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Tory budget clash in Europe

Gavin Hewitt | 12:58 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

UK chancellor's red budget box - file picA few days after the British election the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, travelled to Brussels. He chose not to fight over new regulations being planned for hedge funds and private equity. Whilst there he made it quite clear that the new coalition government would not accept that the EU would be able to see budget plans before they were presented to Parliament. That message was underlined later by the UK prime minister and the foreign secretary.

So it will have come as a nasty surprise to learn that the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is recommending that national budget plans are shared at EU level before they are presented to national parliaments. An unnamed French diplomat hinted that the idea was widely supported.

Now if the EU wants an early clash with the new British government this is a sure-fire way of going about it. The British will not accept it. "The budget will be presented to Parliament first," said Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He went on to say "there is no question of anyone other than MPs seeing it first".

The British position is that they don't mind if the eurozone countries agree to this. They had hoped that EU officials would limit it to the 16 countries that use the troubled currency. But it seems that some finance ministers want to extend this to all 27 EU countries.

What the EU officials want is to be able to adjust national budgets to try and reduce the imbalances between the economies that use the euro. It is by no means certain that the German people would agree to this and there are other countries that may resist what would be interpreted as an intrusion into their own affairs.

This is an argument that has a long way to run. The British will be implacable. What it does indicate is a determination on behalf of some EU members to use the crisis in the EU as a pretext to extend the EU's powers. It will be a battleground in the weeks and months ahead.

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  • 1. At 1:46pm on 08 Jun 2010, calmandhope wrote:

    I'm lost for words here. Why should Europe know what we are planning to do with our finances before our own politicians do let alone us the normal public?

    I can almost understand the argument about countries that are using the Euro but seeing as we still use Sterling, they can forget it.

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  • 2. At 1:49pm on 08 Jun 2010, Mild_and_Creamy wrote:

    Now to be clear on this I am pro-european.

    However this proposal should be rejected by the British government. Europe should be a collection of member states.

    It might be a more acceptable proposal if there was a directly elected EU president but at the moment this sort of action would be unacceptable.

    Euro zone fine. But those out side the Euro zone, no.

    Power creep is what will destroy the EU.

    A simple written consitution as well; and that means less than 10 pages in understandable language. The politicians don't want this though as they enjoy using the EU as an excuse for unpopular policies and to blame it for thier mistakes.

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  • 3. At 1:57pm on 08 Jun 2010, Rocambole wrote:

    Clashes are unavoidable whenever and wherever looking after one's own affairs is seen as in competition or (even worse) in opposition to shared interests. Europe's greatest enemy are governments with a poor sense of solidarity and a weak view of the common good (both politically and economically). The EU is weakened by politicians who in the name of the holy cow of "sovereignty" are fighting the wrong (nationalistic) battles. There is not much of a future for Europe if we are not willing to be in the same boat in order to face some most serious challenges together.

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  • 4. At 2:09pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Quite apart from the democratic legitimacy issue, one has to wonder if this plan could have any success in solving problems such as are being experienced in the eurozone periphery. Ireland and Spain were not running large budget deficits during the years of over-consumption. On the contrary, they were the ‘star pupils’ for most of the last decade, and would have been the last to be sanctioned had their government budgets been subject to EU approval before being presented to their national parliaments. It was only after the private-sector debt-bubble burst that government debt in these countries exploded, and by then it was too late to do anything about it.

    So once again we are seeing institutional self-aggrandizement being pursued in Brussels for its own sake, which merely pretends to address a problem in the real-world. The root cause of the real-world problem is the one-size-fits-all eurozne monetary policy that causes wild oscillation over the the economic cycle in the eurozone periphery between Celtic Tiger years of feast and the current Irish famine. This problem has been caused by excessive European integration, and clearly will not be solved by yet more European integration.

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  • 5. At 2:19pm on 08 Jun 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    George, why not?
    Why will the New Coalition Government not allow the EU to see budget before the budget is revealed to Parliament.
    What's going on with this, except maybe ego?
    Of course, President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is recommending that national budget plans are shared at EU level before they are presented to national parliaments. Please, try to rememeber that financial budgetary matters are most complex and having an experienced person review the the finances before presentation to Parliament will lead to a much more uniform position and less argument. If the UK budget is solid, what is the EU going to say, except: "Good job! Get on with it!"
    But if the UK buget is not good, Britain should be glad for the fall-back position.
    If the British will not accept EU review, then, I have to think that Brits are a bit to caught up in themselves and feel that they have more financial expertise than all of the rest of the EU.
    Personally, for the sake of the EU and the Euro, I am pleased to see a review process set into place - extended to all 27 EU countries.
    Okay, some countries may resist what would be interpreted as an intrusion into their personal affairs. What would Brits rather have as the outcome:
    - keep the budget close to your vest and get it wrong, or
    - have it EU-reviewed and get it right?

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  • 6. At 2:22pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    I am sure Osborne appreciates his friendly hand being slapped away by Von DampRag. Do not expect the next outing to the continent to be so nicey nicey.

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  • 7. At 2:22pm on 08 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I agree with the British position. Ok for Euro countries, not necessarily for others.

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  • 8. At 2:26pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    Not sure why Van Rompuy would go for such a blatant and unneeded insult. The Eurozone would have made far more sense to go for, even if he and his federal chums wanted everyone on board later. They would have a far easier time and no slap in the face to the new British government. I wonder if Ashton had anything to do with it?

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  • 9. At 2:27pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Gavin.

    "Now if the EU wants an early clash with the new British government this is a sure-fire way of going about it".

    Nobody knows what the EU as a whole wants but it's a pretty safe bet that Van Rompuy is looking for a fight and probably Barroso too. My guess would be that these people expected a more belligerent UK stance from the new government and been slightly wrong footed by the policy of constructive engagement proposed by Hague. It may also be a reaction to the subliminal message sent by Hague on his short tour. Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and Rome are important - Brussels not so.

    The question is why these people have decided to to have the argument so soon in the lifetime of the administration. The answer would appear to be they a worried sick that many in Europe might see the more pragmatic British approach as potentially fruitful. Only a few says ago, Barroso was talking about winning the battle of ideas. Can it be they are far from confident of winning it?

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  • 10. At 2:38pm on 08 Jun 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    I do not see any reason not to extend the preliminary assessment of the national budget drafts on all 27 member states. The single currency should not be a kind of distinction that should divide us of say, more independent and less independent of Brussels. If the joint venture, we agreed to call EU, is on the crossroad of history when a discussion is being held about its successful existence, then we should agree that the radical measure like this one is to be applied to everybody.

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  • 11. At 2:39pm on 08 Jun 2010, Steve wrote:

    We are a sovereign nation, and it is up to us, through our elected leaders, to determine how our money is spent, not some unelected people in another country.

    Mr. Osborne is quite correct in his attitude to this proposition; we aren't in the Euro, so there's no requirement for France to be able to veto our Budget, whatever it might be.

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  • 12. At 2:47pm on 08 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I predict that ultimately the British government will fold up before the EU juggernaught like a cheap tent. They'll get some insignificant "opt outs" or other face savings concessions which may in fact be only delays but in the end they will knuckle under. Why? Becuause both Macaroon and Clegg have their eyes cast on Brussels for themselves looking ten or fifteen years down the road. The resistance will be just for show, a PR display and nothing more. The UK has neither the power nor the spine to truly resist, to say no. And this time there is no President Wilson, FDR, or Bush to bail them out.

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  • 13. At 2:52pm on 08 Jun 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    This idea of showing budgets at the European level will only get support from a few, well managed countries that are eager to support the Euro. It is unlikely to get support from the majority. This is an initiative from the IMF's report on the Eurozone.

    It only shows how much the heads of the EU in Brussels are completely out of touch with modern reality.

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  • 14. At 2:56pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    The other question that occurs to me is that no one has mentioned confidentiality. It would be quite one thing for the 27 finance ministers to have sight of national budgets before they were made public - although I personally would oppose this - but quite another to expect this information not to find its way into the public domain. Would any government in its right mind lay themselves open to the response of the markets - foreign exchange and bonds in particular - to a budget which has yet to be put before parliament?

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  • 15. At 3:04pm on 08 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt wrote: "It will be a battleground in the weeks and months ahead."

    It will quite certainly be a battle ground or a ground for much discussion. It appears to me that the procedure - provided it is correctly described here - is not the most wise you can think of.

    However, it is now clear to everybody that one important thing was left out in the two articles on the new British government and the EU:
    What the plans of the partners in the rest of the union are.

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  • 16. At 3:05pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "An unnamed French diplomat hinted that the idea was widely supported."

    An unnamed French diplomat can be named or his/her opinion is worthless.

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  • 17. At 3:11pm on 08 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    It is not my business to tell Britons what to do.

    However, I think I can still ask, as an outsider, how will British voters benefit from current and planned USSR's regulations/"reforms"?

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  • 18. At 3:23pm on 08 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This news is already several weeks old. I posted about it as soon as it was reported but few seemed to take notice. The trend and goal is clear. Many who are working towards creating the EU superstate see the current crisis as an opportunity to push for further integration. Monnet himself proscribed that as a solution for Europe's problems when interviewed a couple of months ago when Greece's problems were front and center. This is how the EU will begin to take control over the remaining elements of individual national sovereignty. This may be among the last chances for nations to retain any possibility of staying independent. Once Brussels has prior knowledge of the UK's budget it is just a matter of time before it first scratches off items it does not like, enters items it wants, writes the entire budget itself, usurps approval of the budget, and then makes it easier for itself by converting the UK to Euros. The European mentality is one of a monopoly of power in the hands of a central controlling authority, exactly the opposite of the American concept of government and management. It is entirely elitist insisting that it should have a monopoly on power because it has a monopoly on wisdom, knowledge, and sees the greater good for all of society by having the big picture. This is what tyrannical dictorship is all about. This is what the European Union was all about. There should be a sign over its door; "All Ye Who Enter Here Abandon All Hope."

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  • 19. At 3:31pm on 08 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

    Good riddance EU!

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  • 20. At 3:38pm on 08 Jun 2010, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    @2 "Power creep is what will destroy the EU"

    No. Power creep is what will destroy the nation-state. I must add that that is not necessarily a bad thing.

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  • 21. At 3:44pm on 08 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Rocambole

    Re #3

    Quote, "...the EU is weakened by politicians who in the name of the holy cow 'sovereignty' are fighting the wrong (nationalistic) battles..".

    No, quite the opposite: "The EU is weakened" by Brussels' apparatchiks/Commission/MEPs insistence, "in the name of the holy cow" 'authoritarian-centralisation' on "fighting the wrong (supra-National) battles".

    Furthermore, "There is not much of a future for EUrope" if the institution is, "unwilling" to allow its Citizens a Democratic voice & representation, "in the same boat in order to face the most serious challenges together," wherein the policy-decisions reflect Citizens' will and not that of an elitist body-politic convinced it has the right to ignore 500,000,000 Citizens in the process.

    So You see, "clashes are unavoidable whenever and wherever looking after" 'big-Business/big-Government' "is seen in competition with (or worse) in opposition" to allowing Citizens' Rights & Responsibilities.

    Hope that has cleared up Your confusion on this topic.

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  • 22. At 3:55pm on 08 Jun 2010, frenchtommy wrote:

    « An unnamed French diplomat hinted that the idea was widely supported », who by ? Certainly not by the French people or in private by the French government. French politicians may be making conciliatory noises in order to placate Mme Merkel, but when it comes to losing sovereignty, no way is it going to happen. So the idea that Britain will be forced into presenting its future budgets to Brussels is just ridiculous and is just another case of Brussels blah, blah, blah; if we make lots of noise everything will get better.

    When will these headless Brussels chickens realize that the world is laughing at them ?

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  • 23. At 4:01pm on 08 Jun 2010, frenchtommy wrote:

    It appears to me that perhaps Britain may be falling into a typical Brussels trap. Allow the Brits to reject the plan (which they would do, wouldn’t they ? ). Then when it doesn’t work the Brits can take the blame.

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  • 24. At 4:31pm on 08 Jun 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    5. At 2:19pm on 08 Jun 2010, BluesBerry wrote:
    ...What would Brits rather have as the outcome:
    - keep the budget close to your vest and get it wrong, or
    - have it EU-reviewed and get it right?
    --------------------------------------------
    You forgot to mention the obvious third way:
    - have it EU-reviewed and get it wrong, together with everyone else.

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  • 25. At 5:20pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #17 -powermeerkat

    "It is not my business to tell Britons what to do".

    Why not? Everyone else does.

    At least you do not claim to have know about this several weeks ago when the government has only been in office less than a month.

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  • 26. At 5:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Sounds like political gamesmanship. One would think that the banks and rating houses already have most this information about budgets and taking a previous year and commitments leaves little room to tweak a budget here and there. The Banks that stole all the money want to make sure that they can be paid interest for the crisis they created and keep a close watch on national budgets to insure they will be paid and if not be in a position to lend and charge more interest. This is a smoke and mirrors attempt to appear on top of things when they are not. They all bow to the bankers and this is getting the spreadsheets in order before they beg for mercy. A great public discussion over who sees the budget first..in the end it is the banks that approve them..the governments, your governments are no longer in charge, EU or National...the thug bankers are trying to decide how to break a nation's legs when they don't pay up....it is just like a drug cartel only the drug is money and the governments are addicted.

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  • 27. At 5:57pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #21 - cool_brush_work

    With all due respect to you and Rocambole, I disagree with both of you.

    What weakens the EU more than anything else is the problem you allude to in your third paragraph. Nobody actually knows what the people of Europe want because nobody has the guts to ask them. Ultimately, it will be the downfall of van Rumpoy, the downfall of Barroso and, if they are not very careful, many of Europe's national politicians too.

    The coalition promises no more constitutional changes without democratic consultation. The Irish already have this. Perhaps, just for once, the rest of Europe should wake up to the idea that two 'bloody minded' nations off the north west coast have got it right and the others should be queuing up to follow.

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  • 28. At 6:08pm on 08 Jun 2010, Rocambole wrote:

    Re #21

    Granted, there might be more than one holy cow around, but fighting for the future of a united (rather than divided) Europe will have - by definition - a supra-national dimension, and "to allow its Citizens a Democratic voice & representation" will require a lot more investment in European citizenship education (not taken very seriously in most towns and cities in the UK). It is most certainly ignorance (along with clichés and prejudices) which will lead to more confusion!

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  • 29. At 6:36pm on 08 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #26. At 5:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan

    Strongly agree!

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  • 30. At 7:05pm on 08 Jun 2010, I am not a number wrote:

    I thought this idea was already blocked weeks ago when 26 (of 27) ministers said no to the idea. Or am I confusing it with another idea?

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  • 31. At 7:13pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Frenchtommy (23) said “It appears to me that perhaps Britain may be falling into a typical Brussels trap...”

    If so it is likely to be trap in which the British government are hyping up this 'danger' now, only to proclaim glorious victory when they get an opt-out. They should be telling Continental countries that if they want these increased powers for Brussels then they have to give something substantial back; namely the return of other powers to Westminster in areas like employment, social law etc. You get what you negotiate in the EU and it is not acceptable for the British government to fail to make full use of this negotiating opportunity.

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  • 32. At 7:13pm on 08 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    As people get the government they deserve, so Europeans including Brits deserve the tyranny that will be imposed on them by Brussels. It's the same tyranny their own governments have imposed on them and they imposed on other societies in their evil empires of the past. Their economies are headed for bankruptcy and have almost arrived there already. I for one will have no regrets when the end finally comes.

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  • 33. At 7:17pm on 08 Jun 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    Not having a dog in the hunt, I would still like to know if Britain can leave the EU if it wants to? Do the other EU countries have to approve? Would it take a unanimous or majority vote?

    I guess I could read the treaty but it appears from a number of comments on this blog that I might not understand what I'm reading. I'm looking for Cliffs Notes.

    Our congress is fallowing a similar path. No one can explain what the health care bill says nor what the proposed financial reform bill means. Another thing they have in common is they are both have more verbiage than Tolstoy's "War and Peace".

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  • 34. At 7:26pm on 08 Jun 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #18. At 3:23pm on 08 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII,

    For once your post is correct and I agree.

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  • 35. At 7:29pm on 08 Jun 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #16. At 3:05pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "An unnamed French diplomat hinted that the idea was widely supported."

    An unnamed French diplomat can be named or his/her opinion is worthless.

    -------------

    Could that unnamed source be Sarko, after all he's now clutching at straws to evade the same fate as Gordon McClown and he's equally as bad at managing an economy as the clown was.

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  • 36. At 7:33pm on 08 Jun 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #8. At 2:26pm on 08 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "Not sure why Van Rompuy would go for such a blatant and unneeded insult. The Eurozone would have made far more sense to go for, even if he and his federal chums wanted everyone on board later. They would have a far easier time and no slap in the face to the new British government. I wonder if Ashton had anything to do with it?"

    Sounds like Van Rumpoy needs another lesson from Farrage and the sooner the better, in fact why not invite him to be the new UK EU negotiator, ah, as Pink Floyd proved many years back pigs can fly.

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  • 37. At 7:34pm on 08 Jun 2010, Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain wrote:

    What Britain, Spain, France, Germany and all the other 27 countries of the European Union are going to get are the Economic Union provided for under the Maastricht Treaty. John Major (Conservative) signed on behalf of Britain. These can now be activated under the provisions of Lisbon, signed on behalf of Britain by a very reluctant Prime Minister Brown.

    It is my opinion that we are going to get Maastricht in spades, like it or not. The Eurozone countries wont be in a hurry to pressurize Britain. They can afford to wait and see how economic event unfold over the next two or three years.

    "He who laughs last laughs longest".

    Mike, Barcelona, Spain

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  • 38. At 7:53pm on 08 Jun 2010, sean56z wrote:

    The Euro failed. Economy is different in Turkey, Spain, and Finland. Currency improves its value with the individual initiative of each country. Europe is not Adolph Hitler's little ant farm. Diversity is the real strength of business and finance.

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  • 39. At 8:03pm on 08 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    Having all 27 member states to submit their budgets for review is all about Euro.

    What people in this discussion forget that it is mandatory for all countries except UK and Denmark to join the Eurozone. To not to join the Euro or not purposely fulfilling criteria to join the Euro is an serious violation against accession treaties of all non-Eurozone EU states.

    What the Commission and Eurozone states are seeking is ways to force non-Eurozone states to fulfill their treaty obligations. One way to reach this objective is to have more transparency between the EU and the member states which allows both the Commission and the Eurozone states to excert peer pressure against states that are deemed to be intentionally stalling on fulfilling Eurozone criterion and joining it.

    Make no mistake, this is not about Britain, and this not all about greater synchronization of economic policies, this is mainly about enlargement of Eurozone and fast. Do remember that from the 2004 accession only Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta have joined the Euro. Estonia will fulfill its obligation by joining in 2011. However Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are still not fulfilling their obligations and some of them have voiced on having no intension on fulfilling joining criterion anytime soon. And of course from the 1995 accession there is still Sweden that has not joined the Euro.

    What will probably happen is that there will be a battle, EU commission will fight to get all 27 member states to submit their budgets for review, Britain will fight against this. In the end the fight will end to an win-win scenario where Britain gets opt-out but all other 26 member states will submit their budgets to Brussels.

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  • 40. At 8:15pm on 08 Jun 2010, Rocambole wrote:

    More democracy = more transparency... in EU public affairs and policy development (national budgets included)!!!

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  • 41. At 8:15pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #33 - MaudDib

    There has not been a mechanism for leaving the EU up till now but the Treaty of Lisbon has introduced a provision. I am afraid I have not read the small print but it can be done.

    In the past, a national government would have had to reputiate solemn and binding treaties in order to do this but, on the other hand, it is difficult to see what the others could have done about it short of going to war.

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  • 42. At 8:20pm on 08 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    27. At 5:57pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    "The coalition promises no more constitutional changes without democratic consultation."

    Easy promise...
    No consultation needed as the UK has no constitution that can be changed

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  • 43. At 8:28pm on 08 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    I have not seen it here on BBC, but the first decision at the meeting by the finance ministers has been to accept Estonia as member no 17 in the Euro zone.

    Tonight German television told its viewers that there will be more budget control, but before that ZDF mentioned the economic situation in Greece and the bail out.

    I am surprised by the tone in the article but it is the Euro crisis and the budget deficits among Euro zone members that is the background for the new initiative.
    I also recall the Mr. Hewitt in a relative derisive tone wrote that the EU politicians had never agreed on sanctions against countries that violate the stability and growth agreement. It has been clear now for a couple of months that something would be changed in that field.

    Even if it occasionally appears so, BBC is not the British government. I really don’t think the British minister will appear in the council with the plan to take a confrontation. If so, he will be asked a couple of questions about his understanding of the crisis and the treaties, and then I expect everybody to activate their common sense.

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  • 44. At 8:30pm on 08 Jun 2010, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    @32 and others...

    LOL Macro! Far be it for you to inject some original prose into your postings, lest you not sound trite and ridiculous.

    You didn’t mention the 747 carved from stone, or the broken clock that’s correct twice per day, or the Titanic. Maybe after another Sam Adams or two your invective will be firing on all 8 cylinders? Hang in there!

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  • 45. At 8:39pm on 08 Jun 2010, Rob_Hob2 wrote:

    Is the budget sharing or inspection at the EU level about setting or changing the details of national budgets? Or is it about transparency and making it harder for national governments to hide details, lie about figures, and generally conduct the kind of fraud Greece is guilty of?

    I've read around here a lot of panic and emotional outbursts against the EU taking over national decision making. Plus a lot of nationalistic chest thumping against the EU. NOWHERE have I seen any proof that the EU wants to start making decisions on national budgets, overiding the governments.

    On the basic level sharing budgets in this way on an EU level would allow experts from outside a given government to examine them. Thus these experts would be harder to influence in order to hide some dodgy accounting or predictions.

    Once the information was out on the EU level, any government trying to FUDGE a budget would be found out. Presumably this would stop them trying to do it too much in the first place. Such a review process would also pick up on genuine mistakes.

    To me this whole proposal is about TRANSPARENCY and NOWHERE do I see any proposals for the EU to take over decision making on national budgets.

    The ones yelling the loudest against the proposal are the ones who are most likely to have something to HIDE about the finances of their country. This reaction combined with other info on the UK makes me think that it may be a good idea to SHORT UK government debt.

    So... the UK and other countries should also consider the PR they create by opposing transparency measures.

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  • 46. At 8:45pm on 08 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    I recommend that national budget plans are even shared with the US before they are presented to the EU to avoid an embarrassing call from Obama in the middle of the night.

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  • 47. At 9:01pm on 08 Jun 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    "We are the EU. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."

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  • 48. At 9:01pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #39 - Jukka Rohila

    "Having all 27 member states to submit their budgets for review is all about Euro."

    There are 16 EU members in the Euro zone, plus four smaller players using the currency. That leaves 11 non members. I can see why the EU you want to see every national budget in advance but I cannot think of one good reason why non-Euro countries would wish to comply. This is not about the Euro, its about control freak mentality.

    "However Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are still not fulfilling their obligations . . ."

    Just a small matter of convergence criteria, Jukka. You mind telling us how a country that owes 25 billion to the IMF and ECB is supposed to meet those? Aside from that, would you really want the threat of a possible Hungarian default hanging over the Euro as well as the PIIGS?

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  • 49. At 9:01pm on 08 Jun 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    18 @ MarcusAureliusII
    “All Ye Who Enter Here Abandon All Hope."
    Well Mark, I see you did not sleep at school when the prof in literature taught you Dante Alighieri’s works. So did me.
    However, I wonder how an ordinary and successful local US businessman would frankly characterize the FEDS when asked if he could go without them. Mind that a civil war that cost more than 500000 casualties in the mid XIX century was to be waged in order to restore your union on principles that were not shared at all by the south states. How do you think that we, humble and different (in terms of culture), European folks shall succeed in building up our union without some portion of forced, but necessary loss of the national sovereignty of each member state? As a matter of fact, though in different historic conditions, slowly, but irreversibly, we follow the same trend…

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  • 50. At 9:08pm on 08 Jun 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 20 Disco_stu
    "No. Power creep is what will destroy the nation-state. I must add that that is not necessarily a bad thing."
    I totally agree. However, it will take time before the hotheads will reluctantly realise that we have no other coice...

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  • 51. At 9:11pm on 08 Jun 2010, hovertewater1 wrote:

    In the European Parliament the other month Nigel Lafarge asked Mr van Rompuy "Who are you? We have never heard of you" etc etc ........Well you are beginning to know who? and what? he stands for now.

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  • 52. At 9:18pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #42 - oeichler

    All right - you know what I meant but - no changes in the treaty arrangements with the EU which would affect the constitutional status of the UK. Is that better?

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  • 53. At 9:25pm on 08 Jun 2010, crash wrote:

    The sooner the UK pulls out of europe,the better i cannot imagine how much waste waste their is in the British government let alone the millions flushed down the eu toilet.

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  • 54. At 9:37pm on 08 Jun 2010, smroet wrote:

    @MA-II #18

    Monnet himself proscribed that as a solution for Europe's problems when interviewed a couple of months ago when Greece's problems were front and center.

    This is Marcus at his best. Monnet died on March 16, 1979. Greece signed the accession treaty with the EEC on May 28, 1979, and was admitted to the EU on January 1, 1981. So Monnet reached out from his grave, or something ??? Or MA-II believes in reincarnation ? On the latter, there is a Greek town called Serres (Serrai), but the locals pronounce it Ssshherres. It is rumoured that a lot of those people are reincarnations of an Native American chieftain called "Sitting Bull" (the "S" pronounced with the local accent, of course). Maybe Marcus is related to these ?

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  • 55. At 9:38pm on 08 Jun 2010, Mickalus wrote:

    46. At 8:45pm on 08 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    Hilarious comment - thank you! Improved my evening hugely.

    We should also all fax copies to Ban Ki Moon as well for perusal by the General Assembly at the same time.

    As our British friends say - "In for a penny, in for a pound".

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  • 56. At 9:50pm on 08 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #46
    @oeichler,

    Good idea, even better ask the banks how much profit they wish to make for the year and then either tax us or cut benefits to reach the banks demands:)

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  • 57. At 10:06pm on 08 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #54 - smroet

    Great post.

    Did you notice that MA also knew about the coalition and the EU weeks ago, even though it's only been in office under a month?

    By the way, 'S' is pronounced the same way in Hungarian. He will think we are ganging up on him.

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  • 58. At 10:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    41. Mr. T
    Thanks for the reply. To be honest with you I still don't know if Britain can leave the EU if it wants to. If it wants to, it better do it now before you all form the EU military thang.

    I'm an old fart, but if the British get in a scrap I'd wanna help.

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  • 59. At 10:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, TheNewMinority wrote:

    They EU have not managed to get there accounts signed off by independant auditors for around 15 years in a row because of fraud and mismanagement, What exactly qualifies them to inspect the accounts of those countries not using the Euro?

    Source
    http://www.openeurope.org.uk/media-centre/pressrelease.aspx?pressreleaseid=126

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  • 60. At 10:24pm on 08 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #52. threnodio_II
    again, what is the constitutional status of the UK???

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  • 61. At 10:33pm on 08 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 62. At 10:39pm on 08 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    Imagine after receiving the thumbs up from Brussels regarding the budget, a national government gives in the demands of the public sector unions and Brussels says No, No, No, No, No....
    One way to break the unions... blame Brussels!

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  • 63. At 10:41pm on 08 Jun 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    There is a case for those states in the Euro zone to view their respective budgets (now that the horse has well and truly bolted).

    But why does a sovereign country have to show its budget to a free trade block before its own elected officials?

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  • 64. At 10:47pm on 08 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Whats the fuss about folks? If a review of budgets can make sure that countries don't overspend then thats a good thing. As long as budgets are within a country's means, that country should have no issues presenting it to the EU.

    storm in a teacup

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  • 65. At 10:49pm on 08 Jun 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    One more thing....As European countries are now making cuts in public spending, surely the EU bureaucracy should be on the block as well?

    Maybe we could start with ending the farcical romp between Strasbourg and Brussels for the European Parliament?

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  • 66. At 10:51pm on 08 Jun 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    thenodio_II

    You are, as usual, quite correct.

    The Lisbon Treaty does provide a specific clause for any nation to leave the EU without recourse to repudiation of the Treaty of Rome. Having read the darned Treaty cover-to-cover - for my sins - it is one of the good things the Treaty does provide.

    And, regarding oechler @42 and your comment regarding constitutional changes. What I think you meant was that the Conservative Manifesto promised that a COnservative Government would seek to put in place legislation that would guarantee a referendum of the electorate should there be any call to transfer further sovereign powers from Westminster Parliament to the EU at any time in the future.

    That has been watered down by William Hague (due to the fragility of the Coalition no doubt) to "no transfer of sovereign powers from Westminster Parliament to the EU during the lifetime of this Parliament. Of course, no one knows what that 'lifetime' of the UK Parliament will be - much water, blood, sweat and tears are going to flow under the bridge in this current Parliament and no one knows if the lifetime will be short and sweet or long and bloody.

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  • 67. At 11:02pm on 08 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "53. At 9:25pm on 08 Jun 2010, crash wrote:

    The sooner the UK pulls out of europe,the better i cannot imagine how much waste waste their is in the British government let alone the millions flushed down the eu toilet."

    Its billions

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  • 68. At 11:39pm on 08 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "59. At 10:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, TheNewMinority wrote:

    They EU have not managed to get there accounts signed off by independant auditors for around 15 years in a row because of fraud and mismanagement, What exactly qualifies them to inspect the accounts of those countries not using the Euro?"

    Same old. Same old. People should be embarassed to use this argument. Its such a dead horse...

    fyi - its the member states who don't allocate and monitor the money properly, which has been given to them by the EU.

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  • 69. At 00:12am on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    maudDib: The technically correct answer is that a British government can leave the EU either unilaterally after two years of notifying other members, or in a shorter time with support from a qualified majority of other countries. The true answer though is that there is currently no way for the British people to elect such a government given that we live in an era of century(s) old political party brand loyalities when all three of the 'brands' on offer to voters never offer any option other than staying in.    

    ----- Article 50 TEU (Treaty on European Union)
    1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
    2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
    4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
    A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
    5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

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  • 70. At 00:36am on 09 Jun 2010, bart wrote:

    So what happens if all the countries in the EU put their budgets before a central controlling department within the Europe Union.

    It is not workable if Brussels is going to go over those budgets with a fine tooth comb. How many countries are in the EU again.

    It is not workable if Brussels decides to send a budget back to a national government and tells them to try again. And they do not think of the lead times needed for this sort of thing.

    It is not workable if even going thru this process a national Government decides to cheat after all this planning and approval like the Greeks did.

    If none of the countries in the EU have been within guidelines up to this point how will they make it happen now.

    If the Euro is in trouble now because of a number of differing economies adding more to the mix are these already achieving debt to income guidelines if not more problems right?

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  • 71. At 03:04am on 09 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    49. At 9:01pm on 08 Jun 2010, generalissimo wrote:


    " ... our union ..."

    EUpris: It isn't "our union." The British people never wanted this rubbish. It is the enemy of the people in the "EU". It is the enemy of democracy and justice.

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  • 72. At 03:08am on 09 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    There is no alternative. We have to leave the "EU".

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  • 73. At 04:54am on 09 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #5 Bluesberry

    You are making an assumption that the EU has access to superior Accounting abilities .

    Perhaps you have overlooked the fact that the EU accounts have not been signed off by auditers in years .

    The error of the one size fits all Euro , is another example the EU's incapacity to direct financial affairs .

    In view of the indebtedness of Eurozone states , it might be appropriate for an independent body to oversee their budgets .

    In my opinion this idea is exclusively a further intrusion into the affairs of member states , another step towards Federal Europe .

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  • 74. At 05:37am on 09 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    It all makes sense.
    Common market should mean synchronized (common) budget and financial policies.
    Doing it any other way sooner or later the market will become unstable (see the current situation).
    About deeper integration : how can we have a common market and random budget and financial policies. If we accept a common market we have to accept common budget and financial policies. Of course that means further integration, one more step towards a federal EU. The irony is that in a realistic manner there are only two options:1) keep the common market=federal EU; 2) disintegrate the common market= independent nation states. So, which one means BETTER?

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  • 75. At 06:08am on 09 Jun 2010, Peter Hawkins wrote:

    Down the years the UK Government has made a mess of the UK economy, whilst the EU has gone from strength to strength, in deed that was the reason the UK joined. I consider that supervision by the EU Institutions of the UK Budget is long overdue and should improve the UK economy. I confess an interest, for the value of my National Insurance Pension will improve.

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  • 76. At 06:26am on 09 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #48 Threnodio
    With its currency is linked to the Euro Denmark is associated to the Euro zone. The currency goes up and down with the Euro, and therefore a devaluation is not a means at the disposal of the central bank in Denmark.

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  • 77. At 08:10am on 09 Jun 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    I must admit that the Brisitsh position makes far more sense than the EU position in this. This measure makes indded only sense for countries that already have the Euro and probably also for those willing to join it within the next one or 2 years (no more nasty budget surprises like we had in Greece!)

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  • 78. At 08:34am on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Peter Hawkins

    Re #75

    I'm afraid I just cannot follow Your logic: Maybe it is because You appear not to have understood what has been going on for the last 40 or so years!

    "..down the years the UK Government has made a mess of the UK Economy..": Is that pre-1973 which is when the UK joined the EEC!? Or, are You somehow referring to the last 37 years when UK has been in the EEC/EU?

    UK Economy certainly had struggled at times over pre/post membership years, but it also thrived in other periods: Just as it was for many member Nations' economies. The last period (until 08-09) of UK Economic decline was PM Major's disastrous experiment with tying the Pound into the EUropean Exchange Rate Mechanism - - a total debacle - - it led to PM Blair/NuLab & a decade of prosperity.

    "...EU has gone from strength to strength..": That would be with the UK inside it & the UK as 2nd/3rd largest contributor to it - - some achievement if as You claim the UK Economy was in such a 'mess'.
    Now You suggest Brussels should have oversight of the UK Exchequer, but completely overlook Your "..strength to strength.." EU Economy includes the corrupt entry-qualification dealings of 11 of 15 EUro-zone Nations and near collapse of some EUro-economies in recent months!

    During the period 1996-2008 the UK Economy grew at a faster-rate than almost all fellow EU Nations - - mainly driven by the private Financial Services sector, and by the growth of key public services (health, education) - - the UK has consistently pressed the EU to follow the 'freer' market policies that seemed to do so well. Of course the last couple of years of Economic-Fiscal decimation of financial institutions has exposed how inadequate was the background infrastructure of regulation.

    However, such was the immensity of the Economic fall-out the entire World's economies have suffered: The Nations using EUro-zone, Pound, Dollar, Yuan etc. have all been hit by the recession. Saving Banks & rescuing Financial Institutions with multi-billions of Tax-Payers money became the National/International cause celebre of 2008-09!

    You may not agree with the UK continuing with its 'lighter touch' regulation/oversight & pressing the EU to follow, but You offer no evidence that it would be better if the UK followed the much 'tighter grip' supervision/oversight policy advocated by Brussels.

    Infact, Your reasoning is to do with Your Personal Pension Plan, and I would suggest that just as Your "..UK economy mess.." was wholly wide of the mark, so, You are basing Your Pension assessment on misleading indicators of what may be in Your best interests. E.g. if You have been paying into a UK Pension Plan then You might like to look at the Historical 'returns' on Your investment which in most cases over the period 1996-2008 would have seen much higher Bonus/Dividend add-ons to Your Basic Sum than would have been the case had the UK Economy & Financial sector been tied into the EUro-zone.

    Before leaping to advocate centrlised EU Fiscal control & regulation of Your Pension pot maybe You should step back and reconsider what is in the best longterm interests of the UK Economy as a whole because that can be guaranteed to have the greatest financial impact on Your Pension prospects.

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  • 79. At 08:34am on 09 Jun 2010, zzgrark wrote:

    Re budgets: Cameron just calls it a transfer of new powers to Brussels, says that by the terms of his election he has to put it in a referendum to the British people, who being so EU-sceptic are bound to say NO.
    End of story.
    What are the fascists in Brussels going to do then - invade us?
    Don't think so.

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  • 80. At 08:57am on 09 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Dutch voters are going to the polls, as opinion surveys show growing support for right-wing parties and those seeking to restrict immigration.

    The Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, who has denounced Islam and suggested a tax on headscarves, looks set to increase its parliamentary representation." [BBC]



    Yep. A tax on headscarves might significantly improve EUSSR's balance sheet.

    Unlike a tax on nuclear power which makes Mr. Putin very happy.



    P.S. Is this Rompuy some kind o Belgian cheese?

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  • 81. At 09:00am on 09 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: "Monnet died on March 16, 1979"


    But Monnetary union is still on its deathbed.

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  • 82. At 09:02am on 09 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: "those willing to join it within the next one or 2 years"


    Turkey?


    Who else would be that stupid? Kosovo?

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  • 83. At 09:08am on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #60 - oeichler

    It is the case that there is no single document and that the constitution grows organically. The theory of course being that this gives flexibility to adjust to circumstances.

    In effect, however, it is all written down somewhere. These are just a few of the more important ones -

    1215 - Magna Carta
    1534 - Establishment of the Church of England
    1707 - Act of Union (with Scotland)
    1715 - Septennial Act
    1832 - Great Reform Act
    1867 - Reform Act
    *1911 - Parliament Act
    1918 - Representation of the People Act
    1928 - Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act
    *1975 - House of Commons Disqualification Act
    *1981 - Representation of the People Act
    *1983 - Representation of the People Act
    *1986 - Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986
    *2000 - Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act

    Interestingly, no fewer than 6 of these will have to be amended for the proposed reforms to go ahead (marked with asterisks above).

    Additionally - The Treaties of Rome, Nice, Maastricht and Lisbon all required Parliamentary enabling legislation, as do all solemn and binding treaties and are therefore enshrined in law.

    It is therefore simply not true to say that the constitution is unwritten. Rather it grows incrementally with each new act that enters the statutes book. Any arrangements, both with the EU and internal constitutional affairs will be the subject of legislation and written down.

    #66 - Menedemus

    "no transfer of sovereign powers from Westminster Parliament to the EU during the lifetime of this Parliament"

    It is not really watering down because it would be the case anyway. By convention, no parliament may pass an act which is binding on a subsequent administration. The right of repeal is ever present so this is more cosmetic than anything. I am assuming what he means is anything which would require either a new treaty or significant amendments to an existing one. Unlike the enabling acts, the treaties are binding on future governments except in extraordinary circumstances such as a declaration of war.

    #76 - Mathiasen

    Thank you. I was not aware of that.

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  • 84. At 09:09am on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ThrenodioII & #27 / Rocambole & #28

    The EU's greatest problem is its lack of 'Democracy' and its clear tendency to favour 'anti-Democratic' approaches to the big and small policy-decisions.

    So, no surprise that I certainly endorse the "..2 bloody-minded" off-shore Nations' views of Referendum.

    Whilst I certainly agree more 'European' Citizen education could be undertaken in the British Isles I'm afraid Rocambole You, like so many 'pro-EU', are misunderstanding the perceived UK/England antipathy to Brussels if You seriously think it is based on 'ignorance' & 'cliche'. The days of 'imperial' etc. memory in UK/England are long gone for most Britons. The 60,000,000 multi-cultural population with 1 in 8 not having English as a first language are not throwbacks to a mythic past, but in the main hard-headed realists who foresee and fear EU 'ever closer union' as a massive threat to Citizens' very hard won Democratic Rights & Responsibilities.

    Post-Maastricht (1992) almost everything done by the EU-Brussels would seem to support that allegation: It cannot point to an example of its Constituent Citizens ballot box majority-support for its policies and yet it has moved ahead on all of them irrespective of its Citizens wishes.
    The Lisbon Treaty is a classic example: Which part of Your "European Citizenship" course includes the Lesson where only 1 Nation of 27 and only 3,000,000 of 380,000,000 Citizen Voters are invited to make their views known via the Ballot box on an agreement that encompasses/abridges all previous Treaties under 1 heading?
    I cannot imagine a worse example of 'anti-Democratic' action by a supreme authority in which it accrues even more power to itself without regard or reference to ordinary Citizens.

    Such high-handed, duplicitous political connivance perhaps explains why as few as 43% of Citizens voted in the 2009 EU Parliament Election and that followed 3 previous elections of declining Voter participation and none attaining even 50% turnout!
    How does the EUropean Citizenship Teacher explain that depite only 1 in 3 Citizens voting every single EU-Brussels policy announced prior to that 2009 election is to be carried out? Especially when it also takes into account millions of those who did Vote were voting for Candidates opposed to those EU-policies!

    A remarkable couple of Citizenship Lessons ahead of a future generation, wouldn't You say!?
    Or would You prefer the children are left in "ignorance" of those salient 'Democratic-political' points, and would rather rely on the "cliche" that the EUropean Union 'protects the Citizen'!?

    You back that entity taking even more authority & power to itself if You so wish. However, an increasing number of EU Citizens (see recent German & UK election plus the present Dutch Election results) are not persuaded Your EU-Brussels has any such reason or right at all.

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  • 85. At 09:12am on 09 Jun 2010, Kevin Yates wrote:

    How often are the EUs/Commissions accounts passed by auditors? Now why would we want them to approve our budgets again?

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  • 86. At 09:24am on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #84 - cool_brush_work

    Yes. Just as long as we do not forget who denied the other 26 their voice. It was not the EU, it was their separate sovereign governments. OK, you can say that they were willing conspirators in a massive stitch up but they are ultimately responsible.

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  • 87. At 09:50am on 09 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #77. At 08:10am on 09 Jun 2010, Seraphim85 wrote
    “I must admit that the British position makes far more sense than the EU position in this.”

    I cannot follow you. The remark that has caused the fuss was this:
    “the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is recommending that national budget plans are shared at EU level before they are presented to national parliaments.” (Mr. Hewitt has linked it to the document by pres. Rompuy.)

    It is a recommendation. We will have to see what the implementation is.
    Personally I have difficulties in believing that the commission will discuss details of the budget with the member states. Actually I think it is about what Rompuy says in his paper:
    “strengthening budgetary discipline through the Stability Pact”, more precisely about deficits.

    The article here is alarmistic. Also the British finance minister must admit that his country is obligated by the pact, and so he will have to talk common sense with his colleague for instance in order to see to that German tax payers are not going to bail out more countries.

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  • 88. At 09:55am on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    I see M. Barnier, unlike van Rumpoy and Barroso is being very positive towards the UK position.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10270029.stm

    Interesting times!

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  • 89. At 10:00am on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    zzgrark

    Re #79

    "..the fascists in Brussels.."

    It's when I read unadulterated drivel like that I just despair of ever convincing our EUropean neighbours Britons are not moronically under-educated!

    Have You any idea at all of what 'fascism' & 'fascists' really do as policy?

    For starters You'd be in a camp, if You were that lucky!

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  • 90. At 10:22am on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #87 - Mathiasen

    ". . .and so he will have to talk common sense with his colleague for instance in order to see to that German tax payers are not going to bail out more countries".

    The British position is very clear on this. It has it will be supportive of measures take by the ECB and member governments to support the Euro but it will not contribute to any bail out fund. When you think about it, this is a logical position. The UK must, if the economy is to recover, be seen to take all necessary steps to reduce the budget deficit (the so called 'black hole' in the public finances) and it must been seen by the markets to be doing so in a responsible way so as not to prejudice its AAA rating. The British will argue that it cannot afford to participate in Euro bailouts, not least because the British position has been that they do not consider the economic climate to be correct for joining.

    The British will also argue quite rightly that they continue to be committed to their obligations to the IMF. The IMF, you will recall, were major contributors in Hungary, Ukraine and Romania. They were also a more junior partner in the Greek bail out. It is very important that non-Euro members also have some kind of protection. Another debt crisis within the Euro zone could jeopardise the Euro project. A major default outside the Euro zone but within the EU could endanger the whole project.

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  • 91. At 11:00am on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    "There seems to be no particular element of concern," the (IMF) fund's head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (regarding the situation in Hungary).

    Jean-Claude Juncker: "I do not see any problem at all with Hungary. I only see the problem that politicians from Hungary talk too much."

    Someone tell Marcus before he precipitates another global meltdown.

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  • 92. At 11:01am on 09 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #90. At 10:22am on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II
    I might overlook something here. My impression is that Seraphim is talking about the main issue, namely the budget discipline and the measures taken (in the future) when a country violates the stability pact. In any case it is my theme.

    The finance ministers in the EU know the (im)balance of the UK budget, and for instance here in Berlin nobody expects the UK to bail out like Germany does. (However, UK still pays through the IMF).

    It is significant that German television did not even mention the British government when it yesterday informed the viewers. The UK might see itself in the centre of this but that is not necessarily the view of the rest.

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  • 93. At 11:01am on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #84. cool_brush_work

    1. Even if you repeat it another 1000 times it does not make it true.
    The UK is not a multi-cultural society, she represents more a culture of multiple societies, living in ghettos, not willing to integrate, not understanding the fundamentals of British society, not speaking English correctly (that's why councils translate leaflets in more than 10 languages), hating each other.
    It is the UK's "political correctness" mania that kills any discussion regarding integration and therefore is an obstacle towards a real multi-cultural society.

    2."...I cannot imagine a worse example of 'anti-Democratic' action..."
    As threnodio_II outlined so nicely the ever growing UK constitution, you certainly can tell us which of the following acts were approved by the UK citizens via referendum?
    1215 - Magna Carta
    1534 - Establishment of the Church of England
    1707 - Act of Union (with Scotland)
    1715 - Septennial Act
    1832 - Great Reform Act
    1867 - Reform Act
    *1911 - Parliament Act
    1918 - Representation of the People Act
    1928 - Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act
    *1975 - House of Commons Disqualification Act
    *1981 - Representation of the People Act
    *1983 - Representation of the People Act
    *1986 - Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986
    *2000 - Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act

    It is amazing when people expect more democracy from Brussels than they have in their own country.
    The Lisbon treaty is a step in the right direction, all powers are with the EU parliament and the European Council, being composed of the heads of state or government of the Union's member states.
    It is comparable with the US House of Representatives and Senate
    I hear always that we need to vote directly for the newly created post of the EU president. In how many of the 27 member states their head of the state is elected by the people? Especially when he has no real power.
    The real problem for a lot of people with the Lisbon Treaty is that their countries have lost the veto right in a lot of areas.
    Perhaps it is time that the 5 permanent members lose their veto right in the UN Security Council as well...

    There are only two kind of nationalists... the one that only thinks inside the box and the one that never thinks outside the box.


    #86 threnodio_II

    Quote: "Yes. Just as long as we do not forget who denied the other 26 their voice. It was not the EU, it was their separate sovereign governments. OK, you can say that they were willing conspirators in a massive stitch up but they are ultimately responsible."

    Correct, even if in some countries the constitution does not foresee any referendum, especially in parliamentary democracies such as Germany.

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  • 94. At 11:19am on 09 Jun 2010, LeftLibertarian wrote:

    From the days of the EEC there was always implied a level of shared sovereignty, the Single Market concept drove the creation of the Euro, the Eurozone countries will have to accept a level of synchronisation in their economic policies, this is one lesson from the current crisis. Whether the politicians will accept this is another matter.
    The UK is not in the Eurozone, so our budget plans do not affect the Euro, however the economic prospects of the Eurozone will affect UK budget planning.

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  • 95. At 11:35am on 09 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    89. At 10:00am on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:


    'zzgrark

    Re #79

    "..the fascists in Brussels.."

    It's when I read unadulterated drivel like that I just despair of ever convincing our EUropean neighbours Britons are not moronically under-educated!

    Have You any idea at all of what 'fascism' & 'fascists' really do as policy?

    For starters You'd be in a camp, if You were that lucky!'

    EUpris: The "EU" certainly has a lot in common with fascism. It is arrogant, dishonest, megalomaniac. Fasism is more concerned with building up its military than with the wishes of its "citizens". That certainly applies to the "EU".

    The imposition of the Lisbon Treaty has shown that the "EU" is determined to increase its power and will abuse any power it has.


    The "EU" has not yet set up camps for its opponents. It has not yet had the power to do so. Maybe if it had more power, we would have those camps by now.

    As for the opinions of our EUropean neighbours: What counts is that an overwhelming majority of Brits did not want the Lisbon Treaty. I do not care too much about what "EU"-lovers amongst our EUropean neighbours think. I do not really care too much about what Jukka, Gheryando or Mathiasen think or say they think.

    Many amongst our EUropean neighbours agree with people like me. We need to work with them.



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  • 96. At 11:55am on 09 Jun 2010, PlanetEnglish wrote:

    The EU agenda is crytal clear.
    And they will not budge - the Euro meltdown notwithstanding.
    In fact, the weakness of the Euro will be used to seek even more integrtation - federalization is more apt.
    Charlemagne wants the EUmpire more integrated.

    Cameron/Clegg/Hague have only one choice - either join the EUmpire, and participate with minority voting rights; or leave before it is too late.

    We left in 1688 - and created the English-speaking World.
    The EU melted down in 1814 - with Napoleaon as the Charlemagne.
    The EU melted down in 1945 - with Hitler as the Charlemagne
    The EU melted down in 1991 - when USSR collapsed letting loose E Europe.

    Cameron's promise of a referendum - if any further sovereignty is handed over - is on test.
    Charlemagne wants to review Cameron's budget.

    My bet is that Charlemagne will win.

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  • 97. At 11:58am on 09 Jun 2010, Jayuu wrote:

    Such a ridiculous column designed once again to stir up the anti-EU members of this list by painting this as a UK vs EU fight.

    The simple fact of the matter is that such a measure had already been talked about nearly a month ago and most EU members are dead set against it, even those inside the Eurozone. The Irish government will not consider it, not will the current oppposition in Ireland. This was said in the Irish parliament. I would suspect that this is the same across most European government.

    "An unnamed French diplomat hinted that the idea was widely supported." When we get to the point where we're taking unamed sources as fact we really are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Was it not possible for Gavin to get some unnamed diplomats to refute this for balance?

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  • 98. At 12:01pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "Someone tell Marcus before he precipitates another global meltdown."

    You need credibility before you can precipitate something other than a wave of laughter. Awesome Geronimo may have slight issues there. ^^

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  • 99. At 12:29pm on 09 Jun 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    I have an alternative suggestion:

    As the EU has had so much trouble down the years managing to balance its books, and as the EU Court of Auditors seems incapable of addressing the issue, the EU should submit its budget to the UK Treasury for vetting before presenting it to the the Euro Parliament. As we are entering the age of austerity I am sure we can identify a huge amount of savings that can be made!

    Just trying to be helpful.

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  • 100. At 12:41pm on 09 Jun 2010, oulematu wrote:

    Every EU topic these days seems to slip into the same old ideological discussion. It may be time to dissolve the EU, regardless of costs and consequences, since the EU enjoys so little respect among the public and any solution proposed by the EU is automatically branded as a conspiracy.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to understand whether the new proposal only creates another beaurocratic procedure or whether it has an added value. If the test is simply budget deficit of less than 3%, I wonder what kind of valuable feedback the Commission can provide. Surely the financial ministries can do the math themselves? It might be more useful to create an independepent apolitical procedure which would review the accounting fairness of the budget numbers - something like a requirement to have each proposed budget audited under uniform accounting standards, before its approval by the member state parliament. Presumably the Commission is not able or is not in a position to do this as it failed to detect or ignored budget fraud in the past.

    One should also not forget about the need for clear and strict penalties. If a state fails to approve or implement a compliant budget, it should be penalized financially (higher contributions and less access to EU financing and subsidies) and (in the case of fraudulent or repeated wilful disregard of the rules) voting rights within the EU. Clearly, the new member states should not be held accountable for their failure to meet the eurozone entry criteria unless the current member states are held accountable.

    Although that's for a separate discussion, I would abolish most EU subsidies anyway - reality has shown that they have only a limited benefit for the general public and breed corruption.

    Finally, stronger punishment for member states should be counterbalanced by stronger freedom of movement for people (which at present remains to a large extent only on paper). Punishment of a member state should not be directed at punishing the general population, which should have the option of voting with its feet where domestic political mechanism fail (e.g., because all main domestic parties are equally corrupt, as appears to be the case in many EU member states).

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  • 101. At 12:51pm on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #93 - oeichler

    I notice when you copied my list that you left out the four EU treaties which were also listed. The Treaty of Rome - or rather Britain's accession to it - was the subject of a referendum in 1975. That is the only Union wide referendum ever but there have been referenda in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and, since the 2000 Act, a number in England relating to changes in local government and the adoption of mayors with executive powers in major cities. It's not much but it is a start.

    However, problems with national constitutions have nothing to do with EU democracy. It is a relatively young institution and it knew all abouthow democracy was supposed to work from day one.

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  • 102. At 12:55pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    oeichler

    Re #93

    "..not willing to integrate..", "..living in ghettos..", "..hating each other.." and "..not make it true."

    Says it all really: You write as though You have the knowledge of all UK/England Citizens and there is no experience, no concept of society except Your's!

    FYI: In truth, no matter if You write 10,000 times, Your splenetic discourse just exposes Your paucity of understanding of a wider world beyond that personally You conceive as being the only one available to people.

    There is no doubt a separation of cultures in some places & instances across UK social structures: Whether You like or conveniently choose to ignore it, there is too, a vast amount of societal inter-action with NHS-Welfare, Education, Food, Transport, Media, Entertainment & increasingly the Armed Forces being fine exponents of this 'multi-cultural' trend.

    I would be among the first to admit there are real issues around the UK Islamic community as an example of where the 'faith-cultural' mix is clearly under a good deal of pressure: However, I would be astonished if You could point to any 'western' society where that has not become the prevailing topic of concern over the last 2 decades?

    Nonetheless, whilst 'multi-cuture' may not be the most suitable term I would suggest the UK/England has a distinguished record of assimilation of Peoples from other cultures: Celebration of difference does not mean wholesale acceptance of social practises that are foreign to the historic UK Cultural evolution. Afterall, most immigrants move to the UK to adopt ways & methods they assume will lead to a better life - - in many ways that is a rejection of substantial aspects of their former lives - - no, not all manage it well & purposefully, and some inevitably do not make the transition at all, but IMO given time and appropriate levels of assistance the great majority do so.

    Do tell us: Which UK 'ghetto' community have You lived in recently? Wouldn't be white-anglo-saxon variety, would it by any chance?
    Do tell us - - if the recent immigrant or his 60yr old granny isn't reading, speaking English would You prefer they just get no assistance at all - - of what benefit is it to the UK/England Economy-Society to ignore people disadvantaged by lack of language skills?

    I oppose almost all the 'Political Correctness' mania that has so bedeviled UK/England politics etc. in recent decades, however, it is not 'PC' to inform the recently arrived pregnant Pakistani lady or asylum-seeking Zimbabwhe 18yr old lad there is a Hospital and/or College course available in the language they can best understand.
    Yes, there is Information Literature in various languages, however, Your stuff about the languages is out-dated: As part of Citizenship application all immigrants to UK are now required to attend lessons to attain a basic knowledge of English and are tested on it plus the 'history/culture'.

    ThrenodioII's very welcome list of the 'written' implants to the 'unwritten' UK Constitution reveals the absurdity and old-fashioned lack of understanding of British systems You try to assert as reality.
    Particularly when that list is combined with the written & electorally approved 'Democratic' move toward 'Devolution' across the whole UK over the last 15 years - - with Referenda establishing British Citizen's views on the political evolution of their Nations.
    Ironically, it is England's Citizens that in my view have neen left out of the loop of 'devolution-representation': England being the only UK Union Nation without its own Parliament.

    We can add to the above exception to UK/England reliance on 'democractic' tradition the grossly unrepresentative, anti-Democratic entity based in Brussels: Now, if You want to see, feel, hear & experience 'Political Correctness' in its most invidiously intrusive form then try EU Legislation & practises. E.g. solely for 'PC' reasons the EU exits Brussels for Strasbourg every 6 months!

    By all means join the rest of us in pronouncing on what You have as a wish list of how the World would be if only everyone would just accept 'You' know it all, but never forget, what You may consider 'thinking in/out the box' is just another opinion.
    Much as it may irritate, You don't have the monopoly on being right about what is best for the UK, England, EUrope, USA, UNO etc. What You consider as "..true.." is very largely untrue in my view and doubtless in the opinion of many others.

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  • 103. At 1:05pm on 09 Jun 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    How many people would accept a democratically elected President of the European Union if his party stood very few candidates in Britain, barely anyone here voted for him and his policys where widely disliked here, but he had recieved overwhelming support from the rest of the EU? (say, over 70% turnout, over 70% of the MEP's, over 70% of the vote.)

    There are parallels to the current system as I see it, because the Conversatives pulled out of the EPP grouping, the party which supported President Barossa and is currently "In Government" if you like has no voters (and currently no possibility of voters) in the UK.

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  • 104. At 1:15pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Ociler (93) said “There are only two kind of nationalists... the one that only thinks inside the box and the one that never thinks outside the box”

    There are different types of nationalism, but liberal nationalism is benign and indeed essential to representative government, and therefore a very good thing indeed. It is unfortunately very common in discussions about the EU for federalists to try to tar liberal nationalists like myself with the same brush as Hitler, Mussolini, etc. but those figures did not believe in the sovereignty of the people, ‘government of the people, for the people, by the people’, etc. They usurped this power from its true owners (the people) and re-directed the power of the state towards their own ends instead.

    You said “The Lisbon treaty is a step in the right direction, all powers are with the EU parliament and the European Council,... It is comparable with the US House of Representatives and Senate.”

    You equate democracy with majority rule, and say that the Lisbon treaty is a democratic advance because it increases the power of institutions like the European parliament. However democracy (rule by the people) is not the same thing as majority rule unless the people doing the voting are a united polity that will agree to live under their majority, and this is not the case across Europe. Democracy is only compatible with majority-rule inside the context of a nation-state (or a sub-region within such a nation-state). Majority rule at international level is equivalent to saying the majority will of one nation can be overruled by majorities in other nations, which is not compatible with rule by the people at all. Therefore it is a massive mistake to compare the institutions in Washington DC and Brussels. The democratic legitimacy of the US federal institutions actually depends entirely on them being national institutions, and is not shared by the federal institutions in Brussels which are not national institutions and can never provide ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ in the absence of any European people that would be agree to live under a pan-European majority. The democratic legitimacy of international organisations actually depends on them using decision-making by unanimity because this is the only way to prevent national-majorities from being over-ruled. The EU has been shedding democratic legitimacy since 1992 because it has progressively replaced decision-making by unanimity with majority voting which is inappropriate at an international level. No other international organisation has done this, and no other international organisation has experienced an EU-like breakdown of its legitimacy.

    Can you, as someone admiring ‘out of the box’ thinking, provide any alternative explanation for why the measures proposed by European federalists do not seem to work in practice? After all, 30+ years of doing what you recommend, i.e. increasing the powers of directly-elected majoritorian institutions like the EU Parliament, not only have failed to solve the EU democratic crisis, but have seen the problem getting worse and worse and worse over that same period? If you cannot provide any alternative explanation which fits the observed facts i would suggest it is the European federalists whose thoughts are stuck in a box.

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  • 105. At 1:29pm on 09 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    93. At 11:01am on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler
    Interesting.

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  • 106. At 1:44pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Benefactor

    Re #103

    It is an interesting point, but You miss the point some other EU Nations also have little or no representation in certain of the 'groupings' at Brussels. Then again, as the 770+ MEPs were returned to office by 43% of the Electorate in 2009 is it even feasible to consider Barroso or any of them has a Mandate from EU Citizens?

    However, there is also the added pan-EUropean political complication: As there is no actual parallel between any of the EU27 National Constitutions and then again between the various institutions in Brussels and the EU27 it is difficult to draw any reasonable conclusion as to who or what is representative of any particular view or political methodology.


    My overall view would be the EU 'Democratic deficit' in its present format is so enormous it cannot possibly lay claim to any political mandate from Citizens anywhere or a right to follow any political philosophy.

    Without considerable reform the whole EU entity is bound to ultimately fail by internal gerrymandering and external Public hostility.


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  • 107. At 1:50pm on 09 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    104. At 1:15pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John

    “but liberal nationalism is benign and indeed essential to representative government, and therefore a very good thing indeed”

    Any form of nationalism is similar to any form of fanaticism. Nationalism means feeling of superiority of a nation, therefore be careful, that is more closer to fascism than any of your comparisons.

    “You equate democracy with majority rule”

    Democracy is majority rule.

    “The EU has been shedding democratic legitimacy since 1992 because it has progressively replaced decision-making by unanimity with majority voting which is inappropriate at an international level.”

    There is no such think as unanimity. Every two persons when compared have variably different opinions. Unanimity exists only in dictatorial regimes.

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  • 108. At 1:51pm on 09 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    104. At 1:15pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John

    “but liberal nationalism is benign and indeed essential to representative government, and therefore a very good thing indeed”

    Any form of nationalism is similar to any form of fanaticism. Nationalism means feeling of superiority of a nation, therefore be careful, that is more closer to fascism than any of your comparisons.

    “You equate democracy with majority rule”

    Democracy is majority rule.

    “The EU has been shedding democratic legitimacy since 1992 because it has progressively replaced decision-making by unanimity with majority voting which is inappropriate at an international level.”

    There is no such think as unanimity. Every two persons when compared have variably different opinions. Unanimity exists only in dictatorial regimes.

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  • 109. At 1:56pm on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #103 - Benefactor

    Its a very improbable scenario but lets look at it anyway. You would see a realignment throughout Europe. The Tories would very quickly recognise that the present bunch of screwballs they are currently cozied up to in the EP would stand no chance in such an election. They would quickly realign with the centre right mainstream. The various Liberal parties would probably be confident enough to field a candidate, possible in alliance with the greens and there would be a grand coalition of centre left parties. In other words, the major groups would come together to ensure that there were only three credible candidates and they would seek to marginalise both extremes. This assumes that there would be a direct election.

    It would not satisfy nationalist sentiments throughout Europe and I think it is far more likely that there would be some kind of electoral college similar to the American model. With 60 odd million citizens, there would be a large slice of that vote in the hands of the UK delegates and every chance there would be a candidate they could get behind.

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  • 110. At 2:17pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    cbw

    "FYI: In truth, no matter if You write 10,000 times, Your splenetic discourse just exposes Your paucity of understanding of a wider world beyond that personally You conceive as being the only one available to people."

    As with most topics, there is some truth in both of your arguments (you and oeichler)

    There are many "integrated" Britons, who are not white - but please pay a visit to edgware road and you will understand what oeichler means.

    Both of you have a point.

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  • 111. At 2:23pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    opinion (108) said “Any form of nationalism is similar to any form of fanaticism. Nationalism means feeling of superiority of a nation, therefore be careful, that is more closer to fascism than any of your comparisons.”

    This is such a ludicrous statement which shows how one-sided the EU 'battle of ideas’ is. Ghandi was a liberal nationalist, Thomas Jefferson was a liberal nationalist (and Joseph Stalin built a multinational federation).

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  • 112. At 2:34pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "It may be time to dissolve the EU, regardless of costs and consequences, since the EU enjoys so little respect among the public and any solution proposed by the EU is automatically branded as a conspiracy."

    Not surprising when an organisation is built on obfuscation, lies and deceit. Perhaps they could have the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf decorating the inside of EU buildings...

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  • 113. At 2:41pm on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #110 - Gheryando

    Integration is a matter of choice. You cannot proclaim that the UK is a free liberal democracy then demand that everybody should become "semi-detached suburban Mr. Jones". There are some people out there among the 'politically correct mob' who would like us all to be able bodied, slightly coffee coloured, tax paying, non-smoking, wine-sipping greens - perhaps just a little bit gay and terribly, terribly liberal.

    It ain't gonna happen people.

    We are all individuals with out quirks, habits, preferences, faith systems and cultural roots and long may it be so. You suggest we take a walk along Edgeware Road. Have you been down Brick Lane recently? Bangladeshi to the core - but a more vibrant, colorful, exuberant community you could not wish to find - almost all of them good British citizens, by the way.

    OK, the Home Secretary may have a point about language. Many EU countries make similar stipulations. But please, not conformity for its own sake. One of the arguments used by some EU sceptics here is the "we are different, we are British" line. Well guess what - we are not all the same.

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  • 114. At 2:45pm on 09 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Every country already knows that none of the budgets are accurate. They are every much a political tool as a financial instrument. This is pitiful. Oh please bankers lend us more money, charge us high interest it doesn't matter we will tax the people. The big banks should be destroyed, they extort money from governments, corrupt the political system and gamble away the retirements of people who work all their lives and give themselves bonuses for these creative thefts. It is a sad state of affairs that nations must bond together to deal with the banks. The governments are weakended by their own corruption and find it impossible to be honest and deal with the banks for the interest of the people. Wall Street owns the American government and the politicians they own fight evey attempt to protect the average persons deposits and investments. America is a corporate state that relies on the ignorant right-wing to do its bidding while it steals from and abuses these very people. Like serfs defending the castles they will never live in while their homes and crops are destroyed by the competing corporate and political armies. This will be a slow death to this political system but it appears unwilling to change even to save itself. But bankers understand that even revolutions need money.

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  • 115. At 2:52pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    #93 oeichler
    "The UK is not a multi-cultural society, she represents more a culture of multiple societies, living in ghettos, not willing to integrate, not understanding the fundamentals of British society, not speaking English correctly (that's why councils translate leaflets in more than 10 languages), hating each other."

    In certain areas this would be true (e.g. Oldham). In others completely false. You could try visiting places like Leicester and admit you do not know as much as you think you do.

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  • 116. At 2:55pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    "What the EU officials want is to be able to adjust national budgets to try and reduce the imbalances between the economies that use the euro. It is by no means certain that the German people would agree to this and there are other countries that may resist what would be interpreted as an intrusion into their own affairs. "

    I am German and I wholeheartedly refuse this idea. Neither my government nor any other government should mess with the national budget of other nations for which they have no democratic legitimation to govern.
    I also do not want anyone tell my government how to handle finances.

    If two nations don`t share the same view on fiscal policy, they may be better off not being in a union together.
    Union yes, but not at any price.


    Go Britain! Show those EU officials their limitations and send them home.

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  • 117. At 3:05pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @11 Steve

    "We are a sovereign nation, and it is up to us, through our elected leaders, to determine how our money is spent, not some unelected people in another country.

    Mr. Osborne is quite correct in his attitude to this proposition; we aren't in the Euro, so there's no requirement for France to be able to veto our Budget, whatever it might be."

    Absolutely correct.
    But I`d like to add, that even if a nation is in the Eurozone, other nations do have no legitimacy to veto its national budged.

    The citizens can`t even veto the budget in most European countries...
    So, in essence, the Eurocrats want to grant the EU - and therefore other nations - more power over respective national budgets than the sovereign, the citizens, ever had!

    Should this ever happen, it will sound the deathknell for any kind of European idea as in free trade, friendship and peace.

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  • 118. At 3:58pm on 09 Jun 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    threnodio_II @#83

    The watered down bit is the missing part about this Parliament introducing legislation that would guarantee a referendum should there be any move to transfer more sovereign powers to the EU.

    Legislation is not binding as it can be repealed by a future government but only by consent of the majority of the Westminster Parliament and my guess is that once Westminster had created such legislation it would take a very strong government a lot of effort to undo that kind of electorate empowerment.

    What I believe William Hague is saying, sotto voce, is that there will now NOT be any such legislation but that the accord with the Liberal Democrats is that they won't object to the Conservatives saying "No" to such a transfer of powers during the coalition but that the Conservatives would have to get a vote past them (and the Opposition parties) for any legislation to become statute.

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  • 119. At 4:11pm on 09 Jun 2010, LeftLibertarian wrote:

    “The EU has been shedding democratic legitimacy since 1992 because it has progressively replaced decision-making by unanimity with majority voting which is inappropriate at an international level.”
    Strange view, that the unelected Commissioners have greater democratic credentials than the MEPs elected directly by each member nation's electorate.

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  • 120. At 4:13pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @93 oeichler

    "The Lisbon treaty is a step in the right direction, all powers are with the EU parliament and the European Council, being composed of the heads of state or government of the Union's member states.
    It is comparable with the US House of Representatives and Senate"

    What you wrote about the European Parliament is absolutely wrong.
    Just take a look at how members of the US-Senate are elected or how they take on their responsibilities and you`ll see how false that claim is.

    And who gave the ministers who are sitting in the council the legitimacy to stick their noses into toher nations` affairs again?
    Last time I checked, a minister holds no democratic legitimation to decide things outside of his nation or above the respective nation`s parliament.

    "I hear always that we need to vote directly for the newly created post of the EU president. In how many of the 27 member states their head of the state is elected by the people? Especially when he has no real power."


    One thing doesn`t necessarily preclude the other thing.

    That`s right: I can criticise the lack of democracy within the EU and the way things are run within my country all at the same time.

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  • 121. At 4:16pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    "Correct, even if in some countries the constitution does not foresee any referendum, especially in parliamentary democracies such as Germany."

    It`s a relic from a deep distrust towards the German people after WWII.
    That the political class does not seem to care about this issue and is not even thinkin about changing it tells you a lot about how they conceive their sovereign.

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  • 122. At 4:20pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @104 Freeborn John

    Excellent posting.

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  • 123. At 4:27pm on 09 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #118 - Menedemus

    I would be very surprised if the Lib Dems would vote against a coalition of which they are part. Abstaining would be their option and there are probably enough Labour MPs who would be sympathetic to the Tories on Europe to scrape them through. Of course, the Tories don't want that scenario so I guess they keeping the LDs sweet.

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  • 124. At 4:29pm on 09 Jun 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    If all there going to do is look at it and make some recommendations I really don't care.

    It seems quite obvious that in many countries no ones been taking a close look at them for years.

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  • 125. At 4:29pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @108 opinion

    "“You equate democracy with majority rule”

    Democracy is majority rule."

    ---

    So you admit that the EU has no democratic legitimation?
    Because, there was neither a majority who legitimated the bureaucratic waterhead in Brussels, nor political mandates empowering the political class to represent the majority on these issues.



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  • 126. At 4:37pm on 09 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 69 FBJ

    "The true answer though is that there is currently no way for the British people to elect such a government given that we live in an era of century(s) old political party brand loyalities when all three of the 'brands' on offer to voters never offer any option other than staying in."

    Are you suggesting that British democracy is not working?

    So what happens with the BNP and UKIP 'brands' that the totalitarian super-parrots and other EU prisoners in this blog love so much?

    Are they not 'brands' on offer to the electorate? Where their 'brand propositions' not included in all polling stations where they fielded candidates?

    It seems to me there are two possible ways to interpret what you (and the totalitarian super-parrots / EU prisoners of this blog) keep repeating time and time again ad nauseam:

    1. British democracy is not working, because there is a de facto totalitarian superstate imposed on Britain by a totalitarian super-clique of three British 'brands' (largely manned by Oxbridge clones)

    2. You and the super-parrots don't want to accept the results of British democracy, since there are at least two brands outside this totalitarian super-clique that are universally known to the electorate, i.e. BNP and UKIP, but which did not get enough votes from the British subjects to put you and all the other EU prisoners and super-parrots out of your misery.

    I would appreciate if you (or your mentor John Redwood) could let us know which one of the above applies.

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  • 127. At 4:49pm on 09 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    116. At 2:55pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    """I am German and I wholeheartedly refuse this idea. Neither my government nor any other government should mess with the national budget of other nations for which they have no democratic legitimation to govern. I also do not want anyone tell my government how to handle finances."""

    DurstigerMann, I will reply differently:
    In Greece we made one of the most expensive per km bridge over the sea to join the north western part of Peloponese (Achaia) with the south western part of mainland (Aetolia), spanning over several kilometers, a real technological marvel, the most difficult project of its kind in the world (built in an area of high winds and extreme seismic activity)............. all that to serve the adjecent areas south and north which have equivalent populations of 200,000 people living on Peloponese and 30,000 people!!!!! It goes withoutsaying that such a project should require the presence of more than 2 million people living on each side of the bridge to be sustainable. The road that passes from there serves absolutely no trade route (as Greece is connected by two ports to Italy, Patra and Igoumenitsa and there is no commerce passing down from Igoumenitsa to Patra - in any need, the till recently very frequent boat service was more than enough, note that there is not much of any big road in the north!!!). This is what we call a bridge to nowhere. Even local academic people (Patra has lots of technical universities and institutes) had warned against the project saying that while it will bring some minor development in the area, globally it is useless and a financial nightmare. It costed 600,000,000 officially (within budget), unofficially it could have costed more than 1 billion euros (true only a 1/300th of the Greek debt but in this I have not counted the local money that will be flying abroad as bridge toll since it is an international consortium that is exploiting it for the next several decades... then one has to count that most of the 300 billion debt is about old interests (there are loans dating from the 80s and earlier), thus this should be at a ratio of between 1/50 and 1/100 of the borrowed money). For the info, it is a French-based consortium that constructed it.

    Now take this bridge and expand it to Olympic projects and a large number of other projects done in Greece (mostly German and French based consortiums) to get the full idea.

    So the question is this:

    What is worse:
    1) EU interference and control over the countries' announced budget?
    Orrrr...
    2) EU countries' corporations' interference over the budgets of EU countries?

    Between the 2, I chose the 1, hands down.

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  • 128. At 4:54pm on 09 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio_II (48):

    A good reason for the 9 out 11 non-Eurozone countries to comply would be to avoid European Commission on taking harsher stand against non-Eurozone states in regards of their treaty obligation to join the Euro. For example voting rights or funds could be revoked from states that are deemed to be not making their best effort to join the Euro at earliest possible time.

    In case of Hungary, I would like to remind you that joining the Euro is largely a matter of political will. I just have to look south from Helsinki to Tallinn to see what can be accomplished when there is the political will to do things. After Estonia has joined the Euro, there is no excuse for the other non-Eurozone states on not putting their houses in order and to join the Euro.

    In regards of the banking crisis and possible default in Hungary, if Hungary would be inside Eurozone of course it would affect Euro exchange rates negatively, but it would effect less the real economy of both Hungary and the Eurozone. You see Hungary having Forinth causes a currency risk for both foreign lenders and investors and to domestic holders of capital that causes further freezing of the Hungarian economy. If Hungary would have the Euro, individuals and corporations wouldn't have a currency risk and with the removed risk they could continue to invest and consume normally.

    What the EU needs to do is to make member states comply with their treaty obligations. That is a number one priority and that is what will bring more dividends in the long run.

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  • 129. At 5:12pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    Re #110

    At one time I lived in Brixton, South London. My eldest daughter has lived in Highbury ( an Arsenal fan, grrrrh!), Tottenham (Come On You Spurs!) & Crouch End, North London for the past 15 years.

    Please, I know exactly to what sort of mixed/unmixed 'cultural' milieu oeichler is referring.
    However, I would hazard a guess he/she has no more real idea of what the various aspirations, interests and expectations of each of the resident communities was/is than he has as supposed spokesperson for the 'white' resident communities.


    Yes, there are problems, only a fool would argue otherwise, and yes in all honesty the disgraceful neglect by successive Conservative/Labour Governments of the impact of 'immigration' (made worse by the 'open Borders' of Schengen that glaringly allow free movement across 25 of UK/England's neighbours) on the indigenous Briton populations has exacerbated these issues. In fact over the last 50 years 'immigration' has always been a hot-potatoe 'politically/socially speaking'.
    Post-Maastricht it has become an issue embroiled with the EU concepts of 'ever closer union', 'free movement of peoples', 'cross-border employment' etc. and the former too easy accusatory label of 'racism' is not quite so easy when it is not skin colour but national origin (e.g. East Europeans) that indigenous Britons complain of allegedly taking jobs-housing-school places etc.

    Over decades the complete failure by UK/England politicians to address the issue of an influx of alternative cultures/faiths has resulted in disbelief at whatever they now say on the matter. As evidenced by Labour's former Education Minister, Ed Balls today, who claims the Brown Government's 'immigration policy was wrong': Well, Mr Balls, where were You in the Cabinet meetings? Let's face it the chap is now patently talking as his name indicates!

    With such pusillanimous Political Leadership evident across all Political Parties is it any wonder at the divide of opinions on what was/is happening in the UK/England between oeichler and I and at the far extreme the exploitation by invidious BNP etc.?

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  • 130. At 5:18pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    DurstTigerMann

    Re #116

    Reference Germany and "..(EU) Union yes, but not at any price."

    Hmm, so the last 53 years post the Treaty of Rome where successive Bonn & Berlin Governments have acquiesced 100% on all things Paris-inspired was just a blip was it!?

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  • 131. At 5:19pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ThrenodioII

    Re #113

    Very succinct and very well said.

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  • 132. At 5:24pm on 09 Jun 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    The ECB wants to control the markets, the ratings agencies, and now approve budgets.

    On top of reneging on its' own rules and bylaws (don't let those get in the way!).

    It doesn't matter if you have political control as long as you have economic control.

    WHEEEEEE

    The Eurozone is really in for it now.

    All of a sudden, all these LYING members are gonna start telling the truth?

    I liked the announcement by Greece that they were actually gonna take a head count of government workers as they never have.

    Wanna bet that # is bogus?

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  • 133. At 5:37pm on 09 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 104 FBJ

    "Majority rule at international level is equivalent to saying the majority will of one nation can be overruled by majorities in other nations, which is not compatible with rule by the people at all."

    Your theoretical constructs about polities etc. very quickly become a circular argument.

    What happens with all these nations (e.g. Iceland, Turkey) whose parliaments have voted to apply for EU membership? If I am correct, the UK also had to apply to join the EU by an act of parliament, ratified by popular referendum. Exactly the same applies to the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004. I seem to remember that they had referenda in several of them to ratify EU membership. Ditto to every single country member of the EU.

    Are you suggesting that the people of one nation is not sovereign to vote, either directly or through their democratically elected parliaments, to become part of a supra-national organisation where they may be outvoted in certain issues, in accordance with the organisational procedures of that supra-national organisation that they have accepted together with their membership?

    According to your theory, the peoples of nations have sovereignty in certain areas but not on others, i.e. they are not sovereign to decide to become members of supra-national organisations.

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  • 134. At 5:37pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    threnodio

    Again, I said both of them have a point. Same with conformity. Its not for its own sake, but there is a limit to everything. Wouldn't you agree?

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  • 135. At 5:45pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #126

    "..(BNP) totalitarian super-parrots love.."

    It concerns me that You could be so stuck on Your own perception of what people with oposing views think, believe, support that You would write that!

    I've yet to read one Contribution by any 'anti-EU' Commentator on this or any Blog article that suggests even the slightest interest in a racially motivated, extreme right-wing, anti-Democratic political party.

    You seriously need to get a sense of perspective: To be British & 'anti-EU' does not have to have a thing to do with people's colour, creed or gender.
    But then, I suspect You know that and are just being gratuitously offensive. A method of debate that reveals more about Your low self-esteem than about those You seek to defame.

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  • 136. At 5:54pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #102 cool_brush_work
    #110 Gheryando
    #115 Freeman

    It is not about scoring points...
    I could easily use EUprisoner's way of respond:
    "I do not really care too much about what Jukka, Gheryando or Mathiasen think or say they think"
    Or I could use little David's (PM) favourite sentence:
    "I know a man in my constituency that..."

    It is not about who knows Britain best.
    In/out the box means also that you have to step outside to be able to see what it is going on inside.
    I have lived for the last 20 years in France, England, Ireland and now Greece and it is a good way to see and reflect about your own country (at the same time I would have lost interest what's going on there if I hadn't still family there) and about the countries you lived and loved.

    And cbw reaction/answer is a typical one of somebody who feels that he/his country is under attack.... it is a protection mechanism.

    Instead, relax, reflect, re-consider and respond...

    "...however, it is not 'PC' to inform the recently arrived pregnant Pakistani lady or asylum-seeking Zimbabwhe 18yr old lad there is a Hospital and/or College course available in the language they can best understand"
    Funny that the leaflets were not in French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc.

    "Do tell us: Which UK 'ghetto' community have You lived in recently? Wouldn't be white-anglo-saxon variety, would it by any chance?"
    If you consider Wood Green and Walthamstow as white-anglo-saxon, then yes.


    "Ironically, it is England's Citizens that in my view have neen left out of the loop of 'devolution-representation': England being the only UK Union Nation without its own Parliament."
    Ironically the Scottish Westminster MP still vote on laws that do not concern Scotland but only England/Wales. So where is your problem to let Brussels have a say, too. :-)

    "here is too, a vast amount of societal inter-action with NHS-Welfare, Education, Food, Transport, Media, Entertainment & increasingly the Armed Forces being fine exponents of this 'multi-cultural' trend."
    I know a doctor who is from the Philippines and I had an Indian teacher, my bus driver is Pakistani and we have a black news presenter.
    BRAVO, if you believe that Westminster represents all major minorities in the UK, fine by me.
    "food"
    Yes, Tesco has a Greek style yoghurt... delicious... :-)
    The "white-anglo-saxon" profits from a huge range of new products...
    Have you ever seen an Indian in a Chinese restaurant or vice-versa?
    Reminds me restaurants in Spain, serving British breakfast all day... home sweet home...
    But I agree with your expression 'multi-cultural' TREND. Still a long way to go.

    "...where the 'faith-cultural' mix is clearly under a good deal of pressure: However, I would be astonished if You could point to any 'western' society where that has not become the prevailing topic of concern over the last 2 decades?"
    I never claimed I could. I never claimed that any "western continental European society is multi-cultural.

    "E.g. solely for 'PC' reasons the EU exits Brussels for Strasbourg every 6 months!"
    I know and I agree. But you also know why Strasbourg... will be hard to get rid off it... so no need to discuss this...


    #115 Freeman

    "The democratic legitimacy of international organisations actually depends on them using decision-making by unanimity because this is the only way to prevent national-majorities from being over-ruled."

    The UN Security Council certainly does not represent the over 180 nation states, has a majority voting with 5 super power veto rights. And it is not to preview your countries budget, but they might invade your house to teach you democracy...


    I believe that for the moment we have more democratically elected EU bodies than we need for a Union that is not a political one,... yet.
    You can't fight the path to the goal of "ever closer Union", you can only fight the goal.

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  • 137. At 6:07pm on 09 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 104 FBJ

    Further to my previous post, your theories would have impeccable logic *only* if each and every EU country had both been forced to join the EU and forced to remain in the EU.

    Otherwise your theories are a busted flush.

    In order to progress the debate you should clearly state whether "the polity" is or not sovereign to decide to become a member of a supra-national organisation. If it is, your theories fall like a castle of cards. On the contrary, if it is not, then you are saying that "the polity" is not fully sovereign: It is not sovereign to pool their sovereignty. In which case, who decides on the boundaries of the sovereignty of "the polity"? Is it you, perhaps?

    Additionally, the UK government (past and present) are fully complicit with the super-state that imposes a totalitarian regime on the heads of the British subjects because not only they are refusing to give their subjects the mythical Referendum to release them from the regime but they are also enthusiastically putting pressure on the 'politburo' to admit a seemingly endless number of nations to join the totalitarian super-state, which, incidentally the said nations are very keen to join (e.g. Turkey, apparently as a result of being ruled by a totalitarian clique like the UK is).

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  • 138. At 6:10pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Jukka_R

    Re #128

    Yeah, right!

    Brussels is going to revoke/withhold money from the UK/England - - 3rd largest contributor to the EU.

    Now which is going to be worse off in a quid pro quo!?

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  • 139. At 6:25pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #120 DurstigerMann

    "Just take a look at how members of the US-Senate are elected or how they take on their responsibilities and you`ll see how false that claim is."


    European Council: each EU member state is represented by its head of government, regardless of population
    Senate: each U.S. state is represented by two senators, regardless of population

    European Council: qualified majority voting from 2014 onwards - 55% of the member states representing 65% of population
    Senate: In current practice, the threat of filibuster is more important than its use; almost any motion that does not have the support of three-fifths of the Senate effectively fails

    Sounds close enough to me...

    When Cameron was "elected" everybody knew that he would represent the UK in this Council.



    "One thing doesn`t necessarily preclude the other thing.
    That`s right: I can criticise the lack of democracy within the EU and the way things are run within my country all at the same time."

    Absolutely...
    If I read the German press correctly you will have on June 30 as new president Merkel's choice... government parties' choice... not the choice of the people and according to the polls not the people's favourite.
    If you introduce British FPTP for the election of a EU president then we end up with a German one all the time.
    Or the French, German, British and Italian candidates try to get the smaller countries behind them... big choice....
    If you introduce a different way then one has to get informed about the candidates...
    You know who the American Treasury Secretary is... Do you also know who the Slovenian Finance Minister is?

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  • 140. At 6:30pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    cbw

    thank you for your comment. You mentioned that Schengen has contributed to Britain's immigration problem. I challenge you to show me that the most problematic issues regarding immigration to Britain actually stems from non-European natives.

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  • 141. At 6:36pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    LeftieAgitator (119): I did not say the EU Commission has democratic legitimacy. It obviously does not. But that cannot indicate anything about the point under discussion, which was if pan-European elections to institutions that take decisions by majority can confer democratic legitimacy. Federalists say it can, and i say it can’t. As proof that i am correct I point to the actual experience of the only majoritorian institution in the world elected by a multinational electorate, i.e. the EU Parliament. We have had 30 years of a one-way expansion in the powers of the EU Parliament, and are therefore in a position to judge the degree to which the involvement of pan-European elections legitimates EU decision-making. If the federalists were correct the democratic deficit spoken about in the 1970s would be consigned to the history books by now. But the exact opposite of what federalists predicted has happened as EU Parliament power grew; the EU democratic legitimacy problem got worse.

    After a 30-year period one can eliminate any possibility that the failure of the EU Parliament is due to some individual MEPs or to a individual decisions they made, and state definitively that the there is something seriously wrong with the basic premise of the federalists that democratic legitimacy can be conferred by multi-national elections.

    The true cause of the failure of federalism is not in the institutions, but lies within the diversity of the peoples of Europe they pretend to represent. There is simply insufficient solidarity at the international level for one national majority to agree to live under decisions which they do not agree with, simply because peoples in other countries would like them to. The only remedy for the EU legitimacy problem is therefore to do away with the combination of (i) law superior to national (ii) imposed by a majority of nations on dissenters, (iii) in politically sensitive decision-making. There are several ways to cut that 3-way knot, e.g. by reintroducing decision-making by unanimity, making national law superior to European, reducing the scope of EU decisions made under the federal community-method back to non-salient matters etc., etc. But no matter which way the problem is sliced it is difficult to see what role there can be for the EU Parliament if multi-nationals elections do not confer democratic legitimacy. I think it is time to simply declare the institution has been an experiment which failed, and abolish it.

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  • 142. At 6:40pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    129 cool_brush_work
    now we are coming closer
    extreme points and exaggeration are good to trigger a discussion but one has to move on for not killing the same.

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  • 143. At 6:52pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #113 threnodio_II

    "Integration is a matter of choice."
    "But please, not conformity for its own sake....
    Well guess what - we are not all the same."

    BRAVO
    Thanks for that...

    Diversity is the strength of the Europe...
    My sister is married to an Australian (half Aussie, half Norwegian) lives now in Perth and what she misses the most from Europe is when she was able to get onto a plane and within an hour she would be in a different country with different language, different life style, different "cuisine" etc...

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  • 144. At 7:03pm on 09 Jun 2010, lochraven wrote:

    Question, anyone who knows-If the EU becomes a federation, will the head of states in each country become more like in the US, as governors? Will it mean that there will be one council member from the federation to the UN as in the US rather than the 27 current EU members? Would it also mean that there would be no need for member countries to have embassies?

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  • 145. At 7:04pm on 09 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 135 CBW

    "I've yet to read one Contribution by any 'anti-EU' Commentator on this or any Blog article that suggests even the slightest interest in a racially motivated, extreme right-wing, anti-Democratic political party."

    Gosh...are you reading the same blog as I am?

    But that is beside the point. It concerns me to read that you distort my arguments for a change.

    Hint: BNP *OR* UKIP are parties opposed to EU membership.

    Hint no. 2 One of UKIP's slogans: "It is not about race, it is about space"

    Hint no. 3. Anti-EU brigades can choose between a racist party (i.e. BNP) and a supposedly non-racist one (UKIP)

    Finally... hint no 4. A number of people that vote BNP claim not to support them because they are racist but because of their anti-immigration and/or anti-EU policies or, more likely, both.

    Now do carry on distorting people's arguments, particularly mine...it makes for a lively blog....

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  • 146. At 7:14pm on 09 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Finland's economy slipped back into recession during the first three months of 2010, official figures have shown.

    During the January to March quarter, its economy contracted by a seasonally-adjusted 0.4%, after a decline of 0.2% in October to December of last year.

    It is the first eurozone country to re-enter recession after emerging from it, in what is known as a double-dip." [BBC]


    P.S. I was slightly amused reading here than Hungary has no problem, as long as Hungarian politicians don't admit publicly that their country is basically bankrupt.

    [And in the meantime in Sweden...:)]

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  • 147. At 7:20pm on 09 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To cool_brush_work (138):

    Maybe you should read before you write?

    You did note me mentioning 9 out 11 non-Eurozone countries? The missing two who are excused are UK and Denmark as they got the opt-out in the Maastricht treaty, all other EU members are obligated to join the Euro.

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  • 148. At 7:26pm on 09 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    oeichler

    Re #136

    Oh dear, getting presumptious about what You know! A sure sign of the 'pro-EU' struggling to come to terms with the fact their beloved EU isn't seen by everyone as the bounteous future its cracked up to be!

    My reactions?

    1) I don't live in the UK.

    2) I have lived & worked in 3 times as many Nations as Yourself, but don't feel I know enough to claim You or anyone is 'in/out' a box that I alone recognise from my superior experience/understanding.

    3) My family tree is basically: Dutch-German Grandparents & Belge mother / English Grandparents & English father / plus a Polish Godfather / My wife is Finnish.

    4) I served 11 years in HM Armed forces before embarking on 2 lucrative & far less stressful occupations: I am now retired.

    Even after all that info: You don't know anything at all about me: I know even less about You.

    Frankly all Your #136 'relax', 'reflect', 'respond' is You getting caught out by my pointing out You know what You know and when all is said & done that does not amount to a lot, now does it!?
    I would place My self first & foremost and every contributor (except the almighty Jean Luc whose knowledge surpasses all understanding) in that same 'box' of dubiously small knowledge and an awful lot of opinion.

    Now, unless You have a better delivery than saying it '1,000' times and it still not being 'true' only Your opinion of 'truth', I think I'll pass on the rest of this particular discussion.

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  • 149. At 7:27pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "It is not about scoring points...
    I could easily use EUprisoner's way of respond:
    "I do not really care too much about what Jukka, Gheryando or Mathiasen think or say they think"
    Or I could use little David's (PM) favourite sentence:
    "I know a man in my constituency that...""

    oeichler I agree. The aim of a discussion shouldn't be victory. It should be progress.

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  • 150. At 7:29pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "In order to progress the debate you should clearly state whether "the polity" is or not sovereign to decide to become a member of a supra-national organisation. If it is, your theories fall like a castle of cards. On the contrary, if it is not, then you are saying that "the polity" is not fully sovereign: It is not sovereign to pool their sovereignty. In which case, who decides on the boundaries of the sovereignty of "the polity"? Is it you, perhaps?"

    Nice one JorgeG1

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  • 151. At 7:31pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Yeah, right!

    Brussels is going to revoke/withhold money from the UK/England - - 3rd largest contributor to the EU.

    Now which is going to be worse off in a quid pro quo!?"

    cbw - so if you're an 19 year old teenager and your dad gives you a light slap to your head, you are gonna hit him back with full strength?

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  • 152. At 7:47pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    correction:

    "I challenge you to show me that the most problematic issues regarding immigration to Britain actually stems from non-European natives."

    Should read

    "I challenge you to show me that the most problematic issues regarding immigration to Britain actually stems from European natives. (mostly EU citizens)"

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  • 153. At 8:09pm on 09 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    JorgeG1: I did not argue from theory but from actual observed experience of over 30 years of the failure of the EU Parliament to solve the EU democratic legitimacy problem. Indeed the problem got worse, and federalist cannot explain why. Nor can you pass it off as a British-only perception because it was french, dutch & irish that voted No in EU referendums and many others would have too if they had not been denied a say.
     
    By contrast, federalists argue neither from theory nor experience, but rather from a denial of reality. They say that if what has been proved over 30 years not to work is tried one more time, e.g. by electing this or that EU official, then all the EU democracy problems will go away. It is time euro-federalists recognised the obvious; that democratic legitimacy is different at national and international level, and that replicating the institutional forms and decision-making rules of a federal nation-state at international level does not lead to democracy but to its subversion.  But of course if federalists acknowlege this reality then they would no longer be euro-federalists ... which is why so many of you prefer to deny reality instead.

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  • 154. At 8:28pm on 09 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    FBJ

    I embrace federalism. It would create clear boundaries in responsibilities between states and the federal entity as well as being much more systematic and manageable.

    This has nothing to do with "loosing your sovereignty". You're still equally sovereign: But under shared sovereignty.

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  • 155. At 8:40pm on 09 Jun 2010, Mickalus wrote:

    144. At 7:03pm on 09 Jun 2010, lochraven wrote:

    "Question, anyone who knows-If the EU becomes a federation, will the head of states in each country become more like in the US, as governors? Will it mean that there will be one council member from the federation to the UN as in the US rather than the 27 current EU members? Would it also mean that there would be no need for member countries to have embassies?"

    Interesting question - it would depend greatly on the type of confederation or federation that evolved.

    In Malaysia, most of the federal states (13/15, Sarawak and Sabah excepted if memory serves) have heads of state who rotated the head of state position amongst themselves, so each head of state (I think titular monarchs) took a turn ruling the federation and their own state. In the old USSR, Ukraine and Belarus maintained their own seats in the UN, though I'm not sure if they ever voted against the USSR in the assembly or security council. I'm not sure about the embassies and ambassadors end of the question - possibly after a number of generations?

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  • 156. At 9:33pm on 09 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To powermeerkat (146):

    "But economists said April trade data released by the National Customs Board (NCB) on Wednesday showed a return to growth might not be far away.

    The NCB said while the trade surplus narrowed to 355 million euros ($476.3 million) in April from 645 million a year ago, the value of exports rose seven percent, the first time exports have grown since the onset of the downturn in October 2008."

    http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/Finland-back-in-recession-in-Q1-but-exports-rise-2010-06-09T094705Z-WRAPUP-1

    Emphasis on "exports rose" and "trade surplus".

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  • 157. At 9:35pm on 09 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gheryando @151 wrote:

    " ...so if you're an 19 year old teenager and your dad gives you a light slap to your head, you are gonna hit him back with full strength?"

    I assume that you have placed the EU in the position of 'dad' rather than the '19 year old'...

    Were the EU my father I would pray to be orphaned - or, given the opportunity, commit patricide.

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  • 158. At 9:37pm on 09 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To lochraven (144):

    Governors) Not for many reasons, but mainly because European politics are parliament and party centric in comparison to US system where individuals are selected straight into office. This is largely because most European countries have proportional election systems that usually produce need for coalition governments. Having people choose directly one person to lead the state and form the cabinet would create an unworkable system as the probability of one party having absolute majority in a parliament is very low.

    UN) That is the long term aspiration.

    Embassies) Consolidation of member state embassies is already underway as the EU is setting up its first embassies. In time cost cutting by member states will drive first minor embassies to work via EU embassies and then in the end transformation of embassies in major countries to function as large consolidated embassies.

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  • 159. At 9:39pm on 09 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gheryando @154 wrote:

    "This has nothing to do with "loosing your sovereignty". You're still equally sovereign: But under shared sovereignty."

    This is a nonsense. It is about as logical a statement as

    "This has nothing to do with 'loosing your virginity'. You're still a virgin: But all the guys in your neighbourhood are sharing it."

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  • 160. At 10:10pm on 09 Jun 2010, mvr512 wrote:

    One thing is for sure, very few actual people support this latest antidemocratic idea spouted by the unelected undemocratic Rompuy.

    But hey who cares, not anyone in Brussels I guarantee, the idea behind the EU has always been to eliminate national democracy and effectively take all powers from national parliaments. So this is par for the course.

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  • 161. At 10:17pm on 09 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #157. At 9:35pm on 09 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic

    That a bit of an Oedipus complex you have to deal with MaxSceptic:))

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  • 162. At 10:22pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    133 JorgeG1

    "What happens with all these nations (e.g. Iceland, Turkey) whose parliaments have voted to apply for EU membership? If I am correct, the UK also had to apply to join the EU by an act of parliament, ratified by popular referendum. Exactly the same applies to the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004. I seem to remember that they had referenda in several of them to ratify EU membership. Ditto to every single country member of the EU."

    You surely won`t mind telling me the exact date of the referendum in Germany?
    Or does a founding member not ask its citizens?

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  • 163. At 10:25pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @130 cool_brush_work

    "Hmm, so the last 53 years post the Treaty of Rome where successive Bonn & Berlin Governments have acquiesced 100% on all things Paris-inspired was just a blip was it!?"

    No blip.
    But more and more people are realizing this.

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  • 164. At 10:37pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @159 MaxSceptic wrote:

    "This has nothing to do with 'loosing your virginity'. You're still a virgin: But all the guys in your neighbourhood are sharing it."


    Yes, and the neighbourhood is called Christianity...

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  • 165. At 10:50pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @139 oeichler

    "European Council: each EU member state is represented by its head of government, regardless of population
    Senate: each U.S. state is represented by two senators, regardless of population"

    When was the last time you voted for your minster of justice?
    Or any other minister.
    Because those are also sitting in the different constellations of the European Council.

    Members of the Senate are voted for directly.


    "European Council: qualified majority voting from 2014 onwards - 55% of the member states representing 65% of population
    Senate: In current practice, the threat of filibuster is more important than its use; almost any motion that does not have the support of three-fifths of the Senate effectively fails"

    The big difference is that the European Union is not a single nation and is not connected by a shared national identety.
    The change indeed makes the EU more "democratic", but does not address the roots of the democratic problem within the EU.


    "If you introduce British FPTP for the election of a EU president then we end up with a German one all the time.
    Or the French, German, British and Italian candidates try to get the smaller countries behind them... big choice....
    If you introduce a different way then one has to get informed about the candidates...
    You know who the American Treasury Secretary is... Do you also know who the Slovenian Finance Minister is?"

    No EU-president at all sounds sweet.
    And if there should be someone representing Europe to the outside world, electing some European ambassador to the world (with no actual political power of course) should be no problem at all.

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  • 166. At 10:55pm on 09 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ Durstiger

    "You surely won't mind telling me the exact date of the referendum in Germany? Or does a founding member not ask its citizens?"

    First, you will have to ask the Germans how they run their affairs, but that is beside the point. I said: "What happens with all these nations ... whose parliaments have voted to apply for EU membership?" To me, a parliamentary vote to join a supra-national organisation has the same value whether or not you hold a referendum to ratify it. It really depends on the constitution of the country, which is normally submitted to referenda. So yes, a founder member can join through their parliament. They are the ones that are democratically elected to make these decisions. A subsequent parliament can always overturn that decision.

    And I hope the Oxbridge clique who runs Britain holds a referendum not only on (continued) EU membership but also on how much and how fast the deficit will be cut and who will suffer the biggest pain (the poor or the rich).

    After all, Britain is a model democracy for the Federal-Superstate-Parrots... is it not? Are not all important decisions taken by referenda?

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  • 167. At 11:11pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    Here is something for the anti-EU guys
    The US blames Brussels for the tensions between Turkey and Israel

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/europe/10275379.stm

    Wait until they find out that BP stands for Brussels Petroleum

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  • 168. At 11:20pm on 09 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ FBJ 153

    "It is time euro-federalists recognised the obvious; that democratic legitimacy is different at national and international level, and that replicating the institutional forms and decision-making rules of a federal nation-state at international level does not lead to democracy but to its subversion. "

    Sorry but you didn't answer my clear cut question which is whether a "polity" is or not sovereign to pool its sovereignty.

    You approach the issue with a Hand of God mindset. You talk as if all the "the institutional forms and decision-making rules" of the EU were created by a mysterious and sinister being and now all 27 EU nations are enslaved to this construct created by this supernatural entity.

    That is simply not true because all these 27 "polities" have voluntarily agreed to participate in "the institutional forms and decision-making rules", which also include the European parliament. Whether those institutional forms and decision-making rules are perfect (far from it) is beside the point. You cannot dissociate the existence of those institutional forms and decision-making rules and the genesis of the same, which are individual nations voluntarily coming together to create them, by making use of their sovereignty precisely to pool their sovereignty. It is you the one who is denying their sovereignty by saying that they cannot pool their sovereignty in such a way.

    And by the way, I am neither federalist nor anti-federalist. As you very well know I think Schengen is a great step forward from the post-war / Iron Curtain era and I am also convinced that a single market functions better with one single currency than with 27 and I think stating the opposite is trying to pull a fast one.

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  • 169. At 11:42pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @154 Gheryando

    "I embrace federalism. It would create clear boundaries in responsibilities between states and the federal entity as well as being much more systematic and manageable.

    This has nothing to do with "loosing your sovereignty". You're still equally sovereign: But under shared sovereignty."

    I`d like you to answer me one question:

    1)Do you think that the Federal Republic of Germany (in its post-reunification form with all the consequences such as heavy transfers of money between states) would still exist without a shared national identity amongst Germans?


    "You're still equally sovereign: But under shared sovereignty."

    Could you elaborate on this one?
    I fail to understand how a nation could be equally sovereign after ceding sovereignty to a council of representatives in which it only is one in 27.

    But then again, I also fail to understand just how a nation could share sovereignty without the sovereign being asked about it.

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  • 170. At 00:05am on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @166 JorgeG1

    "First, you will have to ask the Germans how they run their affairs, but that is beside the point. I said: "What happens with all these nations ... whose parliaments have voted to apply for EU membership?" To me, a parliamentary vote to join a supra-national organisation has the same value whether or not you hold a referendum to ratify it. It really depends on the constitution of the country, which is normally submitted to referenda. So yes, a founder member can join through their parliament. They are the ones that are democratically elected to make these decisions. A subsequent parliament can always overturn that decision."

    So the biggest net-contributing nation which sports almost 20% of the population within the EU did not ask its citizens and you are telling me this is not a problem for the EU?
    Are you kidding me?

    Other nations, even those who asked their sovereign, are subject a supranational organization which was established to a significant degree by a government that did never ask its people.
    The political class of Germany did not take 1/6 of the EU-population with it.
    And you seriously think that this is no problem for the integritiy of this union?



    Next point:
    "To me, a parliamentary vote to join a supra-national organisation has the same value whether or not you hold a referendum to ratify it."

    If all parties are advocating the same things and there is little difference between the different parties, a representative democracy might turn into something similar to a one-party rule.
    People are reduced to casting votes with no impact, because there are no alternatives.
    In the end, the system will lose its legitimation.

    All 5 big parties in Germany are pro-EU and all of them are against asking their sovereign directly.



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  • 171. At 00:17am on 10 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    First, I am pro-EU.
    To my knowledge no country was formed without war.
    If WW2 is taken as the turning point where the idea of forming a new country was born, I think it is just wrong.
    Many have to happen before EU will be a country in a real sense.

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  • 172. At 01:16am on 10 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #167 - oeichler

    Well there you go.

    Go on a triumphal tour of Europe, tell the mass of people in Berlin about your hopes for the future, go back and get elected then proceed to blame Europe for everything from an oil spill to the Israeli blockade.

    It is only a matter of time before we hear from Washington that a Sardinian fishing boat sunk the South Korean warship. Still, its a lot easier to deflect attention to BP than getting round to sorting out the unfinished business from Katrina. Right?

    Such hypocrisy!

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  • 173. At 05:04am on 10 Jun 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    167 oeichler wrote:

    "The US blames Brussels for the tensions between Turkey and Israel"

    I had a good laugh when I first read that report....Pravda could not have come up with a better explanation for the cause of Turkish/Israeli tension!

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  • 174. At 06:48am on 10 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #162. At 10:22pm on 09 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann

    There lots of things I don't like about the political system in my country either and I would like to vote every time a decision is taken. I don't like the fact we have a queen & a lords house made up by unelected ex-politicians or priests, etc. I don't like the fact we went to war in Iraq, etc. I don't like the fact that we paid for the bankers faults a couple of years ago. But guess what, I didn't get a chance to have a referendum about all those decisions. So yes you are right the political system needs to be more democratic. However if you want a referendum only on one issue then it appears that you don't realy care about how our democracies (more like plutocracies) work, you only care about one issue that you happen not to agree with. If that is the case and I hope it is not, then that puts you more in the category of hypocrisy rather than the category of concerned for democracy.

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  • 175. At 06:51am on 10 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #173. At 05:04am on 10 Jun 2010, ninetofivegrind

    You are right :))

    Its all EU fault, the fact that 10 people were killed by Israelis in international water had nothing to do with the bad feelings between Israel & Turkey:))

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  • 176. At 07:31am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #158 Jukka Rohila

    To give preposterous reply . That is if the EU lasts that long .

    However , I think there may be considerable opposition along the way .

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  • 177. At 08:09am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    Everybody tells us that the EU is for the benefit of the people of the European member states .

    It's a Big Lie !!! The EU is for the benefit of the politicians , the EU Commission , banks and big business . The people are just Pawns in the game . A justification for this massive , if now failing , political exercise .

    British people may make all the noise ; but that is because other nationalities have been cowed by their passed history . I know from experience , living in Italy ; people are afraid of any political body as if it were still Fascist . I believe that the majority of people of European countries are the same . They have all suffered five years of dreadful war and have been defeated . You may argue that most of the people who suffered those dreadful times are dead ; but mental attitudes of the parents are absorbed by the children and even grandchildren .

    It is also true to say that most countries governments , including Britain don't give their people any chance to oppose the changes that are being made or membersip of the EU .

    Europhiles like to point the finger at the British people , as if they were the only Eurosceptics and please stop rocking the boat . I believe that if Referena were held in every country , it would be found that scarcely half the voting population who bothered to vote would be in favour of the EU , maybe fewer than half .
    That is why the politicians don't want a referendum , or for the EU to have any active democracy .

    Rumpy-Pumpy should shut up and confine himself to presidential figurehead .
    The more the EU meddles in sovereign state affairs , the more likely the EU will fall apart .

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  • 178. At 08:20am on 10 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    Re #140

    Well, I don't have hard proof of Schengen affecting the amount of legal and/or illegal immigration to Britain.

    I know that in the past thousands of would-be illegal entrants gathered at places like Sangatte near Calais, France and many other ports had similar 'camps': They crossed EUrope via open-borders and though that camp no longer exists there is no reason to suppose such ease of movement to the Channel ports is no longer a part of the illegal immigrants plans.
    In fact on my recent visit to England it was quite evident even in the cold of February that the roads leading into Calais had many hitch-hikers, itinerants etc. moving toward the port in the hope of a lorry, train, or even car lift across to the British Isles. At the port itself I noted several small groups of down-and-outs milling around the main ferry entrance areas as well as at the Channel Tunnel.
    Whereas nothing of the sort was at the UK end - - so, not much evidence of the joys of Schengen free-movement being taken up by those wishing to access the Continent from Dover/Folkestone!

    To deny that Schengen must have some impact on the numbers of people seeking access to the UK via EUropean travel routes is to fly in the face of commonsense.

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  • 179. At 08:23am on 10 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Jukka_R

    Re #128

    Apologies: You are right, I idn't read into Your contribution that You were of course excluding England & Denmark.

    All the same, doesn't my point apply to any Net Contributor Nation?

    Surely 1 or 2 of the new proposed intake will be in that category or is the EU27 really expected to just give out money to all of them ad infinitum?

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  • 180. At 08:29am on 10 Jun 2010, PlanetEnglish wrote:

    The EUmpire will not sway - as Charlemagne is the driver.
    He wants his EUmpire back.
    Futile to believe this EUmpire will be holier than the previous attempts.

    Cameron & Clegg have a choice - do they have the gall to stand aside from Brown & Blair - in their submit & surrender policy towards Charlemagne. Brown as a Scot wanted to see England submit to Charlemagne - as Scots have been submitting to England. Cameron is English, so is Clegg.

    And England has stood aside - from 1688 onwards.
    And created PlanetEnglish.
    Can C & C rejoin PlanetEnglish ?
    Or, is it too late - B & B have succeeded in making us a province of Charlemagne ?

    Last 322 years England was able to take on Charlemagne, it had the Non-EU Commonwealth by its side. Now, under EU rules, it has dumped them - and embraced migration from the EU as legitimate while rejecting non-EU migration. The issue was not migration - which is understandable. The problems due mass migration during the B & B years was caused by EU. The amazing remedy is surgery to block Non-EU migration.

    This was C & C opening overs.

    It appears that C & C will bend over backwards to fall in line to Charlemagne. The spine is gone - B & B years achived what the Stuarts failed to achieve 300 years ago. England is left alone to tackle Charlemagne.

    They have no chance.

    Charlemagne would be well advised to force a UK referendum now - take it or leave it. Call the bluff. The very wording of any referendum will be so fudged that submission will be legitimised in all but name. The pound is on its last legs not the Euro - for all the talk on these blogs, C&C will be no different from B&B.

    The least that C & C should be able to achieve is to get Charlemagne to support them over BP's troubles with Uncle Sam.
    That would be a litmus test. If it were TOTAL and not BP, the EU would have fired its salvos back at Obama - who has not offered any remedy except threatening BP.
    C&C - the time to test EU mettle is now - Charlemagne has to be forced to back BP; maybe sell BP to TOTAL to get Charlemagne's support.
    If you are enslaved, at least get the Master to stand behind !

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  • 181. At 08:30am on 10 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MaxSecptic

    Re #159

    Now that is the sort of debating point that really gets to the point.

    Mind You, when reading some of the naive 'pro-EU' views on here about all the EU needs to do by way of 'reform' I do think there are some damsels flirting with a knee-trembler variety of lifestyle who later cry foul (or worse)!

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  • 182. At 08:43am on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "A centre-right party has emerged narrowly on top in the Netherlands' election[...]

    With almost 90% of votes counted, the VVD had 31 of 150 seats, and appeared to be heading for coalition talks.

    Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party won 24 seats, its best-ever finish." [BBC]



    It's starting, it's starting.





    P.S. BTW. What do I hear about Finland double-dipping?

    And PRC tacitly selling euros en mass?

    Sad. Really sad.

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  • 183. At 08:45am on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #175


    I guesx the Hate...er..Love Boat sailing from Turkey-occupied part of Cyprus is OK with you boys and girs? :)

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  • 184. At 08:45am on 10 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    "..Polity.."

    It would seem from the evidence of the History of Human progression that the many forms of Polity have always been open to challenge, usurpation, alteration, evolution from within and without: How else would European Humanity have reached its present process of Civil Government?

    Therefore there is a slight redundancy in the 'sovereignty' question itself: If the 'polity' of the EUropean Union are seeking to change the organisation of society's State then it is of itself admitting to the process of change. At which point the 'sovereignty' or otherwise of a State or supra-National entity from the moment of inception does not possess any inalienable rights and must be recognised as always open and liable to amendment.

    The issue of which amendment/s ('anti', 'pro', status quo) will take precedence short, medium & long term is what is being discussed on these Blogs.

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  • 185. At 08:46am on 10 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    177. At 08:09am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

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  • 186. At 08:54am on 10 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ""You're still equally sovereign: But under shared sovereignty.""

    Same principle as in the USA or in Germany. States share sovereignty with the federal entity.

    What I was speaking about though, was the sovereignty of the people. And as long as people are represented democratically, they are sovereign.

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  • 187. At 08:59am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #166 JorgeG1

    You write Oxbridge with obvious disdain . You should know that many politicians and statesmen from around the world are Oxford or Cambridge educated . I knew a retired German Ambassador who was at Oxford just after WWII . I believe President Clinton also went to Oxford . Many Americans do . Thailand's former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was there .
    Thailand's present PM was educated at Eton and Oxford . If you are inclined towards socialism ; many top socialist statesmen were educated there to . Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the world .

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  • 188. At 09:09am on 10 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    JorgeG1

    Re #145

    Yes, I am reading the same Blog as You: It is more often than not Your Comments that reveal a contempt for others based around unfounded conjecture & stereotyping of those who do not agree, especially British Citizens.

    Please, if You can, kindly quote/reference the BNP supporter on here?
    You are constantly attempting to imply the 'anti-EU' argument stems from this very minor, moronic sub-section of Britons.

    Here's a basic hint for You.

    You should try not to portray UK Citizens who oppose membership or aspects of the EU as if they are only undeducated/ignorant etc. You are being offensive labelling people and their motives in that manner.

    Nobody is "..distorting.." Your arguments: Much of it suggests You are evidently very hostile to the English and yet You claim to have/are (never sure with Your comments?) living in the UK. It leaves me wondering what experiences have led to such antipathy when clearly Your basic knowledge of the UK is quite sound?






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  • 189. At 09:26am on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the world many top socialist statesmen were educated there.."


    Yes, we know.

    Although a similar thing could be said of Harvard and Yale. :)

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  • 190. At 09:27am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #174 ChrisArta

    You would like to live in a country with the Euro ; you want to live in a republic with no Queen or house of Lords with unelected politicians and Clergy . As a citizen of a EU member state there is nothing to stop you going to live on the European mainland , Belgium or where you like .

    I do agree with you that the house of Lords has become a pitiable decimated lot . The House of Lords should be elected now . The titled Peers could stand for election and might very well return to their former hereditary seats , in place of some of the lowly souls that are there now .

    Many countries have a second chamber of people who have great political or business experience ; who serve as a second opinion , that can save governments from making grave mistakes . In Britain it's the House of Lords . Many of the the hereditary Lords are very highly educated and have worldly experience . The implication that they are likely to vote against a socialist government for purely social reasons is misplaced .

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  • 191. At 09:31am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #171 opinion

    " First I am pro-EU "

    You will be telling us you are " Coming Out " next .

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  • 192. At 09:34am on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #189.

    I hasten to add that my comment re some of the best known socialist leaders and activists having been educated at Harvard and Yale should not detract from UCLA and UC Berkeley's significant achievements in that category.

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  • 193. At 09:42am on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #187 Huaimek wrote:

    "Thailand's present PM was educated at Eton and Oxford . If you are inclined towards socialism ; many top socialist statesmen were educated there to . Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the world "

    We can see the results...
    Same with Harvard's MBA...
    Anglo-Saxon myth...

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  • 194. At 10:01am on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #188 "You are constantly attempting to imply the 'anti-EU' argument stems from this very minor, moronic sub-section of Britons."




    Relax. If you bothered to check Mark Mardell's American blog you'd find out that many a time a critic of Barack Hussein Obama and his policies
    is called there a "tea-bagger" [some Britons may appreciate what that entails], an "uneducated redneck", "a rasist" and even "white suprematist" (yes, that's a literal quote).

    [if you can't quarrel with an argument, you denigrate a person who's made it]

    I, myself, have been called most of those names, although, in all fairness, nobody has accused me yet of being a Ku-Klux-Klan member.


    BTW. I vividly remember Michael Caine relating some years ago on American TV that a couple of Brits he wanted to hire as servants (in UK), after listening to his accent (not exactly Oxbridge) declined by saying , and I quote:

    "When we accepted your offer, we were not aware of your circumstances."

    "Circumstances", they called it.

    As if Michael Cain couldn't afford a pair of minions, or even a chef, a gardener, a chauffeur and a butler".

    [after that incident, he chose to live in Southern California.]

    "The rest is silence"

    [please,remind this uneducated redneck who wrote it: Bacon or Marlow?]

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  • 195. At 10:04am on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @165. DurstigerMann wrote:

    "When was the last time you voted for your minster of justice?
    Or any other minister.
    Because those are also sitting in the different constellations of the European Council"

    No they don't...
    It is then called Council of Ministers
    A state may refer contentious legislation from the Council of Ministers to the European Council if it is outvoted in the Council of Ministers, notwithstanding that it may still be outvoted in the European Council


    "Members of the Senate are voted for directly."
    Sorry, that was the closest I could get. Couldn't really compared it to the French Senate or the German Bundesrat, could I....


    But the discussion is futile anyway as you are anti-EU and would call any possible setup anti-democratic.
    Apparently you prefer direct mandates on every level. Hope for you you could choose the teachers for your children via parent consultation.

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  • 196. At 10:08am on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @172. threnodio_II

    You are so right...
    I didn't think of the Sardinian fishing boat.
    Now it's all clear...
    Did you tell Washington???

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  • 197. At 10:38am on 10 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "167. At 11:11pm on 09 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:
    Here is something for the anti-EU guys
    The US blames Brussels for the tensions between Turkey and Israel

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/europe/10275379.stm

    Wait until they find out that BP stands for Brussels Petroleum"

    What has Gates making an idiot of himself got to do with the anti-EU people on here? Stop making a fool of yourself.

    And stop quoting me when they are not my quotes.

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  • 198. At 10:42am on 10 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "186. At 08:54am on 10 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    ""You're still equally sovereign: But under shared sovereignty.""

    Same principle as in the USA or in Germany. States share sovereignty with the federal entity.

    What I was speaking about though, was the sovereignty of the people. And as long as people are represented democratically, they are sovereign."

    True but they must recognise their leaders as legitimate for this work. You can vote for any colour as long as it is red, does not cut it. Europe may eventually recognise itself as one people where all can abide by majority opinion.

    Hammering people into a political, economic and monetary union without their explicit consent is going to lead to bloodshed. Not that our glorious European Elite care...they will not be the ones bleeding generally.

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  • 199. At 10:43am on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "It is only a matter of time before we hear from Washington that a Sardinian fishing boat sunk the South Korean warship."



    That would be peanuts in comparison to Moscow having claimed for decades that Korean Airlines' passenger B-747 [KL-007] shot by its fighter planes above Tartar Strait "was a spy plane on a military mission".


    [Now we hear from PRC that N. Korean border guards shot three Chinese citizens. And I guess Beijing, unlike Washington, can't be wrong.]

    BTW. How is Dear Leader doing healthwise and otherwise?

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  • 200. At 10:43am on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @154 Gheryando
    @169.DurstigerMann wrote:

    "Do you think that the Federal Republic of Germany (in its post-reunification form with all the consequences such as heavy transfers of money between states) would still exist without a shared national identity amongst Germans?"

    There is an interesting point... National Identity... Let's have a look..
    Was "Germany" not once split into hundreds of little principality and duchies, with there own currencies, measurements and taxes?!
    Was there not the creation of the so called Deutsche Bund (German Confederation) in 1815?!
    Was there not the drive to harmonise, to facilitate trade?!
    What did the Bavarian people think about the fact that the Prussian King became German Emperor after 1871?
    Was there not some kind of lack of democracy?
    What kind of national identity is holding Berlin and Munich today together?

    Interesting move from a "Confederation of German States" to one "Federal State"

    And the best part is the German Customs Union in 1834
    To protect the sovereignty claim of the smaller states, it was tried in the negotiations on the structures of the Union to respect the principle of equality.
    The supreme body was the Customs Union Conference with unanimous voting system (!!!)
    These decisions had to then be ratified by the states. (!!!)
    However, linked to the accession to the Confederation was the lost of sovereignty to an intergovernmental institution. (!!!)
    The Customs Duty Treaty was initially signed for eight years. It extended automatically if it wasn't denounced by one of the members.
    The economic effects are not quite clear, but the Customs Union was no purposeful instrument for promoting industrial economy. Industrial development was indeed promoted, but there were no significant growth impulses from the Union.
    The later repeatedly stressed motor function of the Customs Union of German unification, was not the intention of the politicians of the individual states. Some contemporaries, such as the Prussian Finance Minister of Motz, were however aware of the political dimension. He saw the planned customs union already in 1829 as a tool for enforcement of a small German nation under Prussian leadership. Metternich on the other hand regarded it in 1833 as a menace to the Confederation.....

    Today, nearly 200 years later, nobody is questioning the German Nation State and the German National Identity

    Time Goes By So Slowly... tic tac tic tac...

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  • 201. At 10:59am on 10 Jun 2010, Csili wrote:

    Nik
    "What is worse:
    1) EU interference and control over the countries' announced budget?
    Orrrr...
    2) EU countries' corporations' interference over the budgets of EU countries?

    Between the 2, I chose the 1, hands down."

    Nik, I am not against the EU at all, but I do have a feeling that it is controlled by corporations, and people are only secondary. There are certain things that just cannot be explained otherwise: eg. why do they insist on Turkey joining, even though people rejected the idea everywhere inside the EU. So I am not sure that between your option 1 and 2, there is much difference. :-(

    But again, I am not against the EU, or even Turkey joining it. As your excellent comments explained it, EU countries have no chance of remaining significant players alone. Those times are over.

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  • 202. At 11:05am on 10 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #196 - oeichler

    "Did you tell Washington???"

    I left that to Marcus. He has the president's ear.

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  • 203. At 11:44am on 10 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    JorgeG1 (168): Apologies for not taking your question seriously. I had interpreted it is a diversionary tactic to disguise the floundering of your prior argument.

    Are you seriously asking me if i believe that each of the peoples of Europe should be consulted by binding referendum before politicians hand powers to Brussels? Votes decades ago on other topics, or votes in parliaments to approve federalizing treaties that the people rejected (or would have rejected) in referendum cannot legitimise the EU.

    ———
    “The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands: for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others.” John Locke.

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  • 204. At 11:49am on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @174 ChrisArta

    "There lots of things I don't like about the political system in my country either and I would like to vote every time a decision is taken. I don't like the fact we have a queen & a lords house made up by unelected ex-politicians or priests, etc. I don't like the fact we went to war in Iraq, etc. I don't like the fact that we paid for the bankers faults a couple of years ago. But guess what, I didn't get a chance to have a referendum about all those decisions. So yes you are right the political system needs to be more democratic. However if you want a referendum only on one issue then it appears that you don't realy care about how our democracies (more like plutocracies) work, you only care about one issue that you happen not to agree with. If that is the case and I hope it is not, then that puts you more in the category of hypocrisy rather than the category of concerned for democracy."

    I never wrote that I only want a referendum on one thing and one thing only.
    So if you (the British people) don`t like how the House of Lords is run and want to change it, you should be able to force them to make it more democratic. Provided there is a majority for this, of course.

    Otherwise the system does not deserve to be called a democracy.

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  • 205. At 11:52am on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    Where is Marcus anyway?
    I need my hourly about about the Euro.
    Does anybody have the latest exchange rate?

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  • 206. At 12:04pm on 10 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 170 DurstigerMann

    "So the biggest net-contributing nation which sports almost 20% of the population within the EU did not ask its citizens and you are telling me this is not a problem for the EU?
    Are you kidding me?"

    I am not trying to 'kid' anybody. All I am saying is that I respect how a sovereign country wishes to conduct its affairs. Whether that is 20% or 80% of the EU population is irrelevant.

    Germany, as a sovereign country, is entitled to conduct its affairs according to its constitution. If that means that it is the parliament who has the final decision, not the people in a referendum, that is their prerogative. If the people of Germany are not happy with being in the EU they are free to create a new party with anti-EU stance as its central policy and give it enough votes to achieve a parliamentary majority and take Germany out of the EU.

    You are the one behaving like a totalitarian parrot: Not only you are questioning how a sovereign and democratic country should run its affairs but you are also adamant that your views should be imposed on them, i.e. if there is no referendum I, Durstiger, decree this is not democratic no matter what the 80 million Germans and their '5 big parties' think.

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  • 207. At 12:04pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @197 oeichler

    "But the discussion is futile anyway as you are anti-EU and would call any possible setup anti-democratic.
    Apparently you prefer direct mandates on every level. Hope for you you could choose the teachers for your children via parent consultation."

    Is that your argument against direct mandates?
    You are comparing the representative of the sovereign, the people, to a teacher who is doing his job just like anyone else?

    Please... =(


    And I am not anti-Eu. I am anti undemocratic EU.

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  • 208. At 12:10pm on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Turkey and Saudi Arabia signed a framework agreement on 24 May in Ankara to co-operate on military training, scientific research and technological development. The deal was signed by Turkish Chief of General Staff General Ilker Basbug and visiting Saudi Arabian Deputy Minister of Defence and Aviation Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud".[Janes Defense Weekly]


    Well, congrat EU!

    And particularly you Merkel and you Sarko!

    You asked for it and now you're gonna get it.

    [Not than London didn't warn ya]

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  • 209. At 12:13pm on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "France's SESM () has begun marketing a new and more advanced diesel powerpack to users of the widely deployed Russian T-72 and current production T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs). The ESM350 powerpack consists of a new cooling system, diesel engine and an SESM350 fully automatic transmission with eight forward and three reverse gears and a manual override.

    [http://idr.janes.com ]


    Well, France, we've always known you were a reliable NATO partner.

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  • 210. At 12:17pm on 10 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Powermerkat

    Re #194 & advice, "..relax.."

    Difficult when the same contributor constantly infers this nasty motivation (e.g. "..totalitarian super-parrots.." & "..BNP.." in the same piece) and then attempts to deny it was ever meant to be read in that way!

    However, I do read Mark Mardell's Blog, though very seldom join in. Early on I found his inability to recognise the immense variety which I know from my own experience is the USA, very tiresome (as was his problem with Europe where if it wasn't Brussels initiated it had no chance of a fair airing).

    However, thanks for the well-meant support.

    Cheers.

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  • 211. At 12:52pm on 10 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    oeichler (200): EU integration is clearly modelled on German unification which proceeded from a customs union via confederation to a federal state. But the context of the 19th century Germany is very different from Europe today. Prior to German unification there were already many of the attributes of a shared national identity in Germany, for example the German language that Johannes Gutenberg used on his printing press in 1439. When people have a common language, shared values, shared historical experiences, etc. it is easier to unite them under one state (as the rapid unification of East and West Germany post 1989 demonstrates).

    21st century circumstances though are very different. European identity is at best a ‘civilisational identity’, far weaker than any national identity. Democracy was not an issue in 19th century Germany, but it is an absolute requirement today and only a strong national identity generates the strong solidarity needed if majority-rule is to acceptable. Without that, democracy as we know it is not possible at the European level. The EU’s own polling (eurobarometer) actually shows European identity, always weak, has actually been getting weaker since its high point in the late 1980s.

    The economy is also very different from 19th century Germany. Services now account for 80% of GDP but there are no tariffs on services. Therefore the EU customs union is completely irrelevant for the vast majority (and increasing) of workers. Manufacturing is only 20% of the economy now with most goods now produced in low-cost locations in teh Far East the EU tariff on industrial goods being too low (about 2%) to distort that trade. Only in agriculture is there a real customs union that distorts trade and agriculture is only 1% of the economy. Therefore the EU customs union cannot not be expected to lead to unification as the German zollverein did in the 19th century.

    All new-technology products are now designed for a global market rather than a European one. Advances in the last 20 years now make low-cost real-time communications possible world-wide for the first time in history. These advances make trade and social contacts between English-speaking countries or Spanish speaking countries on different continents easier than intra-European contact which is still restricted by linguistic and cultural barriers. All these trends therefore make the already unpromising starting point for European political unification in the 1950s ever more unlikely as time ticks by...

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  • 212. At 12:59pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @200 oeichler

    "Today, nearly 200 years later, nobody is questioning the German Nation State and the German National Identity"

    You are mixing up shared national identity with how Germany emerged as a nation.
    German national identity was based on a shared language and culture, not a nation state per se. This is a difference to e.g. French nationalism of that era.

    As to who spurred the German movement, you can thank Napoleon.
    The German resistance against him united Germans who now, for the first time, joined together to fight a common enemy.
    Writers and poets greatly promoted this identity.
    The victory over Napoleon resulted in the establishment of the "Deutscher Bund" which was a loose union of 35 German rulers and 4 free cities.
    However, the German bourgeoisie was not satisfied and demanded a unified nation.

    I don`t want to tire you with all this stuff about the German National Assembly, etc.
    Bottomline is that for the most part it were the rulers who opposed unification, not the people.


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  • 213. At 1:06pm on 10 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #190. At 09:27am on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek

    I'll stay in the UK, Belgium has a king anyhow so not much difference there. Although they have lots more beer than we do over here, so it does have positive aspects :)

    Anyhow the point I'm pressing is that unless we press for a system where all legislation and national agreement are passed via a referendum, asking for a selective referendums is sour grapes from the people that don't like the decisions the people we vote for make on our behalf. For example in the last electin here in the UK I voted for one of the parties that is now in government, I don't agree with all the decisions they take now, but I'll have to live with them for the next 5 years.

    BTW I see nothing wrong with the budget shared for review with our partners in the EU.

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  • 214. At 1:10pm on 10 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 203 FBJ

    "Are you seriously asking me if i believe that each of the peoples of Europe should be consulted by binding referendum before politicians hand powers to Brussels? "

    Your premise is flawed:

    1. It is not "politicians" who legislate but parliament, which is sovereign

    2. They don't "hand powers to Brussels" to legislate, they (sovereign national parliaments) ratify treaties which form the framework of the EU's legislation. The Brussels executive DOES NOT LEGISLATE, it only proposes and implements legislation. All EU material legislation, however, is contained in the treaties that the sovereign parliaments have ratified. "Brussels" at best only implements this legislation. The president of the EU Commission is proposed unanimously by the EU member countries' heads of government and each member of the Commission, including its president, is ratified by the European parliament, which is directly elected by the peoples of Europe.

    And I am not seriously asking you that in any case. What I am seriously asking you is if sovereign countries are sovereign to pool their sovereignty or not, despite what Mr Locke might have said in the 17th century, which has no legal force anyway. For starters the people didn't have the power in the 17th century, it was only the moneyed men who had it, not the plebs, not women, not people of non-white races. It was only early in the 20th century that women were allowed to become part of "the people", many centuries after Mr Locke died.

    Your answer to my question is basically: "In the 17th century Locke said no, a sovereign nation is not sovereign to pool its sovereignty"

    Who elected Locke to decree this?

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  • 215. At 1:11pm on 10 Jun 2010, tridiv wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt forgot, seemingly intentionally, to include a small detail- that the peer review of the national budget does not involve detailed scrutiny. It is to ensure if the basic criteria (on budget deficit, debt etc.) are met. Within the Eurozone this is a valid and desirable measure to avoid another Greece. Before falling into collective hysteria on 'sovereignty' or 'battleground', lets have a perspective. All the peer review is proposing is to monitoring whether agreed goals and objectives are adhered to. Its UK's prerogative to oppose and reject the proposals, and obviously face the consequences.

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  • 216. At 1:12pm on 10 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #205 - oeichler

    You can find exchange rates updated in real time here:

    http://www.xe.com/ucc/

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  • 217. At 1:15pm on 10 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    201. At 10:59am on 10 Jun 2010, Csili wrote:
    """Nik
    "What is worse:
    1) EU interference and control over the countries' announced budget?
    Orrrr...
    2) EU countries' corporations' interference over the budgets of EU countries?
    Between the 2, I chose the 1, hands down."""

    """"Nik, I am not against the EU at all, but I do have a feeling that it is controlled by corporations, and people are only secondary.......So I am not sure that between your option 1 and 2, there is much difference. :-(""""

    And I am afraid you are 100% right. Above I was just replying linearly and refering to the paradoxal phenomenon of EU corporations wreacking havoc among countries, especially those from the bigger countries treating as colonies the smaller ones, then the EU coming and saying "you are responsible". What I said, I said in the sense that if these practices have such an outcome then for the better of everyone let us put some better order, if it comes centrally then be it: people have no right to say anything about their own way of living, their way of thinking, why would they be nationalistic about the finances of their house when they cannot even form themselves their own basic living paradigm?

    The deeper truth however is what you say. That EU since foundation is a corporations' thingie. And unfortunately not only European ones. It is the heart of the problem. The single reason that I keep speaking of EU is that in history we have examples of power structures that were built to take a certain direction but in the middle they were "abducted" by other circles and taken to other directions. And I do believe - while I do not harbour any particularly strong hopes - that the EU as a structure can be transformed to serve the interests of the European people. I do travel all over EU and find that Europeans, even radically different cultures like Germans and Greeks, share far more common way of thinking than even themselves want to admit:

    1) protection of their identities
    2) protection of their cultures
    3) defense of their lands
    4) defense of their liberties and effort for more democratisation
    5) defense of their local agricultural sector - ensure there will be enough of healthy food to eat
    6) defense of their energy sector
    7) defense of their local industries - ensure there will be enough work
    8) protection of the social welfare system on a fair basis
    9) aversion to extreme concentration of wealth and spreading of wealth to greater masses

    etc. etc.

    We all know that EU has hit the EU countries on every single of the above issues, pretending to be defending the above for Europeans but actually being the open door to all threats.

    But the above was not only done inside the EU but long predates the EU. Even if European countries were totally independent, most of them would end up being hit on all the above issue and there are prime examples on the international scene. EU is just a vehicle. A knife of 2 edges. It can do things good and bad but often, due to its size and influence, on a bigger scale - thus the greater need for change.

    For me the most important is to stop viewing the EU like a financial-social union it is right now... a perverse sort of a concumbine mother Teresa.

    First there has to be a Defense union. Then an Energy one. Finance can only follow a panting 3rd. If finance precedes (the actual case today) it is a lost case. The rest can follow, how Europeans want to set their societies that is their own case - and in reality there they can easily find a consensus since they are not so radically different (while being totally different in culture) as most people think. One has to travel to US, China or Brazil to understand what means different social construction. However, with the finance in front, with almost total absence of a coherent external affairs and energy policy and blatantly total absence of a common Defense policy, there will never be consensus even if Europeans use identical sociofinancial structures - thus only serving the interests of international corporations - and mostly the bankers, not even the industrialists who would win much more by a truly working EU.

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  • 218. At 1:42pm on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #210 cool_brush_work.




    Thanks, and I commiserate.

    Good luck to you and try to keep your cool.

    [plenty of agents-provocateurs around]

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  • 219. At 1:45pm on 10 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    As a matter a fact the way EU functions is not that different from the British political system. Actually, I may say, it is organized based on the British political system. So, I do not understand why some British people consider EU less democratic than Britain. Maybe, because EU is not run from London.
    I propose EU to be run from Sofia, Bucharest and Budapest. Now, that's gonna be fun.

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  • 220. At 1:46pm on 10 Jun 2010, DynamicEntrance wrote:

    @ powermeerkat 209

    You are aware that a number of current NATO and would be NATO partners currently use the T-72 series, right?

    Ok. just making sure.

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  • 221. At 1:52pm on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @207 DurstigerMann

    I do not argue against direct mandate.
    The question is how far do you want to go with the direct mandate so your preferred system can be called "democratic"
    EU
    National President
    PM
    Ministers
    Mayors
    Councils
    ... and why not teachers? Are parents not part of "Demos"
    What is the democratic legitimacy of a bunch of civil servants deciding over your children's teachers?

    And what decisions require a referendum?

    Not so easy to come up with a fair, democratic and representative system.
    You are not the first to try it...

    It is always easier to criticise an existing one than to setup a better one...

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  • 222. At 2:02pm on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #185 opinion

    Do you or any of the people making comments here know what they are talking about ? You think that you do , others think you don't .
    It is a matter of personal opinion , I give a lot of thought to it and that is how I see the EU . Everything has gone wrong since the original conception . the EU was intended for six adjoining mainland countries and should never have included Britain or the rest of the 27 countries . Politicians are deceptive and have acted by lies and sleight of hand .
    You see the EU differently , that is how I see it . Perhaps somewhere between your view and mine lies the truth .

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  • 223. At 2:19pm on 10 Jun 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    209. At 12:13pm on 10 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "France's SESM () has begun marketing a new and more advanced diesel powerpack to users of the widely deployed Russian T-72 and current production T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs). The ESM350 powerpack consists of a new cooling system, diesel engine and an SESM350 fully automatic transmission with eight forward and three reverse gears and a manual override.

    [http://idr.janes.com ]


    Well, France, we've always known you were a reliable NATO partner.

    ------------------------------

    The US government have sold weapons to both Iran and Iraq in the past. I wouldn't be so quick to throw stones...

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  • 224. At 2:55pm on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @211. Freeborn John

    It was not intended to compare 19th century with today.
    I just found it interesting...

    As regarding National Identity, this is a very tricky point anyway in most European countries
    Flanders - Wallonia
    Basque Country - Andalusia - Catalonia - Madrid
    North Italy - South Italy
    North Germany - South Germany
    Corsica - France
    Scotland - England
    (very simplified)
    But they might come together for the next 4 weeks...

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  • 225. At 3:12pm on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    216. threnodio_II
    Thanks you made my day
    Can't count on MAII

    ... but I can't find the Euro - Drachma
    :-)

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  • 226. At 3:13pm on 10 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #204. At 11:49am on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann

    I'm 100% for direct voting of legislation at any level and with today's technology it can easily be achieved.

    By the way no I don't think we here in the UK have democracy, neither do you there in Germany. But those are the systems we currently have, so asking for referendum on selective items is nonsense. For the EU we need to introduce a people's movement (the Lisbon Treaty allows it) that initiates or removes laws we don't like. We just need 1m signitures and we are on our way. so lets start puting proposals together instead of complaining:))

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  • 227. At 3:29pm on 10 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    217. At 1:15pm on 10 Jun 2010, Nik

    Interesting, and I must say I mostly agree.

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  • 228. At 3:41pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @215 JorgeG1

    "1. It is not "politicians" who legislate but parliament, which is sovereign"

    You seem to be under the misconception that the parliament is a sovereign. It is not.
    The parliament is an assembly of representatives of the sovereign.

    There is only one sovereign in democracy: the people.

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  • 229. At 4:02pm on 10 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    JorgeG1 (214): Has your strategy become to make so many fundamental errors in a single post that it is difficult for anyone to know where to begin when responding to you?

    Where do you get the idea that all EU legislation is contained in the European treaties? If that is what you believe then what do you think the EU Parliament and EU Council of Ministers are discussing and approving each day? The European treaties delegate power to these EU institutions to write and approve law, and this delegation has been done in violation of basic principles of liberal democracy such as the one i referred to from John Locke (which is the basis of sentence 1 of Article 1 of the US Constitution forbidding the US Congress from handing over its law-making powers in the way that national parliaments in Europe have). Also the EU Commission is no mere executive agency akin to a civil service. It has the monopoly of all proposals for new EU laws or changes to existing EU law, a law which is superior to any other for 500 million people. This power of the Commission allows it to dominate the legislative agenda at EU level and is frankly obscene. In a previous post i suggested the EU Parliament should be abolished because it has proved a failure over 30 years in providing democratic legitimacy to EU law-making, but this obscene power of the EU Commission should also be removed from it.

    You need to raise you game, because currently you are ardently defending what you do not understand.

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  • 230. At 4:10pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @221 oeichler

    "I do not argue against direct mandate.
    The question is how far do you want to go with the direct mandate so your preferred system can be called "democratic"
    EU
    National President
    PM
    Ministers
    Mayors
    Councils
    ... and why not teachers? Are parents not part of "Demos"
    What is the democratic legitimacy of a bunch of civil servants deciding over your children's teachers?

    And what decisions require a referendum?

    Not so easy to come up with a fair, democratic and representative system.
    You are not the first to try it...

    It is always easier to criticise an existing one than to setup a better one..."

    Well, obviously it is not possible to satisfy everyone even in a democracy.
    Democracy is not individualism, it is the rule of the sovereign, the people as a whole.
    Having democratic representatives makes sense and is the only way to govern at least a big nation.
    Direct mandates are the most democratic way to select those representatives in my opinion.
    This way you have the biggest chance that the elected representative has a feeling of obligation and responsibility towards his voters.


    1) How far do I want to go with this in order to make the EU more democratic?

    To be honest, I see a much deeper problem than direct mandates within the EU. Even deeper than the huge mistake to not give seats within the European parliament according to demographics.
    The EU should have been built on a whole different foundation. The politicians should have taken the people with them from the very beginning. They should have asked them about every step.
    Not because it is the most efficient way, but because it is the only way to ensure a sound foundation for a European Union.
    If you go further than a majority of the people within the union is willing to go, at some point this will get back to you.

    What the Eurocrats and a lot of politicians all across the EU did was the opposite:
    They installed all these supranational institutions without legitimation and thought that people would accept them over time. Basically, they expected the people to forget about how the whole thing was set up so that after a few decades there would be no problem in terms of democratic legitimacy anymore.



    2) Why should people not be allowed to hire or fire teachers:

    Teachers are employees and not representatives.
    If I decide that my son`s teacher is incompetent, I`m free to have him change class or school. Or to complain about him.

    A teacher and school as a whole is a service provided by the government which, as we all know, represents the sovereign.
    So only the sovereign or its government as representatives has the power to fire that teacher.



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  • 231. At 4:12pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    "And what decisions require a referendum?"

    At least those decisions that, on the long run, reduce the sovereignty of a nation.

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  • 232. At 4:21pm on 10 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    @all

    quick anyone with shares listed in the German stock exchange sell now to make lots of money :))

    Dax 60655000.00up 60649015.25 1013392.63%

    over 1m% up according to the BBC :)))

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  • 233. At 4:27pm on 10 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "215. At 1:11pm on 10 Jun 2010, tridiv wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt forgot, seemingly intentionally, to include a small detail- that the peer review of the national budget does not involve detailed scrutiny. It is to ensure if the basic criteria (on budget deficit, debt etc.) are met. Within the Eurozone this is a valid and desirable measure to avoid another Greece. Before falling into collective hysteria on 'sovereignty' or 'battleground', lets have a perspective. All the peer review is proposing is to monitoring whether agreed goals and objectives are adhered to. Its UK's prerogative to oppose and reject the proposals, and obviously face the consequences. "

    Thanks for that!

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  • 234. At 4:29pm on 10 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "North Germany - South Germany"

    I'd say more west and east Germany, no?

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  • 235. At 4:30pm on 10 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    ChrisArta (226): The so-called ‘citizen initiative’ in the EU Lisbon treaty is a sham. The EU Commission is free to ignore those initiatives.

    Referendums are the accepted device worldwide for approving constitutional measures, with elected politicians then making non-constitutional law within the constitutional framework approved by the people. This is increasingly the norm within the UK where there have been referendums in the last 13 years in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to approve the delegated powers of the regional assemblies. The last Labour government was elected on a platform to put the proposed changes to the powers of the EU to a referendum, but once elected ratified them anyway in the full and certain knowledge that the British people would not have given their approval.

    Each of the treaties of Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon has been ratified in the full and certain knowledge that an overwhelming majority of the British people do not support the EU having the powers set out in those treaties. Therefore the EU as it exists today, and the law that it creates under those treaties, has no democratic legitimacy in this land.

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  • 236. At 4:52pm on 10 Jun 2010, Peter Hawkins wrote:

    Cool_brush_work
    I am thinking of the last sixty five years of my awareness of the incompetance of UK Governments. I am 72 years of age and live in Bretagne. Since the entry into the EU pace EEC, the UK economy and currency has achieved a stability unknown in the previous period. Before this it was not possible to take much money out, £5 only?, nor was it possible to move and settle freely. The UK Government lost an Empire, did not win the Second World War, the USSR did, and had recurrent financial crises. Now associated with the Euro things are quite acceptable. Time we joined the Euro Zone. The Pension that concerns me is the National Insurance one.

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  • 237. At 5:09pm on 10 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    oeichler (224): You identify geographic areas within current states where the population is (to some degree) in the grey zone between clearly being part of a larger nation, and wishing to govern themselves with their own nation-state. It is quite likely that the artificial state of Belgium will break-up, and not inconceivable that the Scots will do what the Irish did 100 years ago. It is very likely that others around the world from Quebec to Kashmir to Tibet will do likewise and that the number of nation-states, which has already increased from 60 in 1945 to almost 200 today, will continue to rise in the future. But what is inconceivable is that the strength of European identity is anywhere near sufficient that a European state could form with popular legitimacy. Indeed that is precisely why federalists have always resorted to ‘integration by stealth’ and why the EU of today can only be held together by the personal connivance of political leaders against the wishes of their own voters.

    However the days of a permissive consensus to allow a handful of euro-federalists to get away with ‘integration by stealth’ are definitively over. Juncker, Verhostadt and the handful of euro-federalists must now argue their case in the court of public opinion. It is a battle of ideas they cannot win, because the arguments for liberal democracy, the representative nation-state, and purely inter-governmental co-operation (as used in the rest of the world) are simply too strong.

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  • 238. At 5:20pm on 10 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ FBJ

    "You need to raise you game, because currently you are ardently defending what you do not understand."

    I am not ardently defending anything other than my conviction that sovereign nations are sovereign to pool their sovereignty. So far, you haven't been able to say who/where/elected by whom, decided that this is not the case. You have quoted an unelected 17th century English philosopher as the basis for your assertions. You really need to raise your game.

    In the end what you are saying is negating International Law. International Law has two major sources: International treaties and supranational organisations.

    The UN security council regularly legislates, for example, on international sanctions on a sovereign nation, e.g. Iran, and on demands on other sovereign nations to do or refrain to do things, e.g. Israel (admittedly regularly ignored, but that doesn't mean it has no legal force). Likewise, international treaties on human rights or anti-personnel mines are binding on the UK despite the UK people not having been consulted explicitly on those matters.

    According to yourself, Locke and Redwood, international law is illegitimate, because it has legal force over sovereign nations whose citizens didn't directly vote to become bound by it.

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  • 239. At 5:36pm on 10 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Each of the treaties of Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon has been ratified in the full and certain knowledge that an overwhelming majority of the British people do not support the EU having the powers set out in those treaties."

    I'd say "without the full understanding of the British people". Also, I must say I am amazed to find that most educated Londonders (English) I've met are actually pro-EU, even if they're conservatives.

    Cabbies are obviously a different matter.

    Surprising and refreshing nevertheless!

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  • 240. At 5:53pm on 10 Jun 2010, Peter Hawkins wrote:

    #60-oeichler
    It is a small point, but as far as I am aware there is no reference to the “Establishment of the Church of England” in the Henrician legislation ( i.e. 25 Henry VIII c. 19; c. 20; c. 21 26 Henry VIII c.1, c. 14) of 1534. There is legislation separating the Church of England from Papal Jurisdiction and passing rights concerning governance of the same to the King or the Archbishop of Canterbury.
    Magna Carta does not really apply to the common people of England, just to the Barons and the Church.
    I just hope that the list of Constitutional Events is more accurate in it’s other parts.

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  • 241. At 6:00pm on 10 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 235

    "Therefore the EU as it exists today, and the law that it creates under those treaties, has no democratic legitimacy in this land."

    The only recognised democratic legitimacy comes from the votes of the holders of British sovereignty, i.e. the British people, for example the vote that took place for example a month ago.

    There were three major parties that supported continued EU membership. There were other parties, at least two (one racist, the other not, as kindly clarified by CBW) that had a crystal clear policy to withdraw from the EU.

    It may come as news to you but neither of these two parties, whether the racist or the non-racist one, received enough votes from the sovereign people or the "polity" (whichever you prefer) i.e. the British people, to obtain the democratic legitimacy to release you from your misery.

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  • 242. At 7:23pm on 10 Jun 2010, Nanuk wrote:

    217. Nik:

    You're essentially proposing high-level political cohesion within the EU constituent countries. I don't know from what spiritual well your hope stems, but every indication throughout European history, most recently with the Balkan wars, indicate that ain't even a pipe dream.

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  • 243. At 8:21pm on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    231. At 4:12pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:
    "And what decisions require a referendum?"
    ""At least those decisions that, on the long run, reduce the sovereignty of a nation.""

    I can agree on this one

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  • 244. At 8:23pm on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @233 Gheryando wrote:
    "Within the Eurozone this is a valid and desirable measure to avoid another Greece."

    I still son't know what really happened in Greece as parliament must have approved the budgets...
    Perhaps Nik can clarify what went wrong and how the EU proposal would avoid this from happening again...

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  • 245. At 8:28pm on 10 Jun 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @235. Freeborn John wrote:

    "Each of the treaties of Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon has been ratified in the full and certain knowledge that an overwhelming majority of the British people do not support the EU having the powers set out in those treaties. Therefore the EU as it exists today, and the law that it creates under those treaties, has no democratic legitimacy in this land."

    But this is exactly the problem with referendum on specific subjects.
    You ask the British people, they probably would oppose the emergency budget and cuts coming later this month.
    So Osborn's budget would have no democratic legitimacy???

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  • 246. At 8:36pm on 10 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @242 JorgeG1

    "There were three major parties that supported continued EU membership. There were other parties, at least two (one racist, the other not, as kindly clarified by CBW) that had a crystal clear policy to withdraw from the EU.

    It may come as news to you but neither of these two parties, whether the racist or the non-racist one, received enough votes from the sovereign people or the "polity" (whichever you prefer) i.e. the British people, to obtain the democratic legitimacy to release you from your misery."

    So you are deducing the democratic legitimacy of the simple reason that the people might have bigger problems or are not only looking at the parties EU-policy and instead are taking into account the whole picture?

    That logic reminds me of my country. No alternatives. Five big pro-EU parties and the only alternative in this question is a radical right-wing niche party.
    So if I don´t vote for that party, because it is run by neo-nazis. So if I vote another party or don`t vote at all, I am voting integration anyway?
    Probably a voter participation of 40% will still be considered to give democratic legitimation?


    Reminds me of the People`s Republic of China, except that the communist party is more honest about voting and stuff.

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  • 247. At 10:44pm on 10 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ DurstigerMann 246

    I am sorry to hear that German's (or Austrian?) democracy is not working either.

    So if there are "no alternatives" to the five pro-EU parties then the solution is to blame someone else?

    I would think that, in the same way, that there are five big pro-EU parties in your country, another five anti-EU (which are not racist or neo-nazis) could be created by groups of individuals with initiative. Or is this banned under the German constitution?

    In the end of the day, if Germany's (or UK's) democracy is not working then it is up to the people to make it work, not down to the EU. The EU itself is far from perfect because it is the product of 27 democracies each of which is, as you testify, far, far from perfect.

    Multiply "far from perfect" by 27 = EU

    And the solution is, in your opinion, to retreat into an ultra-nationalist fortress of imperfect democracy? Haven't we been there before?

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  • 248. At 10:44pm on 10 Jun 2010, mvr512 wrote:

    In a national election, people vote for national politicians to make the decisions for the nation in question. And we do not vote so politicians can abdicate responsibility and throw those powers over to Brussels. But most people vote on national issues and have no idea just how little powers national parliaments have left. The elites like it this way because if people did know that the elites have de facto abolished democracy, they'd be in trouble. But as long as people vote on national issues for national parties they always voted for, the elites can disingeniously claim support for 'more EU' which is what no one really voted for.

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  • 249. At 10:48pm on 10 Jun 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    oeichler (245) said "...So Osborn's budget would have no democratic legitimacy???"

    What? Why are you even asking me this in a response to my post 235 when i answered already in 235. Read paragraph 2 of that post and ask yourself if a budget is a constiutional measure. The EU treaties are however of a constituional nature in that they define the rules under which the highest law in the land (EU law) is made, and therefore these rules and the expwnded scope require approval of the people themselves by referendum.

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  • 250. At 10:54pm on 10 Jun 2010, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 245. oeichler

    "But this is exactly the problem with referendum on specific subjects.
    You ask the British people, they probably would oppose the emergency budget and cuts coming later this month.
    So Osborn's budget would have no democratic legitimacy???"

    Spot on. It's even worse, the emergency budget and looming cuts *should* be put to a referendum as they will directly affect people in a way that the EU couldn't even attempt to match, and the decision of who should bear the brunt of the cuts, the rich or the poor, shouldn't be left to politicians as it is clear that the majority of the people do not want to bear the brunt of the cuts, so they should be consulted on that momentous decision.

    Hint: the majority of the people are not rich.

    Budget cuts? No democratic legitimacy whatsoever, tut, tut….

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  • 251. At 11:18pm on 10 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Thirstyman,

    you can always create your own party..

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  • 252. At 11:46pm on 10 Jun 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    183.powermeerkat

    "I guesx the Hate...er..Love Boat sailing from Turkey-occupied part of Cyprus is OK with you boys and girs? :)"

    Nope, occupying any part of the world against the wishes of its inhabitants is not ok with me....for example Iraq.

    But then again I'm also against murdering people on a boat regardless of the port of origin.

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  • 253. At 00:31am on 11 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    222. At 2:02pm on 10 Jun 2010, Huaimek
    I agree.

    All that people have to do to have a greater say in EU businesses is to ask for it Not once, not one but, million times and million people. If that doesn't work than we do not have democracy in EU. As long as most EU people stay passive and comment only on blogs their problems are not gonna be solved.
    EU is gonna become a federal state. If that is gonna happen to serve banks and corporations interest OR to serve peoples interest it is up to us.
    There has to be a vision of people for the new country that is gonna be formed.
    There is not that much difference between people in Europe. The biggest difference is language but I suppose most of them can speak at least a foreign language.

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  • 254. At 01:17am on 11 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @245 oeichler

    "But this is exactly the problem with referendum on specific subjects.
    You ask the British people, they probably would oppose the emergency budget and cuts coming later this month.
    So Osborn's budget would have no democratic legitimacy???"

    You probably understand that there is a difference between a national government deciding on something that only has an effect on that very nation and a council of governments from many nations deciding for that nation.

    And of course you will have people who are not willing to save money if the different governments and parties all told them for decades that debt is not a problem.

    Some politicians are now saying that "we have lived beyond our means" and I`m really puzzled as to who "we" is.
    Not most people, that`s for sure.
    It fells more like successive governments within the last few decades gave away money for free to immigrants and at the same time denied many of them to work legally. Of course such a policy dramatically lowers integration and creates a social class that is depending on welfare.
    Well, this probably means "we" have lived beyond our means.
    The government couldn`t have possible failed at both immigration policy and financials.


    But you don´t even need to think about stuff like that. Just take a look at the statistics of any tax payers` association throughout Europe.
    And you will be shocked at the amount of money our governments manage to BURN.
    One could get the idea that those people in charge feel no obligation towards the nation and the people they are supposed to represent.


    And I am not even talking about the EU and the bureaucratic mammoth in Brussels here.
    Let`s pay the winter vacation for our kids with tax money!


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  • 255. At 01:27am on 11 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @250 JorgeG1

    "And the solution is, in your opinion, to retreat into an ultra-nationalist fortress of imperfect democracy? Haven't we been there before?"

    That`s not the solition I advocate.
    I want the European Union to be rebuilt from scratch.
    With more democracy, more involvment of the sovereign and less bureaucracy.
    We don´t need the overpayed eurocrats.

    If the people of every respective nation are asked about different steps towards more integration, there is no doubt in my mind that it will not fail. Rather a small small step forward on these terms than a forced system.


    The ironic thing is that what you are afraid of, the drifting back into nationlistic attitudes, is exactly what this EU of today is provoking.

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  • 256. At 01:47am on 11 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @251 Gheryando

    "Thirstyman,

    you can always create your own party.."

    In Germany, small parties need to be accepted by the electoral committee, which consists of members of the establishedparties - in order to be listed for national elections.
    If you have less than 5 seats in the parliament, you need a specific amount of supporters in order to be authorized by the committee.
    They can also reject you for various other reasons such as voice of form, handing in the application too late, etc.
    Let`s say you need one more signature of support. Darn, you`re out!

    You also have no possibility to sue against the decision before the respective elections.


    Save me this farce.


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  • 257. At 02:55am on 11 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    255. At 01:27am on 11 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann

    "The ironic thing is that what you are afraid of, the drifting back into nationlistic attitudes, is exactly what this EU of today is provoking."

    Unfortunately, you may be right.

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  • 258. At 05:07am on 11 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #253 opinion

    Could it be that we are arguing at cross purposes , to nearly the same end .

    The EU is supposed to be a union of people from all parts of Europe .
    In truth it is not ! The EU in fact is just the Commission , useless parliament , bureaucrats , heads of national governments , banks , big business and lobbyists .

    If you have lived in a European mainland country , you will know that there is no barrier between the peoples . Yes , language can be a difficulty , but we have to bother to learn a language , at least of the country we like to go to or live in . I lived in Italy and speak fluent Italian . Through a little knowledge of Latin , I can get by in France and converse with Spanish . In countries where one doesn't speak the language , a little bit of play acting helps ; I find listening carefully to people helps .

    In my opinion , it is the Commission and politicians who want a federal state , not the majority of people . Every country has it culture , its customs , different way of life , which is the charm of that country and its people .
    From my experience of living in Italy , visiting my daughter and family in Germany , travelling in France or the Czech republic ; I see no need for the political element , trying to make all the countries one big federal state .
    A silly example , but on grounds of economy the EU could ban the delicious French Baguette and insist that only ( Mother's Pride )soft steam baked bread be sold all across Europe . Italians like " Lardo di Colognato(SP)which is just fat sliced thin . The EU thought it unhealthy and tried to ban it , but the Italians were up in arms , so have retained it .

    Europe does not need to become a federal state , except for the politicians . Without this endeavour towards ever closer POLITICAL Union and the introduction of the Euro , European countries might not be in the precarious state they are in today , having a domino effect one upon the other .

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  • 259. At 05:46am on 11 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #257 opinion an DustigerMann .

    Do any of us see nationalism today as it was in the early to mid 20th century . I don't think any European country is seeking ingradisment by taking over other neighbouring countries .
    The nationalistic attitudes today are against an intrusion from outside to take over the running of their country .

    The only Multinational Empire Builder today is the EU itself ; which is clearly trying to complete what Nazi Germany failed to achieve in WWII .
    With respect to Germany of today , I don't think they have any such intentions , keeping the peace is what matters .

    You are right ; the EU is provoking a drifting back into nationalistic Attitudes , but I do not think that is something to be afraid of .

    Has the EU ( Europe ) got to be a single administration federal state ;
    or are we seeking a Europe of the people ? The latter is possible without ever closer union to a federal state .

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  • 260. At 06:07am on 11 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #255 DurstigerMann

    I am reading comments backwards .

    I fully endorse what you have said here !!!

    I am an arch eurosceptic , but I am not against union and friendship among European peoples . The EU Commission " Push comes to Shove "political way of forcing the EU down ones throat is not going to work , is creating disunity where there needn't be .

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  • 261. At 2:27pm on 14 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    242. At 7:23pm on 10 Jun 2010, Nanuk wrote:

    """217. Nik:
    You're essentially proposing high-level political cohesion within the EU constituent countries. I don't know from what spiritual well your hope stems, but every indication throughout European history, most recently with the Balkan wars, indicate that ain't even a pipe dream."""

    What I propose is something much more simple and 10 times more basic than what you think I propose. In fact it is also 10 times more basic than even the slightest financial treaty among the European countries, let alone any common market and currency.

    What I propose is the abolition of NATO and the replacement with a EU defense force. All US bases on EU soil will have to be replaced by EU ones. EU will have to set the balance between US and Russia in the middle if not in the favour of Russia for extremely basic geopolitical reasons that I can explain much more easily to a 5 years child than any propagandised grown up. I am also advocate of an independent ESA, with the further development of its own (French) access to space that collaborates with NASA and RSA only on an equal basis and which starts sending purely military staff up there for the account of Europeans.

    1+1=2. Defense, energy and alignment of basic geopolitics. I never spoke on political union. I was never interested in country's financial and legal systems streamlining. I never spoke on having similar systems. Never spoke on having 1 identity. Never spoke on having 1 citizenship. In fact, I do not even care if national currencies, national borders and such come back - it would be 10 steps forward if these came back all while Europeans set a common defense alliance getting rid of NATO and finding a nice consensus in the basic military, energy and spatial projects. An EU that cannot sell EU military applications to its own EU members and losing to US ones has no hope of any financial progress. As simple as that.

    Do the defense thingie and the rest may follow. Then I am telling you how easy is for a continent that has half a billion people and more ties to the rest of the world than China, India & Brazil have together can deal with financial trivialities...

    Unfortunately, due to the post-WWII historic course, Europeans did start from the opposite, serving mostly the US interests than their own. Understandable, under the circumstances. But time to look to the future.

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  • 262. At 5:30pm on 14 Jun 2010, frenchliving wrote:

    Dear David,

    I am very sorry to report that Europe has suffered a largely silent coup d'etat in recent months. This may have gone unreported by the F.O but this Rompuy character is a real pain and more importantly a huge cost to the business. He seems to have been given power to speak and influence policy without any democratic mandate from the people - simply he has no legitimacy but feels he is able to usurp democracy. Of great concern, Rompuy also seems to be getting paid a rather large sum of money which is not related to adding value to or in the business. In our need for fiscal control and indeed cuts, my department (the largest one - The People) would like to offer savings through a reduction in the bureaucrat headcount. We have to do what is right for the business even though the pain in our Belgium subsidiary will be felt. He nor any of his team are entitled to a redundancy package. I propose we of course honor the statutory minimum of one month notice on termination of his employment contract (can't find it sorry - where is it now - did anyone ever see it - thought not?). With your agreement, we should make sure he is able to sign on if he desires at his local unemployment office. Of course he will still obliged to report weekly at the job centre to show he is actively seeking work. I am sure he will wish to receive his benefits promptly.

    We need to count the pennies David. After all our prerogative is to look after the elderly, those in real need and of course those less fortunate than ourselves with disabilities. Those people which are justly entitled to our assistance and our solidarity with them (its my favorite word at the moment). I am therefore sure you will welcome my willingness to propose cuts in the Department of the People. I have to say that in my department, there is a clear majority in favor of acting to cut the waste now rather than let it fester and become an even larger burden. We have further plans which could actually result in completely closing the Belgium office as they have sold nothing, made nothing useful and have received unusually high remunerations and perks; most of us find all that particularly irregular as do the auditors. It will be a shining example to other ministers in where to start with their proposed cuts and make real savings in their departments. It is my calculation we can add 2 doctors and 2 nurses jobs with just this single cut and we well on the way to a 11% reduction in the budget for the BBB (Belgium Bureaucracy Business). As you know, management can be hard unless you do the right things.


    Your Sincerely

    Imposed Spokesman On The People

    cc. G. Osborne

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  • 263. At 9:57pm on 15 Jun 2010, Nanuk wrote:

    Nik:

    Nor did I speak about political union. But if you think that abolishing NATO would not require some massive political alignment amongst the EU nations, then I think you've been playing "Risk" far too long with 5-year olds. Give 27 Europeans a glass of water and they'll end up arguing over which is most wet.

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