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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Robert Oulds is the Director of the Bruges Group and the author of Everything you wanted to know about the EU: But were afraid to ask

Moralitis: the cultural virus spreading political correctness

Click here to read the research   The causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment of cultural Marxism. In this research Robert Oulds and Niall McCrae look at the causes, symptoms and methods of prevention and treatment of 'moralitis', the societal virus that is causing political correctness and identity politics. The body politic has become inf...
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James Coghlan
Having a philosophy of one type or another does not conform to an actual physical virus that has a DNA and RNA. Moralitis is indi... Read More
Sunday, 08 July 2018 16:35
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Solving the Irish border question

Like a broken clock, remainers are occasionally right. One example of this is the Irish border question which many leavers have ignored or dismissed for too long. While we don't believe this issue is as impossible to solve as remainers insist, it does require an appropriate amount of attention. So far, different proposals have been suggested to avo...
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Brexit Compared: Estonia regains independence and USSR falls

Brexit Compared: Estonia regains independence and USSR falls
Tuesday 20th March 2018, from 1pm - 3pm How the Brexit negotiations should be handled. The man who delivered the Estonian Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1991 to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Head of the Soviet Union, advises the UK on Brexit.  Location: Committee Room 20 The House of Commons Westminster London SW1A 0AA (via the Cromwell En...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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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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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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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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
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Paulina and Ben (15) challenge George Osborne on EU sovereign debt and how a Remain vote will leave them liable for massive payments.

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

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

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

Bob Lyddon
16th June 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Lyddon
16th June 2016

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

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

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

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

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The Business of Hope

We are better off out!

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

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

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The Business of Hope

We are better off out!

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

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

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Failing to Hold Back the Incoming Tide

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

1st June 2016

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

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

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

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Brexit and Free Trade

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

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

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

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

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Response to Justin Welby the Most Reverend Archbishop of Canterbury

Let us look at this prayer line by line

David Wilkinson
26th April 2016

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

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

Let us look at this prayer line by line.

God of truth,

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For Family Businesses

A level playing field for small, medium and family businesses
21st April 2016
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A vote to leave will give us more say over our economy. It is an opportunity to have: ●  Fair taxation, end big business tax avoidance by restoring national control●  A level playing field for small and medium sized businesses ●  Bolster small businesses ●  Support entrepreneurship●  Accountable British people helping to make the regulations, not a faceless bureaucrat in Brussels●  Global trading, better opportunities to open up global markets●  Access to the single market without our economy being dominated by those countries who make policies in the name of Europe what they will not ask for themselves

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EU Militarisation: A Dangerous Future

Protect our defence and security – Vote to Leave the EU
21st April 2016
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According to Colonel Richard Kemp Britain would be forced to join an EU army within five to 10 years if people vote to Remain in the EU.

“An EU army is inevitable. As the EU has declared, it is moving to ever closer union,  it intends to become a fully fledged superstate. That’s the plan.”

“We would essentially be giving up our right to sovereign self-defence. Control of the EU army would not rest with us but in a collective EU decision.”

“There would never be consensus for an EU military operation  to retake the Falklands. It could not happen.”

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Emergency Exit

A look at what can be once we are free

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

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

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

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The EU and poverty briefing

This is a briefing supporting the 'How the EU makes you poor' leaflet. The briefing gives you, the activist, the arguments to use and back-up information when discussing the topic with an undecided voter. It can also be used to deliver a presentation on migration issues.

8th April 2016
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Stuart Rose, who was Executive Chairman of Marks & Spencer, speaking to MPs suggests that wages of low skilled workers could rise in the event of Britain leaving the EU.

According to the former M&S boss if there were restrictions on EU migrants, then “the price of labour will, frankly, go up”.

Immigration makes it harder to attend a good university, obtain a well-paid job, and secure affordable living accommodation. It is also having a debilitating effect on the countries of Central, Eastern and Suthern Europe who are suffering from a brain drain. They are losing their best and brightest to low wage employment in our post-industrial services sector.

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Opinion Poll: There is an alternative to EU Membership

EU referendum Opinion Poll

Robert Oulds
29th March 2016

58% said they would prefer Britain being a part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) rather than the EU, 42%

A majority of voters would prefer the UK to be a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as opposed to the EU, according to a new survey published today by the Bruges Group.

Removing don’t knows, of those expressing a preference in the survey, a clear 58% said that Britain would be better off as a member of the trade group EFTA, as opposed to 42% who thought that Britain should remain a member of the EU.

EFTA differs from the EU in that it would not have jurisdiction over the UK’s agriculture, fisheries, home affairs or justice policies. It takes Britain out of the Europe Union whilst still giving UK businesses full access to the EU’s Single Market. EFTA membership would also allow the UK to negotiate free trade agreements with countries outside of the EU. In addition, Britain would become again a sovereign nation with more power over its domestic affairs. This is the positive alternative to EU control.

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David Nuttall MP speaks to the Bruges Group

Britain is Better Off Out

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

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Podcast

The Interview

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Tackling the EU Empire

Basic critical facts on the EU/Eurozone

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

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

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The EU Threat to Democracy and Liberty

Defending Europe's pluralism and diversity

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

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

The Sun and Climate Change

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

 

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Sweden's Immigration Crisis

The emergence of a political and cultural crisis

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

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

 

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British Euroscepticism

British identity and tradition

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

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EU Renegotiation Briefing

David Cameron to adopt EU plan for second-class membership

Robert Oulds
10th November 2015

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

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

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

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

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Britain's Global Leadership

The positive future for a UK outside the EU

Ewen Stewart
19th June 2015

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

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

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Britain's Global Leadership

The positive future for a UK outside the EU

Ewen Stewart
19th June 2015

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

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

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The Future of the euro

An address and question time with Professor Bernd Lucke MEP

18th June 2015
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An address and question time with Professor Bernd Lucke MEP, founder and leader of the Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland) political party which opposes the euro. Recognising that the Single Currency is harming the economy Bernd Lucke MEP will gave a very interesting perspective on the crisis in the eurozone. Professor Lucke discussed the future of the euro.

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Committee Room 10The House of CommonsWestminsterLondon SW1A 3AA

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