Britain entered the transition period on 31 January and left the EU formally, but in a ‘transition’ phase, which is due to end on 31 December. The next round of ‘negotiations’ began and continued, intermittently, though ‘deadlines’ were set and ignored. Discussions have still not been successful in bringing about a deal for the ‘future relationship’ between the EU and the UK. Instead both sides are sticking firmly to their mutually incompatible positions, each blaming the other for inflexibility. What the EU appears to expect but does not say out loud is that a ‘flexible’ UK would simply accept the EU’s demands.
This expectation remains unacceptable to the UK government, for now, which knows that what the EU is demanding would see the UK remain as an uncompetitive, vassal state, not an independent, sovereign nation making its own way in the world. The EU does not want a commercially successful UK on its doorstep.
For a full list of articles click the monthly archive drop-down menu on the right. For a quick introduction, see Why This EU Won’t Work: A Summary, written in August 2019.
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Summary – revised October 2020
The European Union is failing to meet its stated goals. Inspired and claimed to be “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, and has to be ignored or suppressed.
The recently proposed budget for 2001-2007 has been packaged with a massive (but probably insufficient) pandemic Recovery Plan, which requires the EU to break its own rules (for some responses see Reactions to the EU’s Recovery Plan) but the EU’s own Parliament is resisting giving its approval to either proposal.
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 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. In practice the EU’s most significant achievement has been to impose a massive legislative burden on its citizens, with the consequence of slow economic growth.
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 historical autocracies is in their best interests. We deny that any form of autocracy, including the EU’s, is preferable to real democracy and we argue that good outcomes are not generally forthcoming; where they do exist, they could have been achieved without the EU’s federalist ideology.
Latest Updates – revised October 2020
The European Commission and the European Parliament are engaged in separate but parallel discussions on the proposed recovery plan and the budget (the multiannual financial framework, or MFF). Sticking points are the Commission’s deductions from programmes favoured by the Parliament and ‘rule of law’ conditions for the use by member states of the recovery funds.
A deal on the future relationship between the EU and the UK has been stuck on the same points for some time. Nevertheless a deal looks to be likely, since both sides want it. The fear in the UK is that any deal that meets the EU’s requirements will not deliver Brexit (see Compromise Deal).
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 the beneficial economic outcomes they promise (see The Jewel in Whose Crown?).
The EU struggles to take all interests into account fairly: large and small, North and South, East and West, corporate and social, etc. The ambition is to level the field everywhere so that everyone has an equal chance. This ideology neglects the spice that variety provides to stimulate innovation (see Somewhere Over The Rainbow).