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In or out?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Zeff
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Re: In or out?

#1781 Postby Zeff » June 18th, 2017, 1:00 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

animist wrote:
Zeff wrote:
animist wrote:... which basically complained that the EU was not the USA, ignores the differences between the historical genesis of the two entities....
That entirely misreads my post and I ignored nothing. To clarify further: what makes the USA successful? I think the two main ingredients are a common language and low impediments regarding the four principles of goods, services, people and capital. In my view, the latter cannot advance much further without the former unless the EU somehow becomes a more attractive proposition. 'Better than nothing, most of the time' about sums the EU up.

Thanks for the replies but I think they just illustrate the complacency about EU inefficiencies and unresponsiveness. It also illustrates that those who support EU membership don't even accept that the EU needs to aspire to attract membership and to take care not to penalise non-members.

The EU will be whatever 27 independent nations can make it and others join on their terms or stay out. I find that a hard choice for the UK - economic benefits but unwelcome conditions such as less control over immigration. (It is widely supposed leaving the EU will give Westminster more control over immigration). We'd probably prosper more if we applied to be the 51st US state. (I should make clear that I know that isn't politically feasible at this point and they likely wouldn't have us. It seems I've engendered an extremely low opinion of my level of historical and political awareness).

The future will tell if the EU will prosper or decline and both continents have their problems. Despite its greater population, I think the EU will struggle on as the weaker, poorer relation to the USA. The EU may crumble if immigration and economic crises increase, especially with Putin seeing advantage in its demise. If events go that way, perhaps history will record Brexit as an unheeded warning.
Zeff, I did not mean, by using the word "ignore", that you had somehow wilfully neglected to consider that different nations develop from the myriad conditions which shape all history, I simply meant to point out the incredible complexity of life. You come up with two reasons for US success: a common language and low impediments to the four principles. Only one of these, the first one, can be regarded as "reason", and even then this is debatable, since most countries of South America shared a common language (Spanish) but failed to create a nation like the USA. Re the low impediments to integration, ISTM (partly as a result of reading your post) that the EU is actually trying to replicate the US's success (which simply "happened") in a rather artificial way, and that this may be a genuinely valid criticism of the EU, ie that it is trying excessively to emulate the unique historical event which is the USA.

Very few of us have a high "level of historical and political awareness" (and those that do still disagree between themselves) so please don't feel discouraged that we disagree in some respects over the here-and-now issues of Brexit :smile:

No problem Animist. I just think where we appear to disagree is on what can be done and what cannot. The history is probably widely agreed on.

For instance, I think it should be easy for you, Alan and I to readily agree that the EU needs to encourage membership and not penalise non-members. I think it is important that is seen by most people to be the EU approach.

I think I understand the historical and cultural differences that has led to the absurd Strasbourg/Brussels situation. I don't accept the EU cannot solve it, nor that is a responsible way to behave if the aim is to make EU membership attractive.

That leads to another point. Many Remainers like me (quite apart from Brexiters) are concerned that the aim of many in the EU is to make it more than an attractive trading bloc. Some seem to want to go much further towards integration and federalism. That force has probably run its course and pushing it harder will only result in more internal conflict and possibly further loss of membership. If people really want a federal EU they need to start by achieving a common language in the home throughout the EU. It seems to me that nobody in the whole of the EU except me is even talking or thinking in such terms. It isn't that I don't know how off-beat this sounds, it is that I genuinely believe this to be true. In time, I think history will be on my side. Greater integration makes sense but that will require freer communication across the entire electorate.

I think we also may not agree exactly on what makes the USA successful. We both know the history and see how it explains why American countries and European ones are where we are. I didn't say there were only two reasons, I said those were the two to focus on first and from which most may be learned and applied in the EU. I hope we might all agree that history is for learning from and not just an endless stream of excuses why controversial, difficult political decisions can't be taken. Again history aside, the resolution of the Strasbourg/Brussels conundrum, for example, needs to be considered possible. Such problems should not be calmly dismissed as understandable, tolerable or mere distractions from what's important. That situation has been going on far too long for that.

History obviously explain why we are where we are. That's a given. What interests me is: can the EU electorate collectively learn why we're always inevitably poorer or isn't it able to? The four principles are effectively hostage to the language barrier, but I suspect most Europeans would disagree with me on that. I think that majority is seriously wrong and language should be the first concern now of those who want the EU to be anything more than strictly a trading bloc.

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Alan H
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Re: In or out?

#1782 Postby Alan H » June 18th, 2017, 8:50 pm

It all kicks off tomorrow:

Screenshot from 2017-06-18 4.png
Screenshot from 2017-06-18 4.png (753.08 KiB) Viewed 180 times
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animist
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Re: In or out?

#1783 Postby animist » June 18th, 2017, 11:30 pm

brief and useful guide to the differences between single market, customs union and free trade area:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36083664

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Alan H
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Re: In or out?

#1784 Postby Alan H » June 19th, 2017, 3:32 pm

The 10 Brexit compromises Theresa May won't talk about
|Neither Theresa May nor Jeremy Corbyn said much about the substance of the Brexit negotiations during the election campaign. Since May’s failure to secure an overall majority, both main parties have started to consider the merits of a “softer” Brexit – one that would enable Britain to retain more economic ties with the EU than May initially planned. But neither seems willing to admit that withdrawing from the EU is going to involve painful trade-offs. As the talks open this week, here are 10 of the most difficult questions that the British government will have to answer.
1 Will the UK pay its bill to get a free trade deal?
2 Will May agree to a transitional deal?
3 Will the European court of justice have any role in the deal?
4 Will the UK have to leave the EU’s regulatory bodies?
5 What will it cost Britain to safeguard the City of London?
6 Will Britain restrict EU immigration?
7 How will the borders actually work?
8 Will Britain accept EU rules on police cooperation?
9 Does the UK want to be associated with EU foreign policy?
10 Is there a plan B?
The prime minister may well believe that crashing out of the EU without a deal would be disastrous for Britain. In that case, she should explain why, rather than repeat the mantra that no deal is better than a bad one. She has done extraordinarily little to educate either her party or the public about the painful compromises that any deal will require.


And on that: Drop the ‘no deal’ delusion
That is quite a list, you might think. It is surely up to those who, like the foreign secretary, say that leaving without a deal would be “Perfectly OK” to debate the issues set out here; and, if they cannot gainsay them, to drop that silly slogan. Of course it is not possible at this stage to guarantee that Britain will not leave in March 2019 without a deal. But we do need to recognise that, if we do so, March 29, 2019 would be a Black Friday for the British economy.
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Re: In or out?

#1785 Postby Alan H » June 19th, 2017, 5:36 pm

Alan Henness

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Re: In or out?

#1786 Postby Alan H » June 19th, 2017, 6:36 pm

Well, it's started and Davis' previous blustering over the timetable and order of negotiations seems to have dissipated in a puff: Speech by Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, following the first round of Article 50 negotiations with the UK
Mesdames et Messieurs,

Je suis heureux de vous retrouver, aux côtés de David Davis, pour cette première conférence de presse commune.

Cette première session était importante. Je peux dire aujourd'hui qu'elle a été utile.



***

Ladies and gentlemen,

This first session was useful to start off on the right foot.

And it was useful for me to sit down with my counterpart, David Davis. I look forward to working closely with you during this negotiation.

Today, we agreed on dates.

We agreed on organisation.

We agreed on priorities for the negotiation.

In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner.

Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.

We also agreed on how we will structure our talks. Our aim is to have one week of negotiations every month. And use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.

In the first phase, the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups: citizens' rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues.

These groups will report back to their respective principals during each negotiating week.

David Davis and I, as Chief EU Negotiator, will discuss the issues together, tackle difficulties, lift obstacles.

We agreed that our closest collaborators will start a dialogue on Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area are the most urgent issues to discuss.

We also agreed on the importance of timing for this first phase.

Our objective is to agree on the main principles of the key challenges for the UK's withdrawal as soon as possible. This includes citizens' rights, the single financial settlement, and the question of the borders, in particular in Ireland.

The European Council can then decide on whether we can show sufficient progress, or not. And if we can move to scoping the future relationship on trade and other matters.



***

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Aujourd'hui, nous avons donc commencé à discuter de ces trois sujets clé dans le mandat que m'ont donné les 27.

Nous devons nous engager mutuellement à garantir aux citoyens des deux côtés du channel qu'ils pourront continuer à vivre comme avant.

Nous devons solder les comptes et honorer nos engagements financiers mutuels.

Nous devons trouver des solutions pour préserver tous les engagements du Good Friday Agreement.

C'est en levant les incertitudes sur ces sujets que nous poserons les bases de la confiance nécessaire pour bâtir un nouveau partenariat entre nous.

En quittant l'Union comme il a choisi de le faire, le Royaume-Uni n'aura plus les mêmes droits et bénéfices que les Etats membres de l'Union. Je suis cependant convaincu qu'il est dans notre intérêt commun d'établir un nouveau partenariat entre les 27 et le Royaume-Uni et que ce partenariat peut contribuer à la stabilité durable de notre continent.

Nous sommes à 27, avec les institutions, unis pour cette négociation et dans cette perspective. Mais, les 27 sont également unis pour, en toutes hypothèses, continuer à réformer, progresser, avancer ensemble.



***

Ladies and gentlemen,

For both the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal. That is what I said to David today. That is why we will work all the time with the UK, and never against the UK.

There will be no hostility on my side. I will display a constructive attitude, firmly based on the interest and support of the 27.

And I will all the time seek the continued support of the European Parliament.

Permettez-moi de terminer en citant Jean Monnet qui, quand on lui demandait s'il était optimiste ou pessimiste, répondait : ni l'un, ni l'autre, je suis déterminé. Voilà mon état d'esprit.
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Re: In or out?

#1787 Postby Alan H » June 19th, 2017, 7:29 pm

The significance of the UK’s climb-down today on Brexit sequencing
But overall: this capitulation should be welcomed. It was a silly and weak position. It is better that the UK drop it now, and use the valuable time to get a sensible discussion rather than have a row over the summer.

It was, as some have said on Twitter, the row-back and not the row of the summer.
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Re: In or out?

#1788 Postby Alan H » June 19th, 2017, 11:46 pm

After a year, we are still no clearer
Negotiations formally start today. The EU envisages around 22 four-week cycles to the negotiations in which each cycle addresses specific issues, with a week of preparation, a week of exchange of papers and explanation, a week of negotiation to find a deal and a week of reporting back to secure agreement with what the negotiators have agreed as potential compromises.The 27 other EU countries want to settle first all the legal questions triggered by a country leaving the EU (rights of citizens affected, budgetary liabilities, borders) before moving onto the future relationship (on trade and many other matters) between the EU and the UK. Britain wants these two sets of questions dealt with in parallel. The EU will get its way – Britain is the one walking out and is the supplicant in most aspects of the negotiations. But some clarity from the outset as to what Britain wants for its future relationship with the EU would be helpful.Yet almost a year after referendum, and nearly three months after handing in the Article 50 notification, we still with no clarity as to what the badly divided UK government wants. There are essentially four main possibilties, and Britain needs to decide what it wants before meaningful negotiations start. They are:
  • to leave without a deal, with no legal issue solved and, in economic terms, immediately facing tariffs on trade with the EU under WTO rules and needing to seek rapid agreement with countries around the world to replace the ones we currently have through the EU.
  • hard Brexit, leaving the EU, including the single market and the customs union, but securing a free trade deal with the EU for most goods and some services and asking for time to negotiate new trade deals with third countries.
  • soft Brexit options (various permutations around staying in single market and/or customs union, possibly through the EEA), keeping the economic advantages of membership, but involving continued acceptance of single market rules.
  • to remain, as we can always change our mind.
Combined with these, are possible options of staying inside important technical agencies, such as the European Air Safety Agency, the Medicines Agency or the Chemicals Agency (all of which do joint testing, certification and – crucially for British industry – authorisations to place products on the market), staying in European research programmes, remaining in police and security cooperation, keeping our stake in the European Investment Bank, and much else. On none of these have we seen a single proposal from the UK government. It is not surprising that our EU partners are becoming exasperated!Leaving without a deal is increasingly recognised as a legal and economic quagmire. Hard Brexit is widely seen (on the continent as well as in Britain) as tarnished by Theresa May’s failure to obtain the endorsement for it that she had asked for from the general election. Remain might yet come into play, but the debate at the moment in political circles is centring on the soft Brexit options.

And here the divisions within the Conservative party, between it and the DUP, and more widely in the House of Commons and the Lords come into play. Those close to industry – or simply with a greater awareness at what is at stake for Britain’s economy, for jobs, prosperity and public finances – want to at least stay in the customs union and often in the single market for the reasons I outlined last week.

But there is a risk that these divisions will be insurmountable. In which case the government may produce a fudge: a minimalist “divorce deal” that settles only the first set of questions mentioned above (citizens rights, borders, liabilities, and the date of departure) and provides for everything else to be settled in a future framework agreement to be negotiated over a three to five year period after Brexit, with the status quo remaining in place during that “transitional ” time as regards the single market, customs union, agencies, etc.

This would not be popular with the extreme europhobes in the Tory party who would hate the continued application of single market rules, with the ECJ still settling any disputes about what they say. But they would be in a weak position to actually block it.

Rather, the problem would be a wider one: parliament would be asked to buy a pig in a poke. It would be asked to vote on a Brexit deal that leaves all the key questions for the future. MPs and Lords would be voting with no knowledge of what the future arrangements will be nor their economic costs. They would have to blindly accept or reject a Brexit deal that settles nothing.

If David Davis, contrary to previous statements, accepts the two phased scheduling put forward by the EU, take it as a sign that that is what the government wants to do.

But even on this, we are still not any clearer.
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Re: In or out?

#1789 Postby animist » June 20th, 2017, 8:27 am

Alan H wrote:[url=http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/negotiations-start/]After a year, we are still no clearer
one possibility not discussed here is that Brexit may run into trouble even over the so-called preliminary stages like the exit payment. What if the weakened Tory government cannot get some agreed amount thru Parliament?

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Re: In or out?

#1790 Postby animist » June 20th, 2017, 8:32 am

Alan H wrote:Well, it's started and Davis' previous blustering over the timetable and order of negotiations seems to have dissipated in a puff: [url=http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-1704_en.htm]Speech by Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, following the first round of Article 50 negotiations with the UK
actually, Davis still seemed to be keeping to his bluster! I noticed the contrast between his ghastly grins and the serious demeanour of Barnier - the amateur and the pro :laughter:

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Re: In or out?

#1791 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 10:17 am

animist wrote:
Alan H wrote:[url=http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/negotiations-start/]After a year, we are still no clearer
one possibility not discussed here is that Brexit may run into trouble even over the so-called preliminary stages like the exit payment. What if the weakened Tory government cannot get some agreed amount thru Parliament?
It'll all be the EU's fault, of course, demanding we pay what we owe... at least that'll be what the Daily Mail and the other right-wing media portray it as, adding lie upon lie as they have done up till now.
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Re: In or out?

#1792 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 11:12 am

Frazzled David Davis guides UK to 3-0 defeat in first round
Davis’s panglossian take began to fall apart when the media were allowed to ask questions. First up was Ireland. Wasn’t it significant that Ireland was relegated to any other business when the UK wanted to make it a priority? Not at all, Davis insisted. The fact that it was under any other business was a sign of just how keen the EU was to resolve the border issues. Barnier just shrugged. “Ireland would require some imaginative solutions,” he said. He couldn’t think what they might be, but if anyone saw some flying pigs …
Time to spell things out for the halfwit. “We need to remain calm,” Barnier said menacingly. Here was the deal. The EU hadn’t made any concessions because it hadn’t needed to. It was the UK that wanted to leave the EU, not the EU who had wanted to leave the UK. He had warned that there would be trouble if Britain left the EU, and if the Brits were stupid enough to go through with it, then they deserved everything they got. It wasn’t about the EU punishing the UK – it was just that the consequences of leaving the EU would inevitably be punishing.
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Re: In or out?

#1793 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 12:06 pm

Yet another excellent summary of the current mess, the options and the implications from EU Law professor, Piet Eeckhout. It was on Twitter, but short and sweet:
So here's a thread with my assessment of where #Brexit stands after the election, triggered by the debate about soft and hard 1/

I can't quite see the scope for a soft #Brexit. EEA and Switzerland models involve bigger loss of sovereignty than membership 2/

You see it with Swiss referendum on immigration: EU does not accept limits, and Switzerland gives in 3/

EEA is similar: EU access must be incorporated without voting rights. The opposite of taking back control 4/

Keeping the customs union? Does not work for Turkey: supposed to conclude similar trade deals as EU without a say in EU deals 5/

Different customs union model conceivable, in theory: UK co-negotiation of trade deals. Alas, would never be accepted by #ECJ 6/

Do not underestimate the #ECJ's constitutional reading of EU law: halfway houses of membership offend autonomy EU (= EU sovereignty) 7/

And of course membership internal market requires free movement of workers - though perhaps some limits could be negotiated 8/

But more significant is: how to be an outside member with real participation in decision-making? 9/

Frankly, EU's neighbours are not well treated in this respect. A forward-looking UK Govt would build a coalition with Swiss, Norwegians 10/

But then the paradox is that the UK also wants to cooperate with the EU in security, crime, foreign policy, etc 11/

BTW, this is a complete reversal of past UK conceptions of the EU: internal market was good, all else was political and bad 12/

#EURef seems to have completely reversed this. Internal market bad because of free movement, all else good (except Euro - not an issue) 13/

Oh yes, and I forget the marvellous trade opportunities. Sorry, but no serious debate about contemporary trade policy in UK 14/

It's NOT about tariffs, but about regulatory issues. And the UK has the EU's regulations, so little to offer or gain 15/

Sum up. Some new concept of external participation in internal market may be conceivable, if clever and not limited to UK 16/

But what does the UK then gain, compared to full internal market membership, with vote, Euro opt-out, crime and security opt-out/opt-in? 17/

BTW, tweet /17 describes current full membership.

Are there any Brexiters who know the answers to any of the questions posed and have any clue how it can possibly work out that we benefit from any of this? If they do know, they're being awfully quiet about it: I've still to read an authoritative article on where these rainbows and unicorns are going to come from.
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Re: In or out?

#1794 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 1:44 pm

Commentary: Ireland - Theresa May's latest Brexit blunder
After a misconceived presidential-style campaign against the background of a stagnant economy, increasing inflation, and a reduction in the amount of money workers take home, May lost her majority. She apologized to her members of Parliament, but not to the public for the mess she has made. She clings to power, relying on her colleagues’ fear of another election and on the support of the DUP.

If the Brexit negotiations fail and the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal, May will have made her worst blunder of all.
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Re: In or out?

#1795 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 3:29 pm

Huge volume of Brexit laws threatens to overwhelm UK government
Conservatives’ failure to secure majority makes ‘difficult task a lot more difficult’

Theresa May’s government faces a two-year parliamentary battle to deliver Brexit, amid warnings that the immense volume of EU-related legislation could overwhelm it.

“There’s going to be bloody trouble,” said one senior official involved in preparing the legislation, highlighting the problems caused by the prime minister’s failure this month to win a parliamentary majority. “The election changes everything.”

While Theresa May has to contend with cabinet splits and the prospect of tough negotiations in Brussels, her plan to leave the EU could face its first big setbacks in parliament.

Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s legislative programme, is likely to highlight the scale of the task.

If the government’s plans for Brexit-related legislation have not been passed by Britain’s scheduled exit in March 2019, the country would fall into a legal limbo — a prospect that increases pressure on Mrs May to negotiate a transitional deal with the EU.

“They have got to get the legislation through or there will be a legal hiatus when we leave the EU,” said Jill Rutter of the Institute for Government. Referring to this month’s election, she said: “A difficult task has just got a lot more difficult.”

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, has already announced a rare two-year parliamentary session to try to push the legislation through. The central plank of the project is the Great Repeal Bill, which aims, among other goals, to transpose EU law on to the UK statute book.

That is an epic undertaking, spawning hundreds of pieces of technical legislation covering vital sectors such as the regulation of aviation and medicines — some of which are likely to be politically contentious.

A key consideration is that the further Britain moves away from the single market, the more it has to legislate to replace “Brussels bureaucracy” with UK bureaucracy — such as new regulatory agencies.

This question is likely to ignite a debate on whether Britain should stay within the remit of some EU agencies, even if that means some jurisdiction for the European Court of Justice in the UK, rather than trying to create parallel regulators.

Ultimately, some pro-Europeans may argue that Britain would be better off simply staying in the single market, if it could negotiate some concessions on free movement, although both the Conservatives and the Labour party insist that this is not on the cards.

Despite the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, Mrs May’s majority will be precarious as she seeks to push through a legislative programme of such unprecedented scope.

Meanwhile the pro-EU House of Lords is likely to flex its muscles, arguing that the prime minister did not win a public mandate for a complete rupture from the EU without any deal.

The Institute for Government calculates that 1,200 EU laws affect the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs alone. Many of them will have to be adapted once a Brexit deal is agreed.

Even the name of the Great Repeal Bill is contentious and has not been approved by the parliamentary authorities. Several other pieces of significant legislation to enact Brexit will also be included in Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech.

Mrs Leadsom has said a separate immigration bill will be required, but there could be 10 more in addition, covering government competencies from customs and data protection to new agriculture and fisheries policies. Each will be contentious.

Any one such bill would normally dominate a parliamentary session. Mrs Leadsom, a leading Brexiter, now has to push the whole package through a divided Commons and a restive Lords by March 2019, alongside whatever domestic legislation makes it into the Queen’s Speech.

Mrs Leadsom has spoken of working with the Labour party to try to ease the passage of the legislation, arguing that the party was committed to Brexit at the election and could be punished by voters if it tried to hold up the process.

But one minister admitted: “Will Labour help? My instinct is that they won’t. They are run by a bunch of people who are not devoted to parliament as an institution. They want to bring the whole edifice down.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s leader, has already said that the repeal bill is “history”, arguing he will not accept “Henry VIII” clauses that give ministers the power to change technical legislation with little or no scrutiny. The government argues such powers are indispensable because of the sheer amount of legislation that will need to be adapted.

Labour has already shown in the past it can exploit Tory divisions on Europe to devastating effect, notably when the late John Smith, the Labour leader in the 1990s, harried John Major over ratification of the EU’s Maastricht treaty.

Labour could use similar tactics now to frustrate a “hard” Brexit, while insisting it was still committed to leaving the EU, by putting down amendments on immigration or customs intended to win support from pro-EU Tories.

If parliament cannot pass the Brexit legislation required, pressure will mount on the prime minister to call another election — throwing the process into yet more doubt.
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Re: In or out?

#1796 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 3:48 pm

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Re: In or out?

#1797 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 5:01 pm

The laughing stock of Europe
Negotiations on the country’s exit from the European Union have now started in Brussels, but Theresa May’s government does not seem to have the first clue about its objectives and how to reach them, according to several European columnists.

It has become ever clearer that the hardline Brexiteers who have been driving the British government since David Cameron’s post-referendum resignation have no plan for managing the negotiations beyond their oft-repeated slogan of “taking back control”, and European attitudes to London are now poised somewhere between anxiety and despair over the impossible situation in which the British government has put itself – and Britain.
The economy was growing faster than in any other industrialised country in the world. Scottish independence and, with it, the break-up of the United Kingdom had been averted. For the first time since 1992, there was a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. Great Britain saw itself as a universally respected actor on the international stage. This was the starting point. In order to get from this comfortable position to the chaos of the present in the shortest possible time, two things were necessary: first, the Conservative right wingers’ obsessive hatred of the EU, and second, Cameron’s irresponsibility in putting the whole future of the country on the line with his referendum, just to satisfy a few fanatics in his party.
With her unnecessary general election, Prime Minister Theresa May has already squandered an eighth of the time available for them. How on earth an undertaking as complex as Brexit is supposed to be agreed in the time remaining is a mystery. In the end, Great Britain will withdraw from its most important trading partner and will be left weaker in every respect. It would make economic sense to stay in the single market and the customs union, but that would mean being subject to regulations over which Britain no longer had any say. It would be better to have stayed in the EU in the first place. So the government now needs to develop a plan that is both politically acceptable and inflicts as little economic harm as possible. It’s a question of damage limitation, nothing more; yet even now there are still politicians strutting around Westminster smugly trumpeting that it will be the EU that comes off worst if it doesn’t toe the line.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

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Re: In or out?

#1798 Postby Alan H » June 20th, 2017, 11:32 pm

Customs admin and delays a serious concern for firms after Brexit
Key findings

The manufacturing and primary commodities sectors are important employers, particularly outside the South East of England, and goods make up the bulk of the UK’s trade. Ensuring that these industries do not face additional barriers to trade will be essential to driving growth across the UK, as envisaged in the Government’s industrial strategy.

The manufacturing and primary commodities sectors are integrated into efficient EU-wide supply chains. Supplies and components may cross the Channel multiple times during production, and tariffs on UK-EU trade in goods could be imposed every time, increasing costs. Many UK businesses cannot easily substitute their imports from the EU, or find alternative export destinations.

Leaving the EU customs union would be likely to result in a significant additional administrative burden for companies and delays to consignments of goods, incurring additional costs. The customs agreement proposed by the Prime Minister would be unprecedented and it is unclear whether it will be possible outside a formal customs union.

There may be significant benefits in the UK continuing to participate, where possible, in EU agencies such as the European Medicines Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency. The Government should clarify whether it would accept being subject to some form of oversight and dispute resolution to so do.

The Government should give serious consideration to a transitional agreement, as it begins its negotiations.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

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Re: In or out?

#1799 Postby Alan H » June 21st, 2017, 4:02 pm

Enough is enough: let’s stop Brexit before it does irrevocable damage
Ask a Tory Brexiter: ask the John Redwood, who will tell you that a nearly-semi-exit “soft Brexit” is a disguised form of EU membership, only with disadvantages. And because of those disadvantages it would quickly be apparent that fully rejoining the EU is a necessity. It would be a necessity anyway; that is the imperative of history in our world. But it would have given us wasted years on half-throttle, and we would look back at the deal we have today, with our full membership, opt-outs and exceptions, and marvel at how utterly inane this whole Brexit matter is.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

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Re: In or out?

#1800 Postby Alan H » June 21st, 2017, 6:51 pm

This isn't going to go down well with many Brtexiters! The appeal of the European Economic Area for the UK
Supporters of a close post-Brexit relationship between the UK and EU are taking another look at Britain’s membership of the European Economic Area. Staying in the EEA may be the best answer for both sides, as a transitional arrangement or a long-term solution, they say.

The EEA joins all 28 EU members, including Britain, with three non-EU states — Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The idea of remaining inside the EEA has been gaining traction in the UK since the inconclusive June 8 election. It appeals to some business executives who, after the vote, began demanding that the Conservative government stop baring its teeth at the EU and adopt a more business-friendly strategy.

It appeals to Labour politicians such as Liam Byrne, a former Treasury chief secretary, and to Anatole Kaletsky, an influential economics commentator. Mr Kaletsky writes:

“For other EU countries, a Brexit negotiation based on EEA membership should be a perfectly acceptable, even welcome, outcome . . . This is because, by almost any standard, EEA membership is clearly inferior to full EU membership.”

But would the EU27 and European Parliament approve a deal that kept Britain in the EEA? The French and German governments are taking a tough line on Brexit, as VoteWatch Europe reports. Equally, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein might not want Britain in their club. The UK economy is so much bigger than theirs that it might overshadow them.

Alasdair Smith, emeritus professor of economics at the University of Sussex, explains in this blog that EEA membership “gives largely tariff-free trade with the EU and full participation in the internal market”. It does not involve membership of the EU’s customs union.

However, as Mr Smith says, EEA membership embraces freedom of movement “to almost the same extent as for EU members”. This is presumably unacceptable to Theresa May and like-minded Conservatives determined to curb immigration.

EEA membership, as a temporary arrangement on the road to a UK-EU trade deal, is the preference of Lord Owen, a former UK foreign secretary. In a letter in The Times on Tuesday, he said EEA membership would suit Britain because the court with jurisdiction over the area’s affairs is not the European Court of Justice.

This is true, although the European Free Trade Association court that oversees EEA affairs tends to follow the ECJ’s jurisprudence. This might raise the hackles of Conservatives who insist the UK should escape the ECJ’s influence.

Peter Holmes of Sussex university’s UK Trade Policy Observatory suggests that there are two other caveats about EEA membership. First, although it offers good access to the EU’s single market, various regulatory and rules of origin issues would deprive the UK of the completely unimpeded access that it enjoys as an EU member. Second, these issues might limit the UK’s ability to sign comprehensive free trade accords with non-EU countries.

Compare the Mansion House speech of Philip Hammond, the UK chancellor, with recent remarks by Liam Fox, trade secretary, and it is clear that the government is divided over Mrs May’s “hard Brexit” (exit from the EU’s single market and customs union). But neither is it united over EEA membership.

British politicians need to make up their minds. As the clock ticks closer to the March 2019 deadline for Brexit, the UK cannot dodge the hard choices it faces much longer.

Over the past 12 months, the outlook for the EU has brightened in dramatic fashion.

A year ago, after the UK’s June 2016 vote to leave the bloc, economists were cutting their forecasts for EU growth. Campaigners for Brexit proclaimed that if the UK had stuck with the bloc it would have been “shackled to a corpse”.

But 2017 has been very different, marked by the recovery in the eurozone, which in the first quarter grew twice as fast as the US.

Consensus eurozone growth forecasts for this year are now 0.6 per cent higher than in August last year and higher than those for the UK.

“It seems likely that we’ll see many forecasters’ expectations for 2017 growth revised higher,” says Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. A year ago he was stressing “near-term downside risks for an already lacklustre eurozone economy”.

Support for the EU has grown in line with the growth figures — and rising optimism can be discerned not just in opinion polls, but in stronger labour markets and rising imports.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

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Re: In or out?

#1801 Postby Alan H » June 21st, 2017, 7:16 pm

An absolute car-crash of an interview by Bumbling Boris: Boris Johnson has embarrassing on-air meltdown in car crash Queen's Speech interview

And this man's going to negotiate our trade deals?
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon


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