( A twenty-minute read)
While Britain selfie sleep walks to its exit to become a free trade satellite off the shores of the European Continent a revision of the structure — institutionally and functionally — becomes inevitable for the EU.
My recent post highlighted that the EU project suffers from not having any real democratic legitimacy – without constitutional accountability, it is heading for trouble. ( see previous posts: THE BEADY EYE SAYS: IT IS TIME TO PUT PAY TO THE TRAVELING EU CIRCUS COSTING £9/10 BILLION TAX PAYERS MONEY.) However the Euro zone ends up it is the only place in the world trying to combine social welfare with a competitive economic structure.
The Europeans took a while to discover that killing each other and pursuing imperialistic and colonial policies are not in accordance with European values. Atrocities and crimes were committed, now it has a chance to create a remarkable political maturity of consensus, cooperation, and compromises.
Global governance sounds good, but out of reach for either the EU or Britain.
The digital age implies that a global opinion exists but the game now is about shaping perceptions of that opinion. Perhaps the EU is going to be forced by Social Media to go down the road to a form of Direct Democracy.
A new political system with another balance between centralized power and decision-making closer to the citizen spearheaded by Europe would be a revelation.
Solidarity looks fine on paper and in declarations, but is much tougher to deal with in practice. Rebooting Europe’s economic model to combine welfare and competition and introduce a much higher awareness of resource scarcities will be no mean achievement. It strives hard to remain faithful to all that Europe stands for purified by the purgatory over centuries.
But is any of this realistic in light of England’s Departure.
The disturbing factor is the absence of confronting the issues among European politicians.
So what is in store and where is it going to go in the next ten or more years.
In reality there were two groups of Euro members: Strong countries mainly in Northern Europe and weak countries primarily in Southern Europe.
The fact that the EU’s politics will be devoted to tackle self-created problem sideling other pressing matters are an appalling thought. Confusion, non-transparency, peculiarity even queer ways obscured by meetings and personalities may rule the headlines.
Politically the consequences are much more severe and next to impossible to foresee.
As of 2015 the Euro zone morphs itself into a genuine Economic and Monetary Union with a common economic structure and a common economic policy underpinned by a fiscal union and a banking union. This was bound to happen and it can only be regretted that it had to be done as a response to a debt crisis making the process laborious and burdensome.
As of now 19 countries out of 28 EU member states have joined the Euro.
Europeans may not fully trust each other, but mutual trust is stronger and deeper than in any other political conglomerate around the world.
One its greatest challenges is that Europe is not multicultural, but the world is.
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
This core element is now in question with the influx of migrants not sharing the same cultural identity, causing internal pressure which is why migration/refugees are an existential challenge.
This is why the solution can only be to allow migrants/refugees getting into Europe, to do so with two provisos: That they do not be allowed to disrupt the existing societal structure and they are educated to adapt to European norms and values. A European citizen approaching the authorities feel that if the roles were reversed the decision would be the same.
In doing so Europe can solve its demographic problem number wise by remaining opening for immigration, to vetted people wanting and ready to enter Europe — actually more than ready as they are banging on the door — do not share cultural identity with the Europeans.
Britain should have accepted that for the EU-27, the idea of free movement is not just political posturing, but an essential part of the single market. The EU is unlikely to agree on major changes to free movement rules in the next few years.
The core demand for new terms tabled by the incumbent conservative government is to roll back the situation to 1992 and get guarantees that EU social provisions (broadly speaking) do not apply to Britain. This festered till the in or out vote now giving rise to the question of what economic and societal model Britain wants and the answer is a different one from what is found on the continent.
Psychologically the British people may be uneasy companions of former enemies like Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Links with the Commonwealth fade which probably is regretted by many Britons. The Anglo-American partnership that has for decades given Britain a privileged role is judged by some politicians and part of the public to be closer outside the EU than inside despite American statements to the contrary.
Because of the Franco-German axis which is firmly in control of the EU, Britain has never felt comfortable and probable never will.
However access to the market of the 27 member states weighs heavier for Britain than access to the British market for the rest of the EU.
The tricky part is that the treaty provisions cease to apply to the member in question when such agreement is reached or in case of failing to agree within two years from the decision to secede.
Everybody will try to rescue what can be rescued from this shipwreck, but obviously the 27 remaining member states will take the view that Britain has decided to leave so leave you do.
The main argument apparently falling on a lot of deaf ears in Britain is that inside or outside the EU, economic transactions require compliance with EU norms, standards, and various rules. Those rules are shaped by the member countries promoting own interests. Britain outside will not participate in this sometimes laborious process resulting in British interests not being fed into the legislative process.
The two-year clause strengthens the EU hand, as they better than Britain can live without free movement of goods, services, capital and labor.
The Euro zone countries will tend to share views and interests to a much larger degree keeping EU member states not inside the Euro with a different economic structure on the sidelines.
It is true that no EU citizen has a fundamental, unlimited right to move freely across the EU. To be lawfully resident in another member-state, EU citizens need to be working, studying, or able to prove that they are self-sufficient. Otherwise, they can be kicked out. It is also true that free movement of persons was introduced after the free movement of goods, capital and services.
It is difficult to estimate how strong the negative impact will be.
As seen in many cases it is the long-term effect that matters and continuous lower growth will in the long run add up to a substantial loss even if England reduces corporation and personal taxes.
While EU free movement rules have been a toxic political issue in Britain for years, many on the Continent consider them a core achievement of the EU.
So could there be a free trade agreement between the UK and the European Union that allows the UK to limit freedom of movement.
My answer is no. Out is Out.
The conclusion to draw is a sentiment among the majority of member states and in particular the original six ones that either you are member of the EU, committed to solidarity, coherence, common decision-making, and common policies or you are not.
Britannia will “survive” without a post-Brexit free-trade deal with the EU.
The process of Brexit is likely to be a series of humiliating meetings in which the country is forced to accept a procession of ruinous trade deal terms – ruinous, at least, for the majority of the population. In reality, the UK has never stood alone in the global free trade environment as we understand it today;
It may all end in disaster. But it does show consistency by the British. The EU can be replaced by countries full of fond memories of the empire. The UK has a long history of hypocritically claiming to want only trade in its international relations.
The British Empire stood by and watched one million Irish die of famine just 150 years ago while it continued to export pork and ham and lots of other produce to England. One million Irish! Has there been a word of regret about that genocide ever from the British State? Not one word.
“The British Empire was a great and glorious thing that did much good(such as ending slavery) ”
Such statements are totally untrue.
It was an evil kleptocracy and extortion racket. Imperialism is the geo-political equivalent of rape. There can be no defense for it. To call it “glorious” is nothing short of sick. It certainly wasn’t the empire which ended slavery. The empire not only fought tooth and nail to retain it, it actually managed to extort compensation for the vermin who had profited from it. It was the entire foundation of Britain’s wealth – or rather the wealth of Britain’s ruling class.
Far from benefiting from “free trade”, Britain got rich by imposing tariffs on imports and sending gunboats or troops to deal with anyone who presented problems.
If Britain is expecting to encounter fond sentiments from x colonial countries in free trade agreements it is about to be bitterly disappointed.
Britain did not make its fortune by trading freely.
The wealth of the UK was EXPLICITLY derived from its military domination of overseas territories, control of cheap inputs (such as cotton) and export markets that were enforced. So, the ludicrous idea of the Brexiteers that the UK can compete in the global economy does not stand up to scrutiny even historically.
In the contemporary world, it is nothing other than laughable. In the context of a highly open economy, dependent on imports of almost everything, the only effect of a devalued currency is inflationary pressure and an increased trade deficit. This policy approach almost qualifies as a definition of insanity.
We don’t need to wait to judge Brexit, because any clear-thinking and informed person can see outright what a disaster this is almost certain to be.
The ECHR is an international human rights treaty that is independent of the EU and predates it. If the UK denounces the ECHR as well as leaving the EU it is setting itself up as another North Korea. Every single country in Europe — including Russia and Turkey — is in the ECHR. Write your own laws!
We are living at a moment when an old economic settlement is in crisis, but a new settlement has yet to be formed.
Unless the US and Europe can find common ground the prospect of chaos and infighting is too high for comfort as no other country or group of countries are waiting in the wings with ideas and economic power to lead. Some decades down the road the US and Europe will still account for more than 1/3 of global Gross Domestic Product — maybe more.
The politics of the future will belong to those leaders both in Europe and Britain who are prepared to face up to our present problems and future challenges.
Britain’s future is a nostalgic past that never really existed.
Yes, this is the way forward for “Poverty UK” — back to the 1950s!