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Old 16-09-2021, 17:16   #2446
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Re: Britain outside the EU

This article in today's Grauniad is worthy of reproduction. It is headlined:

Quote:
In Germany’s election, the fate of the EU is at stake
Quote:
In Brussels last week, I found everyone waiting for Berlin. In Berlin, I found everyone electrified by an unexpectedly wide-open election. One thing, however, is clear: the new German government will be a coalition, and almost certainly of three, rather than two, parties.

That points to the deepest question underlying this pivotal European event: can democracy deliver? More precisely: can the European model of change through democratic consensus, of which Germany is a prime example, produce the actions Europe badly needs if it is to hold its own in the 21st century?

The European Union is like a giant slot machine. The more pineapples, or oranges, line up on the screen, the better the results. The German election will account for about four fruits in a row; France’s presidential election next spring will spin another three. Italy and Spain contribute perhaps two each, with the rest being generated by other European countries and the European institutions.

Whatever the EU’s own treaties say, in practice the alignment of national governments remains the key to any major initiative it takes. My friends in Brussels constantly talk about “the Germans” pushing this or “the French” pushing that. Most European commissioners retain a national tint. Even the big transcontinental party groupings in the European parliament are significantly influenced by national parties from the largest member states. To make the union work well requires a coalition of coalitions made up of coalitions.

Critics constantly talk about a “democratic deficit” within the EU but in reality almost the opposite is true. The system is so complicated and slow-moving precisely because it requires the consent of 26 democratically elected governments plus Hungary, as well as a democratically elected European parliament and sometimes also sub-national states and regions. The EU is a permanent negotiation. The wonder is not that it moves slowly but that it moves at all.

A crisis can help. Without the Covid pandemic, we would not have the €750bn (£640bn) of grants and loans, drawing on shared European debt, in the recovery fund known as Next Generation EU. A giant poster on the side of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels shows a joyfully leaping young European, with the words Next Gen EU splashed across one shin; but really a spiky virus should be up there in lights as well. An optimist would say that floods in north-western Europe and forest fires in Greece have made Europe wake up to the climate crisis. Yet it’s an odd polity that relies on successive crises for its survival.

In the capital of Germany, Europe’s central power, the talk is all about the different possible coalitions that might emerge from what will probably be months of talks between parties following the federal election on 26 September. Wits remark that, long after all the obituaries on her 16 years in power have been published, (acting) chancellor Angela Merkel may yet deliver the 2022 New Year’s address, wearing another of her colourful jackets.

Talking of colours, the two most likely coalitions are described as “Jamaica” (the colours of the island’s flag: black for Christian Democrats, yellow for Free Democrats, and the Greens) or “traffic light” (substitute Social Democrats’ red for Christian Democrats’ black). Both coalitions would be firmly pro-European. An analysis of party manifestos shows that the Greens and Free Democrats have the most pro-integration, federalist visions for Europe, although with important differences between them. Armin Laschet, the Christian Democrat candidate for chancellor, is a classic West German West European, with a statue of Charlemagne in his office. (His brother claims the family is actually descended from Charlemagne.) There is no doubting his personal European commitment.

On balance, though, it seems to me that the traffic-light coalition would be the one most likely to produce the green light for Europe. Last Sunday’s television debate between the candidates for chancellor apparently reinforced the view of a plurality of Germans that the Social Democrats’ Olaf Scholz – the solid, steady and experienced finance minister and deputy chancellor – is the one best qualified to succeed Merkel. I tend to agree with them.

All the parties in the two likeliest coalitions seem finally to have grasped the urgency of addressing climate change and, in their different ways, are determined to work with the mighty German business sector to organise the necessary economic transformation. The devil is in the detail, but this will undoubtedly reinforce the EU’s own green initiatives, led by commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

Where the traffic-light coalition scores over Jamaica is on the eurozone. Either of these three-party coalitions would almost certainly have a hardline German finance minister in Christian Lindner of the Free Democrats. (He once told me “there is only one ministry in Berlin”, meaning the finance ministry.) But a Chancellor Scholz would be more likely than the fiscally conservative Christian Democrats to show the pragmatic flexibility that will be needed not merely to prevent the eurozone from collapsing – any likely German government would do that – but to make it work better for the long-suffering economies of southern Europe.

Nonetheless, difficult coalition negotiations between three parties will necessarily produce complex compromises and therefore a less clear, forceful impulse to Brussels. And Germany is still only four pineapples. Assuming that French president Emmanuel Macron ends up fighting the final round of next spring’s presidential election against the nationalist populist Marine Le Pen, the hope must be that he will prevail. But having spent some time in France recently, I feel a nagging unease. The populist witches’ brew that combines the themes of immigration, Islam, terrorism and crime into a single fear-inducing narrative is very powerful in France. An unforeseen event, such as a terrorist attack on the eve of the run-off, could just make the unthinkable happen.

Europe also needs Italy’s “Super Mario” Draghi to remain as prime minister, rather than switching over to being the country’s president, possibly triggering an election in which nationalist populists could also do well. And it needs a sensible government to remain in power in Spain. Then and only then would you have, by the middle of next year, the necessary alignment for a post-Covid period of dynamic European reform.

All this is possible, but very far from certain. The government that emerges in Berlin is the first, but only the first, test of whether the European model of change through democratic consensus can deliver the goods. If democracy does not deliver, then young Europeans will look for alternative models. In an EU-wide opinion poll conducted last year for my research team in Oxford, 53% of young Europeans said they think authoritarian states are better equipped than democracies to tackle global heating. Europe’s challenge is to prove the opposite – and not just for the climate crisis.
The bit about the EU operating like a fruit machine is brilliant.

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Old 16-09-2021, 18:45   #2447
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Link to original article provided - this helps comply with newspapers’ "Fair Use" policies.

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...mocracy-europe
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Old 16-09-2021, 18:48   #2448
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Re: Britain outside the EU

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newspapers’ "Fair Use" policies
. . which has been decimated since Andrex came onto the scene
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Old 16-09-2021, 21:32   #2449
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1andrew1 View Post
It's also good news for our EU friends.

“It’s ironic,” said one EU diplomat. “They talked about taking back control, but they are letting products into Britain without any controls at all. That’s fine with us.”

“Worse, it actually helps the UK’s competitors. The asymmetric nature of border controls facing exports and imports distorts the market and places many UK producers at a competitive disadvantage with EU producers.” Food & Drink Federation's Chief Executive Ian Wright.

https://www.ft.com/content/e32dda1b-...2-3d80604df431
This is a transitional arrangement, and it is called ‘flexibility’. Quite a contrast to the EU’s bureaucratic and rigid approach.
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Old 16-09-2021, 22:30   #2450
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Re: Britain outside the EU

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Originally Posted by OLD BOY View Post
This is a transitional arrangement, and it is called ‘flexibility’. Quite a contrast to the EU’s bureaucratic and rigid approach.
No, it’s called kicking the down the road
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Old 16-09-2021, 22:42   #2451
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Re: Britain outside the EU

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Originally Posted by mrmistoffelees View Post
No, it’s called kicking the down the road
What's your point?
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Old 16-09-2021, 22:50   #2452
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Re: Britain outside the EU

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Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
What's your point?
Trying to sell our inability to implement the terms we agreed to as ‘flexibility’ is a non starter.

Clear enough for you? Or, do you want to get into it further ?
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Old 16-09-2021, 23:17   #2453
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Re: Britain outside the EU

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Originally Posted by mrmistoffelees View Post
Trying to sell our inability to implement the terms we agreed to as ‘flexibility’ is a non starter.

Clear enough for you? Or, do you want to get into it further ?
Well, why didn't you say so? Saying "just kicking the can down the road" has no value.

We are extending the grace period because of our inability (yet) to meet the terms of the agreement, That inability isn't a systems problem, it's a political problem. The EU is sticking to the letter of their regulations rather than adjusting to a more pragmatic method. The sandwiches matter comes to mind and, more importantly, delivery of medicines to NI from GB.

You drone on about "implementing the terms we agreed". If we did that, we would be stiffing our fellow NI citizens. Surely, you don't want that? Please answer me directly - do you really want to implement the agreement and thus worsen the NI people's situation?


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Old 17-09-2021, 00:25   #2454
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLD BOY View Post
This is a transitional arrangement, and it is called ‘flexibility’. Quite a contrast to the EU’s bureaucratic and rigid approach.
Both are doing what's in their best interests.

By checking UK exports, the EU deters them. We've seen M&S announce the closure of 11 franchise stores in Paris citing post-Brexit checks. Longer term, this encourages investment in the EU as oppose to the UK.
In contrast, the UK is dependent on EU imports. By checking them, it would just mean even more empty shelves. However, it annoys the UK's food and drink manufacturers who are now at an economic disadvantage.
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Old 17-09-2021, 00:38   #2455
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
Well, why didn't you say so? Saying "just kicking the can down the road" has no value.

We are extending the grace period because of our inability (yet) to meet the terms of the agreement, That inability isn't a systems problem, it's a political problem. The EU is sticking to the letter of their regulations rather than adjusting to a more pragmatic method. The sandwiches matter comes to mind and, more importantly, delivery of medicines to NI from GB.

You drone on about "implementing the terms we agreed". If we did that, we would be stiffing our fellow NI citizens. Surely, you don't want that? Please answer me directly - do you really want to implement the agreement and thus worsen the NI people's situation?


Why did Boris and the Tory Party sign it, then? Did they want to "stiff our fellow NI citizens" and "worsen the NI peoples’ situation"?

You seem to be blaming the neighbours rather than the arsonists who set the blaze off…
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Old 17-09-2021, 00:51   #2456
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Re: Britain outside the EU

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Originally Posted by Hugh View Post
Why did Boris and the Tory Party sign it, then? Did they want to "stiff our fellow NI citizens" and "worsen the NI peoples’ situation"?

You seem to be blaming the neighbours rather than the arsonists who set the blaze off…
I've answered that question before.

They should not have signed it. The NI Protocol is a sham designed to cause difficulties for the UK. The EU knew it would be enforcing harsh customs rules and must have known that this would hurt the NI people. Boris and his lot obviously thought that they could get the NI Protocol revised after Brexit.

You talk about arsonists. The EC is "subversionist" and Boris now has to pull a miracle out of his hat or else ditch the protocol.

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Old 17-09-2021, 07:21   #2457
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Re: Britain outside the EU

F
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
I've answered that question before.

They should not have signed it. The NI Protocol is a sham designed to cause difficulties for the UK. The EU knew it would be enforcing harsh customs rules and must have known that this would hurt the NI people. Boris and his lot obviously thought that they could get the NI Protocol revised after Brexit.

You talk about arsonists. The EC is "subversionist" and Boris now has to pull a miracle out of his hat or else ditch the protocol.

The Perfidious Albion Theory bears conssideration - that the UK signed the Protocol but thinks it can get away without implementing it fully.

Last edited by 1andrew1; 17-09-2021 at 07:32.
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Old 17-09-2021, 09:10   #2458
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
Well, why didn't you say so? Saying "just kicking the can down the road" has no value.

We are extending the grace period because of our inability (yet) to meet the terms of the agreement, That inability isn't a systems problem, it's a political problem. The EU is sticking to the letter of their regulations rather than adjusting to a more pragmatic method. The sandwiches matter comes to mind and, more importantly, delivery of medicines to NI from GB.

You drone on about "implementing the terms we agreed". If we did that, we would be stiffing our fellow NI citizens. Surely, you don't want that? Please answer me directly - do you really want to implement the agreement and thus worsen the NI people's situation?


Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows what is meant by kicking the can down the road

The legally binding treaty which we agreed too needs to be implemented, simple as that. I don’t want to pay my taxes but guess what, I have to.

We’re going over old ground but to repeat we either

1) shouldn’t have signed the deal if it was so bad
2) didn’t understand the requirements of the deal we signed

As long as the EU aren’t breaking the conditions of the agreement they can interpret it and implement it as they see fit.

What happened to Brexit being easy?
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Old 17-09-2021, 10:11   #2459
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Slightly pedantic but relevant in this case:

“Legally binding” is a misleading term when discussing a treaty between two sovereign states (or as in this case one sovereign state and a supranational organisation representing a number of sovereign states). A sovereign state cannot ultimately be bound by any law. That’s what sovereign means. It may honour or renege upon treaties. The calculation is national interest, whether it is more beneficial to honour the treaty or not. The things the sovereign gains directly from the treaty, along with global reputation on the one hand, are balanced against the disadvantages of the treaty on the other - along with the possibility of damaged reputation and/or other sanctions imposed by other sovereign states.

Ultimately none of this is really law in the sense you implied by comparing it with your taxes. In that case, the sovereign sets the law to which you are subject. If you fail to pay, no judge passing sentence will start from the position that you were just a sovereign entity who had the right to decide not to pay (despite the efforts of some Freeman-on-the-land nutters to try these tactics in court from time to time). In statecraft the response to a recalcitrant rival is persuasion, sanction or all-out war. In the courts it is simply sentence.
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Old 17-09-2021, 10:27   #2460
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Re: Britain outside the EU

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1andrew1 View Post
F
The Perfidious Albion Theory bears conssideration - that the UK signed the Protocol but thinks it can get away without implementing it fully.
You've completely ignored my point that the EU knew exactly how their rules implementation would hurt the NI people. Perfidious?

---------- Post added at 09:27 ---------- Previous post was at 09:26 ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmistoffelees View Post
Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows what is meant by kicking the can down the road

The legally binding treaty which we agreed too needs to be implemented, simple as that. I don’t want to pay my taxes but guess what, I have to.

We’re going over old ground but to repeat we either

1) shouldn’t have signed the deal if it was so bad
2) didn’t understand the requirements of the deal we signed

As long as the EU aren’t breaking the conditions of the agreement they can interpret it and implement it as they see fit.

What happened to Brexit being easy?
You're still in "I told you so" mode. Worthless.
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