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( This is a good thirty minute read.)

The weigh in:

In the blue corner we have England wearing sterling.  In the green corner we have the EU wearing euro.

Regardless of whether you like the sport this fight will be contested across social media keeping the audience at a safe distance while making sure that the fighters don’t withdraw/run away from the fight before it is finished.

Round One:

Put simply, Article 50 gives the 27 continuing member states predominant power.

That comes partly from the fact that, according to Paragraph 4 of Article 50, the withdrawing state no longer counts as a member of the European Council for the purpose of the negotiations.  But mainly it comes from the guillotine imposed by the two-year deadline and the requirement for unanimity to extend that deadline.

Clause 4 says that after a country has decided to leave, the other EU members will decide the terms—and the country leaving cannot be in the ring in those discussions.

Britain depends on the EU for half of its exports, while Britain accounts for only one-sixth of Europe’s.  For Britain, this means any deal would be better than none at all. Keeping substantial access to the single market and having strict immigration controls are mutually exclusive for the EU: achieving both is highly unrealistic.

After a lot of shadow boxing T May with a reduced mandate and new shoes dances around the ring avoiding the total financial obligations, which are understood by the EU to be around €100 billion gross, according to an FT estimate.

But add on the negotiations fees etc and Britain is facing a £140 billion (7.5% of GDP) or the equivalent of £300 million a week over eight years.

May said repeatedly that Britain could walk away without a deal and be fine. Instead, a painless exit without a cliff-like effect on trade is only possible with a transitional arrangement. To obtain that, the UK will likely have to pay the €60 billion it owes from its past years of membership, as well as a membership fee for access to the single market.

The EU knows that  the UK is economically more dependent on the EU; 44% of its exports go there and 48% of its foreign investment comes from them.

This is not to mention the potential damage from a loss of passporting rights to the services sector, which makes up for around 79% of UK GDP.

Hence  the UK may try to act tough at the start of fight but eventually will have to compromise to avoid bigger economic fall-outs.

Round Two:

The EU Commission said citizens in the process of acquiring EU rights (such as permanent residency in another country in the bloc) should be allowed to finish doing so, and that the U.K. will be liable for certain financial payments, such as the salaries of British teachers at schools for the children of EU officials, until 2021.

Round Three:

The U.K. remains under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice while all pending cases are completed, and the U.K. would not immediately receive upon departure all the capital it has supplied to the European Investment Bank.

The U.K. is a 16 percent shareholder in the EIB and has €39.2 billion locked up in the institution, which often funds projects with a 20- to 30-year timeline. The U.K.’s liabilities should be “decreased in line with the amortization of the EIB portfolio outstanding at the time of United Kingdom withdrawal,” the Commission said.

Round Four:

Any cherry-picking punches are totally against the rules.  “Until it leaves the Union, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU, subject to all rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law.

Round Five:

United Kingdom will be kept separate from ongoing Union business, and shall not interfere with its progress.

The Council states that an agreement on a future relationship between the EU and the UK can only be concluded once the UK effectively leaves the EU and becomes a third country. When the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union in March 2019, it will still be entangled in the EU’s financial and legal systems for years.

While the terms of divorce can be agreed with a majority vote, the terms of future EU-UK trade relations are very likely to need a unanimous vote.

The deal must be agreed by all 27 remaining countries in the EU. Individual countries can’t veto a treaty governing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, but could veto a treaty establishing Britain’s new relationship with the EU. It would go ahead if it were approved by 20 of the 27 remaining EU countries, so long as they also represent 65% of the EU population.

Most of the EU’s free trade agreements require a unanimous vote of all EU governments and ratification by all member countries. That’s because they tend to be ‘mixed agreements’, meaning that they cover some ground that the EU doesn’t have power over. That said, it’s possible for the EU to negotiate a trade agreement that can’t be vetoed, depending on what’s in it.

That implies two major agreements: one on the logistics of divorce, and another on trade. (More treaties might be necessary on other issues, like security.)

Round Six:

Compulsory standing count.

Theresa May’s vision is blurred. Polarizing public opinion against the EU and immigration and away from domestic issues was an easy political win.

An independent and truly global United Kingdom without a new customs agreement. Agreements between the EU and third countries or international organisations, for example on trade, would also cease to apply to the withdrawing state, and it would thus need to negotiate alternative arrangements.

Round Seven:

The UK could change its mind about withdrawing from the EU even after triggering the formal process of leaving under Article 50.

Article 50 doesn’t say whether or not a country can change its mind, so it’s arguable either way. Some eminent lawyers think that it can, but there are also those – especially within the EU itself – who argue that once a country has triggered Article 50 it can’t then abort the process without permission.

It would be perfectly possible for the UK to revoke its decision to quit. That Article 50 is silent on the matter of revocation does not mean that a change of direction would be illegal under EU law.

The place this point might be argued, and ultimately resolved, is the EU court in Luxembourg. It’s possible that the UK courts will refer the question to EU judges as part of the ongoing litigation over the role of Parliament in triggering Article 50.

Round eight:

If there’s no turning back from an EU exit once Article 50 is triggered, there would be no point in voting on the terms of a new agreement verses continued membership.

The choice would instead be to take the deal on offer, or reject it and exit with no long-term deal at all.

Round ten:

In the end while us tax payers lose billions, the Lawyers win hands down.

Round eleven:

No deal:

Round twelve:

In their attempt to create a fairer and more equal country, Britons sought to sever ties from what they saw as a weakened partner. The reality is that Brexit will likely make Britain weaker and, ironically, is making the EU stronger.

The irony is that by running away from a European Union they thought was about to fall apart, Brexiteers have instead made it stronger.

Voters in France and the Netherlands are rejecting populism, and politicians in Brussels and Berlin have switched gears towards reforms and pro-EU spending measures.

Round thirteen:

The composition of the EU institutions changes as of the day the withdrawal takes effect, with members from the withdrawing state losing their seats in the various institutions and bodies, although transitional arrangements might be required for the period immediately after that date.

Review of the fight by social media: 

The debts accumulated by the governments of the U.S., Japan, Europe and dozens of other countries constitute a gigantic mortgage on the next two or three generations, as yet unborn.

The Euro corner>Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of the euro"

As it marks its 60th birthday, the European Union is in poor shape. It needs more flexibility to rejuvenate itself.

However, citizens’ trust in the EU has decreased in line with that for national authorities. Around a third of citizens trust the EU today, when about half of Europeans did so ten years ago.

The latest economic and political developments in Europe are a wake-up call for our political leaders to take swifter action in order to strengthen the foundations of our Union.

The deteriorating geopolitical environment makes matters worse. Turmoil and war across the Middle East and in north Africa were one big cause of the surge in migrant inflows.

It is dying financially, with all the debt bankrupting governments, businesses and individuals. It is sinking economically, weighted down with stifling regulations and taxes. It is being strangled demographically, with birth rates far below replacement and the refugee crisis, which saw 1.2 million people coming to Europe in 2015 will only worsen with climate change and current conflicts.

Given the challenges facing the union, the one-size-fits-all model muddling through may no longer be the safest option. Brexit could yet be copied by another member, leading to the slow collapse of the union. A multi-speed Europe or multi-tier Europe could begin to undo the EU.

Few of the 27 EU member countries that will remain after Brexit favour much deeper political and economic integration.

These 27 are integrated into the EU in many different ways: all are in the single market, 26 in the banking union, 21 in Schengen, a different 21 in NATO and 19 in the euro, to list just few examples.

The European continent is home not just to the 28 EU members but 48 countries in all. Those outside the EU aspire to special relations with the club, and some belong to bits of it already.

To cap it all, America’s new president, Donald Trump, has shown himself hostile not just to multilateral free trade and Muslim immigrants but intermittently to the EU, praising Britain’s decision to leave and urging others to follow.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is turning his back on a club that seems to have rejected his membership aspirations, and is spurning its democratic values as well.

By 2018, around a third of the world’s population will be use social media networks. These trends will only accelerate and continue to change the way democracy works and the way the EU evolves.

A big reason for this is the politics in EU member countries which make it doubly important for Europe to gets to grips with a profound digitisation of society. The EU covers four million square kilometres in which there are 500 million citizens. It is the world’s largest single market with second most used currency. However Europe’s place in the world is shrinking, as other parts of the world grow.

In 1900, Europe accounted for around 25% of global population. By 2060, it will account for less than 5%.

Europe’s economic power is also expected to wane in relative terms, accounting for much less than 20% of the world’s GDP in 2030, down from around 22% today.

Too often, the discussion on Europe’s future has been boiled down to a binary choice between more or less Europe. New global powers are emerging as old ones face new realities and there is none older than England that has voted to leave.

There is also a mismatch between expectations and the EU’s capacity to meet them. The EU approach is misleading and simplistic, for too many> the EU fell short of their expectations as it struggled with its worst financial, economic and social crisis in post-war history. If it is to survive the EU must embrace greater differentiation not closer union or face potential disintegration.

That leaves the second type of response, which is to muddle through. After all, the euro and migration crises seem to be past their worst. Excessive austerity may have done great harm, but outside Greece it is largely over. The single market, perhaps the union’s greatest achievement, has survived the financial crisis and can surely weather Brexit. Domestic security co-operation on terrorism and crime is closer than ever. In foreign policy, EU countries have displayed commendable unity over sanctions on Russia, and have been vital in striking a nuclear deal with Iran.

At the moment more than 80% support the EU’s four founding freedoms.

These might have being the foundations to the EU but there is no getting away from the fact that money was in more ways than one crucial from the very start of the European project.

70% of euro area citizens support the common currency.

The euro zone is now a partial banking union, with a centralised bail-out fund and a European Central Bank (ECB) prepared to act as a lender of last resort.

As economies improve and this year’s tricky elections are negotiated, the union will somehow manage to keep going. If EU leaders want to negotiate revised membership (and all do say they want the UK to stay in), they could do so.

Sterling corner>Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of the pound"

Britain’s richest and privately educated citizens account for 7% of the population yet makes up two-thirds of judges and around half of journalists and members of parliament, according to a government report. Meanwhile, the Child Poverty Action Group estimates that 3.9 million children live in poverty.

The UK ranks second in the developed world for inequality, after the US.

Brexit will not change that, nor will it make Britain more united:

The English patient was sick long before the divorce from Europe.

With an economy focused on finance and services, and highly dependent on foreign investment, the idea of creating a “truly global Britain” isolated from its closest trading partner is economic la-la land.

Brexit is a symptom of Britain’s deeply rooted economic imbalances: a growth model too concentrated on finance and services and dependent on foreign goods, human and financial capital; record-high social and wealth inequality; a lack of investment in infrastructure and education; and monetary and fiscal policies that have helped create a property bubble and excess household debt.

Brexit will not fix the shortfalls of the Anglo-American growth engine, which ran on credit and rising asset prices over the past few decades, disregarding rising inequality, a lack of inclusive access to education and declining social mobility.

General observations :

Article 50 makes life very difficult for any country wishing to withdraw from EU membership.  You might think this deliberate and take it as yet another symptom of perfidious Brussels.  But we should remember that the English Government and parliament signed up to it.

However the design of the euro suffered from two big defects that still haunt the single currency. The euro, in short, remains a troubled currency, with question-marks over both its membership and its direction. There is general agreement that it needs further integration, but disagreement about how to go about it.

The EU’s Institutions, built up over six decades, are not ideally suited to responding flexibly to challenges such as the single currency, migration or foreign and security policy. The European Parliament needs greater legitimacy to influence the European Commission is much more than a civil service; it is the guardian of the treaties, the originator of almost all legislation and the sole executor of the EU’s budget while suffering from having too many commissioners. (28, one per member country)

Terrorist attacks have struck at the heart of cities in the EU last year and will continue to do so while NATO continues to provide hard security for most EU countries.

Europe cannot be naïve and has to take care of its own security. There is no point any longer being a “soft power.


The Horizon 2020, in Europe is the world’s biggest multinational research programme.

Maybe there are some things that could be done for the people of Europe that are not directly related to selling stuff?. Real efficiency comes from rethinking systems of bureaucracy from the ground up, not just using less paper.

The greatest task today is to consolidate the free world around Western values, not just interests,””digitizing” and “decarbonising” the economy.

Perhaps the idea of a Continental Partnership.  Might suit the UK.

Such a partnership could offer non-EU countries partial membership of the single market without full free movement of labour, and also create a system of decision-making that gave them an informal say (but no formal vote) in rule-making.

Perhaps this is the winning blow.

In all fights the promoters set the venue not the result.

England would do well to remember that it is not the EU who promoted this fight.

All comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked out of the ring.

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