I often see Leavers criticising the EU as being “sclerotic” and at the same time criticising it for ever-deepening integration. I can accept that some won’t like the ever-deepening integration eg the suggestion of a EU army, but surely it’s a bit rich to accuse the EU of being overly-rigid and forever pursuing closer integration at the same time? Indeed, many Leavers lament that the EU started as a trading block but didn’t stay that way. You can’t have it both ways.
We agree on something at least.
Surely one of the worst figures in world politics.
I feel sorry for Theresa May having to waste hours she will never get back having to talk to him. Mind you I would extend that to anybody who has to deal with him except perhaps Donald Tusk who deserves no better (what is it about Donalds & Twitter? Forum members excepted, of course).
I understand our politicians are not great, but compared with that lot in the European Commission … I know it is setting the bar very very low.
Very true. You could add Sweden to your list of countries receiving unfair and unfavourable treatment - anybody interested should look at who the Commission awards big contracts to.
Perhaps if the EU were run by better people then I would be more sympathetic to membership, but it’ll never change. Anybody who believes those running the Commission are motivated by anything other than their own agenda on the gravy train or believes the Parliament has power to override this will be sadly disillusioned.
You are joking, surely?
To use “ever-deepening integration” as a rebuttal to the charge of sclerotism is inventive, but completely erroneous.
The EU’s insistence on more and more centralised EU control as the only solution to Europe’s various woes exemplifies the sclerotic nature of their unthinking, institutionalised, inflexible nature.
An interesting article which links neatly to the rather good new thread about watches. I didn’t want to taint the watch thread though …
Interesting, but shame it’s not a true British watch, the movement - rather a key part of a watch - not made in Britain. (There is, however , one British manufacturer that does make watches in their entirety.) However this is nothing to do with Brexit, other than pointing out that the poor exchange rate, whilst negative for the majority, does have some winners.
I still say your assertion that I am rewriting history is incorrect - everything I wrote will stand detailed investigation. Ho hum …
I hear what you say, but I simply don’t agree that the EU has any democratic credentials or aspirations whatsoever. The anti-democratic attitudes of the Brussels elites has, for a long time, been widely commented on and is evidenced, repeatedly, from the mouth of the President of the Commission - the de-facto leader (!) of the EU - I don’t need to repeat his words here. This “democracy deficit” was/is undoubtedly a contributing factor in Brexit and the continuing rise of populist anti-EU fervour across continental Europe.
As to the EU missing the UK’s, undoubtedly glorious, “long history of democracy” - again, I hear what you say, but there is no evidence that makes me believe it. The UK’s Anglo-Saxon attitudes and culture have always been at odds with the more “communitaire” culture of continental Europe. We have always been uncomfortable partners and the strains have become too great.
I think what they will definitely miss is our money.
I believe that the vitriol and anti European sentiment, but anti France and Germany sentiment in particular in recent posts have gone just that little bit too far. They don’t just amount to rewriting history but they verge on both xenophobia and paranoia. I simply do not recognise some of the assertions and claims that have been made, and I suspect that many on the ‘Leave’ side will also be of the opinion that some of these posts are way over the top no matter what their position on membership of the EU.
The following reference to the war and the implication that the EU (and by inference Germany) has succeeded where warfare failed is simply scandalous:
“We find ourselves in a situation that warfare tried, and failed, to implement and which our politicians have cravenly agreed to”
and this particular quote is indicative of how quite a few people on the ‘Leave’ side appear to be of the opinion that the UK is ‘England’:
“The UK’s Anglo-Saxon attitudes and culture have always been at odds with the more “communitaire” culture of continental Europe”
This remark is not necessarily going to hold much sway in Scotland, Northern Ireland nor in large parts of Wales.
What are the pros and cons of an European Army ? Apart from conjecture, is there a proper study? Same for what are the pros and cons of NATO? The press indeed has mentioned that France is eurospectical and yet wants to pursue and european army.
Not at all. The definition of sclerotic you cite was rigid, and an inability to adapt. You may not like the way the EU has adapted since the original EEC trade-block but: it is now very much bigger with 28 members; it has introduced the single market with the four freedoms and abolition of frontier controls; it has expanded significantly matters that fall under ‘EU competence’ eg tacking illegal drugs, weapons where now EU members have hitherto unprecedented levels of co-operation ; it has reformed CAP; it has changed its voting systems; it has introduced Schengen and the Euro. That sounds pretty ‘adaptable’ to me. The UK was one of the leading member states behind many of those changes.
There are no plans for a EU army. But with the current geopolitics (i.e. Trump) being what it is some countries have discussed some military cooperation, probably in case NATO blows up - and the Uk (Theresa May) have endorsed this. It will be opt-in. 22 of EU27 are members of NATO and they are worried about where the US is going (understandably).
More concrete are the plans for cooperation on a small force that can be deployed in international conflicts (read UN). This would not be owned by the EU, more coordinated. Also opt-in.
Agree.But with younger generations it is almost impossible to guess nationality and get it right. This has nothing to do with the EU. More with media, easy movement and the net.
But the EU is not just a customs union, it has also become kind of the town hall where you meet and discuss european projects. And I dont mean meeting in Brussels or having some EU person in the room - but its just more easy to cooperate if you have the same regulations and so on.
Currently there is quite a bit of anti-UK sentiment going on, but that is just the current.situation.
That does not surprise me one bit.
Hopefully most people will realise that this is our politicians and most of the UK population are much more reasonable (even many of the brexiteers). Yes we have a xenophobic and/or paranoid and/or belligerent minority, but they are a minority in the same way that the similar right wing militant groups in other European countries are minorities.
BSE was (allegedly) started when scrapie moved from sheep to cows via concentrates fed to cows (AKA CowCake). The link to ‘heat’ was that the minimum rendering temperature (and time/process) used had changed in the early 1980s. The assumption is that the change in method allowed prions from the scrapie infected sheep to cross into cows.
I found there were definitely national traits at such meetings. In particularly, two national groups seemed to disagree and shout at each other quite often: awkward for the sake of it or so it seemed. Personally, I stepped aside when vitriol took over as it was fortunate an Italian colleague seemed able to calm those involved down. Outside of the meetings, everybody seemed to get on quite well.
One business commentator said recently if the EU got out of the way then business from European countries would get on with things without these problems. I didn’t see any value in any EU project I worked on for the people of UK or Europe (vanity projects to be honest), but non-EU pan-European projects were quite the opposite. I liked global projects best though.
I don’t detect any anti-European sentiment in this discussion, but there is is anti-EU feeling, which is understandable. Most people don’t like institutions.
that link to the harry enfield vid is hilarious
GSM, as an example, would not have existed in the form it did without the EU (or a predecessor organisation).
The management of product safety standards is done much more effectively (both technically and cost effectively) when amortised across the whole of the EU markets.
I think the EU does and has done a lot that can’t be labelled as ‘vanity projects’. Frankly I’m not even sure which products would be defined as ‘vanity projects’ certainly nothing I’ve ever been involved with.
And, regarding the point about nationalities reacting in different ways; they do it in other meetings also whether it’s got something to do with the EU or not.
Oh! hang on a minute, that’s all the UK government’s vanity, nothing to do with the EU!
Yes - that is very true. However, it’s not supposed to in the EU. They all supposed to be working for the good of Europe rather than national interests.
Yes there are UK vanity projects & UK civil servants are not perfect, but is that really the point? Do we really want to add more vanity projects and more Eurocrats (much higher salaries than our own civil servants incidentally),
If the EU were reformed and simply stuck to administering a European Free Trade Area then I doubt anybody would have objected to it, but its ever growing army of Eurocrats is beyond the pale. Do we need a European Parliament? Do you know who your MEP is or what he does? If you’re in UK then he or she’s more than likely UKIP. If you think we do need EP then why isn’t collocated with the Commission in a cost effective location? None of this reform happens because they’ll never jump off the gravy train.
As you can see my stance is not anti-Europe, but anti-EU, which I see as a huge unnecessary overhead that is trying to take power from its member states by stealth and passing on the bill.
Because some people are more passionate than others doesn’t mean that they are following
national interest, it’s possibly just a matter of their ‘programming’. There was a dutch organisational psychologist working for IBM (Geert Hofstede) that did some really good work on this that helps one understand what people’s base ‘programming’ is.
So many points.
My MEP isn’t singular, in fact I don’t think anyone in the UK has a single MEP do they?
Why would you use ‘he’ to describe the gender?
In the South West I have 6 MEPs. I could name two of them- Julie Girling and Molly Scott Cato. And I’ve followed a lot of what Molly Scott Cato does. All I can say with certainty about Julie Girling is she’s done the decent thing and decried the Tory mess and walked away from the party.
As to UKIP, of the six in the South West constituency two were UKIP. Now it’s none. Two were Tory, One Labour, One Green, So hardly a majority (in my case).
I think electing UKIP to the EP was the height of stupidity- if one wanted out of the EU then elect to Westminster. Electing these dangerous idiots and in many case bigots did nothing to improve the effectiveness of the EU and just enriched some dangerous people.
Of course, maybe this was the plan; weaken the EU from within. In which case it was genius… but somehow I doubt the majority who voted UKIP were this machiavellian.
As to your points about the need for a European Parliament etc. I fundamentally disagree. I’d rather cut back the number of MPs/Lords than reduce spending on the EP. We won’t agree- I don’t think it’s either a huge overhead (when looked across the EU population) nor unnecessary.
My only consolation (and it’s a small one) as I watch my country diminish itself is that this is a necessary step to break the ‘English Exceptionalism’ views that many hold. Ten years or so of the lies being exposed and the UK suffering will bring England (and Wales) back to the EU in a much reduced state and a less influential position. Of course by say 2030 there’s every chance Scotland is independent and Ireland is on the road to being re-unified.