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Source: (consider it) Thread: An in/out referendum on EU membership
Sergius-Melli
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:

As for uncertainty, although the BBC seems to have moved the actual article, this blog , does give an indication that business is not so concerned as some might paint the picture to be.

That article is based on a single data point - a conversation with one CEO whose business - constructing new power stations in the UK - is likely to be there whether or not the UK is in the EU.

quote:

Britain is not alone here, and as the EU changes to meet the needs of the Euro, those outside of the Euro need to have a voice and be taken care of, especially if they wish to continue to see us produce the membership fee every year...

There's a fiction that the UK stumps up and never gets anything in return. It's merely that - a fiction.

The best the PM is likely to get out of Europe is some kind of fig-leaf - the worst he'll get within a looser arrangement is EU laws without the ability to influence them at all.

Yes, the link was to one point, but there are others out there...

Nor did I say that the UK stumps up and gets nothing in return (though it may have come across as such) - it is however a net-contributor to the EU project.

As a German newspaper has remarked, this is turning into a point about democracy, and how (ever unintentioned and farcical it may turn out to be) the PM has actually introduced an element of democracy into this (an element that Labour, the EUP and others are seeking to deny the citizens of Europe) - forbid that those who live in the EU have a right to say what goes on and be allowed to express their views on what goes on, especially in a country which will not just back down and go to the polls again to ensure the correct result - like Ireland was forced to, if we remember rightly...

It is beyond doubt that those in the Euro (and with any luck God will ensure we never become one of those) require the institutions and structures of the EU to change, how greatly and whether it is either slightly or fundamentally to change is up for discussion still IMO, and therefore requires a discussion about those who do not have to join the Euro, and will never join the Euro, and how EU can best serve those countries in the future. It would be madness for the UK to completely halt the changes the Euro-zone requires, but for that to happen the UK does need a new relationship with the EU to maintain it's best interests whilst ensuring the success of the Euro-zone.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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What if Cameron can't renegotiate our membership of the EU, due to the unwillingness of other members to play ball?

What then? Will he go ahead with the referendum anyway on a purely in / out basis?

Or will he (as I imagine he will) play for time, and effectively kill the referendum idea until this impossible renegotiation process has taken place, but knowing that he has been re-elected on the promise of holding this referendum?

The whole thing stinks, AFAICS.

[ 25. January 2013, 16:35: Message edited by: EtymologicalEvangelical ]

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quetzalcoatl
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It all seems like smoke and mirrors to me. I don't believe Cameron really - I suspect it's all about silencing UKIP and his own right-wing.

And it all seems so intangible - maybe, if the negotiations succeed, maybe, in four years time, if the Tories win the election, we might have a referendum.

And of course, Cameron would be terrified of leaving the EU, but presumably he is more terrified of UKIP!

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:

Nor did I say that the UK stumps up and gets nothing in return (though it may have come across as such) - it is however a net-contributor to the EU project.

Well, in purely direct financial terms it is impossible for every country to be a net beneficiary from the EU. Indirectly you'd have to count the benefits that the UK gets in terms of trade, influence on different levels, and it's attractiveness as a place for investment for countries outside the EU.

You could argue that Norway gets all these things - except Norway has no control over the legislation that it gets subjected to via EFTA. There is also no guarantee that the UK would be offered anything similar - EFTA membership was originally offered to Norway as a means of tempting it towards full EU membership in the future.


quote:

As a German newspaper has remarked, this is turning into a point about democracy, and how (ever unintentioned and farcical it may turn out to be) the PM has actually introduced an element of democracy into this (an element that Labour, the EUP and others are seeking to deny the citizens of Europe) - forbid that those who live in the EU have a right to say what goes on and be allowed to express their views on what goes on, especially in a country which will not just back down and go to the polls again to ensure the correct result - like Ireland was forced to, if we remember rightly...

There's a democractic deficit in the EU, but the way to solve its isn't by positing a possible once only referendum that merely seeks to elicit a yes or no answer to a particular set of arrangements which have yet to be decided upon and will be subject to change anyway.
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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
What if Cameron can't renegotiate our membership of the EU, due to the unwillingness of other members to play ball?

What then? Will he go ahead with the referendum anyway on a purely in / out basis?

Or will he (as I imagine he will) play for time, and effectively kill the referendum idea until this impossible renegotiation process has taken place, but knowing that he has been re-elected on the promise of holding this referendum?

The whole thing stinks, AFAICS.

Do you mean .... he's proposed the referendum so as to get re-elected? There's a surprise.

Nick Clegg (remember him?) is doing the same thing, by saying that the cuts were too deep and too sudden. ISTM that the partners are already moving apart, and when the ball is over (ie, the five-year term of this government) they won't leave sharing a taxi.

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Sleepwalker
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
I think it's refreshing. It is high time the issue was got out in the open and debated sensibly.

I think it's refreshing too and I agree that it is time the issue was debated properly. There is clearly disquiet about the role of the EU in our country both at present and in the future. To ignore that disquiet would be foolish. I'm certainly glad the subject is out in the open. A closer union with the EU rather fills me with dread.

I am not as convinced as some that a renegotiation is impossible. Some leaders are showing a willingness to talk and Cameron has been meeting with them individually at Davos. I think some of the scaremongering coming out of Europe has more to do with what certain European nations are afraid of because, let's face it, as a net contributor to the EU as well as an important trading partner to EU nations, if the UK does pull out (either in part or wholly) then that could destabilise the whole project. France in particular is not going to take kindly to that idea (hence its ridicule of late, laying out the red carpet for companies which desert us, etc).

The media and some EU enthusiasts like to regularly point out how much of an economic disaster it would be for us to pull out, and how important the EU is to us. However, nobody is really talking about how much of an economic disaster it could be for other countries - especially the poorer ones - if we as a net contributor pulled out or indeed how important we are to the EU. There is an awful lot of self-interest on both sides of the Channel, and understandably so because regardless of what the main players like to say, the EU consists of individual nations with different problems, strengths, attitudes and cultures. Self-interest, therefore, is both appropriate and to be expected.

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Heavenly Anarchist
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We are currently the financial centre of Europe - will that continue if we leave? We were before the union but with the euro now established in the rest of Europe there may well be a feeling that somewhere else (Germany?) might be a more appropriate place for financial trade. Will other countries such as the US look to them? Is that what Obama is warning us about? I think it would be very reasonable of Europe to decide they want to keep their financial transactions within their own borders. We have a lot to lose here.
Many of the things Cameron wants renegotiated are to do with workers' rights, such as the working time directive which amongst other things regulates Doctors' hours. I worked on wards prior to the directive and can remember a junior doctor working all day Friday, being on call in the hospital all weekend and finishing her shift at the end of Monday morning. The weekend was busy and she had no sleep at all during that period. It was normal for weekends on call to have these hours. The directive protects both Doctors and patients from this situation and I wouldn't want it removed.

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Sergius-Melli
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quote:
Originally posted by Heavenly Anarchist:
We are currently the financial centre of Europe - will that continue if we leave? We were before the union but with the euro now established in the rest of Europe there may well be a feeling that somewhere else (Germany?) might be a more appropriate place for financial trade. Will other countries such as the US look to them? Is that what Obama is warning us about? I think it would be very reasonable of Europe to decide they want to keep their financial transactions within their own borders. We have a lot to lose here.
Many of the things Cameron wants renegotiated are to do with workers' rights, such as the working time directive which amongst other things regulates Doctors' hours. I worked on wards prior to the directive and can remember a junior doctor working all day Friday, being on call in the hospital all weekend and finishing her shift at the end of Monday morning. The weekend was busy and she had no sleep at all during that period. It was normal for weekends on call to have these hours. The directive protects both Doctors and patients from this situation and I wouldn't want it removed.

For financial matters, London is already the centre for trading in Euros despite being outside of the Eurozone - and despite efforts in the past to move Europes financial hub elsewhere it remains so (the push for Frankfurt has happened in the past and not come to much).

Under the thougths you put forwards we should become part of the USA as roughly twice as many US$ are traded in London than in the States.

The positioning of a trading market has a slight baring on the importance and trade of a particular market, a lot more is to do with regulation, skill base and the 'infrastructure' that is already in place and the investment which is going into it. It is highly unlikely that London would stop being a major player in the worlds currency and financial affairs because it renegotiated it's membership of the EU.

As for employmnt law, it is best to maintain the rights and protections employees need, but is it better to decide tham based on the cultural context of each individual nation - by all means the EU could have an overarching idea and ask for member states to implement it, but as is showable, the different countries of Europe have different work cultures etc. and therefore employment laws cannot be set monolithically and require some mutation to fit local cultural contexts.

I also wonder what people's considerations of Parliaments supremacy is in this area. Although Westminster theoretically is still sovereign (as it can repeal any of the Acts that give jurisdiction away) I wonder if people think/perceive it working like that in reality...

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Cod
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Switzerland's position of being outside everything hasn't prevented it from being an important financial centre.
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Heavenly Anarchist
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Switzerland's position of being outside everything hasn't prevented it from being an important financial centre.

Yes, but it hasn't exactly covered itself in glory here. It has had a reputation for generations of assisting in illegal financial transactions on a worldwide scale. It's oldest bank announced it was closing down a few weeks ago after being found guilty of aiding US tax evasion http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20907359

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Matariki
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A couuple of points come to mind. If a referendum happens and the vote is to stay in will that really be the end of the matter or will Eurosceptics try to revisit the issue again (and again) until the right answer is produced? Also reading the British press on-line it often seems that the likes of the Mail and Telegraph which rail against the EU as an unworkable multinational federation are loudest in their condemnation of the wishes of some Scots to end their participation in a multinational state. They also say Scotland faces economic ruin by withdrawing from the Union while the UK can find economic salvation in withdrawing from the EU!!! I realise I have cobbled two issues together here but does anyone else see a glaring inconsistancy here?
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Alaric the Goth
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quote:
Originally posted by Matariki:
A couuple of points come to mind. If a referendum happens and the vote is to stay in will that really be the end of the matter or will Eurosceptics try to revisit the issue again (and again) until the right answer is produced? Also reading the British press on-line it often seems that the likes of the Mail and Telegraph which rail against the EU as an unworkable multinational federation are loudest in their condemnation of the wishes of some Scots to end their participation in a multinational state. They also say Scotland faces economic ruin by withdrawing from the Union while the UK can find economic salvation in withdrawing from the EU!!! I realise I have cobbled two issues together here but does anyone else see a glaring inconsistancy here?

No, the Union between England and Scotland has had centuries to work (OK it officially began at the start of the 18th century, but the economic and political links existed well before that, not to mention the obvious geographical link).

The economies of the two countries are far more similar than, say, the economies of Germany and Spain, or the UK and Greece. The currency is the same. The language is (more or less! [Eek!] ) the same.

Yes, we EU sceptics would continue 'to revisit the issue' as we (some of us) think that the EU is inherently bad and anti-democratic. And the EU itself has some form on getting people to 'revisit the issue' when a referendum gives 'the wrong result'!

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Switzerland's position of being outside everything hasn't prevented it from being an important financial centre.

Switzerland has an agreement with the EU which is virtually identical to that which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have. It isn't a part of the EEA in name, but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.

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Sergius-Melli
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.

Are you suggesting that the Swiss Confed. is allowed to pick and choose what it does and does not implement - where listening to Europhiles I would be led to believe that anyone in the same sort of relationship as Norway has to follow every diktat without any of the power of shaping it...

Your comment seems to paint a different picture...

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lowlands_boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.

Are you suggesting that the Swiss Confed. is allowed to pick and choose what it does and does not implement - where listening to Europhiles I would be led to believe that anyone in the same sort of relationship as Norway has to follow every diktat without any of the power of shaping it...

Your comment seems to paint a different picture...

The Swiss do not (for example) allow free movement of labour. I worked in Switzerland for a number of years, and if you are there for any length of time, you require a work permit from the Kreisburo, and you have to start paying taxes locally (including church taxes, if you declare yourself to be Protestant or Catholic. I declared myself to be a Methodist, which confused the guy enough that I didn't end up paying that bit). The work permit is tied to your particular job, and can be rescinded (or indeed, not granted at all) as they see fit. Lose the job, and you can go back where you came from. And you didn't get to vote. Taxation without representation!

On the other hand, in the EU countries I worked in, you could just turn up and do whatever, and nobody cared.

So the Swiss certainly have some important differences.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.

Are you suggesting that the Swiss Confed. is allowed to pick and choose what it does and does not implement - where listening to Europhiles I would be led to believe that anyone in the same sort of relationship as Norway has to follow every diktat without any of the power of shaping it...

Your comment seems to paint a different picture...

Their relationship is outlined by a series of biltateral treaties which sort of baseline the EEA.

So generally outside the economic treaties themselves the Swiss can pick and choose - for instance they are part of Schengen since 2005.

As far as the economic treaties go they do indeed have to accept them without really having the ability to shape them

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais
Do you mean .... he's proposed the referendum so as to get re-elected? There's a surprise.

Oooh no. I can't imagine myself being so cynical! [Big Grin]

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Ronald Binge
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quote:
Originally posted by Matariki:
A couuple of points come to mind. If a referendum happens and the vote is to stay in will that really be the end of the matter or will Eurosceptics try to revisit the issue again (and again) until the right answer is produced? Also reading the British press on-line it often seems that the likes of the Mail and Telegraph which rail against the EU as an unworkable multinational federation are loudest in their condemnation of the wishes of some Scots to end their participation in a multinational state. They also say Scotland faces economic ruin by withdrawing from the Union while the UK can find economic salvation in withdrawing from the EU!!! I realise I have cobbled two issues together here but does anyone else see a glaring inconsistancy here?

No inconsistency, the coherent bit of their world view is what England (not Britain and certainly not Northern Ireland) needs is to have the freedom to 1. have the death penalty and corporal punishment back, 2. curb workers' rights, 3. have the right to ride roughshod over the devolved parliaments and 4. Google Pettigo and Tullyhoman. I would be greatly amused to see what an anti EU UK Government would do there if the Republic of Ireland stayed in the EU. Clue: Spike Milligan's Puckoon.

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Matariki
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Good analysis RB! I agree entirely. The Euroscepticism of UKIP and parts of the Conservative Party does seem to be a form of aggrieved and very Anglo-centric English nationalism. Threre is - for sure - a Euroscepticism of the Left (common in Scandinavia and in Green parties) which mistrusts what can appear to be a distant and unnacountable organisation and I can find some sympathy for this. This is quite different from the sentiments David Cameron is trying to placate.
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Cod
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quote:
Originally posted by Heavenly Anarchist:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Switzerland's position of being outside everything hasn't prevented it from being an important financial centre.

Yes, but it hasn't exactly covered itself in glory here. It has had a reputation for generations of assisting in illegal financial transactions on a worldwide scale. It's oldest bank announced it was closing down a few weeks ago after being found guilty of aiding US tax evasion http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20907359
So in other words, nothing much would change if London ended up outside the EU.

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Cod
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Switzerland's position of being outside everything hasn't prevented it from being an important financial centre.

Switzerland has an agreement with the EU which is virtually identical to that which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have. It isn't a part of the EEA in name, but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.
And I expect the UK would be able to arrange something similar. Vested interests on the Continent may not particularly like London's importance in financial services, but that does not affect the fact that businesses across the contininent find it useful to use London's services. This is for a variety of reasons: the legal system, expertise, infrastructure, London's position as a global centre (not least as the spider in the centre of a web of various tax havens) and so on. The fact that London is situated within the EU is only part of the reason for its importance.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Switzerland's position of being outside everything hasn't prevented it from being an important financial centre.

Switzerland has an agreement with the EU which is virtually identical to that which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have. It isn't a part of the EEA in name, but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.
And I expect the UK would be able to arrange something similar. Vested interests on the Continent may not particularly like London's importance in financial services, but that does not affect the fact that businesses across the contininent find it useful to use London's services. This is for a variety of reasons: the legal system, expertise, infrastructure, London's position as a global centre (not least as the spider in the centre of a web of various tax havens) and so on. The fact that London is situated within the EU is only part of the reason for its importance.
That might be hoped for by some, but Switzerland has never been part of the EU, so the starting position for any negotiations would be different. As that would be different it would be, IMNSHO, much harder to gain concessions for a former EU member than for a country that has unique political and economic relationships with the entire world, but happens to be geographically at the centre of the EU & EEA.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
For financial matters, London is already the centre for trading in Euros despite being outside of the Eurozone

Though according to a former ECB central committee member, quoted in The Telegraph, the ECB could move to prevent the City from euro trading if Britain left the EU.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Switzerland has an agreement with the EU which is virtually identical to that which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have. It isn't a part of the EEA in name, but in all respects that suit the Swiss it is.

And I expect the UK would be able to arrange something similar.
Probably, but would we want to? AIUI the issue with Norway is that they're still subject to all the Red Tape and Regulations, but they have much less of a voice in deciding what those regulations should be.

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Cod
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
That might be hoped for by some, but Switzerland has never been part of the EU, so the starting position for any negotiations would be different. As that would be different it would be, IMNSHO, much harder to gain concessions for a former EU member than for a country that has unique political and economic relationships with the entire world, but happens to be geographically at the centre of the EU & EEA.

It doesn't follow that the ending point would be any different. Britain's leaving the EU would - couldn't - be a simple matter of leaving but would involve protracted and difficult negotiations over various matters - just as would happen if Scotland left the UK. I think it's better to assume that the outcome will depend on the respective strength of the negotiating parties - just as if the UK had never been in the EU in the first place.

I think controls re EU deals is an interesting point. I wonder how far the EU could enforce that without harming the euro's status as a worldwide currency and a reserve currency. In any event, controls could be used to exclude London anyway because it's not in the Eurozone - it being in the EU is perhaps beside the point.

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"I fart in your general direction."
M Barnier

Posts: 4229 | From: New Zealand | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged



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