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.

Subcategories from this category:

European Union

The European Deadline Diktat and Other Issues

​ Donald Tusk gave Theresa May ten days (with less than a week remaining) to offer him much more money and also give him a solution that he likes to the Irish border problem. We should be relaxed about this and either give what is legally due the EU or nothing and sort it out after Brexit. This dictatorial deadline that conflates both the Irish bor...
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Post Brexit Britain: In Conversation with Sir Desmond Swayne MP

​ Contrary to the mainstream point of view, a post Brexit Britain is an open Britain. While Brexit is portrayed as a very isolationist, nationalist vote, Sir Desmond Swayne MP said it's a very much outward-looking event. "United Kingdom is going to re-establish its place in the world and it's an attempt to actually maximize that," Swayne said. "Rem...
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Bordering on Madness

The thing that first drew me to being opposed to our membership of the EU in 1991 was the realisation my elected Government was not in control of our country, that authority had passed to an offshore, unelected and unaccountable body.  My awakening came through a letter written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the terrible recession o...
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​International Brexit: In Conversation with Kate Hoey MP

Euro skepticism and Brexit is synonymous with right-wing politics. The reality is the Leave vote was ushered in by a broad coalition of both left-leaning and right-leaning voters, said Labour Party MP Kate Hoey, a proponent of Brexit. Speaking with Morten Dam of Peoples Movement Against the EU in Denmark, Hoey discussed the position of the Labour P...
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Rest Assured: There Will Be a Brexit Trade Agreement

​Bruges Group director Robert Oulds assured the possibility of a Brexit trade agreement in an interview with Jeremy Naylor on IG.com.  It was one of the many issues discussed during last Friday's broadcast. Topics ranged from the cost of other trade agreements, need for deregulation, lower taxes, and passporting rights.  The term "hard Br...
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​Passporting: Concerns & Realities

The crown of UK is its financial services sector: buying and selling across the EU and the world.  Now, fresh fears about the backbone industry of London are on the rise. EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier announced last Monday that firms based in Britain will lose their "passporting" rights post Brexit.  A "passport" allows fina...
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The Merchant of Belfast

The problem of Ireland is one that perplexes both the UK and the EU during Brexit negotiations. Should Northern Ireland have a hard border after Brexit or should it remain as it is - flexible? In considering the Irish Border question I am reminded of The Merchant of Venice or in this case The Merchant of Belfast. The EU after all created Article 50...
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Recent Comments
James Coghlan
To clarify like Scotland the Irish Pound note is different to the English Pound note.
Sunday, 03 December 2017 18:58
James Coghlan
Perhaps I should have been clearer. Like Scotland Ireland has its own set of notes. They do not ALL say BANK OF ENGLAND!
Sunday, 03 December 2017 18:59
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Send Morrissey to break the impasse

£40 billion isn't enough. The EU, facing a gaping hole in its finances after losing its British cash cow, is extorting to the max. But even the most generous offer from our pathetic political leaders, in return for a few cake crumbs, won't guarantee a mutually-rewarding trade deal. The whole protracted and humiliating process could be voted down by...
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Fighting for Brexit on two fronts

​ A gathering storm over London.Photograph: Garry Knight, Wikimedia Commons. While the UK's parliament debates the EU Withdrawal Bill , its government is pursuing a post-Brexit deal on the continent. On both fronts, the decision Britons took to leave the EU is under threat. Indeed, their government has precious little wiggle room to deliver, but it...
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5 Reasons To Visit Bruges This Winter

5 Reasons To Visit Bruges This Winter
The historic city of Bruges has long attracted some of the world's leaders, including Margaret Thatcher who made her famous Bruges speech at the College of Europe, which is still considered a political centre today. Bruges has so much to offer visitors, so here's why you should renew your e111 card , pack your suitcase and head to the charming city...
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British people will make their own trade deal

​ Cars have always been more than four-wheeled transport; they're status symbols. Owners of a Ford Focus, a 'Chelsea tractor' or a quirky Citroen display something of their character, and their wealth. In the past, cars were also expressions of patriotism. A proud ex-serviceman would insist on a staid black or beige Austin or Hillman, but by the 19...
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How Likely is a No Deal for Brexit?

​ The Chancellor, the Right Honourable Philip Hammond MP, recently stated that he would not be providing funds to put in place contingency measures, to prepare for the outcome of the Brexit negotiations being "No Deal".He did not want to spend money that could otherwise be spent on hospitals, schools, defence etc on protection against a merely hypo...
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Rt Hon John Redwood MP Discusses Brexit

​ Conservative Member of Parliament for Wokingham, Berkshire, John Redwood discussed UK's stance on Brexit negotiations as well as Britain's future relationship with the EU after Brexit. Redwood affirmed that the UK will only make an agreement after examining all the issues instead of settling specific issues as a prerequisite to move forward with ...
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Fast Forward to 2020: U.K. Needs to Speed Up Brexit

​ It's no secret that deals are an "art form" for U.S. President Donald Trump, who likes making deals, preferably big deals , and promises to cut a very big and exciting trade deal with the U.K. after Brexit. That window of opportunity is quickly closing in the face of slow-moving negotiations with EU and looming uncertainty behind Trump's reelecti...
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A Historian’s Vision: Post Brexit Britain Will Be Kind and Caring

​ Britain's exit from the European Union, ushered by a majority of Leave votes, is an opportunity to build a better Britain. Not a better Britain, according to historian Bess Rhodes, but a kind and more caring Britain. Speaking at the Bruges Group's "Deal or No Deal" conference on Nov. 4, Rhodes admitted she voted to remain in the EU. After the res...
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Here's Why U.K. Should Prepare for "No Deal" on Brexit

​ " Deal or no Deal " event speech by  Professor D.R. Myddelton. Background General de Gaulle was a difficult Frenchman!In 1963 he rejected Britain's application to join the Common Market – on the grounds that England was too different from the continental countries.I share that political judgement. So I voted in both Referendums – in 1975 and...
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Support for EU membership in Iceland reduced even further

​Two political parties who favour membership of the European Union remain in Iceland's parliament following the general elections that took place in the country on 28 October. Before the elections they were three but one of them, Bright Future, lost all its MPs. The two remaining pro-EU parties, the Social Democratic Alliance and the Restoration Pa...
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U.K. Military Autonomy Under Threat

​ The Bruges Group hosted Veterans for Britain, a group of 14 Admirals and Generals led by Mag Gen Julian Thompson, who campaigned for Brexit. David Banks spoke on the EU's proposal for a Permanent Structured Cooperation. The agreement binds member states armed forced into a joint single output spearheaded by Brussels for defense. The lack of ...
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The Healthcare Cost of EU Policy

​With plans for an Airbnb-style scheme for National Health Service patients set to roll out as early as next month, the state of NHS hits a new low.  The health service will compensate homeowners £50-a-day to host patients in their spare rooms.  Overcrowded hospitals and long wait times are a culmination to decades of European Union's ope...
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Opening of borders, closing of minds

A clumsy request from a parliamentarian on what is taught about Brexit in universities has caused uproar. Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry and a junior Conservative whip, was suddenly likened to Senator Joseph McCarthy, who infamously led a campaign to root out 'reds under the bed' in American institutions back in the 1950s. But incredulous cla...
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Dr Bess Rhodes - what actually is Brexit?

Dr Bess Rhodes - what actually is Brexit?
Bruges Group Conference Will Britain make a Brexit deal with Brussels? What should the UK prioritise? Where should it draw the red lines? When is the cost of any deal too high? Will we get what we actually voted for? This conference will answer those important questions. Saturday, 4th November 2017 http://www.brugesgroup.com/events Conference trail...
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IF

How will the word 'if' be powerful in the context of the EU and Brexit negotiations? As Philip II of Macedon found out, sometimes there are battles that brute force will not win. Battles where threats and punishment do not work against a counterpart. Philip II of Macedon had defeated numerous enemies when he sent the following warning message to an...
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The Brexit Legacy

There are a variety of reasons why the EU has doomed itself following the creation of Article 50. It is akin to Superman building a Kryptonite factory. Perhaps a more apt metaphor would be a fisherman widening the gaps in his nets without quality control checks. Could either the superhero or the fisherman hold a 3rd party responsible for the outcom...
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A History of Brexit

Managing the Brexit negotiations is merely one aspect of Brexit. In the coming years much will be written (presumably by both sides) as to the rights and wrongs of why the UK population by percentage voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016. You know that books will be written examining why and how Brexit came about. Someone will try and lay the blame...
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No Transition is Better than a Bad Transition

No Transition is Better than a Bad Transition
In my last blog post, I made my own personal views on transition clear and I also stated what the government had said that their views on transition were. To summarise, I personally believe that, if a free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and the EU is agreed by midnight on 29 th March 2019 and, if a subsequent transitional arrangement is deeme...
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Financial Services and Brexit

​Project Fear scaremongered more about financial services than anything else during the EU referendum campaign and this scaremongering has unfortunately continued after the Brexit vote. Remoaners and soft Brexiteers (those who want us to remain members of the European single market after Brexit) now tell us that the reason why there was not an imme...
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Not My Brexit

In the last year we have seen the ordinary person take on the establishment and win. Not just here in the UK, but also across the pond in the USA. Against great odds both Brexit and Trump became victories. The blatant lies that mainstream media carried included the fact there would not be an EU Army. In the USA women who had yelled rape with regard...
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How Much The UK Actually Pays The EU

​ It's a highly contested figure both during and in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. The true cost to Britain being a part of the European Union is close to £661 million per week since 2010, a number hidden from the British taxpayers due to an intricate payments system and largely ignored by the mainstream media. Our estimated figure encompa...
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Recent Comments
Robert Oulds
Jon, thanks for engaging with us. The £1.7 billion was still paid in full, when one takes in the reduction in the abatement. That ... Read More
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 15:17
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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 th...
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Surrender Is Not Negotiation

In the latest round of Brexit negotiations, the European Union called on Britain to pay a hefty bill before commencing with trade talks.  Negotiators are asking the UK to commit paying 14 percent of the EU's budget until 2020, a pledge  that could cost British taxpayers billions of pounds. Prominent reclaimer Gina Miller argued Britain sh...
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Brand Britain Beyond Brexit

Whenwe inevitably run out of a product, we go to the shops and buy a newone. We are not told what to buy. There is no security to ensure weselect Brand A instead of Brand B. We have a choice. Productplacement is a reality, in many stores, but we have real choices.After Brexit, the EU and UK have very real choices too. Theyboth must win over new con...
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Debunking the Brexit Myths

During the referendum campaign both sides made considerable remarks (some justified, others less so) about the state of trade, the economy and employment and whether the UK voted Leave or Remain on 23 June 2016. One year on we have learnt many things including the reality of an EU army. We have also learnt that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and th...
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The Will to Act

In the referendum on 23 June 2016 the majority of British people voted Leave. In doing so, they placed the cornerstone of a new future for the U.K. beyond the E.U. Some politicians, mainstream media and many pollsters failed to remember how the will to act had built the British Empire, Commonwealth and NATO. The will to act against questionable ves...
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Norwegians reject the 'Norway option'

More Norwegians want to see a bilateral comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU replacing Norway's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) than those who want to hold onto the country's EEA membership according to a new opinion poll. The poll was produced last week by the polling company Sentio for the Norwegian organisation Nei til E...
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Can Brexit be a success?

Reportedly the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, says Britain leaving the European Union cannot be a success . Well, that is quite understandable from the EU's point of view. After all Brussels' idea of a success is not entirely the same as what most Britons have in mind. The most successful outcome of the Brexit talks ahea...
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Why Brexit Should Be Accompanied by Irexit (Ireland exit)

Ireland’s political Establishment is only now realising that Brexit really does mean Brexit and that the case for an accompanying Irexit is overwhelming. Irish opinion is likely to move in this direction over the coming two years and UK policy-makers should encourage that.

Dr Anthony Coughlan

22nd February 2017

For forty years from 1973 the Republic was a major recipient of EU money through the Common Agricultural Policy. Since 2014 the Republic has become a net contributor to the EU Budget. In future money from Brussels will be Irish taxpayers’ money recycled. This removes the principal basis of Irish europhilia, official and unofficial.

If Dublin seeks to remain in the EU when the UK leaves it will have to pay more to the EU budget to help compensate for the loss of Britain’s net contribution. A bonus of leaving along with the UK on the other hand is that it would enable the Republic to get its sea-fisheries back - the value of annual fish-catches by foreign boats in Irish waters being a several-times multiple of whatever money Ireland got from the EU over the years.

As regards trade and investment, the Republic sends 61% by value of its goods exports and 66% of its services exports to countries that are outside the continental EU26, mostly English-speaking. The USA is the most important market for its foreign-owned firms and the UK for its indigenous ones. Economically and psychologically it is closer to Boston than Berlin and to Britain than Germany.

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Robert Oulds
The authors of the report are Irish and live in the Republic. They, along with others, see the advantages of Irexit and reinstatin... Read More
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 16:28
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Interview with Kristiina Ojuland

Estonian Foreign Secretary (2002 - 05) talks to the Bruges Group

David Wilkinson
7th November 2016
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Understanding the Central European RevoltKristiina Ojuland, the Estonian Foreign Minister who took her country into the EU, has since had a somewhat Damascene conversion. Despite being the Foreign Secretary who negotiated Estonia’s accession to the EU, she is now a Eurosceptic having recently and even described the EU as a failed state and a betrayal of everything European. Kristina explains the growing revolt against the EU that is emerging in Eastern Europe, their fears regarding mass migration and concern over another empire to the east. Kristiina Ojuland is particularly concerned about the devastating effects in countries like Estonia of de-population, the brain-drain and family break-up caused by people emigrating to countries like Britain. She, along with others in Eastern Europe, is concerned about the replacement of their absent population with EU quotas of migrants.Listen to the full interview below.

 

The Podcast

Kristiina Ojuland

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Obituary: Betty Simmerson

Martin Page Remembers Betty Simmerson Lovers of freedom everywhere and supporters of the struggle to restore Britain`s national independence and sovereignty will be saddened to learn of Betty Simmerson`s death ( on 21st October at the age of 89 ), and yet inspired to learn, or learn more, about her life. Coming from a modest background in Britain, ...
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A Deeply Troubling and Wrong-Headed Decision

When it comes to using the prerogative for "less Europe", there are implied limitations which do not seem to exist for "more Europe". On 3rd November 2016 the Divisional Court handed down its judgment in R (Miller) -V- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin). The court has, to the surprise of most informed observe...
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Leave Means Leave

Richard Tice, Chairman of the Leave Means campaign, will be speaking at the Bruges Group conference on Saturday 5th November. Here Richard gives a summary of what he will be telling us. Please see below details about our forthcoming conference: What Brexit Means! Bruges Group http://www.brugesgroup.com/events/10-events/1201-what-brexit-means
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Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know to navigate your way throught the referendum debate.

21st June 2016
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 Economy

How much would the UK actually save if we left?Haven't Brexit fears affected the value of Sterling? Will the value if the Pound in my pocket suffer if we vote to leave?I work in financial services. Would my job be at risk?How much would the UK actually save if we left?Would leaving the EU affect property prices?Are there economists that favour leaving the EU?The Government says that the cost of living and prices in the shops will go up if we leave the EU. What are the facts?Why is the prospect of leaving causing business so much uncertainty?

  Jobs

Are jobs at risk if we leave the EU?

  Trade

Would it be more difficult to secure trading deals without the EU behind us?How would we preserve trade with the EU and the rest of the world if we left?Would our exports (e.g. motor vehicles) face steep tariffs if we left the EU?

  Law and Order

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The Challenge to George Osborne and £350 million to the EU each week?

EU membership is the biggest risk to the public finances. In these two films young people explain what our politicians have failed to grasp.

Paulina and Ben plus Emma and Jo
18th June 2016
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Paulina and Ben (15) challenge George Osborne on EU sovereign debt and how a Remain vote will leave them liable for massive payments.

Mr Osborne - if you think we are wrong come and explain how we are safe. That is our challenge.

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The UK’s liabilities to the financial mechanisms of the European Union

The UK’s potential exposure to the EU is over £80 billion.

Bob Lyddon
16th June 2016

Independent research, commissioned by the Bruges Group from acknowledged expert in this field Bob Lyddon, shows that the true extent of the UK’s potential exposure to the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Central Bank (ECB) and EFSM (European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism) is over £80 billion. If the crisis in the Eurozone continues this already high figure could increase massively.

The UK carries huge financial liabilities as an EU Member State, liabilities that could translate into calls for cash far higher than our annual Member cash contribution. These are created through various funds and facilities of the EU itself, and through shareholdings in the European Investment Bank and the European Central Bank. Each of these bodies engages in financial dealings on a large scale, with the Member States acting as guarantors for sums borrowed. The main recipients of funds are the Eurozone periphery states: Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

The UK, being one of the largest and most creditworthy of the Member States, is looked at as one of the guarantors most able to stump up extra cash as and when demanded, demanded, that is, by a Qualified Majority of Member States with no unilateral right of refusal. Such calls can be expected if another crisis blows up in the Eurozone.

The UK’s leaving the EU would relieve us of these considerable risks and liabilities. This independent research shows that Britain should leave the European Union.

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The Business of Hope

We are better off out!

Emma Jane
11th June 2016
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Does Britain face dire consequences if we leave the EU? What is the effect of the EU on business?

This film talks to two businessmen about Brexit and explores the economic issues surrounding the UK's EU membership.

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Failing to Hold Back the Incoming Tide

How EU law has supremacy over national law and why attempts at reform will never succeed.

1st June 2016

The revolutionary nature of what the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has achieved in establishing EU legal supremacy cannot be overstated. The story of the emergence of the supremacy of EU law is a story of audacious expansion of legal authority enabling the CJEU, in the words of the scholar Karen Alter, to effectively become the ‘master of the Treaties’. The CJEU has become ‘master’ by awarding itself considerable latitude over the interpretation of the Treaties and the balance of competences between Member States and the EU. However, it has not done this entirely on its own. At different times the acquiescence of the Member States has been vital.

Achieving and consolidating legal supremacy has required collusion in the guise of new treaties. The Member States agreed a long series of treaty revisions that have:• Increased significantly the range of competences of the EU offering much more scope to integrationist judges (with the help of litigants and interest groups) to develop their doctrines further and increase their power;and• Altered dramatically the decision-making processes within the EU, instigating a sustained shift from unanimity in the Council of Ministers to routine use of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV), and from a situation where the Council of Ministers was the senior decision making body on most policy issues to a system of co-decision between the Council of Ministers and the Parliament on the vast majority of policy issues.

The Prime Minister David Cameron suggested in a speech to Chatham House in late 2015 that as an accompaniment to his re-negotiation package he would like to introduce reforms which ‘…uphold… [the]… constitution and sovereignty’ and which protect the ‘…essential constitutional freedoms…’ of the UK. This paper has attempted to show that this domestic part of his EU reform agenda is, like his re-negotiation, likely to be a damp squib, achieve very little of substance and fall short of his own stated ambitions for the policy. In reality, raising the possibility of domestic legal reforms to uphold the constitution, sovereignty and protect essential constitutional freedoms is marketing and political spin, nothing more substantive that that. Empty domestic reform does however, nicely complement the vacuity of the claim that Cameron has achieved reform in the EU. Cameron’s reforms are likely to be nothing more than rhetoric and spin.

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Brexit and Free Trade

Would a post-Brexit UK be better able to sign free trade agreements with the rest of the world?

Sam Winders
9th May 2016
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This report investigates whether the UK would be better able to sign trade agreements with countries outside of Europe outside of the EU. A key consideration of this question is whether a larger domestic market confers a significant advantage when concluding trade negotiations.

To this end I undertake two case studies in which I investigate the likely nature and scope of a potential British trade agreement with China and the US. These two countries are not only important trading partners of the UK, but their economic might directly tests whether Britain, with a smaller domestic market than the EU, would be able to conclude deep and comprehensive trade deals with substantially larger economic powers.

This paper unequivocally supports the argument that Britain will be much stronger and more prosperous independent of the EU. Outside of Brussels' restrictive embrace, the world is the limit.

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Response to Justin Welby the Most Reverend Archbishop of Canterbury

Let us look at this prayer line by line

David Wilkinson
26th April 2016

The Church of England has released a prayer for the EU referendum campaign. The prayer is for use by churches and individuals ahead of the vote on 23rd June.

We feel this is a good prayer. It is regrettable that there have been comments critical of our Archbishop. Lord Tebbit is right in saying that there is ambiguity  - in some people's minds, about this prayer and confusion in their statements. The EU effects all of the world and we might pray for all of the world when considering our referendum decision.

Let us look at this prayer line by line.

God of truth,

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Emergency Exit

A look at what can be once we are free

Marcus Watney
21st April 2016
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It isn’t going to be sufficient to grumble about how incompetent, dictatorial and corrupt the EU is. We are going to have to show convincingly that outside the EU we will be more free and more in control of our own lives; that freedom is something to be positively desired and pursued, and that liberty is priceless and so cannot be measured in pounds and euros.

We need to focus the debate on exactly how the new co-operative alignment of sovereign states that eventually replaces the European Union is likely to be structured. Only then will people stop obsessing over whether it is safe to leave the moribund EU, and begin to take departure for granted. Thinking and debating where you are going is always more exciting than mulling over where you have come from.

This paper is a comprehensive critique of the EU and a look at what can be once we are free.

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David Nuttall MP speaks to the Bruges Group

Britain is Better Off Out

Glenn Bullivant
4th January 2016
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Glenn Bullivant speaks to David Nuttall MP, the Chairman of the Parliamentary All-Party Better Off Out Group. David Nuttall is the Memmber of Parliament for Bury North. David’s motion in the House of Commons of 24th October 2011 called for a referendum on EU membership and defeated the government which at the time opposed such a vote. As such it was instrumental in forcing the referendum firmly onto the political agenda.

Video

Podcast

The Interview

The Speakers

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Tackling the EU Empire

Basic critical facts on the EU/Eurozone

Dr Anthony Coughlan
12th December 2015
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Professor Anthony Coughlan of Trinity College Dublin and TEAM the international Alliance of EU-Critical movements has compiled a handbook for Europe’s democrats, whether on the political Right, Left or Centre.

Readers are invited to use or adapt this document for their own purposes, including changing its title if desired, and to circulate it to others without any need of reference to or acknowledgement of its source. People circulating it to others might consider adding an addendum outlining their own country’s experience of the EU/Eurozone.

Author

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The EU Threat to Democracy and Liberty

Defending Europe's pluralism and diversity

Philip Vander Elst
17th November 2015
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We must not only be unafraid of a future outside the European Union. We should positively embrace it, because in rejecting the supranationalist goal of a European State, we would be defending the pluralism and diversity which has been the true glory of European civilization. As Wilhelm Wilhelm Röpke, one of Germany’s greatest liberal economists put it in the 1950s: “In antiquity Strabo spoke of the ‘many shapes’ of Europe; Montesquieu would speak of Europe as a ‘nation des nations’; Decentrism is of the essence of the spirit of Europe. To try to organise Europe centrally…and to weld it into a bloc, would be nothing less than a betrayal of Europe and the European patrimony.” (A Humane Economy)

Author

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The Sun and Trends in the Central England Temperature (CET) since 1659

The Sun and Climate Change

Dr John Pendlebury & Roderick Taylor
16th November 2015
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Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not the dominant force which changes the Earth’s climate. Warming is present, but there has not been any change in temperature in the summer months The dominant factor in determining changes in the world’s climate is the Sun. The essential point is that estimating trends over anything other than very long periods is subject to a high degree of standard error. Only by taking data over the full length of the series produces anything of much value. Attempts to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere such as the so-called but misnamed ‘carbon’ capture and storage (CCS) are pointless. Why should we be spending billions on global warming counter-measures as a result of climate specialists telling us huge problems are in store for us. These doom-mongers have no clothes. Their limitations continue to be exposed.

 

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Sweden's Immigration Crisis

The emergence of a political and cultural crisis

Pelle Neroth Taylor
12th November 2015
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Sweden has many things going for it, but may not be the democratic utopia many British people think – and, in a strange kind of poetic justice, may pay the price by quashing the freedom of speech of the “little people”, and hiding the problems associated with immigration. The EU has played a part in Sweden’s situation, in that the Schengen treaty has made the influx larger than would otherwise have been, and psychologically, membership of Europe has arguably loosened the psychological ties between the Swedish elite and their home country. But the EU is not the only culprit. The Swedish elite bears a large share of the responsibility.

 Swedish politicians have, with steely determination, opened their country up to mass immigration. Sweden’s demographics are changing fast. Many Swedes boast that their country is a beacon of enlightenment but this is giving rise to political extremes.

 

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British Euroscepticism

British identity and tradition

Adriel Kasonta
11th November 2015
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The supremacy of Parliament is a refuge of freedom in Britain. The weakening of the sovereignty of Parliament is not only a threat to the independence of the legislative and libertarian tradition but also a threat to the rule of law, which rests on the legal legitimacy founded by elected lawmakers. This kind of legitimacy cannot be ensured by the European institutions which do not have the right to demand obedience from the European citizens, since it rests on national identities embedded in individual states. The so called 'democratic deficit' is getting worse with every interference of EU law in the lives of the people. It is being continuously emphasized that in Britain, various EU rules are construed as a malign attack on the British way of life which needs to be repelled. Europeanness means the British identity being just one among many. The problem is that the EU possesses no historical or cultural basis. Therefore, it is doomed to be perceived as a rather abstract and artificially made concept.

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EU Renegotiation Briefing

David Cameron to adopt EU plan for second-class membership

Robert Oulds
10th November 2015

Prior to the referendum being held David Cameron will present to the British public proposals for reform of the EU, heralding a new British model of membership. This will include proposals for the creation of a two-tier Europe, where there will be a distinct divergence between the Eurozone (core Europe) and the outer non-Eurozone states. This is the essence of what David Cameron claims he is negotiating. It means the UK accepting what has become known as ‘Associate Membership’ of the EU. This new status may be rebranded as the ‘British Model’. The so-called renegotiation is nothing more than David Cameron acquiescing to the EU’s demands, and failing to defend the British national interest. The UK will be told to accept this second-class status. The bogus renegotiation is, in reality, merely the acceptance of an existing EU plan which will turn the UK into a second-class member of the EU. Although ever-closer Union will no longer apply to Britain ultimately the UK will lose money, influence and power. The Prime Minister is simply engaged in an exercise of managing expectations. In on current terms is an option that no longer exists, full integration with the newly emerging core EU by becoming part of the Eurozone is beyond the pale, yet an associate status is the worst of both worlds. The two-tier EU package that Cameron will try to sell to the electorate is little more than him blundering into a new relationship where we lose influence but will still be bound by many of the existing obligations of EU membership. David Cameron will be forced to accept these changes. The result of this so-called renegotiation will be the Prime Minister signing up to a federalist plan that will allow the Eurozone to centralise but the UK will be excluded from the centre of the EU, isolating Britain still further. What is more, the two-tier EU will most probably become a two-speed EU. Where the UK, and the other non-euro EU members, are cajoled by the core into standardising their policies with the core Eurozone states.

The idea was first proposed by former MEP Andrew Duff. It was a ‘...strategy for resolving the British problem’.

Subsequently it has been proposed in the Spinelli Group paper: ‘A Fundamental Law of the European Union’The original Duff plan for achieving associate status proposed that Associate Membership could be achieved either through a new and specific Article(s) in the Treaties or through the Member State first leaving the EU (utilising Article 50) then re-negotiating from the outside the ‘new’ Associate status.

Click here to read the Prime Minister's Letter to the President of the European Council

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Britain's Global Leadership

The positive future for a UK outside the EU

Ewen Stewart
19th June 2015

To purchase a copy please visit:www.brugesgroup.com/shop

The Bruges Group firmly believes that we need to reframe the debate to focus on the positives that Britain poses, in particular our excellent global links, higher education, to the City of London and technical brilliance in manufacturing. The UK, when freed from the restraints of the EU, has numerous attributes. Quite simply we do not have to be governed by Brussels to secure our prosperity, in fact far from it. As things stand Britain, being subsumed within the EU, is punching below its weight. We want this country’s potential to be fulfilled. Establishing the confidence that we need will be an important part of this. This booklet makes this positive case. Members of the Bruges Group will receive this research for free. • Inside the EU we are punching below our weight and should do better. Self-belief coupled with a hard analysis of the nexus of power and strategic advantage will lead to this being addressed but that can only be so once we are outside of the EU. • The Eurocentric orientation of the UK is misplaced. Emerging markets, by 2018 are expected to account for 45% of world GDP and the European Union’s share will have declined from 34.1% to 20.2%, with the Eurozone representing an even smaller 14.6%. China’s share is predicted to surpass the entire Eurozone by 2018. • Nations that can address this extraordinary shift in global growth will capitalise most effectively on these new trade flows. The attractive European trade bloc, of the 1970’s does not look so attractive in this light, given the Eurozone’s inexorable decline of the share of global GDP. The UK is uniquely well placed to exploit these shifting trading patterns given its global links and its service and financial sector bias. • Britain is uniquely positioned globally in terms of economic, cultural and soft and hard power assets. The UK is home to the world’s global language, the world’s most global city and many of the most notable global universities and research institutes. British legal ideas and the common law approach is admired the world over. It is the basis of our stability. These advantages would continue irrespective of our membership of the EU. • British manufacturing remains comfortably within the top ten, in terms of output, globally. The UK is now a net exporter of motor cars with four out of every five cars produced in Britain exported. Britain is the world’s second most significant aerospace manufacturer, possesses two out of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies while also having strong positions in marine, defence systems, food, beverage and tobacco manufacture, off-shore engineering and high-end engineering and electronics. British design, be it in fashion or sports cars, continues to be world beating. • Britain’s manufacturing base has shrunk, in common with most other developed economies, as the Far East has undercut on price. However the UK retains a key skills base and has developed a high-end, high-margin capability. Membership of the EU, with its cost pressures has almost certainly done more harm than good to this capability. Industry has little to fear from withdrawal. • The UK is a world leader in sport, media and culture. Higher education is also a great strength with British universities ranked amongst the best in the world. This coupled with the growing strength of the English language and our traditional excellent global links gives the UK real influence in world affairs. This will not change once we are outside the EU. • While the US is the pre-eminent power accounting for 39% of all global defence expenditure and an even greater technological lead the UK’s defence expenditure remains in the global top 4. Technologically too Britain’s forces, while numerically modest, are highly advanced. Technology generally trumps numbers. The UK is perhaps one of only 5 or 6 nations that can still project power across the globe. • As the world’s 5th largest economy Britain will not be isolated by leaving the EU. On the contrary British power would, in some cases, be enhanced. For example we would swap our 12% EU voting weight at the World Trade Organisation for a 100% British vote. • The UK is currently estimated to be a member of 96 different international governmental organisations so the loss of one such organisation, albeit a very important one, is unlikely to be damaging.

Video - should we be pessimists or optimists?

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