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 United Kingdom Can Create Two Special Relationships

The United Kingdom Can Create Two Special Relationships
Politics creates its own "gravity" to use modern coinage. That can attract the body-politic to consume itself on issues that distract from a higher national and international mission. It generates a tendency to avoid confronting "drift" and leads to a certain focus downwards, often "tactical" or operational at best, but strategic it is not. Our peo...
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Common law versus continental drift

​ Back in the early days of my mental health career, I first came across common law in the form of two handles on a door. To leave the psychogeriatric ward, both the lower and upper handle (the latter at head height) were operated simultaneously. This ploy was to prevent confused residents from going out and possibly getting chilled to the bone, lo...
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The Art of the Possible

​ By Marcus Watney For the past four years and four hundred miles away, an unequal confrontation has been taking place between a tiny country swamped by uncontrolled immigration and the mighty unresponsive EU. Switzerland's population is just 8.5 million, an eighth that of the United Kingdom, of which about two million are foreigners. Of those, 1.4...
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There’s nothing open-minded about reversing Brexit

​ European Council President Donald Tusk has suggested Britons could have a "change of heart" about Brexit. Photograph: European People's Party, Wikimedia Commons In a recent speech to the European Parliament, European Council President Donald Tusk claimed that Brexit would become a reality unless Britons have a "change of heart". His words echo pe...
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Robert Oulds
Thanks for your thoughtful comment. David Lidington's comments abut re-joining the EU will hardly help the UK in the negotiations.... Read More
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 14:30
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British Involvement in EU Security Structures

British Involvement in EU Security Structures
​This short video introduces the series, which discusses various scenarios for defence and security post-Brexit, and the implications not only for Britain, but for the remaining EU member states as well. It provides context on the history of Britain's role as a "friend among nations," recalling specifically Britain's assistance in the Estonian war ...
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No Green Light For RED

How Conservative MEPs can stop the EU Parliament breaking its own legal rules. It's easy to forget while the UK Government is engaged in fulfilling the democratic will of the British people – removing us from the European Union – our representative MEPs in Brussels continue to have a seat at the table when and where decisions are made. There are 73...
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James Coghlan
The simple fact that you take issue with the one sentence in all that is rather revealing about you. You failed to address the di... Read More
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 19:37
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European Defence after Brexit - a conversation with Ants Laaneots

European Defence after Brexit - a conversation with Ants Laaneots
Ants Laaneots was commander of the Estonian Defence Forces and is now a member of the Riigikogu, the Estonian Parliament. Theresa May's visit to Poland just before Christmas reminded us of the big realities of Brexit and the EU, realities which are often strenuously ignored. Some of the reporting has, maybe, been wishful of an adoption by HMG of a ...
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EU Defence and Military: An Analysis of PESCO and Other EU Security Initiatives

.       In November 2017 25 leaders signed up to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). For the last few years the EU has been building up to a fully operative EU military and realigning member states funding of core projects to permit that to happen through the European Defence Fund (EDF). This is not a new con...
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James Coghlan
https://www.irishnews.com/opinion/letterstotheeditor/2017/06/29/news/eu-policy-could-lead-to-conscription-1070735/ If it leads to... Read More
Thursday, 11 January 2018 07:27
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How the EU and Brexit Is Changing Education

It's been one and a half years since Brexit was confirmed by the British vote, but only now are we really seeing the true colours of the bill. While Brexit is predicted to cause a stir in many industries, including trade and even flight, there are now apparent effects on the education system, although these appear both positive and negative. For st...
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Will The UK Get A Visa Process Like The American ESTA?

Will The UK Get A Visa Process Like The American ESTA?
Brexit negotiations are underway, and the future of travel and working in the United Kingdom is a difficult and complex entity. There are numerous news sources and reports suggesting various different factors, and with this uncertainty, many people are left wondering about how they are going to travel to the UK in the future, on business and for pl...
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Campaigning for a Clean Brexit

Andrew Roberts asks you to support the Bruges Group Brexit is under threat. Every day an anti-democratic alliance orchestrated by Tony Blair, senior Labour figures, the Lib Dems, together with their cheerleaders in big business and the media, are working to block delivery of what you, I and 17.4 million others voted for on 23 rd June 2016. Every da...
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Robert Oulds
Thank you for your kind words, many people feel like this and are deeply troubled by the so-called progress made so far.
Monday, 11 December 2017 09:07
Robert Oulds
The EU is considering that the agreement will be binding. Time is running out and we need to move quickly.
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 18:49
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Open letter to the British government: Keep calm and walk away from Brexit negotiations

Theresa May at an EU summit in September.Photograph: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency, Wikimedia Commons ​ Dear members of Her Majesty's Government, In your efforts to ensure the UK's smooth transition away from EU membership, you have met more than one stumbling block. It's still unclear whether the European Court of Justice will maintain jurisdiction...
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Robert Oulds
Thanks for your comment, it is alarming. I think that we have people who are ultimately in charge of the process that do not belie... Read More
Monday, 11 December 2017 09:06
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Brexit, Ireland, and the EU

Submission by Anthony Coughlan to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of the House of Commons on North-South border problems in Ireland and the Irish Government's policy response in the context of Brexit. Executive Summary -Logically, there would be no new North-South Border problems within Ireland if the Republic of Ireland should leave the EU ...
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The New European: an undiluted Remain hatefest

​ The tentacles of the Stop Funding Hate campaign reach far and wide. En route to the station, I would sometimes stop at a nearby café, reading their copies of the Sun and Daily Mail over a coffee. The cafe gets most of its trade from mums on the school run, and you wouldn't think this quintessentially suburban setting would be fertile soil for pol...
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EU Sock Puppets in the UK Act Out Brussels Agenda

In the months leading up to United Kingdom's 2016 European Union membership referendum, many "independent" think tanks espoused studies against Brexit. However, these UK-based, pro EU campaigners and their research remain closely linked to Brussels through financial funding. The European Commission's tactic of shelling out millions to pro-EU lobby ...
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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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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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EU will end like the Holy Roman Empire

By Niall McCrae

Chief commissioner Michel Barnier wags his finger at the media conference. An uprising in a major European country has forced his hand, as attacks on police and politicians lead to desertions and defections. Unlike the British government, which was pummelled into submission over the Brexit deal, these plucky secessionists are undermining the authority of the formidable Eurocrat. So he threatens to send in the EU Army.

It’s 2027, and the EU is more powerful than ever, yet also more detached. It reigns supreme in the cosmopolitan cities, in the financial centres, and on university campuses: Berlin, Heidelberg, den Haag, Frankfurt-am-Main, Gothenburg, Barcelona, Fiorentina. These islands of the liberal intelligentsia look condescendingly on the masses, whose unpredictable and uninformed votes put progress in peril come each election. The provincial hinterlands are stifled by backwardness, with rising tension between nostalgic nationalism and expanding ethnic enclaves. Among the commoners, rule by Brussels is at best tolerated, at worst despised.

Consulting historians, political commentators begin to see what the EU has become: a latter-day Holy Roman Empire. And Barnier and fellow commissioners are behaving like the ‘enlightened despots’ of the European past.

The HRE was a revival of the old Roman Empire, but with papacy to the fore. Founded in AD 800 when the Pope crowned Charlemagne as emperor, its domain comprised France, Germany and most of modern-day Italy. After the French left in the tenth century, and the Italian parts were given away, the empire centred on Germany. Successive emperors looked east to expand their territory; the pagan Prussians, Slavs and Balts were suppressed by brute force, and fiefdoms were established in Hungary, Poland and Bohemia. But the intent to rule Europe was confronted by the forces of national identity, the Reformation and Thirty Years War, and the HRE gradually retreated to a federation of principalities.

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Bad faith in Brussels: A warning to the UK’s Brexit negotiators

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit.Photograph: DG EMPL, Flickr

British Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her government’s vision for Brexit in a speech delivered in Florence on September 22. In a bid to breathe new life into ongoing UK-EU negotiations, she presented proposals regarding the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, the length of a “transition period” after 2019, and the sum Britain might pay during that period. Rather than inspiring counterproposals or constructive criticism from EU leaders, May’s speech generated little more than the same refrain repeated from Brussels since negotiations began: that more “clarity” was needed, and that “sufficient progress” would have to be made before talks could advance. This lacklustre, somewhat apathetic EU position does not look like the result of sincere consideration of May’s proposals, or a constructive attitude towards the talks. Rather, it looks a lot more like a deliberate tactic to either prevent Brexit, or punish Britain.

Some might find this approach perplexing. After all, is it not in both parties’ interests to negotiate a mutually-beneficial outcome? Not necessarily…

To better understand Brussels’ foot-dragging in Brexit talks, it helps to understand the incentives driving it. First and foremost, the EU is a political union. Economic, social, or environmental considerations may all have contributed to the appeal of ever-closer union, but they remain secondary to the very political objective of federal statehood. Indeed, from the days of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman at the dawn of European integration, to more the more recent mandates of José Manuel Barroso, Viviane Reding, or Guy Verhofstadt, the goal of a pan-European nation state is no secret.

Grasping that European statehood is the EU’s ultimate objective is essential for the UK government’s Brexit Secretary David Davis and his team of negotiators as they engage with their counterparts. It means that, no matter how amenable the UK is to facilitating trade or subsidizing the EU’s budget, the bottom line in Brussels remains the preservation of their political project. The win-win economic gains desired by the UK are not necessarily desired by the EU, for whom a successful Britain would signal there is no longer any economic appeal to remaining in the bloc. A strong UK economy poses an existential threat to European integration.

This explains why trade negotiations have not even begun, despite both parties already sharing near-identical norms and regulations. It is also why the EU seems in no rush to maintain access to the UK’s large consumer market, with Britons buying more from the EU than the other way around. In order to preserve the union, the EU’s only options are to ensure the UK remains inside, or fails outside.

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Government must scrap its compromises over EU military schemes

Veterans for Britain, supported by the Bruges Group, bring an urgent message to Manchester on Monday 2 October: we need full Brexit for defence and an end to recent UK commitments to the EU that have a nasty sting in the tail.Since the Brexit vote, the UK has given a green light to the juggernaut of EU military schemes on the understanding we would be outside of them.However, government position papers incredibly propose STAYING IN joint EU schemes on military finance, research and assets.The schemes, which have never been voted on by MPs, would mean the UK staying in EU Common Defence Policy, the European Defence Agency and even EU defence procurement directives. Norway is the only non-EU country in the schemes and was obliged to accept these rules.The PM has rightly declared the UK’s unconditional commitment to Europe’s defence via NATO.However, we fear that MPs and ministers are not aware of the full implications of a Norway-style military union agreement. Many civil servants are aware of these implications and are pushing for UK entry relentlessly.At the same time as these new EU military finance and structure schemes are being agreed, the EU is growing the remit of its Common Security and Defence Policy in a way that consolidates its control over EU Council-agreed military responses. The EU’s new military HQ, the MPCC, which UK diplomats tried in vain to change, is just a small part of this.The EU is also tightening defence asset production rules to make an EU defence market in which member state governments will find it impossible to protect domestic defence jobs and industry eg Scottish shipyards in the UK’s case.Sadly, the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy of September 2017 fully adheres to the latest EU rules in cross-border defence tendering – clearly anticipating a future where the UK would need to comply.It is essential that at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester delegates are made aware of the risk to Scottish shipyards, particularly Ruth Davidson and her Scottish Conservatives team. The UK is heading towards a scenario where it is dictated by these EU procurement rules which will only become more assertive when the UK is fully committed to them.‘Dodging the EU bullet’

Speakers: Major-General Julian Thompson, Colonel Richard Kemp, Captain Will Carver & Geoffrey Van Orden MEP

Monday 2nd Oct 11.00 at Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, M60 2LAFor more info on the commitments made by the UK to the EU military juggernaut and the risks posed from the proposal to stay in them, see: http://veteransforbritain.uk/dexeus-defence-partnership-paper-is-a-grave-mistake-and-gives-the-eu-control/

and

https://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/the-uk-is-stuck-in-a-quagmire-over-eu-defence-union

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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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Signalling a post-Brexit industrial strategy

Supporting Bombardier - Putting employment in Britain at the heart of economic policy.

Robert Oulds

25th September 2017

We are determined that Brexit, if when it eventually happens in earnest, delivers the change we need. One of these new approaches can be in defending British industry, along with its jobs and innovation from unfair actions. But why wait for Brexit? It can begin now!

 

Bombardier, a major employer in Britain, a new entrant in the plane market, is being threatened by a trade complaint brought by Boeing designed to keep it out of the US market.[i] Theresa May’s government must show that a post-Brexit Britain will use its new-found independence to stand up for UK jobs. A policy area where we would not have to live with pan-EU rules any more. British taxpayers give Boeing hundreds of millions of pounds in defence deals, while at the same time they’re trying to close British factories. That’s not the action of a trusted partner for this country.

 

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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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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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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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In Defence of the Visegrád Group

“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”

― Emma Goldman

The name of a quiet medieval town in Hungary – Visegrad – has in recent times become synonymous with the word “rebellion” in Brussels.

 

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The New Project Fear

Since Theresa May's Lancaster House Speech in January of this year, two new Project Fears have sprung up. The first (from The Labour Party, EFTA4UK, Liberal Leave, Leave HQ and Dr Richard North) states that “We need to remain members of the EU's internal market after we officially leave the EU”, even though there are over 50 countries outside of the single market which have free access to it via free trade agreements. The second (from Nick Boles, Lord Hague and Chancellor Philip Hammond) states that “We need to have a transitional period of up to four years during which time we would still be members of the single market and the customs union”.

 

Before we pay these campaigns and their claims any attention, we should bear in mind just how wrong the previous Project Fears, which were often run by the very same people, really were.

 

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Fishing: it has to be cast iron guaranteed

All that is required is to exempt any fisheries acquis from the withdrawal bill.

John Ashworth

7th September 2017
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Having spent the past 25 years against the European Union, I never thought I would see the day I would agree with Barnier and Junker, that our side has become an embarrassment.

 

It is no good expecting the EU to be flexible, where their structure is one of rigidity. Even if Barnier wanted to bow to British demands, he can't, the system doesn't allow it.

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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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Sugar Beets and the Pandemic of Modern Obesity

This country’s change from consuming sugar derived from sugar cane, which Britain historically purchased from its old colonial territories, to consuming sugar extracted from sugar beets from about 1973 onwards has slowly but surely greatly contributed to this country’s obesity problem

S Davies

2nd September 2017
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I pose the question of whether this country’s change from consuming sugar derived from sugar cane, which Britain historically purchased from its old colonial territories, to consuming sugar extracted from sugar beets from about 1973 onwards has slowly but surely greatly contributed to this country’s obesity problem. It is popularly believed that despite us as a nation consuming fewer calories these days than was the case in the 1960's,  obesity has gradually become a real problem. So, is it the EU's forced substitution of sugar obtained from sugar beets rather than sugar obtained from sugar cane making us really fat?   I suggest that the country's obesity pandemic is partly due to its switch to the creation of sugar from sugar beets, which came about after the UK entered the European Economic Community in 1973. The UK had historically relied upon sugar cane for its sugar, which was a state of affairs that hadn't changed since sugar was first introduced into this country and became more widely available from about the 16th - 17th centuries onwards. In fact beets were not discovered as an alternative to cane until the late 18th century and weren't used in manufacturing until the early 19th century, when they had to be cultivated to yield a higher sucrose content than that which they originally and naturally contained.  The difference in quality between the two types of table sugars is a matter of debate. From a culinary perspective, I personally find sugar derived from sugar cane to be a far superior substance. I find it crisper and that it gives a lighter result. There is no apparent taste to cane sugar, which is just sweet. I personally find that there is an ever so slight aftertaste or noticeable different texture to beet sugar. Cane sugar is the master baker's sugar of choice, whatever the chemists say about it supposing to be the same. Meringues made from sugar cane are crisper and far superior. Cakes don't flop as easily with cane sugar. Yet the scientists say that “sugar is just sugar” and that there is no difference between the two substances.   So, what is the difference between sugar cane and sugar beets? To look at a 500 gram pack of Silver Spoon (beet sugar) and Tate & Lyle (cane sugar) next to each other, they generally appear to be of the same size, and have the same volume, so there can't be much of a difference regarding the physical density of the product. On closer inspection of the sugar grain or crystals, the beet sugar may seem less crisp and light than the cane sugar. However, I think that to appreciate the difference between them, one needs to look at how the two products are processed, the difference in production being necessary due to their respective botanical composition.   Sugar beets and sugar cane must be processed differently to achieve apparently the same table sugar. Sugar beets, which are a root crop, are sliced and boiled to extract the syrup. This is then evaporated into crystals. Sugar beets produce two by-products: the beet pulp, from which the sucrose syrup has been extracted, and molasses. The beet pulp is dried into pellets and fed into the human food chain inasmuch as it's then sold on as animal feed. The sugar beet molasses is not fit for human consumption but can and is fed to animals.  Sugar cane, which grows in reeds above the earth's surface for several feet before it's harvested, is sliced and heated in water to extract the sugar syrup. Cane sugar also produces molasses as a by-product. However, this molasses can be used for human consumption - e.g. in the Caribbean it is utilised in the manufacture of rum. The bark or reeds of the sugar cane crop is then either defunct or can be used in the manufacture of baskets and mats etc.  The botanical composition of sugar beets is described on Wikipedia as follows: "The pulp, insoluble in water and mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and pectin, is used in animal feed." The botanical composition of sugar cane is described as: "A mature stalk is typically composed of 11–16% fiber, 12–16% soluble sugars, 2–3% nonsugars, and 63–73% water."   I suggest below that the more resinous nature of sugar beet may have a deleterious effect on the human liver. It must be ground down or processed to such a level in standard sugar production that it is then able to permeate the small intestines and enter the liver via the bloodstream. This can then act as a resinous mist on liver cells and affect their ability to act to their required capacity, so forcing the body to rely on alternative glucose-fuelling sources - i.e. cortisol from the adrenal glands. Perhaps cane sugar, having no inherent resinous qualities, degrades more easily, leaves no residue and is thus less taxing on the human body.  In attempting to explain my theory, I think that it's important to first go through the stages involved in the body's metabolism of food. The human body, and animal kingdom in general, are glucose-driven vessels who rely upon glucose as their primary source of fuel. This contrasts with the plant kingdom, whose primary source of energy is slightly different and is called fructose. This general blood sugar requirement is irrespective of whether the body ingests fat, carbohydrate or protein.   I initially wondered whether it was fructose, which, as has been noted above, is not the animal kingdom's source of sugar. As a substance, it may impose a bit of a strain on the body because it is not broken down by insulin, as glucose is, and in the usual way. It must be processed in the liver after ingestion, before it's released into the wider bloodstream. It has been suggested that everyone is slightly fructose intolerant, with their ability to break down fructose varying in degree from individual to individual and associations have been made between fructose and fatty liver disease. However, my point here is that where one obtains the fructose or plain sugar from also makes a difference – i.e. whether it’s obtained from sugar beet or sugar cane.   In fuelling the human body, it is of paramount importance to maintain blood glucose homeostasis - i.e. balance - and therefore blood glucose levels hover within a limited range, with a normal range being 70 to 110 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter). The body will try and move heaven and earth to achieve this balance and therefore has more than one mechanism to ensure blood glucose stability. For immediate use, it will rely on the glucose stored in the liver. This is termed glycogen. Thereafter, glucose is stored in fat and muscle tissues.   The body accesses glucose by synthesizing (i.e. creating) and using insulin, which is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin mobilises blood glucose and ensures it reaches the body's cells and muscles. The pancreas also synthesizes another hormone called glucagon, which is something of a mirror-image to insulin. Glucagon senses when blood glucose levels are low and sends negative feedback messages to the liver that this is the case, so instructing the liver to release more glucose, whilst insulin mops up glucose in the bloodstream and either helps the body utilise it immediately or helps to store it as excess fat. 

If glucose or glycogen stores in the liver are low, the body can also produce a hormone called cortisol from the adrenal glands, which lie on top of the kidneys, to remedy the shortfall. However, the body's usual glucose reserves are stored in the liver. If the body is forced to rely on short-term cortisol from the adrenals to release glucose stores from the body’s tissues, this is not the preferred method and long-term use carries its own problems - e.g. high blood pressure, which is associated with an increased cardio-vascular risk, increased risk of stroke, increased risk of diabetes due to cortisol's glucose-raising effects. Cortisol is also associated with obesity because it slows down the body’s rate and generally deteriorates body tissue etc.  So, why would the body choose to use the cortisol hormone instead of the glucagon one?   Simply because it feels that it has to, to maintain blood glucose balance. Either the alpha cells of the pancreas, which produce glucagon, have become impaired, or the liver's reading of and sensitivity to them has become impaired. The body is then moved into emergency mode and cortisol is forced to take over and aid the release of glucose into the bloodstream where glucagon left off. So, we need to ask ourselves whether the liver cells or even the pancreas cells are being caked up with a resinous substance that hinders its ability to detect blood glucose levels and whether this irritating substance is present in sugar beet.

By S Davies

 

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The Shape of Gibraltar in the aftermath of Brexit

A Brexit-driven reconfiguration of the UK’s food and agricultural sector suggests that a period of significant transformation lies ahead; but if mapped successfully, can be a positive one.

George Macquisten

31st August 2017

Every civilization that has settled in Gibraltar has thrived, be it the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Ottomans, the Spanish and most recently, the British. Its strategic location and deep water harbour have been the reasons behind this, and enabled them to make it a vital trading hub.

Brexit represents a huge challenge to the future of Gibraltar as an economic centre, since it means losing membership of the biggest trading bloc in the world once the UK leaves in 2019. Gibraltar has experienced similar issues before in the various sieges mounted against it in the War of the Spanish Succession, and most recently during Franco’s blockade. There is certainly plenty to be cautious about, since the territory has become more dependent than ever on the land frontier remaining open to facilitate the movement of tourists, labour and imports.

However, the thriving financial services sector, which is closely aligned with that of the UK, means that the economic outlook is not as bleak as businesses and politicians initially feared, especially since the TiSA negotiations are proceeding well. The symbolic relationship Gibraltar shares with the neighbouring Spanish province of Andalucia means that they cannot function without the other.

Sense between the negotiating parties will prevail, especially since Madrid will not wish to sacrifice the economic well being of 10,000 Spaniards and forego the purchasing power of 30,000 comparatively wealthy Gibraltarians through causing difficulties at the border. If all sides can tone down the sometimes fiery rhetoric, there is every hope for creative solutions to keep the border with Spain open and flowing to the benefit of all.

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How will Brexit affect British Holidays

 

Brexit could hit UK travellers like a summer storm. But don’t fret – it’s not all bad. Although it is deemed likely that travellers will needs a visa to travel around Europe, mobile roaming data charges are set to be scrapped entirely across the board. If you plan on travelling around Europe this summer, make sure you apply for an E111 card or renew it if you haven’t already to ensure you are eligible to receive medical treatment away.

With the UK scheduled to begin with the process to depart from the European Union under Article 50 at the end of March, it’s time to consider how it could affect your holiday:

Duty-free

Rules regarding duty and tax-free product are likely to make a comeback. Since 1999, travelling within Europe meant that people held no rights against duty or tax-free purchases. But, the separation of Britain and the European Union could mean that the rule is bought back into practice. So if you rely on buying cheap alcohol or tobacco, you will have to revert to buying products in limited quantities just like all non-EU countries.

The EHIC scheme

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Is a Transitional Deal Good for Brexit?

 

With the Brexit negotiations in full flow, Britain is looking for a way to make the transition away from the European Union run as smoothly as possible while ensuring that Brexit happens unimpeded. There are two possible exits. The first is a clean cut that will come into effect on 29th March 2019. The second option is to negotiate a transition deal that will allow Britain to disengage with the EU over a designated period of time. Here on The Bruges Group we have examined how trade can successfully continue outside of the Single Market. It is just a case of how we get there. In this article we look at the advantages and disadvantages of a transitional deal.

 

For a Transitional Deal

A big concern amongst some leave voters is that Britain is heading towards a cliff edge scenario where no agreement or deal is reached. Many political and business commentators believe that this would leave Britain in a precarious position as all EU laws and regulations would suddenly cease. It is estimated that over 700 treaties have to be renegotiated, ranging from the airline industry to Britain’s nuclear agreement (Euratom), with the EU. With less than two years till the Article 50 deadline there is a strong argument that it isn’t feasible to negotiate every deal in time. This could leave many UK businesses in difficult positions, as they have to suddenly change from one set of regulations to another.

British trade minister and prominent leave advocate Liam Fox has pushed for a transitional deal. The Irish Times reported that Fox told Andrew Marr that a deal of around two years was necessary to give businesses the chance to adapt. He is quoted as saying: “I want to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019. Now once we have done that, once we have fulfilled our promise to the British people, we can look to see what we are going to do in terms of making that a smooth transition… whether that’s 23 [months], whether that’s 25 [months]." The trade minister reassured leave voters by stating that the transition period would have a limited time scale.

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Brexit will fail if it does not develop a clear vision for the future

Barely one year after the Brexit referendum, and under four months since the triggering of Article 50, the Financial Times has published a “democratic case for stopping Brexit”, adding to a crescendo in overt calls to upend the exit process. How did we get here? The whole point of the EU referendum, just like the Scottish referendum before it, was to bury a longstanding and contentious political issue. In both cases, this has not been so.

 

In the case of Scotland, it is clear that the opportunism of the nationalists was to blame for reviving the independence issue. Similarly, in the case of Brexit, it is tempting to point the finger at the “Remoaners” who never really accepted the result of the referendum, protesting against the democratic outcome from the get-go. Their scheming has not been particularly covert, with the entire frame of the “hard” vs. “soft” Brexit debate geared towards eventually thwarting the outcome of the vote.

 

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Barnier's career of wacky ideas and EU power-grabs

Michel Barnier is quickly becoming a pantomime villain in the UK, with his regular grandstanding and puerile PR stunts. But a lot of British commentators still give him far too much credit - we can only guess they haven't looked into the wreckage of his political career.(Photograph courtesy of Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle)Barnier's track record, described below, is marked by wacky EU-federalist ideas which have been his undoing on several occasions.From his less-than-subtle effort to force the EU Constitution onto all of us through to the range of smaller proposals for EU power-grabs, which resulted in criticism, rebukes and a dismissal.The Brexit talks show that he might never learn from these errors.Despite having absolutely no elected mandate in his current role, he is stuck in the EU Commission mindset and trying to boss Britain around.Any eurosceptic would have known that EU intransigence would soon surface in spite of David Davis's efforts to create an amicable and respectful exchange of views.We highlight eight of his career low points here:1. As French Minister for Foreign Affairs......he helped write the despised EU Constitution, a massive EU power-grab, that was trashed and rejected by French voters in a referendum and later in a Dutch referendum.http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/acf7f084-afa6-11d9-bb33-00000e2511c8.html?ft_site=falcon&desktop=true  2. Sacked as French foreign minister......because his EU Constitution campaign was so roundly trashed in the French referendum. He later complained he was "unfairly singled out" for the referendum defeat, but he still didn't learn his lesson as the next items shows. https://www.expatica.com/fr/news/Ousted-French-FM-laments-teams-beheading_129910.html  3. As French nominee to rewrite the failed EU constitution......he was asked to produce a new document to replace the constitution alongside other panellists. An unrepentant Barnier and his colleagues instead produced virtually the same list of power-grabs in the controversial and hated Lisbon Treaty. Co-writer Valéry Giscard d'Estaing confirmed it was "substantially the same as the EU Constitution".http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-treaty-is-a-constitution-says-giscard-destaing-395521.html  

4. As EU Commissioner for Regions...

...he oversaw the EU regional funding team which proposed a much-criticised funding project of more than EUR 60 million to the Spanish enclave of Melilla including millions spent on a luxury golf course next to a refugee fence and refugee reception centre. Although he oversaw the team which wrote the funding proposal and gave the initial approval, final approval to the criticised scheme was by his successor Jacques Barrot.Description of funding:http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/programmes/2000-2006/spain/objective-1-programme-for-melillaCriticism:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/23/-sp-african-migrants-look-down-on-white-clad-golfers-in-viral-photohttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2014-008767+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN2004 revised decision:https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/?coteId=3&year=2004&version=ALL&fuseaction=xls&Original decision: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/archive/country/pdf/spain.pdf  5. As adviser to José Manuel Barroso...When asked to look into civil emergency response, he was ridiculed for his proposals for an EU Civil Protection Force which turned into an obvious power-grab for the EU Commission. He is credited with invented the phrase 'the cost of non-Europe' and his civil protection paper includes the bizarre phrase: "As the tsunami so tragically bears out, the price of non-Europe in crisis management is too high". He was also a Barroso adviser when Barroso made his famous gaffe, "the EU is our empire". http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/031006barnier_/031006barnier_en.pdf  6. As EU commissioner for the internal market...He was criticised repeatedly over: Solvency II insurance regulation; EU Commission power-grabs; toothless bank reform proposals; and half-baked banking reform proposals. He was also criticised by the UK Government for his banking reform proposals and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers' Directive which was especially punitive to the UK financial services industry.Slammed over the Solvency II legislation processhttps://www.insuranceerm.com/guides/solvency-ii-timeline.htmlCriticised for toothless proposalshttp://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/eu-tables-toothless-law-to-tackle-mega-banks/Criticised for half-baked banking reform proposals:http://www.guengl.eu/news/article/gue-ngl-news/too-big-to-fail-dogma-still-dominates-barniers-latest-banking-plansCriticised by UK gov for his first draft of banking reformhttps://mlexmarketinsight.com/insights-center/editors-picks/brexit/europe/barnier-brings-record-of-dealmaking-over-ideology-to-brexit-talksFaced Uk gov criticism over AIFMDhttps://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZIdlwrESdT0C&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=criticised+%22commissioner+barnier%22&source=bl&ots=GINzIDWHJ9&sig=G2MBFXyUaW4QZqxgYFXi7y3eeF4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjbyfvz9IPVAhWpJ8AKHcowDlUQ6AEIUjAI#v=onepage&q=criticised%20%22commissioner%20barnier%22&f=false  7. As defence adviser to Juncker...He helped create the concept of the European Defence Fund and the European Defence Action Plan. From 2015 to his appointment as EU Commission Brexit negotiator he helped plan the EU's defence powergrab which was eventually rolled out in a legislative onslaught at the EU Council between November 2016 and June 2017.http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4437_en.htm8. As co-president of the Albertville Olympic Committee......saw the event costs escalate to more than double its intended budget. UK analysts later found the event suffered a cost overrun of a whopping 137%.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Winter_Olympics#Cost_and_cost_overrun Flyvbjerg, Bent; Stewart, Allison; Budzier, Alexander (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Oxford: Saïd Business School Working Papers (Oxford: University of Oxford). pp. 9–13. SSRN 2804554 Freely accessible.
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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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Brexit under threat

The Union Jack flies over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.Photograph: Rian (Ree) Saunders, Flickr

With Article 50 triggered and Brexit negotiations well underway, the UK government looks like it’s carrying out the instructions it received from 17.4 million voters last summer. At best, Britain and the continent will establish a mutually advantageous trade relationship; at worst, the UK and EU will revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, including minor tariffs on the exchange of goods and services. In either case, it seems, the UK will regain control over its finances, its borders, and its laws –all of which are necessary to fulfill the mandate given by voters.

Nevertheless, a growing threat hangs over Brexit Britain.

In hopes of consolidating power, Prime Minister Theresa May called an election in June. Rather than expand her mandate with a comfortable majority in Parliament, May’s Conservatives lost their majority, necessitating the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist MPs to govern.

Emboldened by the election result, opposition parties have redoubled efforts to undermine the government’s position in Brexit negotiations. By seeking guarantees that single market access is maintained at all costs, or that, if by March 2019 (the date by which the UK has notified the EU it will leave) negotiations have not born fruit Britain’s current relationship with the EU should be maintained, MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and even some Conservatives are undermining the primary objective of last year’s referendum: to leave the EU.

Beyond Westminster, a growing number of voices have added themselves to the anti-Brexit bandwagon.

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Brexit: the end to austerity

[pb_row ][pb_column span="span12"][pb_heading el_title="Article Sub Title" tag="h4" text_align="inherit" font="inherit" border_bottom_style="solid" border_bottom_color="#000000" appearing_animation="0" ]Unlocking the benefits of leaving the EU[/pb_heading][pb_heading el_title="Article Sub Title 3" tag="h4" text_align="inherit" font="inherit" border_bottom_style="solid" border_bottom_color="#000000" appearing_animation="0" ]By Bob Lyddon[/pb_heading][pb_text el_title="Article Text" width_unit="%" enable_dropcap="no" appearing_animation="0" ]

Bob is the author of The UK’s liabilities to the financial mechanisms of the European Union for the Bruges Group, and the Brexit Papers for Global Britain – www.brexitpapers.uk

23rd June 2017
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The current Government led by Theresa May has noticeably failed to bake any “Brexit dividend” into its policies for the coming 5-year Parliament. This is concerning because it may indicate either that they have not yet figured out the sources and extent of the financial benefits from Brexit, or that they are not going to pursue the negotiations with the EU in order to garner them, or both.

 

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Robert Oulds
Per week
Monday, 26 June 2017 13:54
Robert Oulds
Tim Congdon, and a report from the Bank of England, see EU migration as a drain on the economy in terms of the resultant lowering ... Read More
Monday, 26 June 2017 13:55
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The Future is Another Country: Brexit, CAP and the Future of British Agriculture

A Brexit-driven reconfiguration of the UK’s food and agricultural sector suggests that a period of significant transformation lies ahead; but if mapped successfully, can be a positive one.

Richard Ferguson

21st June 2017

The possibility of a Brexit-driven reconfiguration of the UK’s food and agricultural sector suggests that a period of significant transformation and structural adjustment lies ahead. Set against an industry already in the midst of rapid technological displacement, value-chain disruption and regulatory change, a transformative event such as Brexit appears to add to existing uncertainty.

However, while the potential institutional, financial and operating frameworks that will arise from Brexit suggest a wide range of possible outcomes, the process, if mapped successfully, can be a positive one. The UK’s current position is not unique. In the 1980s, the government of New Zealand instigated a reform programme to transform the country’s food and agriculture sector, the results of which were immediate and painful as well as long-term and beneficial.

At the core of the transformation that shook New Zealand’s agriculture sector in the 1980s and 1990s was a pressing need to access new markets in the face of external economic shocks and structural adjustments, such as the UK’s decision to join the then European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. While there are obvious direct parallels between the New Zealand case study and Brexit, both situations remain distinct and unique. The first section of this report “The past is another country” considers the New Zealand experience and argues that an agenda focused on long-term goals can deliver significant economic and social benefits, but may come with considerable short-term costs. The battle about to commence is set to be as brutal, complex and ideological as that which determined the direction of the British economy in the late-1970s and early 1980s.

 

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Government Agrees to EU Military

Five concerns for the UK arising from the EU Defence Union

14th June 2017
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There are five main areas which the EU has been pursuing in order to establish what it calls an ‘EU Defence Union’ across the 28 EU countries, including the UK.

1. Procurement policy and incentives

2. Finance

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Robert Oulds
You may also be interested in this article: http://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/the-uk-is-stuck-in-a-quagmire-over-eu-defence-union M... Read More
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 11:07
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EU security and counter-terrorism control after Brexit

Dominic Grieve, the Conservative Chairman of the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, argues that the UK must retain membership of the EU’s law enforcement agency (Europol) after Brexit, even if this means “accepting EU rules and judicial oversight for the European Court of Justice (ECJ).” This is not real Brexit and nor will it make us safer, in fact quite the reverse.

5th June 2017
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Security is the new defining issue of both British and European politics. Even the United States is concerned that Europe’s problem is a danger for us all. It will also form the key issue in the Article 50 Brexit negotiations, or at least so the Government hopes. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Cabinet meeting of 7th March 2017, which approved the strategy for PM Theresa May’s opening gambit in her soon to be sent Article 50 letter mentioned security no less than 11 times.

 

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The deals that may be worse than no deal

How a compromise agreement may keep Britain subject to aspects of the EU.

2nd June 2017

Introduction

Here we answer your questions on the Article 50 UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.

 

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Co-operation after Brexit in the spheres of Justice and crime prevention

The UK should not seek full Europol membership or participation in the flawed European Arrest Warrant scheme.

30th May 2017

Introduction

One unavoidable fact about the modern world is that criminal gangs and terrorist groups work across national borders.

 

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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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Scotland, Separation and the Brexit Question

The SNP has abandoned ‘True Independence’ and Sturgeon is forcing Scotland to choose between a more powerful Scotland inside a Federal UK, or a less powerful one inside the EU and most likely the Eurozone.

David Roach

23rd April 2017
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I remember the SNP’s 2015 manifesto commitment very clearly: the more seats they won in Westminster, the more powers they would get back for Scotland. It was not their most original manifesto commitment, but it was consistent with the main theme of Scottish politics for the past few decades: that devolution should bring power closer to the people of Scotland.

 

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The truth only Europhiles can tell about the EU

The EU is on the road towards a single state and is already largely there.

30th March 2017
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The European Union is an attempt to unify Europe under one centralised authority in a fundamentally similar fashion as tried for instance by the Roman Empire and Napoleon Bonaparte. The difference is that this time it's being attempted through a different method.

 

This is not a reference to the words of some eurosceptic as someone might assume. Like for instance a supporter of Britain leaving  the EU. This is on the contrary a reference to a speech by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the main author of the European Constitution which was later renamed the Lisbon Treaty and is today the EU's supreme legislation.

 

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Simplifying Brexit: Maintaining third-party trade deals after Brexit

Memorandums of Understanding, or exchange of notes/letters, can form a key part of the necessary transitional arrangements as the UK moves from being an EU member state to an independent nation.

15th March 2017
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In our report What it will look like: How leaving the EU and the Single Market can be made to work for Britain[1] we explained that it should be relatively easy for the UK to maintain interim tariff-free trade with the countries who have signed deals with the EU, after Brexit.

 

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A challenge to the TED talks: Brexit is ending the control of outmoded hierarchies

Technology is driving changes that remote bureaucrats have yet to imagine. Brexit is about openness. It’s about people realising their global role and forging new links with counties and other people. The British people, through Brexit have embraced what made this country so dynamic; freedom of information and limited top down control.

13th March 2017
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As reported in the Memo Chris Anderson, Founder of the renowned TED talks series of lectures has criticized Brexit and poured cold water on the possibility of Brexiteers speaking at his events. Stating that TED are pro-globalisation. Clearly he has jumped to the wrong conclusions about Britain’s EU exit and perhaps has globalisation very wrong.

Some cannot distinguish between internationalism, working with others, and the brand of globalization being pushed by supra-national institutions. Organisations like the EU are, in the words of Dr Anthony Coughlan in Tackling the EU Empire, ‘imperial arrangements like the Austro-Hungarian Empire, once known as a “prison-house of nations”, where different countries are ruled by a centralized bureaucracy in a far-away imperial capital.’ That model failed then and will fail again.

Supranationalism, what Chris Anderson must be confusing with Globalisation, is according to Dr Coughlan ‘the opposite of internationalism, which is a benign and progressive concept. Internationalism – from Latin inter, “between” – implies the pre-existence of sovereign Nation States. It refers to relations of co-operation between the States that constitute the international community, but with each controlling and deciding its own domestic and external affairs in accordance with the wishes of its people. Recognition of States based on the right to self-determination of nations and peoples is a basic principle of modern democracy and international law.

‘Supranationalism, in contrast to internationalism, implies a hierarchy, with the supranational level on top. Internationalism implies legal and political equality between the parties. Properly understood, internationalism is opposed to all forms of chauvinism and xenophobia. It implies coexistence among progressive “nationalisms” – that is, broad nationalisms rather than narrow, using the positive rather than the negative sense of that word in English. It implies patriotism and love of country, combined with respect for the many national communities into which humanity is divided and admiration for their varied cultural and other achievements.

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Another nail in the coffin of the Single Market

Last month, an event occurred which got little fanfare, but is likely to have a significant effect on the future of the UK, especially after Brexit. What happened was that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement has now entered into force.

10th March 2017

The Single Market

Lord Lamont, the former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote in The Telegraph:

‘The single market is open to all advanced economies, in exchange for paying a relatively modest tariff of 3 to 4 per cent, something that evidently does not stop non-EU countries from selling within it.

‘Every developed country has access to the single market. The EU has a relatively low external tariff with the exception of certain goods such as agriculture.’[i]

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Robert Oulds
Thank you for your comment. That was covered first in the Bruges Group paper What it will look Like: https://www.brugesgroup.com/m... Read More
Thursday, 16 March 2017 23:31
Robert Oulds
Earlier we also covered those points here: http://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/trade-issues-which-must-be-solved-by-david-davis-brexit... Read More
Monday, 20 March 2017 10:09
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Norway's Progress Party set to reject EU membership

The Progress Party of Norway seems set to reach a significant milestone at its national congress in May when it comes to the party's policy on the European Union.

8th March 2017
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To this day the Progress Party has in fact not had a policy whether the country should join the EU or not. The party has simply had the policy that the Norwegian people should decide whether to join the bloc or not.

 

However, this seems about to change fundamentally in May. A Progress Party committee, tasked with drafting the party's foreign policy for the national congress, has suggested adopting the policy of rejecting EU membership. Furthermore the committee has also suggested reviewing the EEA Agreement which Norway has been a member of for almost a quarter of a century.

 

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Will the Netherlands be the next domino to fall?

Opinion poll shows Dutch opposition to the EU is strong and can win.

56% = Support Nexit (EFTA + FTA)

Only 44% = Support for EU

26th February 2017
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A new Dutch poll commissioned by the Bruges Group, carried out by www.peil.nl, shows that more Dutch people prefer the alternatives to the European Union than they do EU membership. As the alternatives are already gathering more support than EU membership a concerted campaign in the Netherlands, which could force a referendum[1], will mean Holland voting to leave the EU.

 

The Dutch general election will take place on 15th March and the question of the EU is becoming increasingly important. The Netherlands’ terms of EU membership are already being questioned by an increasing amount of political parties; namely the Centre Democrats (Netherlands)‎, ChristianUnion, Party for Freedom‎, Party for the Animals, Libertarian party, Reformed Political Party, and Socialist Party (Netherlands). Which can make gains. The issues are immigration, who makes law, and size of the Dutch financial contribution.

 

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Youth activists talk with leading Brexiteers

Leading businessmen, politicians and academics talk with Paulina Sienniak and Ben Michael about how Brexit will work and what it means.

24th February 2017
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Rt Hon. Peter Lilley MP, Former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and Social Security.

Peter Lilley talks to Paulina about the single market.

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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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The UK is stuck in a quagmire over EU Defence Union

EU Defence Union has gathered pace since late 2016 and the UK is deeply involved. Ministers have so far failed to explain why they are agreeing to the plans and how they will regain control.

15th February 2017
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A senior EU Commission official boasted in January that the EU "has done more in defence in the last seven months than in the previous decades".

 

It certainly looks like they have stepped up the pace since the Brexit vote.

 

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A Global Education System

How the UK should reorganise its university and research programmes

Robert Yee

9th February 2017

The UK has the ability to leverage current networks, continue to fund its current research programmes, and expand funding for scientific innovations. Going forward, the country will have to restructure its funding and knowledge-transfer programmes with its EU allies, and maintain an open environment with visas for people working on high-impact research projects. Furthermore, and almost simultaneously, the UK will need to look to partners in the US and the rest of the world for new programmes as well. Thus, a three-pronged approached is necessary for the UK for the future:

1. Encourage study at UK universities for both EU and non-EU countries

2. Promote international collaboration and innovative research ideas

3. Provide funding and financial aid to programs covered in #1 and #2

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Brexit and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in preventing the Prime Minister from invoking Article 50 to leave to EU. Its ruling is wrong. Jurisdiction was passed to the People, who have primary authority, by Parliament.

25th January 2017
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One must now wonder whether in his memoirs Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court will say, of the unintended consequences of the Court’s Brexit decision, “Of course, the People had made a valid decision to leave the EU but at the time it seemed the right thing to send it back to Parliament.”

 

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Robert Oulds
Its also bad law. The ECA 1972 was amended when the Lisbon Treaty was put through Parliament to incorporate Article 50, it was cle... Read More
Thursday, 26 January 2017 22:49
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Independence or incoherence? Why the Scottish government is misleading Scots

Scotland’s former First Minister Alex Salmond and (then) Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2007, at the launch of Choosing Scotland’s Future – a White Paper on a possible independence referendum. Picture by The Scottish Government.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has commented on several occasions in recent weeks on the subject of a second Scottish independence referendum. She first warned that she was not “bluffing” about calling another referendum, should the United Kingdom also leave the European single market. She then ruled out holding such a vote in 2017, effectively holding the threat of it over the British government as it moves ahead with Brexit.

There’s nothing wrong with many in Scotland, as in other European regions like Catalonia, wishing for independence. Indeed, notions of sovereignty, identity, and more representative democracy were all integral to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU). Where such movements lose coherence, however, is in their insistence on remaining in the EU.

Why?

Many, many laws pertaining to the UK, including Scotland, originate in Brussels. Though the exact proportion of British laws stemming from the EU is hotly contested, it is likely quite large, with some estimates ranging up to 62%. What is more important, however, is how significant some of the EU’s competencies are. An “independent” Scotland within the EU would face the same quotas on its fisheries, abide by the same agricultural policy, honour the same trade deals signed devised in Brussels, and have absolutely no control over its borders. Its government also intends to continue using the British pound as its currency. In this sense, the stated intention of being “in the driving seat of [Scotland’s] own destiny and to shape [its] own future” loses its meaning. Without full control over essential areas like borders and monetary policy, a nation is not independent.

Moreover, the EU has always made clear that to secede from a member state is to secede from the Union. As such, Scotland deciding to leave the UK in order to retain its EU membership is not only impossible, but dangerously misleading to Scots.

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What it will look like: How leaving the EU and the Single Market can be made to work for Britain

The PM, Theresa May, must focus on eliminating tariffs and clearing the EU's burdensome barriers to trade

17th January 2017

The Bruges Group report What it Will Look Like: How leaving the EU and the Single Market can be made to work for Britain details the potential challenges the UK faces when it leaves the EU. The report also explains how these problems can be addressed by Her Majesty's Government, ahead of Theresa May's planned Brexit speech on Tuesday 17th January 2017.

Only by knowing the potential pitfalls can the Prime Minister hope to mitigate and eliminate the EU’s burdensome trade rules and bureaucracy. The UK can then take advantage of the global opportunities that await us.

Drawing upon decades of research and analysis, this report clearly explains how:

There is no such thing as a truly 'Hard Brexit' - but there are significant obstacles.A UK-EU trade agreement, focused on tariff reduction and clearing customs, could take just 18 months to complete.The UK's bargaining position is stronger than many commentators believe.

This report deals with the top ten issues of withdrawal from the EU. It explains that specific, easily reached agreements on the mechanics of trade in both goods and services will not only resolve any problems that may arise when exporting to the EU but such arrangements will also protect and enhance our trade with the EU.

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Freedom of Movement and the Cruelty of the Euro

To escape the damage caused by the euro, and the resulting problems of mass migration, Brexit is essential for the UK

9th January 2017
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Summary

 

1.      The euro prevents EU countries with weak economies using currency exchange rates to adjust their competitiveness within and external to the EU.  The EU therefore has a policy of  ‘rebalancing’, or ‘internal devaluation’.  Rebalancing relies on the failure of uncompetitive industries.   The result is unemployment, lower wages and lower prices together with austerity justified by high levels of sovereign debt.  These pressures on the population are intended to force the creation of competitive trading industries and reduce non-trading activities.

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Will Donald Trump save or kill the Euro?

The EU's single currency, the Euro, is being unbalanced by the strength of the German economy. The undervalued Euro is used by Germany in a beggar-thy-neighbour policy to expand its exports; hurting not just the other members of the Eurozone but also countries further afield, including the United States. If the USA forces Germany to abandon this policy, it will mean Germany leaving the Euro. This will either be the end of the single currency experiment, or its salvation.

4th January 2017

During the election campaign Donald Trump highlighted a structural flaw in the US economy, namely, the country’s huge structural trade deficit, which he claimed is hurting many Americans.  Trump’s message was very simple: if instead of importing products the US exported them there would be more highly paid jobs in the US. Trump claimed that not all of the US’s trading partners are trading fairly with the US.  The implication being that some countries are taking US jobs unfairly.  Angela Merkel was clearly worried about this rhetoric.  Although Trump did not name Germany, she is clearly concerned that Germany will be exposed as having an unfair trading advantage with the US because it is benefitting from an under-valued Euro. 

Although no one would claim that Germany abandoned the Deutschemark in favour of the Euro in 1999 to gain an unfair trading advantage, this is undeniably what has happened.   As can be seen from the following table this has increased Germany’s current account surplus with the rest of the world.

Germany’s exports are now 30-35% cheaper in US dollars than they would have been if the country had retained the Deutschmark. This calculation is based on the assumption that the Deutschmark would have maintained its value against the Swiss franc.  And, it ignores the fact that Switzerland has intervened in the foreign exchange markets from time to time to depress the value of the Swiss franc against the US dollar and other currencies.   The Euro has become a disguised form of protectionism for the German economy, by making its exports cheaper and imports more expensive. Moreover, this is not a problem that is likely to disappear. The longer the Euro exists, at least in its current form, the greater the problem will become.  The question is what, if anything, will the new Trump Administration do about Germany’s unfair trading advantage and its ever growing current account surplus with the US. 

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Robert Oulds
Germany has been amongst the biggest distorters of world trade unbalancing the Euro, even breaking the EU's rules in their search ... Read More
Thursday, 05 January 2017 13:12
Robert Oulds
You are right, Germany (Angela Merkel) complains about him. She is trying to position herself as the last line of defence against ... Read More
Thursday, 05 January 2017 19:35
Robert Oulds
Thank you
Monday, 30 January 2017 09:32
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MoUs – the key to a smooth Brexit?

Whichever form Brexit eventually takes, whether ‘hard’ or ‘soft’; most parties would like the transition to be as painless and smooth as possible. To ensure that the Brexit process runs seamlessly, the UK and the EEA countries could agree a time-limited transition deal as a temporary ‘stepping stone’ to the final outcome.

19th December 2016

The deal need not be an official treaty but could take the form of what is called a Memorandum of understanding or MoU.

As the UK government website states:

“An MoU records international "commitments", but in a form and with wording which expresses an intention that it is not to be binding as a matter of international law. An MoU is used where it is considered preferable to avoid the formalities of a treaty – for example, where there are detailed provisions which change frequently or the matters dealt with are essentially of a technical or administrative character; in matters of defence or technology where there is a need for such documents to be classified; or where a treaty requires subsidiary documents to fill out the details. Like a treaty, an MoU can have a variety of names and can also be either in the form of an exchange of notes or a single document. However, the formalities which surround treatymaking do not apply to it and it is not usually published. Confusingly some treaties are called memoranda of understanding. Although an MoU is not legally binding it should be no less carefully drafted than if it were a treaty, given that it is always the intention to perform all HMG's commitments, whether legally binding or not.”[1]

An MoU is an established device In public international law; less official that a treaty but more than a gentleman’s agreement. MoU’s can take various forms and can serve wildly different purposes. They can be short and cover one specific issue or be lengthy, covering a range of topics.

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Robert Oulds
Thank for your comment. Very helpful. If he EU decides that the withdrawal agreement needs to have the status of an Association Ag... Read More
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 20:00
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Brexit: UK now able to tackle tax havens

The EU is a dysfunctional organisation in the area of corporate tax

17th December 2016
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Summary

The EU is a dysfunctional organisation in the area of corporate taxes because:

 

1.      the EU Commission is not able to prevent EU countries such as Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg operating as tax havens (this is because member states have not conferred legislative competence on the EU over direct taxation), and

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Robert Oulds
Thanks for your comment. You can see below a series of articles that show how the ECJ has continually been making decisions that a... Read More
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 19:56
Robert Oulds
Hi Gary. We should have a competitive tax regime and encourage businesses to operate here. The EU problem is that companies which ... Read More
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 10:32
Robert Oulds
Hi Gary, Thanks for your thoughts. Once we are out of the EU, the UK will be able to fully engage with global bodies, that is not ... Read More
Thursday, 16 November 2017 09:45
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The trade issues which must be solved by David Davis’ Brexit Department

Any withdrawal agreement must look at these issues and find practical solutions to make sure that goods enter the EU as seamlessly as possible.

5th December 2016
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Brexit negotiations must aim to prevent the complexities of trade slowing the free flow of goods after Britain leaves the EU. Any withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK, must look at these complexities and find practical solutions to make sure that trade enters the EU as seamlessly as possible.

 

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Asking Parliament to Vote on Article 50 TEU for the Third Time?

The very purpose of the referendum was to establish a decision-making procedure for leaving the EU. This procedure was implemented by the June referendum.

5th December 2016
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In R (Miller) v. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin) (3rd November 2016), the Divisional Court determined that the government may not trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) without legislation being passed by Parliament. Article 50 states:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. … 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, agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period. 

The claimants were members of the public described by the Divisional Court as “parties … whose interests are potentially affected in different ways” (para. 7 of judgment in Miller). The essential reason for the conclusion of the Divisional Court that legislation is needed was that triggering Article 50 TEU will inevitably have the effect of changing domestic law because those elements of EU law which Parliament has made part of domestic law by the enactment of the European Communities Act 1972 will in due course cease automatically to have effect. The judgment seems open to criticisms on a number of grounds, chiefly the following: (i) it fails to adequately take into account the relationship between the UK legal system and the international legal system, understood here to include the European Union legal system, and the doctrine of dualism that applies to the incorporation of the EU Treaties into EU law; (ii) relatedly, its fails to adequately take into account the manner of incorporation of the EU Treaties into UK law by a method of reference or incorporation, and in particular, by reference to the entire body of EU law; (iii) the distinction drawn between categories of rights under EU law does not establish that some rights protected by UK law will be set aside in  way contrary to the European Communities Act 1972, and (iv) and the judgment does not fully consider any constitutional effects of the European Union Referendum Act 2015.Parliament will need to vote on how to replace EU law in UK law when Brexit actually happens. The Miller judgment requires that Parliament votes to being the process of Brexit too. At a political level, the Miller judgment is very significant in that the House of Lords may well vote against triggering Brexit, and it would take one year for the House of Commons to be able to bypass the House of Lords under the Parliament Acts 1911-1949.

 

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EU tax law creating £55 billion black hole in UK finances

HMRC has set aside £55 billion to cover the potential cost of payments, including interest, which the European Court of Justice will force upon the British taxpayer.

3rd December 2016
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EU law and direct taxes

The UK, in common with other EU member states, has not conferred any authority on the EU for direct taxes.  The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) assumed this authority in the late 1990s by adopting a more expansive interpretation of the fundamental freedoms.The staggering cost of EU law tax litigationOne of the consequences of being a member of the EU is that EU law is superior to English law.   Large UK based companies are, therefore, able to use EU law, and EU courts, to retrospectively challenge the legality of the tax laws enacted by Parliament.   This is highly profitable form of activity for large UK companies and their advisors, which is costing the UK Government tens of billions.  When UK companies challenge the legality of the UK’s tax laws under EU law they know they are “knocking at an open door”, because the CJEU is keen to expand its authority over Member States under the guise of “ironing out inefficiencies” in the operation of the single market. 

HMRC has set aside £55bn to cover the potential cost of the litigation in which it is involved.  There are two reasons why this figure is so large.  First in a number of cases involving EU law, UK companies are able to reclaim corporate taxes, dating as far back as 1973.  Second, EU law requires the UK Government to pay compound interest on these claims.  In the Littlewoods case, a claim of £208m, covering the period from 1973 to 2004, cost the Exchequer £1.2bn when compound interest was included.  The UK Government had previously estimated that the Franked Investment Income case (C-362/12) would cost £5-7bn.  However, this case could easily cost the Exchequer £30bn when compound interest is included, as it covers the period from 1973 to 1999.

 

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Protecting the City of London After Brexit

For the City of London membership of the European Union is a double-edged sword. Here the Bruges Group explains how this important industry can thrive after Britain leaves the EU.

30th November 2016
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Coming with EU membership is, for what it is worth, full access to the single market in services. Whilst this market is far from complete; being part of it, also known as the European Economic Area, is one of the ways Britain can have full unencumbered and automatic access for the sale of services into the EU. This right, that does not require setting up a subsidiary in the EEA nor the need to gain authorisation from each single market state, is known as passporting.

 

The ability of British based financial institutions to trade with countries on the continent is clearly a great benefit to the economy. At the same time, the EU’s reticence at making trade agreements, an exclusive EU competence, with emerging markets around the world that include access to their services markets is holding the UK back. EU membership has meant that Britain could not make agreements that allowed our great strength, the services industry, to fully engage with other markets around the world. Instead of looking at the enormous opportunities that Brexit presents, the debate so far has focused on the risks of losing access to the EU’s single market.

 

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Rather than trying to stop Brexit, elites should focus on making it a success

Article 50 will be triggered, and the UK will leave the EU

28th November 2016

The Royal Courts of Justice (London) where October’s High Court ruling that only Parliament can trigger Brexit was delivered.

The latest twist in the Brexit tale is the legal limbo hanging over who can trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, signalling the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. Following a lawsuit filed in the summer, the High Court ruled on October 13 that the British government cannot trigger Article 50 without Parliament’s permission. This decision was immediately appealed by the government, who are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s final word in December.

Rule of law is one of the foundations upon which Britain’s success over the centuries was built, and must be respected. However, I, like many people, was surprised by the message the High Court’s ruling was sending –that Parliament supersedes the will of the people, not the other way around. After all, isn’t Parliament supposed to reflect the will of citizens? Don’t all MPs, from the lowliest backbencher, to the prime minister, work for us?

In any case, I am not terribly worried about this court battle. If the triggering of Article 50 does end up going to Parliament, there will be enormous pressure on MPs to vote in line with their constituents, leading to a crushing majority in favour of leaving the European Union (EU). It is true that most MPs, across all parties, favoured remaining in the EU prior to June’s referendum, but not aligning with their electorate on this subject could very likely cost them their jobs next election. This threat is especially true for Labour MPs, many of whom saw constituents in northern “safe” seats reject the party’s advice advice by voting to leave the EU.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has been, and continues to be an outspoken opponent of the UK’s departure from the EU.

Where there is greater cause for concern, however, is in the growing pushback by elites opposed to Brexit. The following three examples are among the most publicized, but by no means the only instances of such pushback:

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Fishing: The forgotten industry and the acid-test of Brexit

Does Brexit mean Brexit, with the change that we need, or will it just be business as usual

20th November 2016
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The EU's Common Fisheries Policy is a drain on the British economy. A condition of entry into the EEC, as it was then, the British government was required to surrender control over its fishing waters on 1st January 1973. Under United Nations rules a country now has the right, even the responsibility, to control the sea around its coast stretching out for a total of 200 miles or until the median line between two adjacent nations.

 

The European Commission opened UK waters to all other member states fishing fleets, apportioning fishing rights as they see fit. The Common Fisheries Policy costs Britain more than £3.7 billion per year caused through the EU depriving the UK of its valuable fishing grounds.

 

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Robert Oulds
This article argues that first, by accepting the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) regime, coastal States have given up any claims the... Read More
Monday, 12 December 2016 20:27
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Europe, America and the Tectonic Plates

An earthquake in EU / US relations

19th November 2016
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For those who decry the United States, its politics and political culture comes straight out of the European enlightenment and Anglo-Celtic notions of economic, religious and political liberty. The system of governance, based on classical ideas from Sparta, owes an equal amount to Lycurgus as it does to Locke. It is of European origin.

Slowly, however, just like the tectonic plates which created the Atlantic, there was a growing separation between Europe and America. In the case of the Republic of Ireland, this divide never emerged. The Irish economy was more linked to America than continental Europe. It was on the same economic cycle as the United States, that is until the Eurozone crisis. With regards to Britain, despite the best efforts of Barrack Hussein Obama, the UK and the US remain close.

There have been times when superficially there seemed to be a gulf between the EU and the USA. At times, some elements in the EU seemed to take an anti-American position. That however was just a brief period and has long since been forgotten. The close relationship that has existed between the EU and the USA goes back an extraordinary way. In some respects, the EU is the creature of the United States of America and its foreign policy. The student has become the master.

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The Obsession with Regulation

The European Commission does not just propose regulation affecting its own internal market but also aggressively seeks to export its rules beyond its own borders

15th November 2016
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The European Commission predicted that the once much-heralded Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will boost EU GDP by 0.5% which will annually add €120 billion to the economy.[i] The gains seem significant but they represent little more than a rounding error in the calculation of economic output.

The speculative benefits are unlikely to be realised. TTIP is effectively dead. Its future looked bleak even before Bernie Sanders rose to prominence in the United States, acting as the bête noire of corporate interests, and long before the election of Donald J Trump. It was EU intransigence on regulatory issues that caused the gridlock and not the public’s overwhelming opposition to the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS); the courts where nation-states can be sued and punished for policies detrimental to corporate interests.

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The EU, Lichtenstein and Immigration

In 2013, writing for the Institute of Economic Affairs, Robert Oulds of the Bruges Group, first explained that Britain can remain fully engaged with the Single Market and still have restrictions on immigration.

14th November 2016
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The media would have it that events are moving towards a clean Brexit. Yet it is still worth considering that Britain does have other options. And these are not as weighted towards the interests of Brussels and Berlin as our European competitors mistakenly believe.Other EU leaders should bear this in mind, their demands for continued free movement in exchange for being a part of the Single Market, or a free trade agreement, are not only unreasonable but also unenforceable. Not only do other countries have trade agreements without the obligation for free movement, even in the Single Market one small, yet notable, country has opted out from freedom of movement.A core principle of the European Union is the free movement of peoples between member states of the EU. This is one of the main areas where people will see the effects of EU membership. The rules governing this are contained within EU Directive 2004/38/EC.

Under its rules deportation can only happen when ‘The personal conduct of the individual concerned must represent a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.’ It also states that, ‘Previous criminal convictions shall not in themselves constitute grounds for taking such measures.’[i]

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Nobel Laureates - Britain leading the world

Remoaners should not doubt our abilities as a nation

10th November 2016
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Remain campaigners spent much time saying that we British must stay in the EU, as if we are not clever enough to exist without the help of the EU bureaucrats. They seem to have forgotten that it was British engineers and entrepreneurs that developed the Industrial revolution that gave power to the world first with steam and then electricity. Engineers such as Watt, Faraday and Brunel started the tradition. From 1812 the London Stock Exchange enabled industrialists to raise the money to build and develop inventions that would benefit the population. By the later part of the eighteenth century most homes in cities and large towns had access to pure water, and because of the work of Joseph Bazalgette sewage systems were built to further protect the population of London (3 million) from disease and infection.Our inventiveness has contributed to safety regimes in many industries, Davy lamp was one of the first. Radar has provided security in peace and war in the air or on the sea. The theories of mathematicians from John Napier to George Boole have been vital support to scientists and engineers. Travel has been safer and faster since roads were paved by MacAdam. The jet engine and internal combustion engines, the compression engine was patented in the UK two years before Diesel in Germany. The British contribution to improvements in healthcare specifically anesthetics, inoculations and vaccines have helped to ease the suffering and prolong life. This work is continuing with DNA and the Genome project. In 1901 The Nobel Institute inaugurated a way to recognise outstanding work in science medicine and literature around the world by awarding Prizes each year. To count up the number of prizes won gives an indication of education and abilities of the inhabitants of the countries of the world. According to the Nobel website Britain scores well compared with other countries. Our first Nobel laureate was Randal Cremer who won the Peace Prize in 1903. In 1904 we won the Prizes for both Chemistry and Physics, Ramsay and Rayleigh respectively. The most recent being for Physics, Economics and Chemistry in 2016, in 2013 for work with the Hadron Collider at CERN, Medicine in 2012 and in 2015 Economic Sciences. Through the Twentieth Century our population, of now 64 million, has earned 80 Nobel Prizes. Germany has won 72. Present population 80 million whilst USA has the poorest record of 257 from a population of 316 million. Despite this historic and ongoing success Remoaners still do not have faith in this country’s capabilities. A major part of the argument put forward by proponents of the EU is about trade, which somehow ignores the fact that Great Britain has existed as a unique entity for one thousand years, and it became the most successful nation in the world and the power house of industry for the whole world. Although, there are, of course, some facts regarding out activities in the world during that period that we would like to forget they are eclipsed by the immense sacrifices that the people of Britain and its, then, empire made in fighting tyranny across the globe. Including two ruinous world wars; the endeavours, of which, resulted in our financial demise. For some reason, in Great Britain achievement and especially industrial achievement are a type of conversation to be avoided, and very few people are actually aware that we have accounted for very much internationally. Indeed, if you were to stop an average British person on the streets and ask them to name the ten top British inventions, or discoveries of world wide significance, you may get a radar from some of them and even the jet engine from slightly less. But,  you are more likely to get the Beetles, or Manchester United from most ! Having lived in two countries in the present EU, including Germany, I am aware that they are proud of their industrial heritage  and delight to recount it for you. All the above has resulted in a lack of belief in our own abilities, and a belief reinforced by the Stay In the EU supporters who insinuate that Great Britain could not survive on its own. So I have set about finding out just what Great Britain has given to the world, and you would be surprised . I admit when you come to sports that there were always people who kicked something or hit objects with a stick, but it is the nation that recognises this as a sport and lays down the rules for it, that truly turns kicking the odd stone, into the game of football, or hitting stones with sticks to becoming the game of golf etc.. Indeed, a Japanese survey into which nation had contributed the most worldwide adaptable inventions concluded that the British were responsible for 40% of all of them. World’s top three nations for Nobel Laureates:

America            270 Laureates    Population         324,464,680      = 1 per 1.2 million United Kingdom 109 Laureates    Population         64,542,000        = 1 per 0.59 million Germany           76 Laureate       Populatio           82,506,000        = 1 per 1.085 million

 As you can see the American population is c. 5 times greater than the UK. Why then do the Remoaners doubt our abilities as a nation? So just what were these gifts to the world that Great Britain invented. The list below is not exhaustive but it probably includes all the major inventions and discoveries: - Steam engines.Railways.Industrial revolution.Flying shuttle.Iron ships.Screw propeller.Worldwide cable networks.First radio signals sent/received from these shores.First public radio broadcasting service.World’s first radio factory.The jet engine.Radar.Antibiotics.Vaccination.Splitting the atom.The (not so attractive socially, but nevertheless the atom bomb was invented by America, Canada and Great Britain, in partnership).The world’s first commercial nuclear power station.Television.The English language.Darwin.Newton.Military tank.Electronic programmable computer.Mechanical programmable computer.The internet.Consistent winner of world land speed and water speed records.Many of the world’s racing cars, including Mercedes are engineered here.Currently building the Sabre engine (space/air) engine.Carbon fibre.Graphene.The G-nome.Structure of DNA.Threshing machine.Iron Bridge.Percussion ignition (firearms).Electromagnetic induction (The electric motor/dynamo).Steel.Jump jet.Hovercraft.Postal system.Bolean algebra.The light switch.Electric light bulb.Cats eyes.DNA profiling.World’s first SMS message.Power loom.Rugby (forerunner to American football).Modern golf.Modern tennis.Modern football.Sewing machine.Cricket.Self-winding watch.Electric vacuum cleaner.Thermos flask.Lawnmower.Float glass.Electric telegraph.Pneumatic tyre.Fax.Hypodermic syringe.Reflecting telescope.Disc brakes.Steam turbine.Marine chronometer.Modern torpedo.Glider (First heavier than air machine).Seed drill.Modern Cement.Stainless steel.The principle of the electric transformer.Waterproof material.Photography.Tin can.Smallpox vaccine.Hydraulic press.First purpose built fighter aircraft.Diagnostic ultrasound.Rubber band.Electric clock.Electro plating.Stun grenade.Corkscrew.Anaesthetic.Hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.Blood circulation.Electromagnet.The proton (discovery).Valve (radio).Submarine.Adjustable spanner (wrench).Modern crane.Two stroke engine.Compression ignition (the system used for diesel engines).Toaster.Chobham armour.TarMacadam (road surfaces).Asdic.Carbon arc lighting (this preceded the electric light bulb).Bailey Bridge.Vulcanisation.Ophthalmoscope.Davy lamp.  Research by Vernon J Yarker

 

 

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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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Tax Reform - Post-Brexit

Tax simplification for Brexit

Flat taxes to drive economic growth

Sir David Roche
9th November 2016
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The sole aim of Tax Reform is to get in more taxes.

 

The UK is running a large deficit between what it receive in taxes and what it spends on services. Albeit money is cheap, it cannot go on for ever. With money so cheap it is an ideal time to make changes.

 

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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 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
Type text for SEO (example Bruges Group : Image Title)

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 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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