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.

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 outcome? Some analysts would argue that Brexit is the legacy of countless follies on the part of the EU Commission to impose their economic and political wills on others without proper quality checks in place. Others could argue that in creating Article 50 the EU sealed it's own doom. Yet, political heavyweights like Guy Verhofstadt or Michel Barnier are trying to convince EU domestic audiences that the impending collapse of the EU – if Brexit is allowed to happen – is down to one political party in one country. Absurd?


If the EU is so weak that one country can control the events of 28 nations, then it is not fit for purpose. Few Remainers would argue otherwise. The EU dogma is the Holy Grail of some political fanatics who have conveniently overlooked that simple fact. If a company, business or individual creates the cause of their own demise or adds to it in even the smallest way then issues of competency must inevitably be raised.


How competent is the EU in managing its own affairs – internally and externally? Domestically the EU has numerous issues including terrorism linked to Open Borders. Externally the EU has shown the world that it is not prepared to tolerate a difference of opinion. It will not stand for Brexit. Brexit must be stopped at all costs. What legacy would that leave the EU as a political body? The most obvious answer is that it would be released from its own rules and regulations with regard to fair treatment of the UK (or any other member state) and would thus be wholly unaccountable thereafter.


The UK is one of the biggest economies in the world. To say it cannot manage its own affairs is a blatant lie. It did so during Trafalgar. It did so during World War one. It did so when it carved railways across the globe and when it produced repeated technological and scientific innovations throughout history. However, as an Ally the UK in historical context has never violated the rules of NATO or the UN. It abides by the rules it is set – even by itself. The same cannot be argued for the EU.


With hindsight some in the EU Commission must regret providing the appropriate solution to an unelected council in the form of Article 50. The EU has taken note of the concerns of the 27. How many of the concerns of the UK have been heeded? Why do I ask that?


The EU is founded on the principles of egalitarian treatment of members. However, the difference between the theory and the practice of this set of principles is evident in an examination of the treatment of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and now the UK by the EU Parliament. With only 28 member states the EU has already developed a reputation for bearing down on counter-arguments in at least 4 of them.


Indeed, the core functional problem of the EU is best evidenced by the voting system in the EU Parliament itself. If we examine how legislation is designed and put into law. MEPs must either vote for or against motions. Forms are not filled in by MEPs to set legislation. They do not have that power. They cannot amend legislation. And they must pass a mountain of legislation every day.


Such a high volume of turnover in legislation produces its own problems like a snowball running downhill. Inevitably, it is impossible for MEPs to read every single bit of legislation they are faced with in a day. Few supporters of the UK remaining in the EU will even acknowledge the absurdity of that simple fact.


The Brexit Legacy from the perspective of the EU is that nothing is permitted to move or change without official authorisation. I refer to my earlier point on treatment of member states as an example of this. Furthermore, this week we have heard in the media of numerous attempts by the EU Parliament to derail Brexit or at the very least to delay it.


For the UK the best legacy of Brexit will be one that allows its component parts to succeed. To decide their own fate. A legacy which consists of freedom broken down into smaller component parts without compromise. Law. Trade. Employment. Culture. And so on.


The EU in comparison aims to fuse its component parts and that is yet another area where the 2 differ in their approaches to policy management. Consider the Euro as an example. Whereas the UK government has given devolved administrations more powers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the EU takes away powers from member states. To approach each political body (the EU and UK) with equal measure after such considerations explains why there is growing discontent in countries like Poland and Hungary. Naturally like the devolved administrations within the UK, member states within the EU do not like to lose power. They do not like to be told what they can and cannot do. To the contrary, they desire control over immigration, security and fiscal policy. The authority in Brussels either does not understand this or does not wish to acknowledge that such policy management is essential to the long term well-being of its member states.


The Legacy of Brexit is one that will be essential to the development of the world in the 21st century as the changes it brings will undoubtedly have impacts that go beyond the EU in 2019. There is not point in the EU Parliament attempting to make an example of the UK as such a tactic would be counterproductive in the long term (as explained above). For Brexit to be satisfactory for the UK and EU requires planning and checking complex criteria so that the outcome is one of mutual gain. Such an outcome is not achieved by veiled threats or even openly expressed ones. Nor is a satisfactory outcome achieved by attempting to subvert democracy whether in the UK or Catalan.


There is no point in denying Brexit will have a legacy. I would hope it will be a positive one with an unambiguous and clearly identifiable outcome.







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Bad faith in Brussels: A warning to the UK’s Brexi...
 

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017