Both Parliaments (EU and UK) have accepted the new Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration that accompanied it. Britain entered the transition period on 31 January and, as things stand, has left the EU formally but not finally until 31 December this year. The next battle is about to begin but it should not be a battle, rather a mutual endeavour to bring or preserve the greatest benefits to all citizens. So we feel we must continue our commentary which we began when the Referendum campaign started, nearly four years ago.
Negotiations on the future relationship are due to begin soon. The ‘guidelines/directives/mandate’ for the EU’s negotiators have been published; we will have to wait to see how far the strongly mandated, new UK Government will go along with the EU’s expectations.
We have prepared and posted short-ish summaries of our case against the EU membership (see From the Horse’s Mouth and four subsequent posts). We will continue to post articles pointing out why we believe that the European Union can’t be made to work in the long term.
For a full list of articles click the monthly archive drop-down menu. Many are linked from our menu list of Themes, which summarise the main issues, as we see them. For a quick introduction, see our Why This EU Won’t Work: A Summary, written in August 2019.
We invite (moderated) reader comments – please keep the debate polite.
Summary – revised February 2020
The European Union is failing to meet its stated goals. Inspired and claimed as “a project for peace” it was always, in practice, a quest for ever more centralised power, regardless of the wishes of its citizens. As its failures become increasingly obvious, dissatisfaction grows. We doubt that the EU can survive in its present form for long.
Our blog provides evidence to show that the EU is on the wrong path. The Project is run in the interests of an elite network of politicians, administrators, bosses, unions and lobbyists – who are determined to continue on the current path despite the wreckage already created and in prospect. Their greatest success has been to convince many people that it has a high moral purpose and beneficial outcomes. We show that neither is true.
The core beliefs of most EU supporters are most likely driven by idealism—that working together across nations is a virtue that will ultimately lead to good outcomes, and that freedom, for some, from their own autocracy is in their best interests. We deny that any form of autocracy, including the EU’s, is preferable to democracy and we argue that good outcomes are not prevalent and, where they exist, could have been achieved without the EU’s federalist ideology.
The ideology is that a ‘United States of Europe’ is intrinsically beneficial but that progress must be made by the ‘Monnet Method’ to achieve the ideological goal without raising the suspicions of the majority of citizens, and even leaders, who would oppose it. The ‘progress’ towards the planned goal has been substantial, the benefits are not so clear.
Latest Updates – revised February 2020
The EU is proposing to hold a discussion on the future of the Union or, as they call it, a Conference on the Future of Europe. The European Parliament has put forward detailed proposals for the event but the European Commission seems to want to water these down (see We Need to Talk About EU).
The EU will not deviate from its self-imposed raison d’etre. One reason is that while bureaucrats have the ability to impose policies and regulations on their members and more widely, they do not have the ability, or the power, to produce beneficial economic outcomes (see Global Britain or Little Britain?).
Negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK are expected to start in March. Opening postures have been adopted by the principal protagonists. Boris says he will never agree to extend the Transition beyond 2020 whatever has been agreed, if anything, by then (What Would You Like For Brexit?).
The UK Parliament voted to take leaving without a deal ‘off the table’. They have accepted a new draft Withdrawal Agreement and dates for completing the withdrawal. However, if a free trade agreement cannot be completed and signed before 31 December 2020 then the UK will leave the EU without a deal. Of course there is every chance that things will not remain as they are, so in practice they haven’t taken it off the table after all.