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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Interview in the Warsaw Business Journal

Advice to our Eurosceptic comrades in Poland

Robert Oulds

Q1) How strong is currently the Western economic and political movement against EU?

A1) In Britain it is incredibly strong in every way. Opposition is growing in Ireland - there situation could prove very interesting. Across western Europe many members of the public, perhaps a majority, are deeply sceptical of European integration. However, in other western European states the political, economic and media elites are thoroughly federalist and it is they who have the power.

Q2) Are you still called extremists in the media?

A2) The debate in Britain is more or less fair when one considers all aspects. The broadcast media are not on our side, but the press are more supportive.

Withdrawal from the EU, however, is still considered an extreme position and the idea is not often openly discussed in the media. Even though many influential people do think that way.

Q3) Is it true that voices of opponents were literally removed from newspapers and TV programs before 1975 referendum?

A3) Yes that is correct. The 1975 referendum was completely unfair. The BBC were working hand-in-hand with the 'Yes' campaign.

Even Roy Jenkins, a leading pro-EU campaigner, to his credit, reportedly expressed grave concerns at the closeness of the BBC to the 'Yes' campaign.

Q4) Do you know anything about euro-sceptics in Poland?

A4) It is clear that opposition to the EU is growing.

Q5) What tactics should they take to avoid your mistakes?

A5) The mistakes that have been made in British Euroscepticism are I think problems that are unique to British politics. Pro-EU messages have managed to capture the imagination of the 'politically correct' left of centre middle class.

The pro-EU lobby uses fashionable messages like: 'it [European integration] is the future, it is inevitable, it is enlightened and forward thinking. Lets try it, lets jump on the bus'.

Nationalism in Britain is seen as a dirty word and the pro-EU lobby have made Europe seem the cure to that problem (I believe that nationalism never has been a problem in the UK).

Whereas the federalists have used emotional messages we have used rational and intellectual messages, however these are of less salience. That has been our biggest mistake.

Additionally, British pro-EU campaigners have portrayed the EU as being a positive economic force. But one mistake some Eurosceptics make is to not dare openly criticise membership - for many years that was a taboo in British politics.

What Polish Eurosceptics must do is:
a) Keep out the Communists and Fascists,
b) Talk up how successful Poland will be out of the EU,
c) The economic damage that it will cause,
d) Highlight how the EU does not really care for Poland,
e) Promote the similarities between the USSR and the EU,

Q6) What do you think about negotiations with the current candidate countries?

A6) Recent reports from Brussels make it clear that the EU has chosen discrimination: farmers in the EU candidate countries will get much less support, even after membership, than farmers in existing member states.

Much EU law is considered onerous and counterproductive by businesses in the west, and, at times, the EU is putting itself in the position of re-imposing centralised and bureaucratic regulations on countries like Poland that are still celebrating the end of those imposed by the Soviet Union. As the negotiations progress it is becoming clear that the EU is more concerned with protecting its own vested interests than with helping countries that had suffered fifty years of Communist oppression.

Q7) What are the main threats resulting from the integration that Poles might not be aware of?

A7) The Poles will simply be replacing control from the Soviet Union to the European Union.

The post-Communist world does not need centralised, bureaucratised structures, nor a new European citizenship, nor a fortress Europe. It needs a new, free, open Europe of independent states and a free market (not a single market of quotas, regulations and harmonisation).

Moreover, the proposed Charter of Fundamental Rights, if ratified, will be a coup d'état, not only by the federalists, but also, by the left leaning Social Democrats who currently dominate the EU. They are using this document to permanently enshrine into law left-wing provisions such as the 'right to strike'. It does offer rights such as the 'right to life', however, its rights will not extend to those who seek to change the Constitutions provisions, which will be an offence. In short, it is illiberal and will award Brussels new powers that are deeply authoritarian.

Democracy in Poland will die - power will be passed to the European Commission a Politburo like structure.