare the bejeesus out of any other nation which would dare to leave it.

      Henceforth I shall call Newmania ‘Screech’. Not the sort of chap you’d want to go to war with by your side. Gets loud and hysterical at the first sight of blood and squeaks like a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

      1. Anonymous
        December 9, 2016

        Dearest Screech (Newmania)

        “Naturally many people would like the have the advantages of Free trade and pay none of the political and other costs”

        If there are costs then the trade isn’t ‘free’.

        In fact there are enormous economic, social and political costs manifest in our increasing national debt, the ‘working poor’ crises and the low esteem in which politicians are held (lower than estate agents in a recent survey.)

    3. Newmania
      December 9, 2016

      Blimey I have to give you a lot of credit for publishing that – seems a bit ill mannered in view of admirable commitment to free exchange of views ( wrong though yours may be )

    4. Narrow Shoulders
      December 9, 2016

      I would love to come up against you or your ilk I a negotiation @manic.

      With your narrow minds anyone with the slightest agility of thought would run rings around you.

      Broaden your horizons a little the world is an interesting place.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        December 9, 2016

        In a negotiation

    5. Graham
      December 9, 2016

      Are you PvL ‘s dafter relative .

      Both on there EU payroll no doubt.

      Never mind Brexit fill us all in on Greece,Italy and youth unemployment and the myriad of other problems you want the U.K to pay for.

      Every other truck on the A1 road is Polish as the migrants here buy in from their home country- our balance of payment with Poland must be terrible before we include our benefit money being sent back ‘home’.

      The UK wants to be free – economics be damned!!

      Get over yourself.

    6. John Moss
      December 9, 2016

      Half our trade is not with the EU. About 40% of our export trade, which is about 25% of total trade, is with the EU.

      1. Ed Mahony
        December 9, 2016

        ‘About 40% of our export trade, which is about 25% of total trade, is with the EU’

        – I like the way you add the 25% to try and diminish the significance of the whopping 40% (plus it’s more like 43%).

      2. John O'Leary
        December 9, 2016

        It’s nowhere near 25% of total trade it is more like 8%.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 10, 2016

          Indeed and much of that could easily be substituted by the home market or other export markets if necessary.

    7. Denis Cooper
      December 9, 2016

      “The EU is in favour of Free Trade between members”

      Notionally the EU is in favour of free trade around the whole world, not just between its members.

      And notionally the EU also supports the UN, which prohibits its members from applying unauthorised economic sanctions for political purposes.

      But of course these are no more than statements in the EU treaties, and as we well know from long past experience any part of the EU treaties can be bent and even broken if it is getting in the way of what they want to do.

      Incidentally, whenever the UK government is complicit in one of those breaches of the EU treaties, through the exercise of prerogative power in the EU institutions, it is actually contravening not just EU law, or general international law, but also our national law as enacted by Parliament, contrary to that Bill of Rights 1688 which has suddenly gained an unexpected popularity among supporters of the EU.

      I was very glad to see Bernard Jenkin MP reading out some relevant parts of the EU treaties on Wednesday, at Column 292 here:


      “It is worth reminding ourselves what the treaties invite the EU to do. Article 8 of the treaty on European Union states:

      “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity”.

      The EU should read its own treaties before it starts its negotiation. Article 3.5 says that in its relations with the wider world, the EU

      “shall contribute to peace, security . . . mutual respect among peoples”


      “free and fair trade”.”

      I could supply a number of additional references if that would help him.

    8. Stephen Berry
      December 9, 2016

      “The EU is in favour of Free Trade between members . To keep the advantages of this sacrifices must be made , they include some pooling of sovereignty a regional Policy as far possible and a level playing field on working conditions and standards.”

      Two countries can easily agree to a free trade policy. This does not require any pooling of sovereignty, level playing field and all the rest of it. The countries simply agree not to put tariffs on the goods of the other country and that’s all that’s required. In fact, that’s all the UK now requires from the EU.

      Often it’s because economic production across the globe is NOT a level playing that free trade is desirable. For instance, we want free trade with the U.S. so we can import oranges from Florida cheaply instead of expensively growing them in greenhouses here. Nor do we need working conditions and standards to be equalised to promote free trade. We want free trade with Bangladesh so that we take advantage of cheaply produced clothes, in turn the result of their lower wages. This trade is of benefit both parties.

      To cut a long story short, free trade ensures that the benefits of specialisation do not stop at national borders.

    9. Enrico
      December 9, 2016

      It appears that Newmainia has been reading the book of Farron and Clegg,how sad when you believe all the drivel they come out with.
      Get a life and start thinking for yourself.

    10. libertarian
      December 9, 2016


      I saw your point 5 and immediately realised why you are wrong about everything. You just have no command of any business or trade fact

      We DO NOT do half of our trade with the EU, its actually 9%.

      82% of goods and services are traded internally in the UK of the remaining 18% which are exported 44% ( and falling) is with the EU .

      Just 6% thats SIX percent of UK businesses trade with the EU

      Moving on to point 9

      Er the service sector is a) far more than just banking b) banking is international and global and does NOT require passporting to operate in non EU countries c) we are far far far bigger financial service providers than the other 27 countries combined and therefore the withdrawal of passporting would hurt them far more, oh and d) passporting is mostly due to be fairly irrelevant with the new MFID 2 regs due in 2018/19

      In 2015 ( latest figures I could source) service sector exports to none EU was £175 billion and a further £51 billion to EU

      4 of the worlds largest by revenue service sector companies have all announced they are moving their European HQ’s to London since the referendum result Apple, Facebook, Google and Starbucks.

      The fact that you dont know this explains all we need to know about your other views

      1. zorro
        December 11, 2016

        Well put, he clearly doesn’t have a clue.


    11. Mark
      December 10, 2016

      1: the investors are from China and Qatar and the US, not the EU so much.
      2: foreign investment implies profits and dividends being remitted to foreign countries in future instead of being spent in the UK
      4: the biggest reduction in trade will depend on the substitutability of imports, not import volumes. For example it is easy to substitute finished vehicles, not so easy to substitute vehicle components in a supply chain.
      That invalidates the next portion of your argument.
      9: the US sells plenty of services inside the EU without passporting arrangements. So can we.

      Trade in services with the EU (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $388 billion in 2014 (latest data available). Services exports were $219 billion; Services imports were $169 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with the EU was $51 billion in 2014.

      Source: Office of the US Trade Representative https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/europe-middle-east/europe/european-union

      South Korea has an extensive free trade agreement with the EU without having to concede anything on freedom of movement.

  9. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    December 9, 2016

    As I see and read it over here, apart from some annoyance over UK foreign affairs statements, the continent is really not occupied with a Brexit, which hasn’t been invoked. Expected is a lose-lose outcome, even though this blog expects a win-lose outcome in all cases. Interesting. Time will tell

    1. Bob
      December 9, 2016

      If the EU is such a good thing, then why do they need to make threats to prevent members from leaving?

      1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        December 9, 2016

        @Bob: No countries wanting to leave, in spite of UK poison-press.
        What other countries don’t want is that UK behaviour would be rewarded with a very advantageous deal (having too much cake and eating it) because it would create a precedent. Personally I think that the UK has already been too many exceptions and advantages in the past, so a quick, clean break would be better, even if it causes some economic disadvantage.

        1. Bob
          December 10, 2016


          “What other countries don’t want is that UK behaviour would be rewarded…”

          so if UK economy prospers outside of EU, will that be bad for the EU?

          1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @Bob: Obviously, that would be good for the EU, not least for my country, the Netherlands. It would make for more trade. In 2014 (last figures I consulted), the Netherlands was the UK’s third largest UK trading partner, both for UK imports and for UK exports.

        2. NoMoreEU
          December 10, 2016

          Heaven forbid that the EU were to act in and adult manner…recognise the massive financial and other contributions the UK has made to the EU… and wish us well, with a Win-Win deal.
          Yes, Heaven forbid, indeed, because that would be in accordance with Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty.

          We will soon be a neighbour of the EU and Article 8 defines how they should treat us!
          The EU is great at setting rules, but ‘pants’ at obeying them, clearly.

          The EU is incapable of anything other than threats towards the UK, because they are a group of malevolent megalomaniacs. It is not in their nature to behave according to civilised norms.

          Shoot the UK in the back, as they escape, and shoot yourself in the foot as well…just so long as it disencourages the others!


          1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @NoMoreEU: You obviously read the wrong newspapers, the Daily Express by any chance?
            There are no threats from the EU.

          2. NoMoreEU
            December 11, 2016

            Thank you for the ‘attempted’ put down.

            I read a wide range of newspapers and I am far more in touch with the whole Brexit issue than most…we all read of the EU ‘threats ‘and they are widely reported by quality news sources.

            When was the last time there was an act of goodwill from the EU…if that had happened we would have heard about it? Deafly silence!

            Keeping your fingers in your ears…reading only the pro-EU Guardian and the Independent and pretending you don’t hear the ‘threats’, will not help you to cope with Brexit.

            Get real. Brexit is happening.

            Time to get over it and move on.

          3. James Munroe
            December 11, 2016

            @Peter VAN LEEUWEN

            You say there are no “threats from the EU”.

            Guardian newspaper Oct 2016

            Francois Hollande has sent one of the strongest warnings yet that Britain will have to pay a heavy price for leaving the European Union, adding to deep concern in financial markets.

            “There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price, otherwise we will be in negotiations that will not end well

            No threats…really?

            The clue is really in the use of the word THREAT by Francois Holland…

        3. NoMoreEU
          December 11, 2016

          “What other countries don’t want is that UK behaviour would be rewarded with a very advantageous deal (having too much cake and eating it) because it would create a precedent”.

          Your command of the English language is obviously lacking!

          That is a threat!

        4. libertarian
          December 11, 2016


          Any thoughts on the large scale anti EU protests in Poland. Or maybe like us Brits the Poles dont understand Europeans either.

          Oh and I see to add to the catalog of companies relocating to London/UK that US mega Bank Wells Fargo have just purchased a new European HQ building ( £300 million cost) in the City of London

          So lets recap so far since Brexit vote

          Nissan are staying and investing

          Softbank have located their £80 billion investment company in London

          ING have relocated some of their traders to London


          Are all moving their European HQ’s to London

          Hmm ….

    2. a-tracy
      December 9, 2016

      This sounds like ‘the sunk cost effect’ I read about in the Independent, Wil Jones was writing about why people stay in loveless marriages and the summation was, if you feel you are going to waste time or money, you hang around unhappy for years. Those things the author said are sadly more important to some people than love and happiness.

      We need to start concentrating on the happy 🙂 not all relationships ends with just the lawyers taking everything.

    3. Anonymous
      December 9, 2016

      “even though this blog expects a win-lose” We want all peoples of Europe to win, not just the elite classes within the EU.

      1. Ed Mahony
        December 9, 2016

        Everything that works best in the LONG-TERM – whether from a large company to a small, local organisation, from family life to close friendships – everything – works best when you have a WIN-WIN situation.

        Whenever we think it’s all about WIN-LOSE, we’re just acting immaturely and demonstrating serious personality disorder / dysfunctionality.
        Yes, we may (or may not) win in the short term (but there’s no honour involved). But with this win-lose approach, we ALWAYS, in the long-term, lose. Eventually.

        And so we must seek a WIN-WIN settlement with the EU, for the long-term benefit of our country.

      2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        December 9, 2016

        @Anonymous: Not a believable statement – the UK has no friends, only interests. British people know very very little about Europeans.

        1. libertarian
          December 10, 2016

          Peter v L

          Your ignorance is astonishing my friend. Do you not know that British people ARE Europeans, we know lots and lots about Europeans. You are confusing a political junta the EU with 400 million people, the vast majority of who want nothing to do with a polit bureau run by a bunch of unelected failed small time politicians. It would also appear that you know very little about the British if you dont know we have many many friends around the world

          1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @libertarian: The reason you know so little about other European (granted that I missed out the word “other” in my post) is that you are a largely monolingiual country with a recent imperial history, dragging your interest to other continents. I notice that the English know more about Australia and Canada than about Europe and its institutions. This became even clearer during your referendum campaign.

          2. libertarian
            December 11, 2016


            So you admit your statement was wrong… good thats a start

            Of course no other European country has had a recent imperial history? Most of the world, including Europe speaks English…. so your point is what? Unless you are demanding we all learn Mandarin , you dont have one… Maybe we might know more about the rest of the world, because a) there’s far more of it, b) its easier to do business there c) we have a better legal system than EU. I do admit that a very large number of Europeans know a lot about the UK, mostly because quite a few million have chose to leave their EU paradise and live and work here , I wonder why that would be? By the way I think you may be facing a few problem in the Netherlands very shortly too

          3. stred
            December 12, 2016

            Peter. You may not have realized, in your cosy EU cocoon, that the British are all over Europe as well as the ex- colonies. They trade and have even more properties in France and Spain as the Dutch. In the countries south of holland, where the natives speak English better that we do ( and without paying a licence), we even speak a version of their languages, often as well as the Dutch. Franglais though is more common than Nederlais.

            By the way, how are the jams on the motorway to Amsterdam at the moment and how do the Dutch feel about their judges glaring at your awkward politicians when listening to his defence in court, before finding him guilty. You seem to have a politicised judiciary like some nearby countries.

            etc ed

        2. James Matthews
          December 10, 2016

          ” British people know very very little about Europeans”

          Interesting dichotomy there. The implication being that “British people”, in or out of the EU, are not Europeans.

          Well nice to know what you really think PVL. If only that had been clarified forty years ago we would all be much happier now. I do hope you are also posting your views on Remain supporting Blogs. It might help to ease their sense of loss, which I am sure you would wish to do.

          Mind you, the millions of non-British Europeans living, working, and studying in our country don’t seem much bothered by this lack of understanding. At any rate, not enough to leave. I am reasonably confidant that none were brought here against their will.

          1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @James Matthews: A bit of a Freudian slip, I must admit. 🙂 All the same, you don’t treat other Europeans very nicely: If, returning from Kenya 40 years ago, my British wife and I had decided to go and settle in Britain, then after having worked and paid tax and into national insurance for almost 40 years, I would not have been permitted to vote in your referendum. Had I been a Kenyan, an Indian or Pakistani, even if I had only entered your country a few years ago, I would have been allowed to vote. Unbelievable discrimination, only proving that your country hasn’t been able yet to let go of its imperial past. As it can not even let go of its imperial measurements, welcome to the nineteenth century my friend!

          2. Denis Cooper
            December 11, 2016

            Was there some particular reason why you and your wife would have been refused the UK citizenship which would have entitled you to vote in the referendum?

          3. Denis Cooper
            December 11, 2016

            Sorry, I meant just you.

        3. Chris
          December 10, 2016

          I have read your comments over the years and do feel that you do sound rather arrogant and a bit of a know all. My own view is that you really do not have a handle on the situation in the UK at all.

          1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @Chris: I don’t claim to have a particular handle on Britain. Entering the comment section of this blog is like entering the Brexiteers’ play-pen. Often disagreeing (coming from a Europhile perspective) I’m bound to sound arrogant at times (or maybe always?)

        4. Anonymous
          December 11, 2016

          I love it when PvL walks on to my fist.

    4. Hope
      December 9, 2016

      The consequences will impact on every nation and its attitude towards the EU. I hope the EU realise it will be signing its own death warrant, alongside the Euro of course. Then we were told of the apocalyptic end of the world if we didn’t not have the EUro by the same loony tunes claiming why we must remain in the EU. Tell your gif to the mass unemployed of the Southern EU nations or the hundreds of thousands forced to find work in the U.K. Because of the EU economic dictatorship policies.

      1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        December 9, 2016

        @Hope: against all evidence (it never materialised) you keep hoping for some apocalypse. Dream on! 🙂

        1. libertarian
          December 10, 2016

          Peter vL

          There won’t be an EU apocalypse I agree, Like all ideas, institutions and failed organisations that are no longer fit for purpose the EU will continue its gradual slide towards irrelevance and eventual disappearance. The EU percentage of world gdp has been sliding downwards, for years, the unemployment has been rising for years, the tax burden on the fewer richer countries has been increasing whilst the EU takes in more poorer countries as members. It is a recipe for disaster and you and they seem to believe that its curable by just passing a few regulations and rules.

          1. Hope
            December 10, 2016

            No PvL we were warned of apocalyptic endings if we di di not join the Euro if we left the EU. You have it the wrong way around, like most of your facts.

          2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @libertarian: That is a rather far of the mark, my friend, I had expected a little better from you.
            As the UK (or EU, or US) percentage of world population decreases and with emerging new economies, their percentage of world GDP has to decrease as well. Why do you copy from your eurosceptic masters instead of realising that you had better look at GDP per capita. Unemployment rising for years, also not true, even British youth-unemployment if finally decreasing, even though still way higher than in the Netherlands or Germany. (of course I know that you only want to be compared to Spain and Greece! But why??? 🙂 ) The tax burden has never been more than 1% of GDP out of which only 6% is EU overhead. British per capita contributions are among the lowest among the nett contributors. Interesting that your government will now pass all these detested EU rules into British law. 🙂

          3. libertarian
            December 11, 2016


            Oh dear, a bit pompous for someone who hasn’t done any research. You may want to read this and get back to me.

            No I’m comparing to to the federal country that you wish to be part of the EU and the EU average for both adult and youth unemployment is way higher than the UK. Remind me about Mrs Merkels views on immigration into Germany, good luck with paying for that without our “paltry ” contributions

    5. Graham
      December 9, 2016

      It’s not occupying any thought in your country they are to busy suppressing free speech and trying to shut down PVV and Wilder.

      Methinks your country is not far from social collapse.

      Comments welcome from PvL

      1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        December 11, 2016

        @Graham: “Methinks” that you DON’t really think.
        Incitement to hatred or discrimination (hatred according to me, according to the court only incitement to discrimination) is a punishable offence in our country.

    6. Mark Watson
      December 9, 2016

      The thing is Peter, the benefit equation is not as simple as that.On our side we have the following as well
      1) Out of the Common Fisheries Policy
      2)Out of the Common Agricultural Policy
      3)Out of the Customs Union and Common Commercial Policy , so reduced prices on Non EU imports in many cases
      4) Ability to make Free Trade Agreements that suit us, and are not diluted or stopped by regions in the EU, and that mean we can tap into countries that are actually growing at a decent pace.
      5) Out of the European Court of Justice
      6) An end to uncontrolled quantitative immigration
      7) A saving of many billions on EU contibutions which will only ever go on increasing
      8) A definite escape from “ever closer union” -Never Closer Union as I like to call it.
      For the rest of the EU , none of these things are an option.So you see, it will be a win for us.

      1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        December 11, 2016

        @Mark Watson: I wish you well! The better you will do, the better it will be for the Dutch economy as we are a very open economy.

  10. formula57
    December 9, 2016

    “So which is it EU? Is it so good in the EU that any other country would be mad to leave? Or is it so bad that once we have dug the escape tunnel others will want to use it? One of these propositions must be wrong, or possibly both.”

    Or, if you will forgive some self-indulgence, possibly neither? There are member states, typically those with less than happy recent histories, who clearly view their memberhip of the Evil Empire as some sort of guarantee that matters at home will not stray too far from the comfortable and comforting Western liberal democracy common amongst many of the OECD members. For them, the notion of leaving is indeed madness, particularly where, as is often so of course, their budget contributions are dwarfed by EU largesse. Others by contrast would enjoy similar deliverance to that available to the UK, a prospect they must not be encouraged to covet for else the Evil Empire will meet its doom all the sooner.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 9, 2016

      Correct. It is understandable that people may have a different view if their country has experienced poverty, and dictatorship or instability, and now in the EU:

      1. They are getting subsidies from other wealthier states.
      2. They are running trade surpluses with those other states.
      3. All their citizens are free to migrate to those other states.
      4. They even have a say in the government of those other states.

      Our problem is not that we want to have our cake and eat it, that is quite wrong, because under the present arrangements it is in fact those other countries who are having all that cake and eating it, and at our economic and political cost; we provide money for their subsidies, and we run the trade deficits, and we have the unwanted mass immigration of their citizens, and on top of all that we have them chipping in on how we should run our own country.

      1. Original Richard
        December 10, 2016

        Absolutely right.

        We are being fleeced.

        It is simply not sensible to have 1m people move from one country to another – neither for the recipient country who cannot cope with the influx – nor for the donor country who loses the very people they have trained and need themselves.

      2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        December 11, 2016

        @Denis Cooper: Ever thought that you might be lacking productivity and thus competitiveness? 🙂

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 11, 2016

          Compared to whom? Countries where average wages are a fraction of those in the UK, which therefore qualify for net subsidies from the EU budget, and whose citizens therefore have a strong economic incentive to migrate to the UK?

          1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            December 11, 2016

            @Denis Cooper: It is really up to you, Denis. You may even prefer to compare your country with Zimbabwe and feel proud. There are various productivity rankings, I just tried myself (in order to provide you with an answer) and got “The 19 most productive countries in the world” from Business insider UK (July 2016). Granted that you perform better than Italy and Spain, why would Germany or Holland need to be out of range?
            I actually believe that UK productivity will (have to) improve, once during the post-Brexit era it will be realised (at last) that some problems are home-grown rather than to be blamed on outside “evil empires” or whatever colorful name suits the current most zealous Brexiteers.
            I actually want Britain to do well, to do very well, economically as that will suit an open economy like the Dutch one.

        2. Anonymous
          December 11, 2016

          Olympics ???

  11. Tedgo
    December 9, 2016

    Roger Helmer MEP had an interesting meeting with Michel Barnier, the EU’s appointed Brexit negotiator a few days ago. The full blog entry is,


    One paragraph was quite interesting,

    “Barnier said that if Britain wanted to control immigration then it could not be part of the EU Customs Union or Single Market, and would have to settle for a free trade deal. I responded that this was very positive news, and was exactly what we (i.e. most of the Leave side) wanted.”

    1. John O'Leary
      December 9, 2016

      Michel Barnier is not the EUs appointed Brexit negotiator. That appointment will be made by the European Council, but not until Article 50 is invoked. Jean-Claude Juncker has overstepped the mark yet again. At best Barnier should be regarded as his nominee.

    2. Mark
      December 10, 2016

      As yet, Barnier only has the role of coordinating the EU Commission’s input to the process: he was appointed to do so by Juncker, not the Council. They will make their choice of lead negotiator after we submit notice. There are good reasons for them to choose someone else, leaving Barnier in charge of the Commission’s Brexit department with a role capped to providing civil service analysis and support rather than running the negotiations.

  12. Roy Grainger
    December 9, 2016

    The problem, of course, is there is no EU position because the EU is not a single entity. Already different parts of the EU have appointed different negotiators and their assorted presidents and functionaries have also made announcements, as have assorted domestic politicians from various countries. I suppose you might say Merkel is the EU in this matter but she may be gone in due course. I think it unlikely the EU will be able to agree amongst themselves on any deal that is negotiated anyway, just as they struggle to agree any external trade agreement. That’s a good argument for leaving anyway.

  13. Mark B
    December 9, 2016

    Good morning.

    If the EU can treat countries like Greece and its people in such a contemptible way, then why not the UK and its people ? We need to remind ourselves that we are not dealing with a government (EU Commission) that is accountable to the people. Therefore, they can do what they like and there is little anyone can do.

    So what if say Germany and others are damaged ? What is more important is keeping the EU Gravy Train rolling.

    I have made it clear that I believe that leaving the EU and retaining EEA membership would, in the short to medium term, cushion the blow from exit. I accept the argument that we in tern might never leave the EEA and that would, in the longer term at least, would not even for me be desirable. But we are so enmeshed into EU regulations that leaving, no matter how well the EU makes is, which we know they won’t, will become difficult.

    They want us out, and within two years ! That means settling for the EEA membership whether we like it or not and they know it. It is that two years which is going to be the problem, not the EU and its demands.

    And remember, like much else, you heard it from me first !!!

  14. Lifelogic
    December 9, 2016

    What indeed is the EU’s position indeed who in reality are the people deciding on it? Will they all be changed during the process.

    I think it is that they want to have their cake and eat it.

    In reality they need the UK export market more than the UK does so a sensible free trade only deal should be possible. But in the EU reason rarely wins out. Thus we have the Euro, the green crap, expensive energy, the working time directive and endless other redtape, and total economic insanities.

  15. hefner
    December 9, 2016

    Interesting to hear at 07:20 on Radio4 Today program the interviews of Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford and Carolyn Fairbairn, Head of CBI, about R&D funding in the UK. As a state, the UK appears to be 152nd for financing research, and the UK private sector is simply useless at financing whatever it is. Research is of very high calibre, mainly in universities and university-related start-ups, development seems abysmal, as most of it is not done by British companies. Oxford U has recently opened a 2nd tranche of funding, mainly filled by funds from China and Oman.

    So much for the ridiculous who keep harping on the private sector being ensnared by the State and/or the EU. Real British private business is rather bad at developing its capacities, whether for financing or in terms of productivity. They are interested in making a quick buck by selling their ideas to the highest bidder, usually a foreign one.

    I am afraid that Brexit will not change that trend.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 9, 2016

      You lost me at:

      “As a state, the UK appears to be 152nd for financing research”.

      Do you believe that?

      1. hefner
        December 10, 2016

        152nd, should have been state financing for university research.

        For total R&D (private & public) in percent of GDP PPP for 2014 (last year for which the figures are available), the list goes:
        4.29 South Korea.
        4.11 Israel.
        3.58 Japan.
        3.17 Singapore.
        3.16 Sweden.
        3.05 Denmark.
        3.01 Taiwan.
        3.00 Austria
        2.97 Switzerland.
        2.89 Germany.
        2.74 USA.
        2.46 Belgium.
        2.25 France.
        2.12 Australia.
        2.10 PR China.
        2.00 Finland.
        1.97 Netherlands.
        1.71 UK

        A bit better but 18th anyway.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 11, 2016

          If those numbers are correct it would be about £31 billion, which I agree is probably insufficient even if it is all well spent.

    2. Mark B
      December 9, 2016

      You are right, BREXIT will not change that or anything ! But it will mean that the mistakes ‘we’ make will be our own and that government, or whatever, cannot blame the EU. We would also be able to correct those mistakes, should we wish.

      1. hefner
        December 10, 2016

        That’s a very optimistic view, which I guess assumes that “people” (whatever that may mean) takes back control. I don’t hold my breath.

    3. libertarian
      December 9, 2016


      Research and development in UK last year rose 6% to £30.6 billion 65% funded by business a further £21.6 billion of foreign business investment was pumped into the UK economy ( source ONS) , yes we could do better, maybe if our R&D and investment taxation system was more inclined to reward investment as in the USA we would do even better

      1. hefner
        December 11, 2016

        Please look at the March 2014 Deloitte report “2014 Global Survey of R&D Tax Incentives” available from www2.deloitte.com

        It gives the incentives that most of the 18 countries above provide their investors. Although not the best, the UK is far from the worst in terms of the advantages to potential investors.
        Your figures, albeit correct, do not give any proper outlook on nor provide any additional understanding of the problem. You need comparative figures, otherwise you just keep repeating whatever blabla the Government of the day or your favourite newspaper(s) or JR (I cannot resist!) want you to believe.

  16. Bert Young
    December 9, 2016

    We have nothing to lose as far as “trade” is concerned – the figures speak for themselves . The picture is only blurred with services . I take the view that the financial sector is strong ; it is organised and staffed with specialists who speak the same language and rely on a high calibre intake from our learned institutions ; it would be difficult to replace this system were it to be split and partially moved to other EU centres . Moving the dynamic to the USA is another matter and more of a threat .

    In the round there are 2 significant factors 1) the dissent in the EU is likely to grow that the North and South sectors of it will be obliged to separate ringing the end of the Euro ; within 2 years this lack of stability will cement further our negotiating position . 2) Our relationship with the USA will be enhanced and will create more opportunity and compensate for any potential loss of economic relationship with the EU. Furthermore as the UK/USA relationship grows , individual countries within the EU will regard as a much more stabilising influence than its membership with the EU .

    I do agree that we will always wish to maintain the friendliest relationship with our European neighbours and we ought to feature this stance in the forthcoming negotiations . Our stabilising influence will show and will be respected .

  17. LordBlagger
    December 9, 2016

    Offer them a deal. 5 bn a year for market access.

    Do you think they would accept it?

    Do you think they would accept it when you gave them the IBAN number as to where they have to deposit the money?

    Deals have to be win win, and the EU doesn’t get that. It thinks the EU can win, EU countries lose and the UK lose.

    Not going to happen.

    My view is that it back fires. Electorates will ask, why are they shafting people and are they shafting us when we are in the EU?

    Turns out that the EU has given its true nature away in the negotiation.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 11, 2016

      Why on earth should we pay them for the privilege of running a chronic, massive trade deficit? If anybody is to pay for market access they should be paying us.

      1. Jagman84
        December 11, 2016

        I believe that LordBlagger did actually mean that the EU should pay the UK for access to our markets.

      2. d fairchild
        December 12, 2016

        Don’t forget taking all their surplus workers and giving a free health service.

  18. Qubus
    December 9, 2016

    Off topic:
    When I read in yesterday’s Times about the billions effectively squandered by DfiD, and in today’s Telegraph that (some ?) civil servants enjoy pensions worth more than 100% of their final salaries, I begin to wonder about the county that I live in.

    Austerity for some!

    1. bigneil
      December 9, 2016

      The NHS is closing some local hospitals. Councils are making cutbacks. Yet every month there are thousands more allowed in, who haven’t paid a penny in. Many never will. They are here to blatantly sponge – and after a life on benefits, housed and cared for by the taxpayer -I assume they will come under the GMP – -all for doing absolutely NOTHING. And the EU wants us to open the doors to unlimited numbers? Even a dead man can see what the result will be. Eventually there will be no more services to cut – -and still they will come with their hands out. This is what the EU wants for us.

  19. Antisthenes
    December 9, 2016

    The demand for a published plan of the UK’s negotiating position on Brexit is daft for two reasons. Firstly even to the most stupid of remainers it must be obvious that it would make negotiations worthless if the EU new the UK’s every bargaining position. Secondly the main objectives of Brexit are obvious because they are all predicated on one main prerogative and that is to leave the EU. The main objectives stemming out of that for the UK are complete parliamentary sovereignty, total control over it’s borders and the best possible trade an cooperation deal. There are only three ways that can happen either to negotiate a bilateral trade and cooperation treaty. Unlikely in the short term it will take too long. To agree nothing both sides walk away and adopt international rules. Also unlikely as remainers and business uncertainty pressure will preclude that. To adopt the EFTA/EEA route even as an interim measure whilst the first one is given time to come to fruition. This one is the most likely as it will receive if begrudgingly overwhelming approval. It is the one that will be the least divisive. The last one may revert to the second one if the EU remains totally intransigent on the free movement issue but there are precedents that suggest they may not be able or wish to.

  20. Alan
    December 9, 2016

    Of course the EU can damage us if we leave or, more accurately, we are damaging ourselves by leaving. We are leaving one of the richest markets in the world, we will do less trade and we will be poorer than we could have been if we had stayed in the EU.

    1. Oggy
      December 9, 2016

      Freedom and Independence often comes at a price.

    2. ian wragg
      December 9, 2016

      Have you been to Greece, Italy, Spain or any of the Baltic countries lately.
      Only the Northern European countries are rich and they are the ones that export the most to us.
      The EU is a dying entity and should be put out of its misery.

    3. libertarian
      December 9, 2016


      Oh my word!!! In what world do you think that Europeans living in EU countries will stop buying Coldplay albums, or Sage accounting software or Jaguar cars, or stop watching movies etc etc??? Why and on what basis would we do less trade by leaving? Have you never wondered where all those mobile phones come from? ( hint its not an EU country). People still believe the EU internal market has anything to do with people buying goods or not astounds me.

    4. minty
      December 9, 2016

      Such pessimism///

  21. Ed Mahony
    December 9, 2016

    ‘The aim of the EU is pretty clear. In their make believe world they want to try to make the terms of exit difficult so the Uk suffers on exit’ – their ultimate gain isn’t to make the UK suffer but to prevent the EU from breaking up.

    ‘There is of course no way they can do that. All they can do is damage the member states who remain.’ – They’ve already admitted – openly, frankly and many times – that anything that happens post Brexit is bad for their member states who remain. But that a bad deal with the UK, that leads to more countries leaving the EU – is even worse. They’ve also said this is all bad for the UK as well. And it is people over here in the UK who are in denial of this truth, not the EU.

    ‘We will be free to lower tariffs with the rest of the world’ – and get gobbled up, economically, by the Chinese, Japanese and Americans (Donald Trump: ‘bad trade deals costs jobs’). Anyway, all this talk of lower tariffs is an excuse. Germany does perfectly well, exporting 2.5 times more than us to the US, 3 times more than us to China, and 4 times more than us to Japan.

    ‘to buy cheaper food from emerging market countries helping them and us’ – leaving the EU was about helping emerging markets? And how does that help us geopolitically in Europe where we need to build up unstable democracies close to us. We can help emerging markets in other ways, but leaving the EU is a bizarre way of going about it, and certainly something less than 0.1% of the population would agree with you on.

    ‘It both argues it is better to stay in, and argues if we leave more might want to leave!’ – You’re conflating two different arguments. Yes they argue its better to remain, but they’re not saying others would leave just because the UK would leave. They’re saying others would leave only if they gave the UK a deal that other members regarded as unfair to them, regarding the contributions they have to make and the overall conditions they need follow as part of the EU.

    ‘Their cruel and unpleasant rhetoric about punishment, like their many threats to us all the time we were in the EU, makes it less easy for them to strike a good deal for their member states.’ – They’re pussycats compared to Trump and others. And will be much nicer to us in any trade deals that the US, China and Japan.

    ‘No member state government has said it wishes to impose WTO levels of tariff on our exports to them, because they know it will be more damaging to their exporters’ – no member state has said they’ll give us an easy ride, because if we leave on favourable conditions, that could leave to the break-up of the EU, and all the economic and political turmoil that would follow would be far more costly than losing some trade with the UK. Not forgetting, of course, the 27 countries of the EU share the hit of the UK leaving, but the UK has to shoulder its hit on its own.

    ‘They also need to know there is no way we can or should offer to let them control our migration policy’ – I agree.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 11, 2016

      Well, if you agree with the last then because they cling with quasi-religious fervour to their “the four freedoms are one and indivisible” creed the rest will follow.

  22. fedupsoutherner
    December 9, 2016

    Louis Minch on QT last night was very good. Refreshing to hear such views. She said she thinks Mrs May is beavering away at getting good trading deals with other countries outside the EU so when the time comes to leave the EU invoke article 50 she will be able to turn around to those who want us to remain and say look what we have got. All these deals on the table which we would not be able to negotiate if we were still in the single market. She is playing her cards close to her chest and I think she may just surprise us all. At least that is what I am hoping against all the odds.

  23. Ex-expat Colin
    December 9, 2016

    Think before the EEC vote it was pretty simple…for 7 years I needed a passport (or military border pass) and had to change currency here and there….not often. I rented Dutch and German Houses/Flats. I purchased a car in Germany and bought food/clothes etc in Holland. What was the need to have an expensive one size fits all thing…I forgot, oh..just see the huge amount of money up walls for a… why!

    Now the UK is to be fined Eur 640M for not getting farm payments right…fines FFS? And they buy an egg shaped building in Brussels for Eur 300M from 2nd hand Double Glazing junk or something?

    If Brexit is not on europeans minds…don’t complain about surprises of any size!

  24. acorn
    December 9, 2016

    Don’t get carried away with this EU can’t survive without the UK thing. The largest trade deficit (goods and services) we have is £25 billion a year with Germany. That is 0.9% of German GDP. The UK has a trade deficit with the EU 27 of £68 billion, that is 0.6% of EU 27 GDP; two quarters of current growth. The UK has its next largest deficit with Spain at £10 billion, 1% of its GDP.

    Banzai Brexiteers threatening the EU 27 with tariffs, should remember that the UK voters will be very upset with any politician who stops those voters, from continuing to get their hands on them BMWs and Miele appliances. Plus those Spanish Clementines and Oranges, and at today’s prices.

    As we have had a week where we have learnt not only that our MPs don’t understand how the economy works; they don’t understand how the laws they make, work either! Particularly the “Daily Mailers” on the Tory back benches.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 11, 2016

      I’m not aware of anybody who is “threatening the EU27 with tariffs.

  25. Ed Mahony
    December 9, 2016

    But we may need to negotiate on free movement of people (where we get some control).
    However, saying that, the good news is that i think the EU is on its way to be reformed, in particular, over immigration but also other things too.
    And we can thank Brexiteers for that to an important degree (as well as others within Europe who are seriously concerned by immigration).
    But we must play our cards right. We must focus on what most people are really concerned about and that is 1. Immigration (the cost of unlimited immigration) and 2. The Single Market (the cost of leaving). If we focus on these, and get a compromise that works well for us (and for most people in the UK) and that works well for the EU (and most people in the EU), then it will be WIN-WIN for all! And we’ll be heralding Brexiteers as heroes (including Mr Redwood!).
    But if we play our cards wrong, there could be serious economic and political consequences – both for the UK and the EU (and affecting the rest of the world from one degree to another). And this could be really serious.

    1. Ed Mahony
      December 9, 2016

      (Lastly, it could be that we have to increase our contributions to the EU in the short term whilst regaining control of our borders to a degree. HOWEVER, in time, i think these contributions will be reduced as more countries seek to reform the EU – and the EU then gets reformed including a reduction in the UK’s contribution to the EU as other countries would now also have control over their borders like the UK – and it could be that we end up with full control of our borders, whilst also getting reform on other important things that just aren’t working for the UK and the EU overall).

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 11, 2016

      I would not settle for “some control” over immigration policy, it has to be complete control. That doesn’t mean a complete cessation of immigration, it means that we make our own decisions on our policy.

      As I have said before, the economic benefit of the EU internal market to the UK has been estimated as about 1% added to per capita GDP.

      1. Ed Mahony
        December 11, 2016

        ‘I would not settle for “some control” over immigration policy, it has to be complete control’

        – Even if we got complete control it would still be a massive effort to keep it under control in practice. I mean consider how there’s more immigration from outside the EU than inside. And we’re still going to need immigrants from the EU anyway.

  26. English Pensioner
    December 9, 2016

    What concerns me is that this country doesn’t appear to have any good negotiators either in the government or civil service. They want to be friends, they don’t want to upset anyone and they don’t want to come away from a meeting without an agreement. The result is that they invariably seem to give in.

    We hold the best cards, yet we seem unwilling to use them. The EU needs us more than we need them and we should make this very clear. Far from us paying them to belong to the single market, we should start by demanding that they pay us for access to our markets. Most of what we buy from EU countries can be sourced from elsewhere and the individual countries know this.

    We should take the hardest possible line without revealing our “red lines” which is why I think that it is crazy for some MPs to demand that Parliament to be told about our negotiating position. We should just get a move on, send the appropriate letter to the EU
    wait for them to respond knowing that our fall back position would be to trade under the WTO rules which would cost them more than it would cost us.

  27. Denis Cooper
    December 9, 2016

    Well, JR, I think you’re probably being a bit over-optimistic about the attitudes of the politicians in the other EU countries.

    But we don’t yet know, because they and we cannot even answer the question “Who is the EU negotiator?”, let alone “What is the EU’s negotiating position?”, and nor will we start to really have answers before we have triggered Article 50.

    Some of their politicians have been saying stupid things, which the pro-EU media here gleefully repeat, but it’s still possible that common sense and financial self-interest will prevail once the formal negotiations have started.

    If not, well, I am still sanguine about the economic consequences of their folly because the overall economic effects of EU membership have been greatly exaggerated.

    1. acorn
      December 9, 2016

      Denis, when did you ever “negotiate” to “leave” a club? I have left a few clubs in my lifetime; all I got was a “sorry to see you go” letter and an account closing bill (mostly for the bar).

      The EU owes the UK nothing. It can easily survive the divorce hit to EU GDP, courtesy of the ECB balance sheet. The UK is on a hiding-to-nothing. I voted for Brexit, I have crunched enough numbers in the last five months, that tell me I made a mistake.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 11, 2016

        Did any of those clubs have rules laying down a complex multi-stage process for leaving, including negotiations? How often does it have to be said that the EU is not some cozy “club” and should not be misrepresented as such?

    2. minty
      December 9, 2016

      Michael Barnier is their negotiator, any more questions?

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 10, 2016

        No, he isn’t..

        Barnier has only been appointed by the Commission, while the EU negotiator will be appointed by the Council under Article 218 TFEU.


        “3. … the Council, which shall adopt a decision authorising the opening of negotiations and … nominating the Union’s negotiator or the head of the Union’s negotiating team.”

      2. Mark
        December 10, 2016

        Yes – who will the Council, rather than Juncker, appoint to the real role in accordance with article 50(2) and its reference to 218(3) once we submit notice?

    3. hefner
      December 10, 2016

      Fortunately, the UK’s negotiating position is clear and free of stupid things: Brexit means Brexit, not black nor white but red, white and blue. So bring the South of England champagne.

  28. Anonymous
    December 9, 2016

    The EU negotiating position is for a very Hard Brexit.

    Britain really did try to avert a Leave result and requested a few reasonable concessions on FoM. The EU was not having any of it so here we are.

    1. Ed Mahony
      December 9, 2016

      ‘The EU was not having any of it so here we are’

      – You’re right. The EU does need to learn and reform.

    2. Mark B
      December 9, 2016

      To be fair to the EU they could not give much if anything. The concept of EVER CLOSER UNION dictates that; “Once a power is ceded to the EU, it can NEVER be returned.” To do so would mean that other member countries could as for concessions and that would me the unravelling of this project.

      The fact that, CMD did not know this just goes to show, not that it was ever needed, that he truly was the worst PM ever ! And to think our kind host tried to tell us that he was a Eurosceptic at heart. Yeah right !

  29. Denis Cooper
    December 9, 2016

    Off-topic, bearing in mind that these tiresome Article 50 legal cases have stemmed from the silence of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 over what should happen after the referendum, and that this fatal flaw was already present in the draft referendum Bill published by the Tory party as a publicity gimmick in May 2013 – as pointed out literally within minutes of its publication, and repeatedly pointed out thereafter – I wondered about the Tory party’s previous, 2008, gimmick of a draft Bill for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which I located as the top reference here:


    I was interested to see that it had an entire Part 2 detailing what should ensue from a vote to accept or alternatively a vote to reject the Lisbon Treaty, including taking into account the need for the government to wait until there was no possibility of the referendum result being overturned by the courts on grounds of miscounting of ballots:

    “As soon as possible after the end of the permitted period specified in subsection 3(6), or if any proceedings are brought in accordance with section 3, as soon possible after the final conclusion of any such proceedings including any appeals, a Minister of the Crown shall make an order by statutory instrument which shall either bring the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 back into force if the condition in subsection (3) is satisfied, or shall repeal it if that condition is not satisfied.”

    The Act to approve the Lisbon Treaty having been suspended by an earlier sub-section.

    It would have been perfectly possible to have put something similar into the 2015 Act, saying for example that if the vote was to leave the EU then a minister must serve the Article 50 notice, and it is not unreasonable to ask why this was not done.

    1. acorn
      December 11, 2016

      Because they had no intention of leaving the EU. It has been a Punch and Judy show from day one. Never mind the economy, it’s all about getting the fodder cheering at PMQs

  30. Nationalist
    December 9, 2016

    Next year there will be general elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands and now it seems likely, Italy. Inspired by Brexit we could see the Front National, Alternativ fur Deutschland, the PVV and the Five Star Movement become very significant or even take over the government of their respective nations. This would change the entire negotiating landscape.

  31. Geometrist
    December 9, 2016

    “What is the EU negotiating position?”

    Prone, about eighteen inches above our own

  32. RupertP
    December 9, 2016

    Isn’t this incorrect? I thought that under WTO rules you have to offer “most favoured nation” tarriff rates. So, if we cut our tarrifs for the rest of the world, wouldn’t this apply to countries in the EU too?

  33. Dauber
    December 9, 2016

    What is the EU negotiating position?

    Best artistically represented by a pre-Galilean logogram of the EU as a sun-shaped blob in the middle of circling stars indicating it being the epicentre of the known universe.
    Remarkably very much like the EU flag but WITH voiced central intent.

  34. Jumeirah
    December 9, 2016

    Off point: As Foreign Secretary Boris should not have ‘openly’ criticised KSA and the Gulf States over the Yemen! He is right of course because if you think the anihilation of the civilian population in Syria is a disgrace and a crime against humanity then you would need to look at the Yemen from where there is NO escape and where it is a thousand times worse!!! One begins to wonder why he , Boris, had to speak – maybe because NO ONE ELSE WILL.

  35. Juliet
    December 9, 2016

    What is the EU negotiating position

    Same as UK, wait & see!

    Neither has outlined a high-level plan, nor defined a scope.

    Both have multiple spokespeople commenting at once, which is causing levels of confusion and stiring up noise on social media …

    1. exit with (control on immigration, leave single market, go with WTO)
    2. exit with (reduce freedom of movement, access to single market)

    Both agendas proposed assumed 30 minutes apart by different spokespeople.
    In the corporate world people are not at liberty to assume an outcome and discuss freely without given the mandate to do so, but in politics it looks like MPs continue to add confusion to an already complex situation

    EU is determined to maintain the status quo of EU27 ‘no cherry picking’ from the current agreement. I’m expecting they will begin with straight-forward exit
    — Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty & then commence with
    — Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (third-country)

    This leaves it’s up to UK to shape their new proposition based on what they want for (industry/sectors (trade), people (immigration controls)) beforehand, and get their house in order to accomodate the change.

    1. Mark
      December 12, 2016

      It is of course the EU Commission that wants to do its own cherry picking about what is included in the exit agreement. I think our negotiators should always bring along a bowl of cherries to each meeting, just to make the point.

  36. agricola
    December 9, 2016

    Leaving the EU is not as complex as some would have us believe.

    By cancelling the 1972 Act of Accession and then incorporating it word for word in English Law, we should satisfy all those bodies who receive UK taxpayers money via the EU. They can have it direct in future. Those who enjoy protection under employment law can continue to do so.
    That we then make our own laws, set our own taxes, control our borders, and trade freely with the rest of the World can all be decided in a once more sovereign UK Parliament. As to trade, you spell it out clearly. The choice is with the EU, do they wish tariff free trade for the benefit of their members or do they prefer WTO Rules. If the latter is their preference then what we collect in tariff payments minus what our industry pays will more than offset the difference and allow us to negate the effect of tariffs on our exports. A win win situation.

    The only subjects for negotiation are those areas where we already cooperate. The question for the EU is “Do you wish to continue the current level of cooperation or do you prefer to throw all the toys out of the pram”. One such subject is the status of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU with their reciprocal medical care paid for by the citizens country. It should not take more than six months to arrive at a way forward that is cooperative friendly and causes minimal disruption.

    Remember it is the failure of politicians, the diplomats, and military leadership that is to blame for all the wars we suffered last century and it is the citizens who pay the price for such failure, so get it right.

  37. NoMoreEU
    December 9, 2016

    How very refreshing to see the powerful Eurosceptic voices, in the Commons, during the recent debate.

    Such a change from all the empty rhetoric, of the “ILLIBERAL AUTOCRATS”, and all the usual suspects.

  38. NoMoreEU
    December 9, 2016

    The EU appears to want the UK to get out and get out quickly.

    The Remain campaign tries to use obfuscation (Hard/Soft Brexit) when there is only ‘Leaving’ the EU and its ‘compulsory membership obligations:

    – Payments to the EU
    – ECJ subservience
    – Freedom of Movement
    – Being ruled by Brussels

    Soft Brexit is EEA rules – and not Leaving the EU at all, since it demands all the above.

    But a division and confusion has been created.
    The reality is – do we Brexit or do we stay in the EU.

    Here’s a thought.

    In my opinion, the EU and the Remainers are conniving to disrupt Brexit.

    What happens if the anti-Brexit campaign does this:-

    – The EU gives the UK an unexpected ‘bombshell’ concession – a 20 year ‘brake’ on immigration,
    – The EU offers some more ‘cash back’ in a complex new financial arrangement

    That would put great pressure on the Leave campaign, maybe with demands for a second referendum.

    I am not a Remainer, grasping at straws.

    I do not trust the EU and expect dirty tricks ahead.

  39. Norman
    December 9, 2016

    John – I am a Brexiteer, but am concerned at some of the isolationist rhetoric circulating. I know it is a reaction against all the insidious skulduggery from our opponents, but we need to beware falling into the opposite trap.
    It is to be hoped that our elected representatives will find the means to conduct themselves towards Europe in a statesmanlike manner. To make enemies is easy, whether at home or abroad; in a world like this, who needs more of them? Just look back at European history the past 100 years, and look around the world today.
    Despite all its errant ways and woes, I love our country, and cherish our sovereignty. In any international negotiations, we need to be calm, fair and of course, resolutely firm.
    “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24a). But of course, it is the case that some will not respond, and will be of hostile or unhelpful intentions. Fine – at least we can then say to all (home or abroad), ‘we tried’! I believe Boris is broadly of that view, and possibly David Davis, also.
    A huge responsibility for David and his team. I suggest he read’s and applies the second half of the Proverb, as well: “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”.

  40. turboterrier
    December 9, 2016

    Get out of the EU and get behind our own manufacturing industries. The number of charities, NHS and British companies using imported cars and vans. Build the new warships with British steel must be better than closing down the production and putting thousands on the dole.

    Start on really cutting waste and not just paying lip service to it, removing all the greencrap subsidies and give a level playing field for the supplying of energy.

    Stop fanning around and JFDI. Evoke the 1972 act and just leave, welcome with open arms those countries who want to do business with us and lets just show the world that we do not need to rely on a rapidly disintegrating EU. Have we lost the ability of being our own people and fully governing ourselves?

  41. Martin Reed
    December 9, 2016

    One can only have the greatest regrets that it is not John Redwood who is negotiating with the EU, but Theresa May. If this doesn’t turn out to be the stitch up of the century I’ll eat my hat.

  42. Cameron fan club
    December 9, 2016

    Dave’s been at it again, so says Sky Papers Review. It seems he’s making speeches at £6.32p per hour which should do him nicely. Says we’re a bunch of populists..everyone who voted for Brexit and of course we were tricked .Also says he is proud of his “Legacy” in which he made sure 0.7% of our GDP, our money, goes flitting away to build hairdressing salons in Singapore and whatnot.
    I thought Trump had expressly banned his kind from entering America? Looks like Cameron slithered in over the Mexican border before Trump takes office in January 2017. Cunning!

    1. rose
      December 10, 2016

      But he did indicate the Euro is doomed. His inner Leaver coming out?

  43. Philosopher& Beerist
    December 10, 2016

    Who, what, will be the next President after Trump?
    Well, in my opinion…(trying to gain acceptance of my view by feigned humility and sickening humbleness like Uriah Heap ) is someone this world cannot born.
    He had better make it work or God help us all.

  44. Mark
    December 10, 2016

    As yet, the EU does not have a negotiating position. Barnier and Juncker seem to think that a) they can secure the Council’s nomination for Barnier to lead the negotiation after we submit Article 50 notice and b) an attitude of attempting to saddle the UK with large exit costs accompanied by a refusal to negotiate anything else will have the UK begging to stay under the 50 (3) extension provisions – in short, Project Fear Mk III. We have only to refuse to agree these terms, and remind Barnier that the UK is leaving and EU remains obligated to negotiate until agreement is reached to ensure that we exit under the guillotine, albeit with no agreement in place until the present Commission (and negotiator) are replaced and more sensible negotiations can proceed. We should be prepared for such an outcome, and not give way.

    It is evident from the PM’s meetings with various counterparts around Europe that they do not see things that way – but they do not have a unified view, nor have they really had the opportunity to formulate one. Their first question should be who they will nominate to lead the negotiation, and the reporting relationship they will have to the Council: sidelining the Commission to an advisory role while attaching the negotiating team to the Council Secretariat would be a clear signal that they intend to take charge from the outset. Then we might reach an amicable agreement rather sooner, to the benefit of all.

    The next question for Council should be to try to include as much as possible under the exit agreement, since under Article 50 they retain the right to guide the negotiations rather than the EU Commission, and they will only need a QMV Council vote to finalise approval, rather than being held hostage by “Wallonia” e.g. for a trade agreement under Article 207 negotiated entirely by the Commission. The vague wording in 50 (2) is helpful.

    The delay in the start of the process is looking to be serendipitously beneficial, as political developments across Europe are moving against a Brussels centric view. Now we even have Mrs Merkel being rather more circumspect about migration, for example – and the likely election of Fillon (with an outside chance for le Pen) and a less Europhile parliament in the Netherlands are among several useful trends.

    Perhaps our media could be persuaded to do some serious reporting on these issues.

    1. rose
      December 10, 2016

      Despite their extreme position on the EU, our media are only interested in the USA and they got that wrong.

  45. Jack
    December 10, 2016

    Off topic-

    JR, you always seem to be talking about the growth in credit, but looking at the data it actually looks dangerously weak, as seen here: http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/charts/united-kingdom-loans-to-private-sector.png?s=unitedkinloatoprisec&v=201612100046r&d1=19160101&d2=20161231

    It’s also possible that the government deficit could continue to shrink and therefore place major stress on the private credit structure. What we need right now is massive tax cuts and public spending increases to get the budget deficit up by at least a few percentage points of GDP.

    1. Jack
      December 10, 2016

      By the way, I’m not implying the economy is weak because of Brexit – it’s been weak for far too long now, and if anything Brexit will strengthen the economy if the right decisions are taken.

      After Brexit we will still be able to grow our GDP at over 10% annually if the budget deficit is significantly increased. Iceland just came in with 10.4% YoY GDP growth for Q3 2016, mainly from private sector and foreign deficit spending, but it doesn’t matter where the deficit spending comes from (though preferably the government should do most of it, since it is the currency-issuer after all).

      Also Ireland grew its GDP by about 28% (and GNP about 18%) annually in 2015, showing that our countries have the productive capacity for far higher growth rates than current. Our circa 2.3% GDP growth for 2016 is laughable if not for the thought that we have been wasting trillions of pounds of potential output and denying jobs to the unemployed in the process.

  46. Original Richard
    December 10, 2016

    Will the EU’s negotiations be dominated more by economic or political matters ?

    Will the EU’s ratification of any agreement require unanimity or will it be decided through QMV ?

    Most EU countries, led by Germany who accounts for almost half the £70bn/year trade deficit we have with the EU, exports more to the UK than we export to them. The main exception is Ireland but Ireland is a net recipient of EU money.

    So we might expect the EU to be happy with the existing free trade position although there will be individual countries who will try to improve their trading position with the UK so it could well be that the most likely outcome initially will be trade on WTO terms for both political and economic reasons.

    [It is to be hoped that our government will prepare themselves and companies that trade with Europe for trade on WTO rules ahead of time.]

    There are some remainers who request that we have a second referendum to approve the final terms. But they have not yet defined the question.

    If it is to be whether we accept the terms or remain in the EU, it would seem likely that the EU will treat the negotiations just as they did for Mr. Cameron, and the result will again be trade on WTO terms or worse if it is possible (no MFN status for instance).

    Having said that there are EU countries who would like us to leave the EU, partly to remove our influence on foreign affairs and partly to enable the EU to proceed faster to becoming a single state.

  47. richard binstead
    December 10, 2016

    Excellent article John, and very explanatory!

  48. ChrisS
    December 11, 2016

    Der Spiegel has an interesting piece entitled “Europeans Debate Nuclear Self-Defense after Trump Win”


    It seems that certain politicians are quietly debating whether it might be necessary to make plans to replace the US Nuclear umbrella, the ultimate NATO defence mechanism, with a European solution based on the combined UK and French Nuclear weapons systems. Germany having ruled out ever acquiring a nuclear capability herself.

    If Donald Trump sows sufficient doubt in the mind of German and Polish politicians over whether or not he is prepared to deploy the deterrent in the face of Russian threats, the most vulnerable EU states might just come round to thinking perhaps they better not be quite so nasty to the UK after all.

    For our part it might well be worth Michael Fallon mentioning the subject in the corridors of Brussels next time he’s there. Teresa May might well wonder aloud whether they really should be excluding us from meetings well ahead of us triggering A50.

    France knows only too well from bitter experience that she can’t really exclude herself from European defence however those 22 miles of water do make our situation significantly different.

    I would certainly be telling EU leaders that if they want us to continue to provide the most powerful defence forces in and around Europe, they better think twice about attempting to damage the very economy that funds the Continent’s biggest defence budget.

    If we judge that our economy is likely to back sidesin any way because of the terms they offer, the first thing that would have to go, and pretty quickly, would be all remaining forces based on mainland European soil, particularly those tripwire contingents in the Baltic states and Poland.

    Then, of course, there is the considerable cost of our important contribution to naval forces in Southern Europe where we are helping to deal with the consequences of Mutti Merkel’s very own migrant crisis.

  49. Freeborn John
    December 12, 2016

    Why is it that when one of the ‘3 brexiteers’ make some announcement on brexit they get slapped down by the Prime Minister. But when Philip Hannond does the same, for example on the need for further delay / transitional periods, the PM says nothing? One cannot help but feel that the PM is using Hammond to express her own views. She is going to lose the next election is brexit is not signed, sealed and delivered prior to that election or if she agrees to a never-never soft Brexit that leaves us in the single market subject to EU law and paying Twelve billion a year and in the customs union that stops us concluding FTAs with the USA and others.

    1. rose
      December 13, 2016

      If she is to win the next election she needs to put a real Brexiteer into number 11. But she is too timid to take the bull by the horns. It seems she has the wrong priorities: she is trying to placate forces in the country, including the media, which can’t be placated, rather than getting on with the important task she has been charged with. Has she any views? The first speech at the Conference was convincing and uplifting. But since then ? She is quite old for them not to have emerged thus far.

  50. Simon Coleman
    December 13, 2016

    No, the EU position is not contradictory. They worry about more grubby demagogues in other EU countries using a pack of lies to convince their peoples to leave. Nobody anywhere is pretending that the EU works brilliantly – you Brexit people don’t seem to grasp that. The point is – we’ve been railroaded into taking a gigantic risk with highly uncertain benefits possibly, or possibly not, somewhere down the line. It was better to stay in because the risks were smaller – simple as that.

    1. LordBlagger
      December 14, 2016

      So what’s the EU’s 5 year plan and why didn’t you publish it in detail for the vote?

    2. James Matthews
      December 14, 2016

      No one has been railroaded. A referendum was held and the Remainders lost, despite having overwhelming support from the great and the “good”, big business, the education system, the civil service, the broadcast media, half of the print media and of course the government using money from the taxpayer, all of which did their best to scare the bejabbers out of the voters. They failed, as they deserved to, and would do well to ponder why in a more realistic way than simply alleging that the public were deceived by lies. Even if the lies really existed (which they did not) the remain campaign, with an overwhelming preponderance of resources, should have been able to counter them easily. The reason it couldn’t is clear, its cause had no merit.

  51. a-tracy
    December 14, 2016

    John Hefner says above the UK is 152nd in the world, should have been “state financing for university research”.

    You only ever hear what we’re behind in, eg we’re behind in Healthcare funding, social care, state-financed university research, what are we ahead in because we’re sure spending a lot of money!

    When the leave time said we could keep our EU contribution and choose where to spend it, saying £350m would go a long way to help funding healthcare. There are people saying we need tonnes more money but just comparing the English NHS with say the best in Europe how far behind are we and what are we funding instead that they’re not?

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