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  • WHERE IS MY EUROPEAN UNION?

    Yesterday  22:40, by Iwantout

    The story of Magda is all too human and heartrending. To put numbers to her situation, a typical Greek pensioner has seen their monthly pension drop from 1,350 euro in 2009 to 833 today.

    President Juncker (29/06/15) made a big play of the ‘fact’ that the last deal offered to Greece did not reduce pensioner’s income further. Yet he seems to have forgotten the Troika requirement to increase the tax pensioners must pay for health care and the elimination of additional payments to the poorest pensioners. Both will of course reduce pensioner’s income further, particularly the most vulnerable. Maybe just another case of “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”, one of his quotes from an earlier stage of this crisis.

    Either way Mr Andreou when you are in the polling booth trying to decide which way to vote it may be worth considering that the IMF has today (03/07/15) stated that Greece needs a 30% debt forgiveness programme and an additional 51.9bn euro for the next 3 years. These were simply not in the offer the Troika side presented 25th June 2015.

    Regardless of the result of the referendum, those of us outside Greece can only wish you the very best of luck.

  • David Cameron’s EU negotiation – just part of a bigger nationalist picture

    Yesterday  18:56, by Ashton Easter

    Well said Author. Ignore the very clearly biased, not very well informed Tory detractors.

  • WHERE IS MY EUROPEAN UNION?

    Yesterday  15:43, by Peter Oomsels

    One of the most profound and recognisable accounts of the European/Greek crisis I have ever read.

  • WHERE IS MY EUROPEAN UNION?

    Last Wednesday  23:54, by duodecim stellae

    The Euro from the start was and still is a brilliant idea. It forces the nations of the Eurozone to work together and makes it impossible to disintegrate the European Union without a complete economic catastrophy. As a Paneuropean Federalist I think that is very good, because there still are too many nostalgic nationalists who would wish to turn back time in all countries of the EU. And these people are really a threat to the European citizens, because Europe will only be able to protect itself in the future if it is united. What we seeing right now is unfortunately the triumph of these nationalistic spirits on both sides. As as a German Citizen I must say that I am ashamed by the policy that is done by our politicians, but Tsipras is actually no better. I think the only trustworthy person in this tragedy is President Jean-Claude Juncker and I really think that he wanted to have a program with less social cuts, but had not enough power with Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, the Baltic States, Slovakia and the IMF pushing for harder reforms.

    It is obvious, that we need to make a common economic policy for the whole Euro-area, to not get a long term desintegration, but I never would have thought, that neoliberal or Thatcher or Reagan kind of anglo-saxon market capitalism would be the commen consensus in continental Europe. We should establish a Social Market Economy like in good old West Germany instead. There is no such thing as poor people in Social Market Economy. But I think poverty and feudalistic superrichness is the new chique.

    Despite that I don’t like the policy, I hope that the Greek citizens will say yes in the referendum, because everything else, will be a catastrophy for Europe and will lead to a real humanitarian crisis in Greece. Sad but true. The ECB will have no right to further finance the Greek banks in case of a “no”, and it won’t dare to ignore the rules in that matter. The Greek state will fall appart on Monday in case of a No and there will be total anarchy. No matter what Tsipras says this is a Grexit referendum.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Last Tuesday  23:37, by Iwantout

    —2— You talk about the EU winning referenda, since 1992, there have been 12 votes held in the EU, the EU lost 6, but in each and every case there was either a rerun or the result was ignored. Strangely where the EU won the vote was allowed to stand.

    With regards to the election of Eurosceptic to the EP, in every election since 1999 in the UK the winning party has been Eurosceptic. But of course that is irrelevant because understandably we return only a fraction of the MEPs. However proportionate representation of eurosceptics in the commission and as committee chairs is prevented in clear breach of the D’Hondt system.

    I am at a loss to understand why you feel it is dishonourable to cancel a treaty using the legal means that are available if you no longer believe the treaty is in your best interests. We would just be using the EU law. We have arrived at a point where the UK elite can no longer ignore the wishes of the people. I suggest you look at all the Party manifestos for 2015, you would consider them all highly Eurosceptic. As I said before, even a Yes will not see us more closely linked with you.

    The migrants come to the UK for work, I agree. The point I was making was that while we have social problems as you mentioned, they are not so bad as to make people stay away. Indeed I would argue that actually we are more welcoming than most other countries. We certainly have better racial integration than many EU states, and it is something that we are rightly proud of.

    You hope that the requirement for ‘Ever Closer Union’ will not change and that we will be forced . I suggest to read , enjoy read Paragraph 27 of the EU Summit Communique 27/06/14, it specifically acknowledges the freedom of states not to deepen integration. It has changed already, and the UK is specifically the country that the EU acknowledges does not have to integrate further. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/143478.pdf David Cameron is trying to have this placed in EU Law, but it seems that the principle has been conceded.

    You say we want special conditions. We don’t, we just want a trade relationship plain and simple. You want more, that is why we have had this debate. We will obviously not persuade each other.

    Cheers

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Last Tuesday  23:36, by Iwantout

    Giuseppe Marrosu, You raise many issues in your posts and I cannot respond to them all within the limits of this site. So for the first and only time I will use two response to deal with your claims.

    Your lack of faith in the public and unwillingness to allow them to control their future really does not surprise me. But your examples are flawed. While Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez and Tsipras are leaders who did what they ‘thought was right’, what you say you want, Hitler and Mussolini were not democrats. Hitler used violence and the Enabling Act to seize power, Mussolini was appointed by the King without election. Chavez was a democrat. He won 4 elections from 1998, whatever you (and I) might think of him, people living in Venezuela liked what they got and asked for it repeatedly.

    Tsipras was elected on a clear platform, just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it invalid. You then talk about the Greek referendum. Under the control of the Troika Greece has been the only state in history to move from developed status to developing. The IMF says that the policies of the ECB and Commission towards Greece were wrong (http://www.euractiv.com/euro-finance/imf-sorry-greek-crisis-handling-news-528355 ). Der Spiegel says the same thing today (30/06/15). http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/spiegel-editorial-on-the-greek-referendum-shock-a-1041236.html

    All the polls show the Greeks want to stay in the euro. A Yes vote will provide this for a short while but at the cost of more austerity and pain. The vital debt write down is not available, so inevitably then the crisis will occur again. The reason write offs have been too small is because the other euro countries are not prepared to suffer the loss, no fellow feeling there. (Germany is owed 68.2bn euros, France 43.8bn, Italy 38.4bn, etc) But all economists agree write down is vital.

    If they vote No, they are still in the euro because your leaders forgot to have a mechanism to eject a member who was in breach of the rules. But in reality they will likely leave the euro formally or run a parallel currency (leaving informally), they will then probably default. (Talk of the Greeks being forced to leave the EU is strange, there is no mechanism to force a country out, they would have to apply via Article 50 TFEU.) The currency will then devalue, after further pain the economy will recover competitiveness by this devaluation. France, Italy and many other countries did this right up until the launch of the euro, it is the usual IMF advice.

    This position was created by leaders who did not understand economics but did what they ‘thought was right’, these are the leaders you want to follow??? Andre Szasz (Netherlands Central Banker at time of launch of the euro) summed it up “Not one of the politicians who agreed the Maastricht Treaty understood what they were doing.” Even the EU chief economist, Bernard Connolly warned them, he was sacked.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Last Monday  20:05, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Andrea Iwantout, “I am not sure who would campaign for the EU here”: I am not sure about not being sure... but anyway, that’s your problem. You want to be special? I say “stay out”. I am for free choice and against privileges. “why do you constantly reject open trade that benefits ordinary people?” I never spoke against open trade benefiting ordinary people. You are twisting my words. I am against free trade with some unfair competitors. India, for example, is another thing. India is almost fine with me. CAP: I agree with you. “The UK is simply not going to get any closer than it is already”: then I want it to leave the EU. Remember that “ever closer integration” applies to you, too. I hope this will not change, it would set a dangerous record. “why if it is so bad are almost 300,000 EU citizens a year coming here, as well as migrants jumping on lorries in Calais?” I never said it was “so bad” in the UK. I just wanted to point out that having or not having the Euro is not the only predictor of the wealth of a Nation. Germany has the Euro, Bulgaria does not. The UK has the Euro, Greece does. People’s net flow is from countries which fare bad and have more unemployed people from countries which fare best and have less unemployed people. From the UK to Australia for example ;). But do not cite Calais before looking at the map: Africans and Syrians are on this side of the English Channel, so how could they be going the opposite way? “could you please produce a single piece of evidence from any member state showing that a majority of the population would vote to join a US of E ?” No I can’t and here’s a quote: “The only poll that matters is the referendum vote. Opinion polls are often inaccurate... We will all have to wait” (Andrea Iwantout, 2015). And I don’t have to, either. Remember, I’m a dreamer, I’m not making predictions, I just make statements. But we might have a test on July the 5th when the Greek are going to choose between the EU and “independence”. Because that’s what the next referendum is about. If the “Yes” side wins it will be another nail in the coffin of nationalism, another step towards the US of E, another referendum won by Europe. And not the only one, look at how many there were, one even in the UK. “I keep saying, progress to your federal state by all means, but first ask the people if that is what they want”: Well you can stop telling me. I AGREE 100%. “Remember, the UK is not the only Eurosceptic country, just the most visible”. I wish they ALL were cancelled from the EU. And it is not “Skepticism”. It is hostility.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    Last Monday  19:28, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Iwantout, may I call you Andrea? This may be a girl’s or a boy’s name, so it’s perfect for a person that is not disclosing his/her identity. Dear Andrea, I wrote much because I care much, even if I do not have much time. I am surprised by your faith in the public, remember people like Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez or Tsipras came to power because of an overwhelming public support. Now, unless you think all these gentlemen had the right agenda for their people, you have to admit that more sane leaders and sensible projects were discarded by the demos for some bizarre or outright criminal people and ideas. I find the notion of an anaware public riding a train headed towards “ever closer integration” is in deep contrast both with this faith in the public of yours (they know better than their leaders, but do not even know where they’ve been going for decades now?) and with reality. What were you guys thinking all the times we voted in the European Elections? What purpose is a democratically elected parliament supposed to serve in a simple economical union? And if you are against it, all you have to do is vote a majority of EMP opposing the EU (which you never did). Why can’t you just admit the UK wants to cancel a commitment it gave knowingly and freely? It is dishonourable, but you can do it. After all you are a souvereign Nation. Your contradiction is obvious: “it is not possible to claim that the direction the EU / EZ is taking is a sudden surprise”, you say! That’s also true for the public, and their electoral choices. But if they keep voting for people who would not pull the country out of the EU, then your claim just two letters down: “any country passing new powers to the EU /EZ without a mandate is acting undemocratically” is COMPLETELY ILLOGICAL. Andrea, are you really a Euroenthusiast, posing as an Antieuropeist to show how incosistent their ideas are?

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    27 June 2015  20:49, by Iwantout

    Giuseppe Marrosu, You have said much, I will reply to some of your points.

    Democracy for me means telling voters your objectives and some detail of the methods to be used. Voters then choose a candidate. But with the EU we have a continuous stream of disingenuous platitudes, actions with no mandate and above all little honesty. I do not accept that leaders have any more idea of what is ‘right’ than the public, or even that often they have more knowledge. They rarely have a deep understanding of issues, the euro is a classic example, leaders were warned often of the problems but knew better and went ahead anyway.

    We are electing representatives to carry out a programme of work they campaigned for. There will be times when they have to make decisions beyond the manifesto due to unexpected circumstances, but it is not possible to claim that the direction the EU / EZ is taking is a sudden surprise. So any country passing new powers to the EU /EZ without a mandate is acting undemocratically.

    Removal of UK opt outs etc. Even the CBI the most pro EU business body in the UK supports the euro opt out. If membership became a requirement, I am not sure who would campaign for the EU here.

    Regarding trade, you repeatedly mention the EU need for protection. It is this inward looking stance that is one of the major problems of the EU. The UK trades (as percentage of exports) more with the rest of the World than any other EU state, why do you constantly reject open trade that benefits ordinary people? Why does the EU support CAP which makes food more expensive for everyone and harms farmers outside the EU?

    The only poll that matters is the referendum vote. Opinion polls are often inaccurate and there is already talk by pollsters that their results may well not be right in this case either. We will all have to wait. But even a Yes result still has the UK outside Schengen, euro, JHA and FCHR, together with any ‘changes negotiated’ by Cameron. The UK is simply not going to get any closer than it is already.

    The UK does have social problems, as does every country in the EU. But why if it is so bad are almost 300,000 EU citizens a year coming here, as well as migrants jumping on lorries in Calais? Hint, it is not the weather!

    You talk about a political union, could you please produce a single piece of evidence from any member state showing that a majority of the population would vote to join a US of E ? My biggest worry is that where people have no control over an entity that ignores them, civil unrest and ultimately violence follows. I keep saying, progress to your federal state by all means, but first ask the people if that is what they want. Campaign for it, try to persuade, but do not believe you can move ahead without specific consent. This was even the stance of Viviane Reding in the Wall Street Journal 08/02/12.

    Remember, the UK is not the only Eurosceptic country, just the most visible.

  • On Steiner’s “The Idea of Europe”

    27 June 2015  04:00, by Krishna kumar sinha

    Europe has lead the humanity in the last 300 years throgh a crucial phase of human evolution.the values engendered by renaissance and reformation are the bed rock of European civilization.It is however very clear that terms like preservation of cultural identity or civilisation hegemony come into vogue only due to a self centric and short sighted view. Civilisational identity like human identity are only like a small unrecognizable dot in the grand canvas of Human history. See the dots but appreciate the whole painting.THE WHOLE IS ALWAYS BIGGER THAN THE SUM OF THE DOTS.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    26 June 2015  00:45, by giuseppe marrosu

    Having dreams does not mean ignoring reality. I know that the EU and the european people(s) have terrible limits, but taking down barriers makes sense to me. And while the direction history is taking right now is the opposite and I might live to see Europe falling again to an era of chaos and wars, no one can know exactely what the future holds. Who knows, maybe your polls are not a good predictor of the actual turnout a referendum would have, and maybe my dreams will become reality, and your certainties will turn into your worst nightmares. Next year incredible things will happen, things neither you nor I can predict, just as it happened this year. We will have to change our minds on something. And that’s why you should sign with your real name.

    I see you blame the integration process for mainland Europe’s economic and social problems. There are very integrated european countries that have done better than the UK in recent years; the UK does have very big social problems. Much of Europe’s trouble stems from few births, too many elderly, too much technology making workers obsolete and unemployed, too much globalization allowing chinese and other goods to compete with our more environment-, workers’ rights-friendly, costlier products (the UK is one of those we can thank for the latter): none of them has to do with the Euro or intra-European migration. However I admit that the EU’s bulky decision making process contributed to our problems, but I think we could solve that with a closer union and a stronger central governance. The european people and its democratically elected leaders should decide how to develop the EU’s structures and projects: I have my ideas, other people have different ideas, we should discuss them and vote the best solutions.

    Of one thing I’m sure: if we do not unite not only we’re not going to be able to have an influence in the world, but our lives will be determined by the influence of others outside the EU. The egotism the anti-europeist preach is morally despicable, but it is also short-sighted.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    26 June 2015  00:14, by giuseppe marrosu

    To Iwantout:

    As for a prospective trade agreement between a smaller EU and the UK, I did not say and do not think there will be none, I am only saying I do not think that the negotiations would be easy or that the arrangement would be better or even as good for the UK than the present situation. It could be worst for both the UK and the EU, as both, but especially the latter, try to protect themselves against the commercial and financial influence of a counterpart that has become less of a partner and more of a competitor than it used to be. When we’re not living together anymore you should not expect to keep my house’s keys.

    Switzerland is the model for a UK that severes ties with his allies to seek friendship with everyone. Yes the swiss are welcome everywhere with their fine products and their money, but that’s largely because they’re small and do not want to take sides. They are not a threat because they like the world as it is, with all its dictators, all its wars and all its corruption.

    If you just had Crimea for breakfast the last thing you want is some huge, influential foreign power ruining your digestion with lessons on the rules of good neighbourhood and things like that. Switzerland does not have the size or the interest to worry the Russias of the world. You might say the UK does and you might be right... or might not. The UK has been a very weak power, if compared with the main global players, ever since at least 1956. Without NATO or the EU its influence in Europe and the world would be even less.

    The british bull dog could end up his carrier as a chihuahua, liked by everyone as long as he stays quiet, but uncapable of defending itself, and even less his friends, if needed.

    Do I want the EU to be feared? This is a dangerous world and there are three options for any independent country: be feared by the bullies, seek the protection of someone they fear or bow to them.

    Is the EU feared? If ridicule could kill yes, we would be a superpower right now with our chronic inability to solve external and even our own internal crises, stemming from lack of unity. But our potential is huge. If only we decided to use it.

    S. Korea? I like her too, we should invite her into the EU in replacement of the UK.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    24 June 2015  12:40, by giuseppe marrosu

    We cannot agree on what leadership means in a democracy. For you, it is doing everything the people wants, for me, it is being honest with the voters and doing what one thinks is right. People often do not know or want to accept what is best and right. At the end history, not just the voters, will judge the decision-makers.

    Blair did not have the people with him on the Euro, so he did not insist on the issue. That is not leadership, but rather cowardice, or maybe he was not that much in favor of it after all. He knew that getting into the Euro would have limited his power. With the war in Iraq it was different. He saw a way to increase his Country’s and his personal influence by participating to a dirty war and he seized it.

    The part when you say the monetary union is dangerous without the “supporting political structures”, I completely agree with. But that is as much a reason to give birth to a political union along with the monetary one, as to renounce to the single currency! And, to me, the former option makes a lot more sense.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    24 June 2015  12:27, by giuseppe marrosu

    To Iwantout:

    I’m not sure I will campaign for the UK to leave the EU. That depends on the outcome of the negotiations (if there is any). I do not want the UK to leave the EU, I want it to accept to be part of the EU with the same rules as the others: no rebates, no opt-outs. If you think you deserve more than the others I would not wait for any referendum, I would just cancel you from the Union immediately. And if you refused to leave I would withdraw from the EU my country and promote a new Union based on France’s republican ideals: liberty, freedom and fraternity.

  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    23 June 2015  13:52, by Milo Barnett

    Well in regards to internal party divisons, I would say its a Tory problem simply because what eurosceptics there are realtively small in number and not at all vocal in Labour and other parties. Divsions are perfectly natural in broad mainstream parties and people except this. They don’t however want long ongoiing battles over issues espically when its large sections of the party disageering not just few fringe members.

    I don’t think you can call it unpopular for most people, few people in the UK have firm opinions on it and so the referendum will be time to judge whether its unpopular or not rather just lesser of two evils. The referendum will be chance for people to get both sides of the argument.

    Even if we were to leave the EU, we would still be unable to have a degree of border control as it would simply have a similar system to Switzerland. Immigration though will decline as an issue though, much like the importance of all issues emps and flows. Given the choice between economic growth or a weaker economy, most people will choose the former. Immigration isn’t an issue for most people rather it what realated to do it such as housing, so government lack of social housing is often blamed on increasing number of immigrants, rather than the obvious fact is that for the last 40 years we have built barely enough.

    I agree that the UK will push for op-outs,m ay indeed get them but they will be realtively minor as it’s EU has all cards ,as Camerons knows he as a referendum and he will be cmaapigning to remain in the EU.

    In terms of settling the issue, no issue is ever settled due to public opinion always changing ,so even if Britain opted to leave, there may well join again especially if its a close vote or the economy is badly affected by us leaving

  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    20 June 2015  19:46, by Iwantout

    We can agree that the Conservatives have the biggest divisions over the EU because some of the leadership are Pro EU but the majority of party members are Eurosceptic. But as you acknowledge there are similar problems in all parties because the EU is such a divisive question. In short as I suggested, it is not just a Conservative problem.

    I am not sure you can claim that people are against the EU because the EU is blamed for neo liberal policies, inequality etc in the UK. The UK electorate recently returned the Conservative Government with a majority and knew full well what it stands for, reduction in size of government, larger private sector, reduced welfare etc. Indeed, rightly or wrongly, the EU is seen as a socialist entity that often constrains the free working of the UK economy / government. Given this perhaps you should accept the EU is just not popular.

    As you identify, the issue of immigration is one of the major issues related to being in the EU. Most people do understand that whilst being members of the EU we cannot control our frontiers and this fundamentally impacts on their thinking. As such membership of the EU and uncontrolled migration are inextricably intertwined, as you say migration is pretty much the top political issue in the UK. Ignore it at your peril.

    None of us know what the EU will offer the UK and as you say they have the right to ignore us, but we already have numerous opt outs. The mind-set, certainly from the UK side and I suspect from the EU, is that further opt outs can be provided to allow the EU to progress as it wishes. These may arrive prior to the referendum or when new steps for integration are taken, but they are inevitable and were explicitly accepted as such in paragraph 27 European Council Communique 26/27 June 2014. “The UK raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU. These concerns will need to be addressed. In this context, the European Council noted that the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further."

    The last line kills “ever closer union” with regards to the UK. Thus far and no further.

    http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/143478.pdf

    As you say, the best you seem to be able to hope for is that the vote will settle matters for a while.

  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    20 June 2015  15:28, by Milo Barnett

    Cameron I will cede doesn’t want his party talking about Europe and tearing itself apart,yet by having a referendum he forces other parties to take a stand and where will divisons in there ones to. Yet this will also be controlled chaos as it wouldn’t be sporadic and it will not be an open rebellion as shown by EEC referendum.

    I will agree that all parties have a degree of a European problem, in so far as not all MP’s and supporters back there currents stands on Europe. Yet the Conservatives have it far worse as many of there MP’s and supporters actively go against Cameron and his position making him look weak,though the referendum allows all parties to be forced to have these open divisons.

    Cameron was certainly in no position to go against his promise, yet I wouldn’t say there was large scale public at the EU itself. These people disliked the EU but large section of anger people had last parliament and beyond as been down to changing nature of the economy, neo-liberal economics and system which works for the few. The EU is an easy place for the media and other to blame all these problems on because it appears at first glance to faceless buercracy. People don’t often hear about what the EU does and Cameron feeds on this as well he’d rather they get blamed than his government. The dislike of the EU is more linked to other issues like immigration rather the sovereignty question. This can be shown when you ask people what issues are important to them they rank immigration near the top and the EU itself near the bottom

    Even though Cameron wants these, he is unlikely to get them. His belegirent attitude as annoyed many European leaders and with issues such as Greece on the agenda, they will ignore him. They will do this as they know Cameron has to have a referendum and so are not going to indulge him by giving the UK even more op-out which many countries are annoyed at us for.

    I believe this issue will settle it for a while and unlike with EEC referendum there wouldn’t be the myth that we voted for something different, people know what the EU is and so they have choice to stay or go.

  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    18 June 2015  19:04, by Iwantout

    You argue that Cameron launched the referendum for Conservative Party reasons. You ignore it is a nightmare for him, he wants the Party to “stop banging on about Europe” and wants the entire issue to go away. The EU is an issue for all Parties because of public hostility, not least due to uncontrolled migration.

    In this and other articles you suggest only the Conservatives have a problem with the EU. But all the main parties support the ‘Referendum Lock’ and Labour have now stated they were wrong not to offer an in /out referendum. Remember that in EU terms Labour is Eurosceptic, failed to join the euro and obtained numerous opt outs.

    I agree that domestic PR is a vital part of David Cameron’s travels around the EU. He is highly pro EU himself and after reneging on a previous ‘cast iron guarantee’ referendum promise had no option but to concede this vote to tackle public anger on membership. He requires something positive to show (however illusory) and this is the smokescreen.

    For your information the new chief advisor to Cameron on the EU renegotiation is Mats Perrson, a Swede until recently the Director of the Open Europe think tank. It is useful then to see what Open Europe has stated the UK should seek from the renegotiation. On the 08/06/15 they published 11 objectives

    • Treaty confirmation of the already agreed removal of ‘ever closer Union’ from the UK

    • Explicit commitment to multi currency EU

    • Safeguards for non euro states

    • Mechanism to opt in/out of future integration in non-Single Market areas such as employment, environment and justice and home affairs

    • Liberalisation of EU services, energy and digital markets

    • Faster timetable for new EU free trade agreements (FTAs)

    • Less and better quality regulations e.g. allow amendments / opt-outs to high cost regulations outside the Single Market eg Working Time Directive or the Agency Workers Directive.

    • EU budget reform particularly relating to regional and CAP funding with move towards R&D

    • Balance free movement against the national responsibility for welfare “Restricting access to national welfare systems to those who have been lawfully resident for several years….rights to welfare are dependent on a contribution to their host country”

    • ‘Red card’ for national parliaments

    • Return judicial control over justice and home affairs to member states

    http://openeurope.org.uk/intelligence/britain-and-the-eu/a-blueprint-for-reform-of-the-european-union/ They comment that the EU must become ‘multi-form’ with rolling reform. This is the advice Cameron is getting and he will need to show progress to win the vote. How many of these could you support?

    The comment that a Yes vote “might settle the issue for a while” is wise. Without a fundamental change in the UK relationship with the EU the problems will merely reappear and the difficulties will start all over again

  • David Cameron’s EU negotiation – just part of a bigger nationalist picture

    15 June 2015  21:54, by Iwantout

    No one knows what Cameron is trying to ‘renegotiate’ but the following seem possible.

    No ‘ever closer Union’ for the UK. What is the big deal? There is no evidence at all of a UK majority in favour of closer ties with the EU. If you want further integration carry on, but without us.

    Benefits to be available to EU migrants only after they have paid into the system for some time. Why should a person be able to present themselves for benefits without paying in a penny ? Unless the EU wakes up to how unbelievably toxic this is as an issue it may be sufficient to gain a No vote on its own.

    Protection for non EZ countries. The UK is under represented in the EP and the QMV system (as are all large states), the EU has shown a willingness to ignore treaty protection / obligation many times previously, so what is wrong with requiring watertight protection from EZ control ?

    The ECHR is under attack from across the board here. Leading judges and Labour politicians as well as Conservatives are highly critical. The ECHR is widely seen to have strayed into politics and to be ignoring the legislation that constrains the Court itself. Amusingly the ECJ refused to allow the EU to join the ECHR in its own right as it would have subordinated the ECJ to the ECHR and that was unacceptable.

    Speaking of the law, why do you not complain that German law is superior to EU legislation (Constitutional Court ruling) and praise the UK for subordinating its law to EU legislation?

    Foreign aid, we are one of only 4 EU states who actually meet the target, why is it you never mention that? Germany, France, Belgium and any number of ‘good’ EU states fail and are actually cutting the aid they give. You do know that “counting some of the aid being diverted to the Ministry of Defence” is just following French practice?

    The referendum is based on the general election system, so no votes for EU nationals. Why is that a problem? This is a UK vote, not an EU vote. If EU nationals voted, think of the reaction to a Yes vote won by fewer than the number of EU nationals in the country (approx. 2.3m). Outright fury seems likely.

    The Conservatives pulled out of the EPP because it promotes federalism. The Conservatives do not, it would have been truly bizarre for them to stay in a group that wants something they oppose. Cameron vetoed a treaty he believed was against UK interests, he is supposed to act in UK interests.

    He calls for scrapping of unnecessary EU regulation, isn’t that what Commissioner Timmermans is now trying to do as well?

    Cameron is pro EU, he has repeatedly said he wants to stay in the EU (which is why most of us do not believe in his renegotiation) but he is being driven by power beyond his control, public opinion. Remember UKIP got more votes than the Lib/Dems and SNP combined.

  • David Cameron’s EU negotiation – just part of a bigger nationalist picture

    15 June 2015  12:07, by Richard

    Oh dear. The SNP were characterised as being narrow Nationalists because that’s what they are. No one attacked them for being Scottish - the Conservatives merely pointed out the dangers inherent in having the Union being governed by a weak Labour Party permanently dependent on the favours of the SNP, who have only two interests: Scotland and independence. The SNP would not hesitate for a second to put Scottish interests above those of the Union, and indeed would happily damage the Union as a way of engineering a second independence vote. It was not David Cameron who convinced the English of the dangers of any arrangement where the SNP held the balance of power: it was Nicola Sturgeon.

    Yes, the SNP have a veneer of “pro-Europeanism”. It did not extend to favouring the euro or Schengen though. It’s just a way of their saying “see, we’re not narrow-minded nationalists, we like Europe”. But look at any typical SNP speech; replace “Westminster” with “Brussels” and you have a carbon copy of UKIP.

    Are the Scottish Nationalists narrow-minded Nationalists? When it comes to the Union of the UK, they most certainly are. There’s a constant refrain of “people we did not elect dictating to us”, “laws we did not vote for”, “stealing our oil” and above all “if it’s bad, it’s Westminster’s fault”

    If that sounds familiar, it’s the sort of stuff Nigel Farage comes out with every day.

    As to foreign aid: may I ask how many other EU countries actually meet the .7% obligation by enshrining it into law? Why don’t you write an article about how terrible it is that Finland just slashed theirs by over 40%?

    If Cameron cut foreign aid it would be greeted with relief by the public. We do not see the value of spending £12 billion annually (a sum set to rise, as it is based on GDP) on what are often porkbarrel projects of little worth in countries who have nuclear bombs and spacecraft, whilst cutting the same amount from the disabled and children here in the UK.

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