BREXIT – Some good news for the Brexiteers?
By TruePublica: The Brexiteers have had little good news of recent times. However, if ever there was a rational argument for leaving the European Union it might have been that it was an undemocratic, bureaucratic, (possibly) out-of-control monster. This is the picture painted by the Eurosceptics and there is some foundation in that assertion.
This has recently been confirmed with two stories emerging in Europe. The first is the debate about an EU army and the second about an EU budget. Taking control of sovereignty by way of managing any EU member state’s money and security would be a step too far even by their standards. Surely. That the EU bureaucracy has been one of mission creep over the decades should be a warning though. They have come from a purely trading partner position to that of central government.
The French leader spoke of nationalist forces “with no memory”, and urged progressive forces to unite in an uncertain world. Without much irony, Macron is advocating that France and Germany lead the way in enforcing how member states act in a fast-changing geopolitical environment with Macron hinting about defending Europe from war.
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“There are too many powers that wish to thwart us, that interfere in our public debates, attack our liberal democracies and are trying to pit us against each other” – he said.
The French president acknowledged that unity could be “scary,” and would mean nations pooling their funds and decision-making. One wonders what that might look like in the years ahead.
The very next day, France and Germany’s finance ministers on 19 November, presented their proposal on establishing a eurozone budget by 2021, describing it as a “major political breakthrough”.
Euactiv reported the deal as “The two-page document lays out plans for a limited joint eurozone budget, focused mainly on investment and convergence and, marginally, on stabilisation, that will be linked to national reforms.” Notice those last four crucial words – “linked to national reforms.”
“One year ago we could not even use the word eurozone budget. And now, there is a Franco-German operational proposal. This is, to us, a major political breakthrough,” French minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters after an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting. This is what I mean about mission-creep.
The plan would limit the extent to which the budget could help eurozone countries during economic downturns, which is a highly controversial issue for some member states, including Germany.
The budget would be linked to an EU framework, and be part of the next EU long-term budget – ready to enter into force by 2021 – and would be subject to the same budgetary rules.
As it would be part of the seven-year-long budget, all member states would have to agree on its establishment but only the 19 eurozone members, would be able to utilise it.
Finally, yesterday brings another little gem. France is ready for a European empire, according to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. “The ball is now in Berlin’s court,” he said in his interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper. The Daily Express went with the headline: “Napolean Dictatorship RETURNS: France sparks OUTRAGE as French chief calls for EMPIRE” (their emphasis – not ours).
I’m sure we can all guess what the Brexiteers make of this. However, as a ‘Remainer’ would the prospect of having Britain’s army, navy and nuclear systems absorbed into a European wide defence force be acceptable? If Britain was attacked, by say, Russia in a diplomatic spat of our own making, would the EU act in our defence? And would a budget, no matter how constrained, where Britain is told how to spend large tranches of its taxpayer funds be acceptable to the very people who provide that money in the first place? Food for thought maybe?
The European project is hitting the buffers right now on some serious issues. It looks more like to fracture than fall apart in the longer term with Hungary possibly becoming the EU’s first rogue state, followed by Poland and others along the Russian border. Some countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy have very different views on Germany’s role over national defence and Poland’s views on immigration is very different from that of Sweden. This is where the EU becomes an out-of-control monster. Like Brexit, it cannot deliver to everyone without pushback. The EU divides them and Brexit divides us