The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

CANZUK - The Genesis of a Post-Brexit Culture

Before 23 June 2016 people toyed with the idea of the UK being free of the EU in trade, economic and immigration policies. However, even if the UK had voted to Remain in the EU, it would not have been able to benefit from such concepts as CANZUK (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK group). It is noteworthy that these 4 members are also part of the 5 Eyes; with the omission of only the USA. The genesis of this Post-Brexit culture was inevitable as a counter-culture to the dogma of the EU.

If the CANZUK group produces a tariff free exchange of goods, consumers will face lower prices. While within the EU tariffs remain above 0% and arguably contribute to higher prices on the shelf for the consumer. Surely, this is a form of self-harm when we consider the linked economies of the euro? If the members of the EU were able to negotiate their own tariff deals, we can assume they would reduce them to the mutual benefit of those they wish to do business with.

Is the potential for free trade another worthy aim Post-Brexit?

According to Kevin Dowd in A Trade Policy for a Brexited Britain,

There is also a strong case for seeking a trade deal with Anglosphere countries with which the UK has much in common. An example would be a CANZUKTA trading deal with Australia, Canada and New Zealand.i


Is the potential free movement of individuals between the members of CANZUK a worthy aim?

Contrary to those advocating the same from within the EU, CANZUK has autonomous members who see the importance of retaining complimentary aims through mutual recognition. The citizens of the CANZUK countries largely share similar language, laws and values. The same cannot be said for their EU counterparts.


Is freedom of movement within the CANZUK area similar to current EU freedom of movement?

According to the author(s) of the white paper, "The Future Of The Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement"


Unlike freedom of movement within the European Union, the TTTA provides Australian and New Zealand citizens with the opportunity to move freely, providing they meet specific criteria with respect to criminal conduct and health requirements.ii


The EU in contrast has the Schengen area. As it involves Open Borders, it permits criminality to spread largely unchecked – human trafficking and money laundering continue to this day. The Schengen area does not require refugees to provide information on previous criminal conduct or existing health requirements. The author asserts 'At present, citizens of the European Union are free to travel within the 28 member bloc with very few limitations (especially those within the Schengen area).' Naturally this has several effects:

1 The country of departure experiences a brain-drain. Local talent relocates within the EU and is not replaced.

2 Countries with already high unemployment find it difficult to absorb larger numbers economically. Countries like Spain, Italy and Greece are the best examples of this.In consideration of the total members of the EU (28) this is a considerable percentage.

3 Critically, the movement of people from one area to another is not equalled by equal movement from a third area into the existing area. The EU makes no allowance for this social deficit.

This has led to some areas of the current EU bearing more than their equal share of 'health tourism'. The Schengen area has led to an influx of refugees from war-torn areas including Libya, Iraq and Syria and understandably associated problems as exampled by the riots in Paris and beyond – largely ignored by mainstream media. Such relationships cannot be smooth, however well-intended the host country, as there is no existing bond for the new-comer to relate to. The CANZUK group will overcome such challenges by having reciprocal and inclusive agreements that are as previously stated of mutual benefit.

While advocating free movement within CANZUK, the UK government can adopt similar policies from the The Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement (TTTA) to limit benefits payments for new arrivals. The EU may also adopt a similar policy post-Brexit as would be reasonable to do from necessity to directly protect the Euro economies. Whereas CANZUK having fewer members will be able to implement such agreements, policies and security protocols quicker, the EU is burdened by having more than 6 times as many members (even accounting for UK withdrawal).

Should the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement be expanded to include Canada and the UK?

The TTTA has been of benefit to both Australia and New Zealand. It has provided a mutual distribution of skills and acted as a safeguard during more turbulent economic times. It can therefore be of significant economic benefit to both Canada and the UK. Through identifying the issues within the Schengen area CANZUK can provide a functional alternative for the UK Post-Brexit.

Through the adoption of positive elements of existing agreements, CANZUK may avoid many of the pitfalls of economic and social policy that the EU has burdened itself with. It is my recommendation that the government ought to pursue mutually beneficial agreements as it progresses towards the end of the 2 years from the notification of Article 50. The UK government should do so in conjunction with the other members of CANZUK as a means of self-protection and mutual foreign policy strategy.

It was inevitable that at some point the EU would face a post-Brexit culture after 23 June 2016. The British have often led the way historically. This in no way relates to any racial grouping or their exclusion, as has been argued by some including mainstream media. What it does do though is provide a hegemonic culture (CANZUK) that has been in existence since the early 20th Century. This is perhaps why the EU is less successful having attempted to amalgamate 28 members under one Union in less than 40 years. From an engineering perspective one system works while the others does not. I will leave it to you dear reader to conclude which is so and which is not.


i IEA Discussion paper 85, A Trade Policy for a Brexited Britain, Kevin Dowd, August 2017, page 17

ii The FutureOf The Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement - Recommendations for the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, 2017, page 3 




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Saturday, 16 December 2017