So OpenEurope - a eurosceptic think tank in the UK held a fascinating mock negotiation between the Uk (represented by Malcolm Rifkind & Norman Lamont) and the other EU states (Ireland represented by John Bruton) most of home are ex Premiers/Prime Ministers from the various states. It's well worth viewing but two things really emerge:
- The Initial Negotiation will be tough.
- If the UK chooses Brexit the negotiations will be even tougher - no quarter will be given.
In short, what the Euro Sceptics fail to recognise again and again is that they are not negotiating with "the EU". They are negotiating with the other 27 states who have their own strong views on the future of Europe. In fact it's clear that there is real anger in continental Europe over Camerons solo run. There is a real lack of trust with Bruton asking how can we know if the this is the last time the UK comes looking to renegotiate.
Interesting concept. However the strength of the EU might be overstated. These are not 27 other countries speaking in a unified voice, but instead a creaking, ovely bureaucraitc & institutional entity seeking to maintain a public illusion. In that like the regimes that exist through effort of historical impetus (eg the Holy Roman Empire) the illusion that there is no other alternative than greater political union, to quote a phrase, is one that brooks no deviation. So a crack in the European elites pro-EU stance in favour of a return to a more nation state / dynamic political entity is one which to be avoided at nearly any cost.
I didn't suggest that. In fact my point again is that there is no "EU" to negotiate with. Look at the video and you will see all the other members deliver their individual perspectives on the current negotiation and Brexit to the British. For example the Poles are open to more free market but take grave offence at the UK ending free movement. The French are less free market and want London Finance sector reined in but want an ally against the strength of Germany. There are many narratives within the EU, freely and openly expressed.
The fundamental point is that they all wish to negotiate these within the context of the EU's structures and realise that compromise is essential. The UK hissy fit as Bruton pointed out could lead to every state in the EU threatening to leave if "insert pet hate here" is not given to them. No organisation can work like that whether it's a Golf Club or Union of Countries. Everybody else realises that. In fact i suspect Cameron realises that but for electoral reasons he has gone down this route.
I find your comment about EU elites odd though. Where are these creatures? TBH there is as much if not more of an elite in the UK and other nation states. It's also the case that the closer countries are to bombastic nationalistic states with real Elites such as Russia, the keener they are on the EU.
The elites would be representative in political parties of the post war consensus that emerged to embraced the European project. Feel free to run through various countries political histories to upskill on their composition. As for the point of nation states on the borderlands I believe the current dispute between Poland and EU disproves this.
The analogy of a organisation, in case a golf club, falls down on a number of points. In reading of European Union by McCormick (first chapter) suggests the the overall classification of the body of the EU due to its evolving nature of unique legal structures make it sui generis. What is a common drive, both of the Brussels and National Elites, is to step down the path to a greater common union. Not typical one would think of most organisation that are not subject to such radical re-org of their base treaties. Given the abstract nature of this and the effect this has had on national life at all aspects, Cameron's attempt to reign in this elite's ideological purity and steer the EU instead down a path that will be more focused on economic matters (ie what the UK initial voted on) might find a more receptive audience in the light of the recent euro issues over the past year.
So your definition of elites is pretty much every elected Government in the EU since the last World War. That is so broad as to be meaningless.
How does it disprove it? The Poles don't seem to want to end freedom of movement for example. That the current Government is making pleasant noises towards Cameron is more of a function of their isolation in the EU due to their mis-governance within Poland which is a concern. Shame on Cameron for giving cover to the rolling back of basic democratic principles that is occurring in Poland given the British are one of the few countries capable of influencing.
Quite the rabbit hole you are going down here. I didn't say the EU WAS a Golf Club. I specifically stated that no club would tolerate one member threatening to leave unless they got an exemption from the rules. It was a very simple point. And that is all I meant by it.
As to the old canard that the British only joined a free trade area is simply untrue. Even disregarding the ever closer union in the treaty of Rome in 1957 it was very clear during the 75 referedum that the EC was about far more than Economic matters. This pamphlet was sent to every house hold in the UK. It specifically calls out in one section what the EC was about:
-To bring together the peoples of Europe.
-To raise living standards and improve working conditions.
-To promote growth and boost world trade.
-To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.
-To help maintain peace and freedom.
It was never just about trade.
Finally, while we are on about "elites" can you tell me why Eton educated Cameron not an elite and the rest of the politicians on the other side of the table are elites. If anything I think an impartial observer would state that by virtue of being 27 different countries the other members are likely to be more pragmatic then what is clearly an ideological issue for the Tory party and others that cannot accept ceding any sovereignty to the EU. Claiming that the rest of the EU are following some sort of common ideology flies in the face of common sense. Hence I believe your attempt to construct these unknown "elites" to explain away.
I really do suggest you view the debate....
That trope just won't go away, will it?
The phrase "ever closer union" has always been in the treaties. Fifteen years before the UK joined the EEC, that was the goal. The idea that the UK signed up to an organisation whose guiding principle from its inception has been ever closer union, but that it somehow thought it was signing up to a mere free-trade agreement, just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Now, if the UK doesn't want to be a part of a political union, that's fine: but they have seriously got to stop with the nonsense about how they're somehow rescuing the Union from the sinister forces that have hijacked it away from its true origin as a simple trading bloc.
My major concern is that if England loses and loses, do we trust our government to have in place a sound and logical plan as to how we deal with not only the other country on this island, but also England, Wales and (to a lesser extent as I believe Brexit will be followed by Scotland leaving UK and joining EU) Scotland.
There is a serious amount of groundwork that we need to consider so that we get as much possible benefit from companies moving here, but also treaties vis-a-vis taxation and movement (amongst many other things) with the UK outside of the EU. I'm not sure I trust our government has put a lot of thought into this.
It's a fair question but it's not a contingency that the Irish State (anymore than the EU) can publicly acknowledge given the political position is that we do not want the UK to leave. I would also suspect that the practical planning is done by the Civil Service. And you can only do so much planning since there are a variety of Brexit scenarios. Finally this will (probably) take place over a number of years if everyone is sensible about it. Even the UKIP would understand the need to plan the exit - it's not like falling out of the ERM.
Stephen Bell in the Guardian has outdone himself today though!
I don't think you can hotlink. Is this what you're talking about?
This is something i've been thinking about the last few days. I've heard a lot about the negative impact on Ireland of a UK exit from the EU but it could also be a big boost. We could become the sole English speaking country in the EU which would make us a more attractive prospect for international companies looking to do business in the EU.
I feel like that'd be massively outweighed by the fact that we don't have the power to negotiate a unilateral trade deal with the UK, and so our exports to them would, for a period at least, fall massively, which would be pretty bad.
Not necessarily. In the event of exit, the EU would almost certainly negotiate a reasonably favourable trade deal with the UK. It's the idea that the EU will fall over itself to negotiate a deal that's all in the UK's favour and at its own expense that's risible.
I don't know. With the rise of populist nationalism mainly concentrated in Eastern Europe I'd say that the EU will be quite harsh when it comes to dealing with a potential post-Brexit UK.
Even in the best case scenario in which a deal is ultimately favourable, it's still the case that the UK would be negotiating with a bloc of countries, many of whom don't trade much with the UK (and so don't care much either way), and some of whom might hold a bit of animosity for their having decided to leave. And even without these impediments, trade deals tend to take a while. So perhaps you're looking at a significant time period during which Irish exporters have severely curtailed access to the UK. Probably fine in the long term, but still potentially recession (or at least serious slowdown) inducing.
I guess we'll see (or not, as the case may be). An exit would take a while to happen anyway, and I assume a trade deal would form part of the exit negotiations rather than being left until afterwards.