Eurotales

Dann eben ohne Euch!

Natürlich muss es ein Referendum geben. Und wenn nicht über einen EU-Austritt Großbritanniens, dann doch bitte zumindest mit der Fragestellung ob die Insel umfassend Souveränitätsrechte von Europa zurückfordern sollte. “Redefining the relationship“ nennen die Politiker das dann oft. Das Verhältnis zur EU muss neu bestimmt werden; das hört sich so an als gehöre man schon gar nicht wirklich dazu.

Angesichts der gegenwärtigen Krise in Europa nimmt die in Großbritannien ohnehin weitverbreitete EU- und Europaskepsis zu. Kritische Kommentare hört und liest man nun täglich; und zwar nicht nur von den populistischen EU-Feinden der UK Independence Party oder den auf britische Eigenständigkeit bedachten Torys um Premier David Cameron, auch immer mehr Labour Politiker, ja sogar die als Europafreunde geltenden (und manchmal geschimpften) Liberalen wollen sich den Rufen nach einer Volksbefragung nicht mehr wiedersetzen.

Das ein Referendum kommen wird, daran hat fast keiner einen Zweifel. Auch wenn David Cameron selbst wohl kein allzu großes Interesse an einer Volksbefragung hat (weiß er doch um die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung Großbritanniens Bindung an Europa), so wird doch davon ausgegangen, dass er eine konkrete Zusage für ein Referendum abgeben wird um die große Fraktion an EU-Gegnern in der eigenen Partei zu beruhigen.

Es wird nicht das erste Referendum in Sachen Europa sein. Schon 1975 wurden die Briten befragt ob sie der Mitgliedschaft ihres Landes in der Europäischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft zustimmen. Eine große Mehrheit stimmte mit Ja; sogar Margaret Thatcher warb bei den Wählern für die Zustimmung.
Wenn heute auf diese Befragung hingewiesen wird, kommt meist der Verweis, dass es damals lediglich um wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit gegangen sei. Die seitdem stattgefundene politische Integration fand also ohne Zustimmung der britischen Wähler statt.

Da stellt sich die Frage: Wie sollten die Briten bei einem neuen EU-Referendum abstimmen? Und vor allem, auf was für ein Ergebnis sollten wir Europäer hoffen?
Brauchen die Briten eine enge Bindung an den Kontinent und wollen wir die Insulaner überhaupt noch dabei haben?

Eines jedenfalls scheint klar zu sein: Bleibt es bei der bisherigen Rolle Großbritanniens in der EU, dürfte jedes Bemühen hin zu mehr Integration in Europa auf starke Gegenwehr stoßen. Nicht zuletzt das ‘Nein‘ zum Fiskalpakt machte die gegenwärtige Einstellung der Briten deutlich; selbst europäische Städtepartnerschaften wurden schon von einigen Tory-Bürgermeistern aufgekündigt. Eine (durch die Krise notwendig gemachte) weitgreifende Reform der EU und eine weitere Verlagerung von Kompetenzen auf die supranationale Ebene sind so unmöglich. Sollten wir uns also darüber freuen wenn sich die Blockadefreunde aus Europas Nordwesten durch eine Volksbefragung weiter vom Kontinent lösen?

Auch wenn dies dem Grundgedanken der Europäischen Einigung klar widersprechen würde; eine weniger formelle Bindung Großbritanniens an die EU scheint ein notwendiges Übel auf dem Weg hin zu einem institutionell und ideell funktionierendem Europa.

Unser Motto muss also lauten: Wenn ihr nicht wollt, machen wir es eben ohne euch. Für die nächsten Schritte braucht Europa Großbritannien nicht.

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Comments

  1. Once again a continental european speaking on matters of which he knows extremely little. The desire of the British on the subject of further european integration is what we would term ‘constructive disengagement’ – that is to say we will not stop you going ahead into areas that you feel are necessary but you will not enforce such things on those who don’t think they’re a good idea.

    When it comes to us leaving, the EC know that this would be a disaster for the EU. To have one of the worlds major economies pulling out would damage its credibility, reduce the GDP of the single market and make any idea of a common European defence policy irrelevant. Without the UK and France working together, there is no EU defence policy, as no other countries have the ability to deploy military power in the way we can. Barroso has been very candid in his belief that an EU without the UK would become far more parochial and less interested in liberalisation and reform i.e. the old ghosts of protectionism and uncompetiveness would reappear. And Germany would suddenly find itself locked into an economic straightjacket with the Club Meds. Indeed there’s a very interesting article in Die Welt on why you really need us onside.

    Frankly, we have no interest in a european demos and the attempt to unify europe through economic means – namely the euro – has been the disaster we predicted it would be. What we care about is what we have always cared about. That is to increase the wealth and prosperity of all europeans. So, have your euro, your schengen area and all the rest of it and let us get on making money and being a bridge to the countries of the Commonwelath and the Americas and we’ll all be happy.

  2. Apparently outside the euro schengen and all the rest, your country seems to be shrinking faster than any other : highest public debt increase, highest private debt worldwide, most expensive bank bail out, pound shrinking, riots, high corruption (MPs expenses, libor, murdoch and olympics security failure…)

    Continental europe would be far better off without the uk in the EU. Discussion and decision making in the EU would work more smoothly without British intransigeance and the UK would eventually have to follow us anyway without having a word to say in the matter! Just go. You’ll come back beging in a few years to join the euro just the same way you were begging for decades to enter the EC after having refused to start with.

  3. In some areas certainly. However, we remain number one for foreign direct investment so it can’t be all bad and our exporters have already begun to refocus their sights off europe and onto the emerging markets. In fact, this month marked the first time since 1970 that we did more trade outside the EU than inside it. As to the pound shrinking, i think you should look at the pound vs the euro – that car crash currency has had its day, just as we said it would. The fall in GDP is mainly as a result of construction, which was to be expected. However, aside from Germany, the UK is now the largest exporter of cars in the EU, unlike the French and Italians whose uncompetitive labour laws are destroying them, along with growth in services,luxury items and other high level goods.

    As to decision making being speeded up without the UK, again perhaps that would be the case. However, i doubt they would be good decisions – continentals seems to have penchant for screwing things up. As to the UK having to do what you tell us, many people have tried to tell us what to do. They all crumble in the end. As to joining the euro, that will simply never happen. Maintaining power over your own currency is simply good common sense. We all knew that, only now are you realising it.

  4. Here, I have to advise nothing except reminding the Britons that there is a growing perception in Europe that the major cause of the British citizenry’s reluctance to join the Eurozone is that probably the majority of the British society does have a feeling that by joining the Eurozone their British identity would be compromised.Therefore, many British espouse the idea to retain their national diversity in the European club,thereby distancing themselves from joining the Eurozone.

  5. Is it really so hard to understand. It appears that most Britons want a strong trading agreement with the EU. Very few of us approve of even the existing degree of EU involvement in what we regard as internal UK affairs. We voted to stay in the EEC which was specifically a trade organisation and were categorically told that there would be no loss of sovereignty if we stayed in. The changes since 1975 and certainly since Maastricht have all been towards further integration and we are now faced with the final jump towards a fully Federal Europe. This has extremely limited support in the UK, 14% in favour of more integration, 13% no more than currently, 40% less integration, 20% leave entirely. (YouGov poll March 2012)

    I would suggest that you are right in that a referendum regarding UK involvement with the US of E is now probably inevitable. The result is unlikely to be full UK engagement with such a project. Whether the EU wants to have a semi-detached UK involved is a matter for you and you must make your view clear. However I would suggest that if you are insistent on integration regardless of our views then I would expect the UK to gradually disengage from your structures.

    Please can we accept that this is a purely political decision for both sides, neither side can or should threaten the other in relation to trade because it is nowhere as straight forward as the pro EU group would suggest, an example, the UK was the biggest market for German passenger vehicle exports during the first half of 2011 both in terms of volume and value. During the first half of 2011, Germany exported 382,000 cars worth €6.8 billion to Britain. (source Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland), would you want to damage that level of trade? Likewise residence, London is the seventh largest French city in terms of French population.

  6. You are right! Should it come to a point where the EU takes a substantial step towards further integration and the UK does not take part; I would still want both sides to remain in a strong trade relationship. The ‘core’ or ‘federate’ EU, if it should come into existence, should still be in a Free Trade relationship with all the other European countries, who decided not to integrate further (but may do so at a later point; staying in strong trade relationship is important economically of course, but also in order to keep some level of common conversation going. Sure, sadly a federated EU would create new borders on the continent, but at least maintaining a larger single market-type thing would leave a project where the fast majority of countries is in agreement and can cooperate.)

  7. Die Briten müssen verstehen lernen, dass sich der Nationalstaat nicht für die Herausforderungen des 21. Jahrhundert qualifiziert hat. Das ist ein schmerzlicher Prozess, aber nicht minder notwendig. Wenn Europa insgesamt funktionieren soll, dann bitte auch mit dem UK. Schade, das Cameron momentan in die andere Richtung agiert und die langfristige Notwendigkeit übersieht. Details unter:

    “British PM Cameron opened Pandora’s box over Europe”

    http://kielspratineurope.eu/?p=919

  8. James W,

    In fact for you everything about the UK’s economy being a mess, with higher public and especially private debt (far faster exploding also) having already thrown the UK in double dip recession, all that is true for you but when you try to look at things positivly you say the Pound got 1.6 cent last week (after losing 30% with Brown’s devaluation) and the UK exports a lot of cars (eventhought the british trade deficit is a one of the word record, negative of course).

    How indulgent of you to then predict the imminent “car crash” of the euro with a contented smile… let’s just say that your pathetic country would be more than submerged by such an option (if it were to happen as most of your tabloïds have already been “predicting” so many times indeed, without ever for it to happen).

    Maybe you are better at guessing emotions and what people would fantasy (rather than cold factual analysis of what’s good for them) and therefore should change economics for superstition: I can picture you at the circus chosing the knight card and announcing you see Britain on a white flying carpet winning the jackpot in Las Vegas! What a buisness plan!

  9. Karlsten

    Europa wird nie mit Grossbritanien funktionnieren können schaffen. Ohne sie, viel voraussichtlicher und eh nicht so anders. Vielleicht danach verstehen die insel Affen deutlicher was es heute als alternativ Strategie für sie gibt… (nicht nur durch die geschichte des nazionsverfalls aber auch durch die Geografie Europas lernen). So können sie dann wieder aber besser reintretten.

  10. Matthias,

    One of the very major benefits of being an independent currency is the ability to manage your own currency to support your economy, e.g. devaluing the currency to make your exports more competitive is one aspect of this. Indeed all the analysis I have read on the crisis surrounding the Euro and the options open to southern European countries acknowledges that it is their inability to devalue that is a major factor in their current problems. I obviously acknowledge that you cannot continue to devalue currency endlessly, if for no other reason than inflationary pressures.

    Please also can you remember that Germany has been effectively devaluing its currency since the launch of the Euro. If Germany had retained the Deutsch Mark it’s value would have risen substantially making Germany exports more expensive for southern Europe and elsewhere, reducing the demand and bringing matters back into balance. Essentially Germany has been benefiting from the low value of the Euro and has thus been able to draw money from those countries where effectively the Euro was valued too highly. But that was always one of the major flaws of the Euro and was pointed out at its inception by those problematic and uncooperative British.

    The collapse of the Euro may have been predicted many times by UK papers, but if you were to look at EU summit releases over the last 36 months you will see a steady flow of comments reporting that the EU / ECB has ‘today taken decisive action and has finally resolved the Euro problem’, none of which seems to have made any difference. All of this despite illegal actions such as bail outs which were specifically forbidden under the original treaty. Just a question then, do you think after bail outs for Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus everything is now resolved ? I must say I think the fundamental problems still exist and you are no closer to solving them despite the billions that have been spent.

    I love your comment “cold factual analysis of what’s good for them”, the line used by endless dictators to enforce their will on others regardless of the popular wishes. Given the willingness of the EU to replace governments with technocrats ‘who know better’ I wonder why you bother with democracy at all. As Mario Monti said (interview with Der Spiegel 06/08/12) “If governments let themselves be fully bound by the decisions of their parliaments without protecting their own freedom to act, a breakup of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration. “ It would seem he agrees with your sentiments.

    As you must know ultimately each country in the Eurozone (and probably the EU) will have to make a decision. If the collapse of the Euro is to be avoided then a fully integrated US of E will have to be created. Then we are back to the question of do you have the popular support for this (or is it another case of doing “what is good for them”), certainly as you and I have discussed before you do not in the UK.

    Finally please can you avoid being deliberately offensive. I have never referred to any other country as pathetic or their people as monkeys / apes. These are serious issues and deserve serious debate rather than abuse.

  11. If Britain has the benefit of managing its own currency it’s only happening in relation to the Euro. In fact like your pounds and stones, funny ring tones and special plugs the only advantage is for it to be different from the main ensemble you are anyway part of. Sort of an existencial question for an Island I suppose, to be or not to be… it keeps you busy for a few centuaries now
    As for the Euro I wonder how things would have looked like with the previous system with your great idea of being free to devalue leading to everyone in Europe competing with each other : that plan has already been experienced quiete enough times with always the same consiquences down here.
    Your tabloïds were predicting the imminent fall of the Euro far before anyone had heard about an american bank called lehmann brothers.
    Anyone at the first corner of the street can be good at certain jobs but not particularly at starting a new economic policy in the country at the same time and therefore needs politicians he can choose to do it for him. That’s nothing new. Democracy doesn’t mean the butcher is going to handel the home affairs and the begger the treasury. Hitler was democratically elected, british french dutch and belgian colonial democracy massacred people and created apartheid. Nobody ever opposed death penelity before it was abolished, now nobody thinks for one second about reestablishing it.
    Pathetic was referring to the childish sufficient, and indulgant arrogance with which James willy was unapologetically brushing everything under the carpet about the british economy, to then lash out about others… Probably not the most trustworthy opinion is my guess, nevermind the good intentions… You shouldn’t at all take it for yourself personally: when I said pathetic it was refering to the country Britain (depicted so convincingly by James) looking to me more like the flee trying to drive the coachmen….

  12. Matthias

    Surely it is up to us what weights and measures we use. By the way you are aware that the USA also uses largely the same non metric measures as the UK. I have certainly read claims by Europhiles that this gives the UK an unfair advantage in exporting to the USA, and please let’s not forget the USA is the biggest export market for the UK.

    Devaluing currency is not my great idea, I simply point out it is a standard mechanism of economic control that the Euro has denied to southern European countries with the dire results that we have all seen. In fact if you look at your history you will find that devaluation of currency is actually a fairly constant process, look how much it cost to buy an item 100 years ago and see how much it costs today.

    Unfortunately the UK is on record as saying the Euro was flawed at the time of its launch. Indeed Jacques Delors as I have pointed out to you before has accepted that the British were right “Anglo-Saxons said that a single central bank and currency without a single state would be inherently unstable, they had a point.” I suppose the only defense you have is that we thought it would fail earlier. As far as I am aware the collapse of Lehmann Brothers had nothing to do with the Euro but sub prime mortgages, please do not confuse the different economic stories we are dealing with.

    You assert that Hitler was democratically elected. I would point out that he lost both times he ran against Hindenburg and was made Chancellor by Hindenburg only to break the political deadlock which existed after the elections in July and November 1932. Once in that position and using the Reichstag Fire together with direct physical threats from the SA in the debating chamber he was able to pass the Enabling Act which effectively made him dictator. Given that Germany at the time had no effective democratic tradition, the Kaiser having only abdicated 13 years previously I would suggest that this can hardly be seen as a democratic process.

    You are absolutely correct in the fact that all the colonial powers were responsible for massacres of people in their empires. For the sake of completeness I would also add Germany to your list and remind you of the activities of German forces in modern day Namibia.

    I am sorry you believe Britain is pathetic, I do not take it personally as I can recognise the great many things that it has done for the World over the years. We are not a super power, nor particularly special, but we are still a major economic, scientific, cultural and military power. If we were to leave the EU what impact would that have on the internal politics of other countries who do not welcome a structure governed by a Franco – German axis. I suggest once again you look at other sites / blogs and read the comments of the many Europeans who seem to fear just such an outcome.

    Finally, the phrase “Island Monkeys” can be seen as nothing but offensive. If it was spoken in this country at any group of people, the person saying it would be liable to arrest and prosecution for racially offensive behaviour. Another example of different standards perhaps.

  13. Is the “unoffensive” PIGS (or maybe PIIGGS with British isles) expression also worth arrest and prosecution in your fabulous democratic country worshiping freedom of speech?
    I’m not german as you seem to assume when you remind me they also had colonies (well 1 or 2) which doesn’t add anything relevant to the debate anyway. Neither am I a german native speaker but I thought (referring to this article in german) the Island Monkey image would communicate quiete significantly the kind of way many other european countries also picture the british attitude when it comes to hoping the euro would crash down (even though that would destroy everything they cherish the most in their country), claiming they are a whole continent by themselves and therefore should leave the EU. What kind of alternative do you reasonably have or do any of your politicians clearly propose? Becoming a 51st state of America (you wish they ever let you), the same former empire in the good old commonweath (nobody is ready to start this again with you), cuba isolationism, or maybe UK just embracing every other country outside the EU who are all waiting for you to leave us and open your arms to them… sure. Maybe just another norway or switzerland (why not Qatar?) but then if you just want to leave in order to renegociate the same kind of position in (just out) that’s not anyway going to change anything really to the current situation you depict so catastrphically. So what’s your credible plan?
    You seem to want to question every line I write, maybe you could start this time to give a serious answer to this question.
    Check out UK exports and imports once more because I think you are confusing the EU with germany alone (they are only just about the same as an export partner and almost twice the US as an import partner) but when it comes to the whole of the EU together thats like far more than any other partner (maybe 3 times the US and 4 times China or something). More info http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/feb/24/uk-trade-exports-imports
    But anyway you cannot explain to me how driving on the wrong side of the road (like both the EU and all Americas plus China, Russia, most of Africa and the rest of the world), having kept a monarchy (unlike 90% of the EU or the world), having your own counting system (by 12) which is actually the one of the Normans ironically, specific plugs and currency, time zone, separate hot and cold taps, queues at the aeroports for entering schengen countries when all the other europeans just walk etc. etc, is beneficial to your economy. I’m sure it provides you with a vague feeling of still having some kind of importance and believing it may have its price but don’t come up explaining to me it is profitable for you, that’s such a laugh. Your dependancy upon continental europe is so huge because you need it just to define yourselves (even if in opposition to it), just I suppose like Madagascar and Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Cuba and the US or India and Sri Lanka
    If you don’t like my comparison with Hitler just exchange it with the FILS in algeria, or Hamas in Gaza. You take a whole paragraph to explain how one of my various examples is wrong for you (95% in Austria though), but then you don’t take one line to contradict that representative democracy cannot boil down to following what the people happen to fancy from one day to the next. My point was that beyond the appearant “majority” of the moment, democracy requires also principles and the rule of law, as well as representative institutional decision making which sometimes knows better what to do than the main stream fashion. But you feign not to understand this it seems.

  14. Sorry for my mistakes about british trading partners
    ****2010 UK top 10 export markets:
    USA ranks first with 31 bn pounds
    but france germany benelux italy and spain ALONE = 3 times more
    ****2010 UK top 10 imports per countries:
    USA ranks 3rd with 24 bn pounds
    France germany benelux italy and spain ALONE = 5 times more
    Guess how much of difference for the whole of the EU?

  15. Matthias.

    I have never on any of my postings suggested that the EU is anything other than a very important trading partner for us. But I have also tried to show you repeatedly that we are a major market for the EU. Just under half our total exports go to EU countries (as I have previously written), but as an individual country the US is our biggest market. My belief, which I know you dispute, is that this level of trade for both sides is so important that regardless of the UK involvement with the political advancement of the US of E it will be protected by both sides. I would suggest that the trade arrangements the EU has with 60+ other countries indicates they would do something similar for the UK. Again I know you believe that the EU will do what it can to make trading with it more difficult if the UK were to leave the EU.

    If you believe that calling an entire nation “Island Monkeys” does anything other than cast those who use the phrase in a poor light then there really is not much I can say to you. I have visited many European countries and intend to carry on doing so. I am sure there are many who dislike the British for a whole variety of reasons, real and imagined but interestingly enough when I have discussed politics and the EU I have never encountered hostility because of my nationality.

    You clearly want a US of E, indeed given the state of the Euro (and surely you must accept it has severe problems ?) you probably have little choice but to ask the people whether they are prepared to surrender their sovereignty to protect it. I would be perfectly happy to see a US of E develop provided the people concerned are given the opportunity to have their voices heard first, as we have discussed before. As you know I suspect the UK would not be involved but that is rather a matter for us.

    I have said before, I do not regard the UK system of democratic government as perfect, but I do believe in the ultimate authority of the people. The authority that resides in any institution does so because the people permit it. A UK example that you touched on, the monarchy, The Queen is an extremely popular head of state but essentially she has no political power. The English Civil War in the mid-17th Century removed that. We chose as a nation to retain the monarchy because although it has no power we want it at the moment. If we as a people decide that the EU should not intrude in so many aspects of our life, whether that be judicial, political, economic etc., it is for us to determine the likely consequences of our actions, make our decision and then to act accordingly.

    It seems to me that this is ultimately where you and I fundamentally part ways. I believe in the people and their right to act, to reassess situations and take a new course. Given our history I am very comfortable with this position, extremists have never flourished here and we have repeatedly acted as a haven for the persecuted. It is a principle of British Constitutionality that the decisions of one generation cannot restrict the rights of action of another generation; this is in direct conflict with the European principle of ‘Acquis Communautaire’. I assume the European side recognised this during the UK negotiations in the 1970’s. I see this as yet another example of the constricting nature of the EU and its anti-democratic nature.

    You have said often enough you would like the UK to leave the EU so that you can progress your project. I would like us to leave as well. You believe it will destroy us economically and we will soon be begging to come back. I do not think that likely, but I do think that the illusion that once you are in the EU you can never leave and must always follow the central dictate will be shattered. Essentially you and I want to see the same thing but for opposite reasons.

    I do not think whether we drive on the left or use three pin plugs makes any difference. We do not use a counting system based on 12 having changed our currency to decimal in 1971. EU and UK nationals simply have to show their passport at the point of entry, a process that contrary to what you might have read normally takes 3 – 5 minutes but allows us to retain a level of security not possible in the Schengen Area (although I do accept being an island helps). Our time zone being an hour earlier than most of mainland Europe means during the winter we can have day light earlier and the number of accidents is reduced. Personally I have mixer taps in my house and that does not make me unusual in anyway. When you dig into something you will often find that what seems like national perverseness often has a good reason behind it.

    Keep campaigning to have us thrown out please.

  16. Iwantout

    If you haven’t heard any sarcastic reactions or simply despising intonation when travelling in Europe and claiming the UK would be so much better off outside the EU, then either you haven’t travelled a lot, or the people you met had no idea about history and politics on this continent (or they were too polite, you maybe haven’t noticed coming from your island).

    Anyone knows that beyond the arguments one can have against the EU, British Eurosceptics are motivated by a nostalgia for their long gone empire and national mythology, they surf on an easy rejection of foreign countries who are in their mind to blame for the UK’s decay, and they dream about a world in which liberated from all the constraints of globalisation (just through changing a couple of paragraphs in international treaties) they’ll regain their former power and independance, enableing them then to do whatever they fancy in relation to other europeans but also to anyone in the world…We’ve had all that too on the continent you know and we understand more than you think where these feelings come from, the accuracy of the analysis they lead to, and their realistic potential in terms of national strategy.

    In fact you admit the EU is a vital trading partner and after leaving, you intend to negotiate (at best) the same kind of agreements you are already enjoying in… but what is all that going to change concretely, exept you won’t participate anymore in the decision making. Actually neither the EU nor the UK will see any substantial change taking place with London in or out. European integration will still impose itself on Britain (if not by law then just by economic logic), standards will have to be applied more and more whatever people fancy keeping seperate, and what you may retain will only consist of anectotical details at the margins designed to satisfy the fantasies of a folkloric but derisory bunch of idealists.. So nothing new really, just a bigger opt out for the UK… wow! Such a rebirth of democracy!

    Is that the new era you are calling for with your “reasessing of the situation to take a new course”? Untill you come up with a credible alternative plan everything you keep on moaning about will sound childish and futile. If you were a leftist wanting to leave the EU to live in Cuban style self sufficiancy, proposing to the world another model than the neo liberal brussels consensus, I’d say you had at least some convincing arguments to leave, pointing in a genuinely alternative direction. But I doubt this is your position.

  17. Matthias,

    You really do despise the UK don’t you. Well I have clearly been misled and the UK is secretly hated by most Europeans. But that is not the impression from other blogs. Might I suggest you read Presseurop where main stream continental press articles and the associated responses give a somewhat different view.

    Look at my posting at V above and the response of Andreas Sowa at VI. One European at least who seems to understand my position

    If you think the EU will be so better off without us and we are so absolutely dependent on the EU why do you argue so forcefully that we must remain in the Union ? Norway, Switzerland and any of the 60+ countries the EU has trade agreements with seem to manage well enough without all the EU restrictive practices.

  18. I think most europeans don’t really bother about the UK (often it isn’t even represented on the continent’s maps) and that’s about the strategic importance the funny chaps from the UK are considered to have for the EU (do you understand the title of this article?)

    I think you’ll always find on any blog more posts advocating for abolishing the US federal State, a world wide Salafist empire for Al quaida, or the colonisation of outer space but that isn’t representative of what the majority of people reasonably think or give any credit to. Realistic purposes are probably less appealing for people to post boring comments about the situation being at the end of the day the best comparative choice even though the current disadvantages remain… But that doesn’t mean they are ready to embrace whatever silly ideas fanatics are excited to repeat over and over again everywhere they can. You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet.

    Norway switzerland or Iceland are in Schengen’s agreements and apply more and more rules of “aquis communautaire”. The only change for them is some financial secret facilities, couple of oil trade or fishing trade opt outs (unlike Britain, they aren’t big enough to hope to gather enough influence if they were to join)… These are miserable details for the EU compared to its actual influence there and they may anyway not last long.

    So is this really the only horizon you are advocating for when talking about freeing Britain out of the EU? Because when you look closer at Norway’s capacity of action in relation to the EU, such a status for Britain seems rather ridiculous after all your discourses pushing for people’s democratic sovereignty and national independance. Your little-englander beliefs would only lead to a further satelisation of Britain.. if the UK ever were crazy enough to follow such sensless gobbledygook anyone can pick apart in 5 seconds. But this is normally boring enough not to care replying, I’ll give you that.

  19. Matthias,

    Once again you are arguing that it is to our benefit to stay. It is very good of you to worry so much about us.

    Yes I do understand the article, but it seems to accept that we will be having a referendum and that Europe does not need Great Britain. I never claimed you do.

    Clearly we will never agree.

    Roll on the votes across Europe for the US of E, let the people decide. Always assuming of course the people are ever to be asked.

  20. Matthias,

    By the way, if the UK ”often it isn’t even represented on the continent’s maps”, what do you do, have a blank or a comment ‘here be monsters’ ? Either way it must make navigation interesting.

  21. Interestingly enough it’s often the map’s legend instead of britain. Once again you are wrong, I’m in favour of the UK having the slightest possible influence on the EU wherever it were to finally end up. That doesn’t mean I’m going to back and devellop the british eurosceptic clueless argument or strategy (were that to be named so). I try not to make my analysis or reactions correspond too much to my deep desires if you see what I mean, otherwise I’d feel like a nasty dictatorial propagandist!

    Maybe instead of proposing to be floating around driven by some magical stream and go creating a whole new globalisation by yourselves, with all the willing countries everywhere in the world who’d be waiting for you to leave Europe, and rejoice in wealth and prosperity (just outside the EU), I suggest, if you want me to do some more good through worrying for you, that you go communist or maybe green libertarian. You may have a chance nowadays, arguing for british people to go back into the woods and the caves. At least they HAVE a plan (and if they choose to ignore prosperity, at least they know money doesn’t grow from trees).

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