Article 50 And Withdrawal


Article 50 And Withdrawal
Not so long ago, it seemed unlikely that any country politically was willing to contemplate leaving the European Union. Nothing illustrates this better than the fact that all of the treaties pre-Lisbon were silent on the question of withdrawal. There were a number of theories for this; partly it would have been contrary to member states’ commitment to “ever closer union”, partly it could have encouraged members to make the outcome more likely and partly that the process of leaving is a significant legal challenge best left unspecified in a treaty – a legal challenge made more complicated the longer member states remain within an ever integrating Union.

So in the absence of a specific provision for exit, international treaties are usually covered by Article 56(1) of the Vienna Convention on the Law on Treaties which states:

1. A treaty which contains no provision regarding its termination and which does not provide for denunciation or withdrawal is not subject to denunciation or withdrawal unless:

a) it is established that the parties intended to admit the possibility of denunciation or withdrawal; or

b) a right of denunciation or withdrawal may be implied by the nature of the treaty.

Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, these provisions of the Vienna Treaty did not cover EEC / EU Treaties before Lisbon. The spirit and terms of those treaties as epitomised by “ever closer union”, with the long-term goal of full political and economic integration, meant the “right of denunciation or withdrawal” was never implied. Quite the opposite in fact. Thus it could’ve been argued therefore that exit of the EU was not specifically allowed under international law.

Crucially this was reinforced, by virtue of its absence as a clause, that the Vienna Treaty also does not list sovereignty as a means of automatically absolving countries from their treaty obligations. There is no legal defence within the Vienna Treaty for a country who wishes to withdraw unilaterally from its obligations as it sees fit. This became especially true due to the nature of EEC/EU Treaties. The European Court of Justice has a well-established interpretation that EU treaties are permanently binding on the Member States and limit their sovereign rights as per Flaminio Costa v ENEL [1964] ECR 585 (6/64) – (my emphasis):

“By creating a Community of unlimited duration, having its own institutions, its own personality, its own legal capacity and capacity of representation on the international plane and, more particularly, real powers stemming from a limitation of sovereignty or a transfer of powers from the States to Community, the Member States have limited their sovereign rights and have thus created a body of law which binds both their nationals and themselves … The transfer by the States from their domestic legal system to the Community legal system of the rights and obligations arising under the Treaty carries with it a permanent limitation of their sovereign rights

However the problems and arguments with Article 56(1), and pre-Lisbon, are now largely moot points, as the Lisbon Treaty explicitly makes provision for the voluntary secession of a Member State from the EU and this provision comes via Article 50. Therefore exit from the Lisbon Treaty, and subsequently from the EU, is instead covered by Article 54 of the Vienna Convention on the Law on Treaties (my emphasis):

The termination of a treaty or the withdrawal of a party may take place:

(a) in conformity with the provisions of the treaty; or

(b) at any time by consent of all the parties after consultation with the other contracting States.

For the first time in an EU treaty there is an exit clause and one that is backed up by international law. One should note at this point that Article 50 does have two areas of a lack of clarity particularly for the EU – for example over the issue of more than one member wanted to withdraw at the same time, especially if there was a mass exit, and more importantly it contains no special provisions on the requirements for the withdrawal of a Member State which has adopted the euro. However these are concerns which should not affect the UK, so this piece will concentrate on a UK exit only.

One overlooked factor with Article 50 is that it actually contains two choices of withdrawal not one; it allows for a negotiated agreement where the Member State in question and the EU agree terms but it also recognises a unilateral right of withdrawal – a Member State simply hands in their notice and serves out their two year notice with no desire for negotiation whatsoever. This is clearly defined by Article 50 (3):

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, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

The unilateral right of withdrawal has the added benefit of acting as a longstop – as a negotiating tool – that prevents the EU from imposing impossible conditions upon a Member State with the intention of trying to stop their exit.

So in practice, should the UK want to change its relationship with the EU, Cameron would, using the Royal Prerogative and as per Article 50 (2) notify the European Council via President Van Rompuy of our intentions. Then, as per Article 50 (2), there would begin a period of negotiations:

In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

Though it’s left unsaid with Article 50, any country leaving would necessitate a new EU treaty as it would require amendments to the founding treaties. Though there is no precedent to draw on regarding a country leaving the EU under Lisbon, we can find an imperfect example with Greenland in 1985 who left the then EEC which required a treaty – unsurprisingly called The Greenland Treaty of 1985, documented by Hansard 20th July 1984. It’s worth noting Teddy Taylor’s comments at the time, about how very complex the whole process of leaving was:

First, my hon. Friend the Minister will agree that, judging from the papers that he and the Department kindly made available to us, the formula adopted to arrange Greenland’s withdrawal from the EEC is a highly complicated one. There is a very good reason for that. There is no clear procedure in the treaty for the withdrawal of a part-member state or indeed a member state. In view of our experience with Greenland, is there not a case for saying that the Common Market should consider its rules and treaties with a view to providing a clear arrangement for the withdrawal of member states which wish to withdraw, if other member states agree?

Post EU and the Lisbon exit clause means the Greenland example is no longer really relevant; instead a better example of how we leave may lie with the process of accession treaties. Similar to Article 50 the accession clause in Lisbon – Article 49 –also does not mention specifically the need for a new Treaty. Yet if a country applies to join the EU a new treaty is ultimately required for precisely the same reasons as leaving – that it requires amendments to the founding treaties. A recent example is the Treaty of Accession 2011 concerning Croatia’s accession to the EU which comes into force 1st July 2013.

Under Article 49 a country formally applies for membership, then begins a period of negotiation mainly based on whether the country wishing to apply is able to sufficiently execute EU law. This is a process which only ends when both parties agree that Acquis Communautaire has been sufficiently implemented, then a treaty of accession will be signed, which must then be ratified by all Member States of the EU, as well as the EU itself, and the applicant’s country.

This process would be remarkably similar to Article 50 but obviously for opposite intentions. The UK would formally notify intentions to leave, negotiate, and then sign the resulting treaty which is ratified by the EU and all Member States. Those countries wishing to join the EU have the option of saying no by changing their minds if the terms aren’t right, those countries wishing to leave have the option of saying no by not accepting the withdrawal agreement if the terms aren’t right.

One quirk with Article 50 though is as a member of the EU – the European Council and the Council of the EU – the UK would ending up sitting on both sides of the negotiating table regarding the new treaty. So this is where Article 50 (4) comes in (my emphasis):

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

This is entirely logical otherwise the UK would end up negotiating with itself. This exclusion is entirely consistent to Article 49 where accession countries are also absent from the European Council and the Council…by virtue of not yet being EU members.

In summary Article 50 allows us to fulfill our international obligations, abide by our EU treaty agreements and allows for an orderly exit with minimum of disruption particularly with regarding trade.

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40 responses to “Article 50 And Withdrawal

  1. Interesting.

  2. I disagree. Article 50 is a trap. Let me go back to the beginning; I always bristle when people talk of Britain’s ‘relationship’ with the EU, as though the EU were something ‘over there’ external from the UK. That might have been the case prior to Lisbon, when the former European Union to which we belonged was merely an agreement between sovereign nations. But the Lisbon Treaty has created a nenw country called Europe, of which we are a mere province. We no more have a ‘relationship’ with the EU than Ohio has a relationship with the USA.

    The reason there was no ‘exit clause’ in the ‘old’ EU was that it was not necessary. We could, as a sovereign partner, simply have repealed the 1972 European Communities Act, by which we acceded to the Treaty of Rome, and with one bound we would have been free.

    You cite the ECJ ‘Costa’ case as follows; “The transfer by the States from their domestic legal system to the Community legal system of the rights and obligations arising under the Treaty carries with it a permanent limitation of their sovereign rights”. Yes, that means permanent as long as we remain in the EU. In any case, it doesn’t matter a fig what the ECJ says, as we would no longer recognise its jurisdiction over us.

    Lord Justice Laws ruled, in the ‘Metric Martyrs’ case, that so-called ‘Constitutional’ statutes (such as the 1972 ECA) were not subject to the doctrine of ‘implied repeal’. But he also stated quite unequivocally that they could be expressly repealed.

    Yes, the Greenland issue was complicated because Greenland was part of the Kingdom of Denmark, which chose to remain a Member State. Britain would have had no such difficulty.

    But that was then and this was now. The Lisbon Treaty has changed everything. Remember that this was just the name given to the ‘Constitution for Europe’ after the natives revolted at the first attempt to foist a new Constitution upon them. But that is essentially what has happened. We are now in a position as though we had been conquered in war. The Lisbon Treaty a.k.a. Constitution for Europe creates an entirely new entity, also called the ‘European Union’, but which is in fact, as I have said, a new country called Europe, of which we are a mere province. This ‘new’ EU derives its authority not from an intergovernmental treaty signed by sovereign nation states acting as equals, but from the new Constitution itself. The Constitution does indeed provide for an ‘exit clause’ via Article 50, but as I have said many times in other places on this list, we would remain an EU Member State for two years after invoking Article 50, and we would be excluded from all talks whilst remaining bound by whatever rules the EU would dream up for us during that two year period. It is, as I said at the outset, a trap.

    To bring this debate down to earth with a bump, if we had elected to repeal the 1972 ECA at any point prior to June 18th 2009, and if the EU had sent their troops in to quell the rebellion, they would have done so illegally. If we were to just up and leave, by-passing Article 50, then we would be the ones acting illegally. The EU would be quite justified in using force against us, just as King George was (legally) justified in ordering the Redcoats to march on Lexington to disarm the militia.

    And then there is the problem of what to do with all the Directives. These, again as I have pointed out elsewhere, will remain in force forever, whether we stay in the EU or not. There are tens of thousands of them, governing every aspect of our lives, and they would have to be repealed one by one. The legislative chaos that would undoubtedly ensue does not bear thinking about.

    The bottom line is this; without Briain as a Member State the EU is bust. For that reason, and for a multitude of subsidiary reasons, there is nothing, and I do mean nothing, they will not do to make sure we stay in. I regret to say that the article to which I am here responding, although very well researched, reads like nothing more than EU propaganda. Who wrote it?

  3. Thanks Mr Cameron we are being fined at a rate of £25,000 per day by
    the EU according to the rags today. What point may one ask!

  4. That was £250,000, not £25,000. But that pales into insignificance compared to the £2 million we have to pay the EU every HOUR just to be told what to do. And the burden on this country of complying with EU Regulation drains us of another £100 billion every year.

  5. Yes, you’re right, omitted a bloody naught, It is 250,000, correct hugo.
    Of course cameron had an opportunity this week to get out, 69% in favour,
    told they would roll out the carpet if decided to go. in truth it is a lot more
    complex than that, britain today relies on the industries of europe and of
    course germany since the destruction of much of our industry, we are a
    skills lost state, who in the main now relies on europe, who have filled the
    vacume, at the moment we rely on intigration, like an otter relies on fish
    for it’s very survival, if there’s every any hope of getting out of europe
    we would need to become more independent as an industrial nation, In
    reality if we just left, they could in therory inforce controls on imports
    exports, numerous other options, they could enforce to show their
    dissaproval for leaving. The time is not right, if we left now the whole
    thing would backfire, We have to wait until until the ground is right and
    then if democracy dictates leave, only a foolish man goes to war with a
    blunt sword!

  6. PS. Hugo, sorry about the formatting, this blasted computor has a bad habit of resetting the tabs sometimes when going on to a different page, the receiver does not appear to have auto format tab like some, so does tend to go bonkers as you can see, blame on it all on europe say!

  7. Individuals and organisations (churches, clubs, companies, whatever) should, of course, be allowed to trade with individuals or organisations in Germany – or anywhere else. But that does not mean that Britain should submit to some external political power.

    It is not in the interests of the Germans to refuse to sell us things. And if they do, well those British industries are going to have to built up again, Actually British industries will have to develop again anyway. After all what are we going to PAY those German (or Chinese or….) companies with? Bits of paper with ink on them?

    The idea that a country with a population of sixty million people can survive by exporting “financial services” is absurd. Even the Swiss would never dream that they could survive in this way (indeed Swiss banking is becoming more of a curse than a blessing). Even tiny Liechtenstein (a nation of only a few tens of thousands) has to have manufacturing industry.

    Of course you know this Karl – the idea that “financial services” can support us has long been exposed as magic fairy dust and Moonbeams.

    I fear for the United Kingdom – I fear our future will be cruel one.

  8. I don.t fare much these day.s I must confess. Think this condition develops with age, of course some serious changes are now taking place, savage barbaric cuts to health care, education, people sleeping rough, only this week, a further pobe discloed a multi million pound bill for criminal trials and migrants incarcerations, that’s in just ten day’s, financial services in the main have proven they only support themselves. Does not look good, no magic wand to hand. cruel is right terminology, at the very least. it’s turning chronic that’s for sure! engine room flooded now as the saying goes.

  9. Of course paul, they have rolled out the l
    “Liverpool care Plan” here now, from the information comming out, looks like the last death throes of the NHS, 10,000 dead in one year, all these measures will continue until like a dying battery it comes to a stop and breaks down into fragments. Whats the time span, difficult to say, if things stay on the present course might be as quick as a decade, there will be more cuts, as the situation becomes more desperate, we are sailing new seas, unlike anything seen in our lifetime, may not be able to ride out the storm! Still no prgress in filling the public pension hole, as soon as they try and fill one, another appears behind them in another area, a third world ecomony, where the authorities become totaly ruthless is on the cards, something like we have seen in past in south america.

  10. You mentioning South America remind me.

    Two nations with a long common border.

    One once had per capita incomes on a par with Canada and has vast farmlands and natural resources – Argentina.

    The other was always much poorer and has copper (less and less wanted anymore) and earthquakes – Chile.

    Argentina has gone for the easy option (spend, spend, spend) – and is doomed.

    Chile has very serious problems – but has a fighting chance.

    The trouble is I think we are more like Argentina.

  11. Well Argentina without the vast farmlands.

  12. I accpet all Hugo’s points, in a jurisprudential way. Of course he is right about the legal implications of onvoking article 50, and also of not doing it but just buggering off. (Or both at once.)

    But I don’t take really seriously the notion that the EU would try to mobilize armed force – or even the scumbag multinational posse of VicenzaNazi-EuroGendarmes – against a Britain that simply decided to leave the EuroStructures and go.

    I can’t even envisage indoctrinated Italian cops, in fancy uniforms and riot-gear, or even the funny checked skullcaps that our own homegrown Britisharmedpolicegoons wear, wanting really to come here in arms, even if it was to arrest a few anti-EUsSR-libertarian bloggers in some high-profile heist.

  13. Of course paul. but they might as well enjoy it while they can. Fact, China has taken ownership of some of their resources, lock stock and barrel, as thier policy with africa, they metals and minerals, not forgetting ivory of course, at some point Argentina, may try and recover the Falklands, hence they’re new relationship with Iran, who will become one of the worlds larger arms suppliers, now being near self sufficient in all areas of arms production, including aircraft, ship building, even sub’s. But I personally don’t like the look of them, rather them than me I say! Of course I rule out anyway with europe, they are two intelligent to want to take control of bankrupt states, those in europe are not brain dead, just plain potty when it comes to legislation, of course they face the increasing risk of civil unrest, with immigration ever increasing by the day, they have other problems to deal with, as I have said south america will devour it’s self economically but not just yet!

  14. Good news for Argentina! International arbitrators have ruled that their creditors can not confiscate Argentinian warships (over unpaid debts) when they visit the ports of other countries.

    Before you laugh – we may end up in such a mess.

  15. In the 60′s my grandmother owned a grocers shop, which she ran with the help of my mother and grandfather, this was before the invention and take off of the supermarket, they sold just about everything in those day’s, at eight I was ordered to take an after school job, did not dear argue as I knew econimic santions would follow, I had the after school grind of operating the incinerator and burning the rubbish, my grandmother was a gererous lady, gave me lots of presents, one night as I was about to go home, she gave me a big box, some pens and crayons, much to my liking at the time the box held a large battery operated machine gun, complete with plastic amo belt, as she presented me with this gift, she stated a funny thing, She suddenly said one day china will rule the economic world, My immeditate reaction to these strange words were, well mad grandmother perhaps, but the words stayed with me all my life, anyway having a large garden the war commenced as every year with the local kids, with lots of left overs from the second world war we had plenty of kit, gas masks, tin hats, to mention a few, I was alway’s Gerry, the other kids played Tommy, I used to set the gun and tripod under the apple tree behind the muck mound, tommy would start the charge at the top of thegarden and spread out flanks on the attack, I normally got the little bastards within the first 25 ft, but they alway’s cheated and refused to play dead whenthey got close to my positon they would pelt me with wind falls which they used as granades, what bad loosers one might say. However in 2010, I suddenly started looking at china, particulary inside this economic machine, she was indeed right, no longer under the suspicion of madness I realised she was right, how did she come to this conclusion over 40 years earlier, simple on reflection, she was a worldy woman, with a brilliant sense of maths, her calculator consisted of a large roll of paper, pen, and old mechanical adding machine, she did seldom make mistakes. of course her secret of pilosophy stemed from the fact, that even at that time goods from china were expanding on the UK market place, including tin plate toy’s, knowing the population of china, this was no more than a sum of prediction, and she was right, we will see much of this change in asia, as other countries mature up the economic ladder, as we decline due the the prats in local government and those half baked university graduates we have let loose on the economy, such things will come to pass!

  16. Boney said the same thing as your grandmother – he might be Emperor of the French but the Chinese had the numbers and the intelligence (and the capacity for hard work) to rule the world. If they ever “woke up”.

    They do not have to be fully free (and they are not) – the regime just has to allow them to be free enough to dominate production.

    And with the degenerate state of the West today – what competition do they have?

    The government is about half of output here (in most Western countries), the rest of the economy is saturated by regulations, and the banking system is a credit bubble joke.

    So the Chinese do not need to be fully free – because we are not (nothing like it).

    And there are vast numbers of them – and they are intelligent and hard working.

  17. Hard working indeed – the Chinese were the ones who were digging or blasting their way through tunnels under 15 ft of snow to build the US transcontinental railroad when everybody else had given up.

    But back to the EU – I have been actively involved in EU politics via UKIP for twenty-odd years now. Whether we are in the EU or not won’t make the slightest difference to trade. Thanks to the WTO and various trade agreements, import tariffs are negligible. They would be more than offset by the regulatory burden which would be lifted from our shoulders if we left. Norway and Switzerland each export more per capita to the EU from outside than we do from inside. The EU sells us far more than we sell to them – does anybody seriously suggest that BMW, for example, would refuse to sell cars to their biggest customer just out of spite?

    UKIP was recently described as ‘wanting to cut all ties with Europe’. This is complete twaddle. UKIP’s position, and my own, is that we ought to remain good friends and trading partners with our European neighbours, and that can only be achieved if we leave the European Union. If we stay in there will be endless friction and resentment. As they saying goes, ‘Strong fences make good neighbours’.

    My position has never altered on one point; that if we are to get out at all we must be prepared for bloodshed. I seem to be the only person in the world who believes this, but that doesn’t bother me. Of course I hope I am wrong, and as H Wilson once remarked, a week is a long time in politics and, to quote Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks, ” anything might happen at any time”.
    But I think a few well-placed arrests by the Euro-Gendarmerie will soon soften any resistance. Even the Queen can now be arrested for opposing the EU. Frankly I think she ought to be arrested for handing her subjects over to the EU. Citizens’ arrest, anybody?

  18. I have read some stupid, delusional and paranoid comments in my time, but I didn’t realise there was a whole compendium of them penned by just one person, Hugo Miller.

    Hugo, your comment would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damaging to the interests of EU sceptics to have such horseshit associated with those of us who want the UK to be free of the EU but maintain a grip on reality rather than conspiracy theory.

    The EU created a system of government, not a country. As for the two year exit period, that is a maximum during which we would facilitate the negotiation of agreements that would come into force upon exit. Without that we will be unable to export goods and services legally to the EU. And during that period why would we want to be involved in creating new laws for other EU member states when they won’t apply to the UK?

    Thanks for the laugh. Clearly readers will be looking elsewhere for informed comment after your effort to channel David Icke.

  19. Hugo, your latest comment is so full of rubbish it is staggering. Your long years in UKIP were clearly not spent developing an understanding of how trade and law work. Import tariffs won’t matter one iota if the UK suffers customs restrictions and checks and other attendant issues concerning the use of designated ports. No doubt with your extensive knowledge you know all about that?

    Without resolving that rather significant issue it would make the economic cost of duties rather academic if we are actually unable to legally export goods to the remaining EU states because we had left the EU without any agreements on those matters. BMW might like to sell a lot of cars to us, but it has to respect the law. And a lack of agreement on trade dealing with issues such as designated ports would make exporting in the way we currently do a breach of the law, and as such the WTO would not uphold a British complaint.

    Writing forceful comment, Hugo, does not make the comment accurate or valuable. Perhaps you should stick to moving tank units around on a map and strategising the mobilisation of the masses on the south downs instead of pouring out ill informed assertions.

  20. Well, the Japanese and the Chinese and the rest of the world seem to be able to export to the EU quite successfully without being Member States. Why could we not do the same? The EU has negotiated a number of Free Trade Agreements with other sovereign nations (the number 46 springs to mind but don’t quote me). We could be number 47.

    Now, when you say “As for the two year exit period, that is a maximum during which we would facilitate the negotiation of agreements that would come into force upon exit.” you are ignoring paragraph 4 of Article 50, which explicitly excludes us from taking part in any such negotiations. That is the problem. And that paragraph is there for a reason. The EU can do what it damn well likes to us and all we can do is look on impotently. It seems, from listening to the Big Speech, that David Cameron hopes to avoid this issue by securing the agreement of all the other Member States to our departure. If this is indeed what he believes (which I very much doubt) then he is the one who is delusional.

    There is really very little point in analysing his speech, however, because his sole purpose was to neutralise the threat posed by UKIP at the next election, and in that he has succeeded masterfully.

    As for your assertion that “The EU created a system of government, not a country”, well, what is it that defines a country?; the EU has a constitution, a flag, an anthem, a passport, citizenship, legal personality, a police force, a border force, a gendarmerie, foreign embassies, a ‘High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’, an army in the making, a European Justice System complete with European Public Prosecutors, European Arrest Warrant, European Police Force, European Court of Justice, … .. I don’t know, where do you stop? If it looks like a country, waddles like a country, quacks like a country, then it probably is a country.

  21. But Hugo, I am missing something, the objectives of the Kippers, was in essence to
    obtain a referendum on europe, nothing more. will they now pull out of
    politics as this position has been clarified, or are they going to continue as
    a mainstream party holding the balance of power. I note they are expanding
    into other areas of politic debate, please enlighten one.

  22. I think in the main Hugo, you underestimate Europe, there would ineed
    be repercussions, Germany are in the EU and have a lot of control over
    it, BMW will not make decisions on trade as you suggets with none EU
    states but rather the EU themselves, least not forgetting customs, the
    puppets could become a lot more lively in the hands of their masters if they became angry with britian.

  23. Hugo, you mention china, have you not heared about the game transfer of
    resources, it works like this, I sell you something, then you buy it back, you
    then sell it back to me again, then decide to buy it back, I then
    decide I am not ging to sell it back, where are your resources! This is how
    wealth creation works, within the complex of money markets, I now want
    three times more than the price I paid if you want to buy it back again.
    what choice do you have if you must buy it back.

  24. Also Hugo, the EU is indeed not a country, but a combination of countries,
    essentially controled by one centralised government via it’s own enforcement
    agencies, where in god’s name did you get the idea the EU is a country,
    there is quite simply on country on earth called EU, ET more like,

  25. Secondly, Hugo, we will never be like China, britain is an overburdened
    bureaucratic state, with no money to pay for it,will probably end a prison
    Island in the North Sea, with desperate governments controling everything
    at gun point, and corrupt officials dishing out injustice in the courts. And
    illegally helping themselves to what little money they can lay their hands on !

  26. I think Hugo is right on the export point.

    I do not believe that honest exporters gain any major advantage by the United Kingdom being in the E.U.

    Corporate welfare types (the sort of people who like the Financial Times and the Economist magazine – and always have their hands out for a government contract) they may well gain advantage, but honest companies – no.

  27. “Autonomous mind” – I am supposed to be the one who gets insulted on this site, not Hugo (I feel my position is being usurped).

    Seriously…..

    Our “E.U. partners” already discriminate against the exports of British companies (see the works of Christopher Booker and Richard North on this subject), and if they did this more when we left the E.U. – we could threaten to do the same to their imports to us.

    You do know that German companies (and so on) sell people in this country more than companies in Britain sell to people in Germany (and so on), do you not?

  28. Working upwards with this batch as briefly as I can; Paul Marks – our trade with the EEC/EC/EU has been in deficit every single year except one – 1975. That was the year of the referendum. What a co-incidence. We make a profit with the rest of the world which subsidises our loss to the EU.

    There are all sorts af rules in place courtesy of GATT and the WTO these days. I have a feeling that the export tariff would only be 1% – but we would have the advantage that Britain would be able to enter into Free Trade deals with the rest of the world. At present we are not allowed to do so because the EU won’t let us.

    Our exports to the EU are about 8% of our output. But we have to apply all their stupid rules to 100% of what we produce.

    Karl Fenn – I never said we would be like China! My point was that they have no trouble selling their goods to the EU from outside, neither would we.

    You say “where in god’s name did you get the idea the EU is a country,
    there is quite simply no country on earth called EU”. No, but they would call it the U.S.E if they thought they would get away with it. They have had to make do with the “European Union of the Regions” for now.

    The Lisbon Treaty fundmentally changed the nature of the EU, from an intergovernmental union of sovereign nations to a unitary state. It might retain the name ‘EU’ but EVERYTHING has changed now. The EU attained legal personality with the Lisbon Treaty. This gives it all the attributes of nationhood including the right to sign treaties. Britain is merely a collection of Regions, which together constitute a Member State. It is worth pointing out that the country formerly known as England no longer exists on the map of the EU; – while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are Regions in their own right, ‘England’ is neither a Member State nor a Region. It is an anonymous grouping of nine Regions.

    Karl Fenn – you talk about the ‘transfer of resources’ – I am going to tell you a story about monkeys, but I will do that in a separate post!

    Still working upwards, Karl Fenn you talk about the objective of the ‘Kippers’ being to hold a referendum, and suggest that that UKIP is redundant now that that has been ‘clarified’. You make a very good point, which is worthy of an expanded answer.
    UKIP’s policy has always been to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, thereby freeing ourselves from the Treaty of Rome. There was a bit of a schermozzle in 2001 when Paul Sykes threw loads of money into the Party on condition that we espoused the idea of a referendum. I was (and still am) opposed to the idea of a referendum, but I went along with it as I realised it was politically attractive and we needed the money (many did not, and resigned from the Party in protest).
    The Lisbon Treaty, as I make no apology for constantly pointing out, has changed everything. There is now, in my opinion, absolutely no point in repealing the 1972 ECA, since we would be repudiating a treaty which no longer exists. The stated aim of the ‘Constitution for Europe’ was that it would “repeal and supersede” the Treaty of Rome and all subsequent amendments. When the natives recoiled at the idea of a new ‘Constitution’, it was re-named the Lisbon Treaty. Prime Minister Blair began describing this as an ‘amending’ treaty, which is exactly what it is. But I was struck at the time that this was a word not normally in Blair’s lexicon. Clearly this was an exercise to soothe the fears of the plebs, and tell them this was ‘just another amending treaty – nothing to see here’. But in reality it is the same document, with the same purpose – to abolish the ‘old’ inter-governmental EU and replace it with a unitary state, also called the EU.
    UKIP’s policy, as you say, now seems to be to hold a referendum. Although I still support the Party, I am at odds with this policy for a number of reasons. First I fear it will be rigged. I could say a lot about vote rigging but that must wait till another time. Suffice it to say it is documented that vote-rigging took place in 2001 and 2005, and almost certainly in other elections as well. Se3condly, just look at the history of referenda in the EU; Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty. They were told to vote again and get it right this time. Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty. Same thing. France and then The Netherlands rejected the Constitution. It went away and came back disguised as the Lisbon Treaty, which was rammed through without any referenda. Except in Ireland, where they rejcted it again, and again were told to go away and have a re-think. Treaties keep getting killed off in referenda but the damn things just won’t stay dead.

    You say UKIP is ‘expanding into other areas of debate’. Well, it has always had a full manifesto, and it is one that I find attractive. It has been very frustrating to be dismissed as a ‘single issue party’ when we are anything but. I’m sure it will be on the UKIP website.

    Finally, I must disabuse you of the notion that the issue of a referendum has been ‘clarified’. This is just a ruse on Cameron’s part to get himself re-elected, and a very effective ruse at that. All he has done is kick the issue five years down the road. We may or may not have some sort of plebiscite in five years’ time, but I can promise you it will not result in our exit from the EU. I cannot believe that intelligent people, including the media, still take these politicans at face value.

  29. Trade with people in EU countries – quite so Hugo.

  30. Of course Hugo, look forward to the story on “Monkeys, Thank’s for the
    explination on the Kippers, as I sort of predicted, they are becoming a
    main stream party, if the forecasts materialise into votes at the next election
    things could take a dramatic change at westminister, we will just have to wait
    and see. Yes’ Hugo, I can see through the conservatives, we all know what
    their game is! You say intelligent people, one might beg to differ on those
    in the media, they vote as well you know!

  31. Paul, the Germans make high quality goods, they last a long time I
    still have tools given to me by my grandfather, over 40 years old, still
    working as good as new, I alway’s buy german goods where possible, their
    photographic meters are second to none, one of the best manufactures in
    the EU, my father said that, he lived there for a while in the army.I once
    bought my mother a food mixer in europe, it was german, it lasted forever.
    People will alway’s pay a little more for quality and fact their goods last a
    long time, just look at german alam clock!

  32. Once upon a time in a village, a businessman appeared and asked the villagers, what do you do for living? They answered we are farmers and do farming. He said you must have an alternate source of earnings and suggested that since the village was surrounded by a deep forest, this would provide for an ideal earning opportunity for them. He announced to the villagers that if they got him monkeys from the forest, he would buy the animals for $10 each.

    The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. Everyone in the village earned in thousands. However, this frenetic pace of hunting quickly diminished the number of monkeys in the forest and the villagers per force had to stop this activity.

    Looking at the diminished supply, the businessman announced that he would now buy monkeys at $20. This prompted the villagers to make a renewed effort and they now ventured still deeper into the forest to catch the beasts. Once again, however, the supply diminished and the villagers lost interest, returning to their farms for a living. But then the businessman increased the offer to $25 each. This sparked off enthusiasm in the villagers yet again. However, the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!

    The businessman now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50! The offer lured each and every villager. However, in between, the businessman had to go to the city on some business visit and his assistant started to look after the business on behalf of him.

    In the meantime the villagers had befriended the assistant as they considered him one of them. In the absence of the businessman, the assistant told the villagers: “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at Rs 35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for Rs 50 each.”

    The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys. But when they visited the businessman’s place, there was no sign of the businessman or the assistant. There were only monkeys everywhere!”

  33. Mr Anonymous Mind, sorry Autonomous Mind, I can understand why you think I am nuts. The big problem with the EU has always been one of credulity. When you tell people what is happening they just don’t believe it.
    All I can say in my defence is that I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me!

  34. PS How do you know where I live?

  35. Karl – I agree that German goods are of high quality.

    However British made goods were once of also of high quality (indeed the British used the term “Jerry built” to refer to shoddy German made things).

    What has forgotten can be relearned.

    In Israel there are little signs (if one knows where to look) of people who died making stupid mistakes in farming and warfare.

    Died of malaria, or died because they did not understand that you had to have a weapon with you at all times (and know how to use it ) – and always keep alert…

    In the town I visited today 29 died in 1914 of malaria, and other Jews a little later were captured and tortured to death (basic rule – do not get taken alive).

    But people LEARN – people can learn how to be farmers (how to destroy the swamps where the bugs live), and learn how to fight.

    The British knew how to make quality good not so long ago – and some still know (for example Morgan cars and there are many other examples).

    The skills (and the cultural practices) can be relearned.

  36. Yes, I know, paul my grandfather was a chief engineer, my other grandfather
    fought in three wars, including being shot by the provo’s, he went into
    the RAF in second world war, they were the day’s we made good things,
    I have had a few triumphs in my time, point of fact the ones made in the
    50′ and 60′s were better than those produced in the 80′s, what ever happened to british camera’s, watches, etc, I just don’t know, I beg to
    differ on the term Gerry made, the jerger does not miss a beat, despite it’s OAP status, the latest advanced
    Dolphin subs given to Isreal by germany are some of the best in the world,
    top class.

    • No dispute on the quality of German goods from me Karl.

      I was a security guard at one of the efforts to bring back Triumph (alas it must be my fault it failed) – but then I have guarded everywhere, and everything.

      My own Grandfather was in the RAF in the Second World War (working on aircraft) he was in a different branch of the military in the First World War.

      That generation got both World Wars.

  37. Some got three, the somme, Ireland, and the luftwaffer, my great grandfathers being the tougest, in the four legged cavalry, seen some of
    the photographs from the fields of france, “Rather Them Than Me”. My
    grandfather also worked on the spits as well as the bombers, he went
    on raids over germany as an observer.

  38. Quite so Karl.

  39. And of course, his brother was an officer on one of the more famous british
    sub’s the “Shakespare” yes they really thought the goose was cooked.