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SOUND-BITE FACTS   -   BREXIT NEWS  (Latest news appears first)
 DUTCH SENATE OVERTURNS REFERENDUM,
JUNCKER CLAIMS EU VICTORY
Netherlands Senators approve EU-Ukraine deal despite Referendum ‘No’ vote
Yesterday in the Dutch Senate, legislators gave the final approval to the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine, thereby overturning the Dutch people’s referendum result on 6th April last year.
The wording of the referendum question was very clear:
'Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?'
FOR: 39%
AGAINST: 61%
 
What is the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement?
According to the EU, the Agreement “constitutes a new state in the development of EU-Ukraine contractual relations, aiming at political association and economic integration.”
Association agreements are used by the EU as precursors to full membership. They invariably lead to visa-free access being granted as an interim measure, and this has long been planned for Ukraine.
Why did the Dutch have a referendum?
The Ukrainian deal was signed between the EU and Ukraine in 2014, but Dutch people objected to it when the relevant law was proposed in the Dutch parliament.
What happened next?
A referendum took place on 6th April 2016 and the Agreement was rejected by the Dutch people by 61%-39%. Months of discussions took place between the Dutch government and the EU. As ever with the EU, a fudge was organised whereby some wording was changed in the Agreement.
Yesterday the Dutch Senate gave final approval to the deal. The Dutch people did not have a further say.
How did President Jean-Claude Juncker greet the news yesterday?
“Today's vote in the Dutch Senate sends an important signal from the Netherlands and the entire European Union to our Ukrainian friends: Ukraine's place is in Europe. Ukraine's future lies with Europe.”
 
OBSERVATIONS
Perhaps it might have been more honest for President Juncker to have said:
“It doesn’t matter how people voted, we’ll always win in the end.”
No-one is suggesting that the Dutch referendum on the issue of the EU-Ukraine deal was comparable to that of the UK's EU Referendum, but it is yet another example of a referendum result being overturned.
Readers may wish to note that there are still many powerful bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels and in the EU27 capitals who think that Brexit will never actually happen – or at least not in the way most people would understand Brexit.
So far the EU has successfully overcome (or ignored) ‘No’ votes in referenda in Ireland, France, Holland, Denmark, Greece and Hungary.
With polls narrowing in the UK General Election, the British people might do well to look at the history of referenda being overturned, before casting their vote. Brexit could still be fudged into obscurity, if a weak and uncommitted coalition government were in charge.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Dutch government ]
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       05.50am, 31 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
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 REVEALED
WHAT THE EU WANTS YOU TO PAY FOR
We show you the list of the EU's initial demands in full
Yesterday Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier produced a document setting out the basis for the EU's proposed financial demands from the UK.
The EU's 'Essential Principles on Financial Settlement' is described as containing "the main principles of the EU position in this regard, to be presented to the UK in the context of negotiations under Art. 50"
The EU's demands cover everything they could possibly think of, and would involve the UK making payments to the EU for many years to come. Some of the items mentioned will not be spent and entered into the accounts for as much as 10 years after the UK's departure. In the case of pensions this extends to many decades.
STILL NO LEGAL JUSTIFICATION FROM EU
Despite the document running to 10 pages, there is not one word about the EU's legal basis for demanding a financial settlement over and above the UK's normal contributions until 30 March 2019.
STILL NO COST-CUTTING FROM EU
Despite the obvious future shortfall in the EU's finances, there is still no word from them about starting to cut back on their expenditure.
EU ARE STILL NOT READY TO START NEGOTIATIONS
Despite preparing this document, the EU are still not ready to start negotiating. The document remains as a working draft, which will be discussed by them internally in the coming days. Following that, further high-level meetings are required before the EU will be ready to begin.
Regular readers will know that at Facts4EU.Org we try to summarise lengthy documents, knowing that people don't have time for the details. However in this case we are showing the entire annexes from the EU's latest document, for two reasons:-
  1. To show everyone what the UK taxpayer has been paying for in the last 44 years, and
  2. To demonstrate the magnitude of the EU's demands for a divorce bill
***********************************************
ANNEX 1 - LISTS OF BODIES OR FUNDS
INCLUDED IN THE FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT
A. ENTITIES IN THE CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS

1. Institutions and consultative bodies

European Parliament
European Council European
European Commission
European Court of Auditors
Court of Justice of the European Union
Council of the European Union
Economic and Social Committee
Committee of the Regions
European Ombudsman
European Data Protection Supervisor
European External Action Service
2. EU Agencies

2.1. Executive Agencies

Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency
Innovation & Networks Executive Agency
Research Executive Agency
European Research Council Executive Agency

2.2. Decentralised Agencies

European Maritime Safety Agency
European Food Safety Authority
European Medicines Agency
European Railway Agency
European GNSS Supervisory Authority
Community Plant Variety Office
European Chemicals Agency
European Fisheries Control Agency
Fusion for Energy (European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy)
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Eurojust
European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)
European Institute for Gender Equality
European Police Office (EUROPOL)
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
European Aviation Safety Agency
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
European Network and Information Security Agency
European Environment Agency
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
European Centre for the Development of Vocational training
European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority
European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators
Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union
European Banking Authority
European Securities and Markets Authority
European Asylum Support Office
European Training Foundation
Office for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
European Union Intellectual Property Office
EU-LISA (European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice)
The Single Resolution Board (SRB)

3. Other entities

European Coal and Steel Community (in liquidation)
European Institute of Innovation and Technology

B. JOINT VENTURES

SESAR Joint Undertaking
Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking
Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking
ECSEL Joint undertaking
Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking
Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking
Shift2Rail
Galileo Joint Undertaking in liquidation

C. ASSOCIATES FUNDS IN THE ACCOUNTS

European Investment Fund

D. FUNDS NOT IN THE CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS

European Development Fund
Facility for Refugees in Turkey

E. TRUST FUNDS

European Union Trust Fund for Central African Republic “Bêkou EU Trust Fund”
European Union Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, "the Madad Fund"
Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa
Trust Fund for Columbia (sic)

F. BODIES NOT IN THE CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS

European Central Bank
European Investment Bank
European Defence Agency
European Union Institute for Security Studies
European Union Satellite Centre
European Schools
ANNEX 2 - LIST OF BASIC ACTS - PROGRAMMES
EFSI
EGNOS & Galileo
ITER
Copernicus
ND-BG-SK
ND-LT
H2020
Euratom
COSME
Erasmus+
EaSI
Customs 2020
Fiscalis 2020
Hercule III

Pericles 2020

AFIS
CEF-Energy
CEF-Transport
CEF-ICT
ESP
FINSER
ISA
ICFS
WIFI4ALL
ERDF
ESF
CF
CEF-CF
YEI
FEAD
EAGF

EAFRD
EMFF
SFPAs
LIFE
AMIF
ISF
SIS
VIS
EURODAC
JUSTICE
RIGHT
UCPM3
E4CITIZEN
FOOD
HEALTH
CONSUMER
CREA
IES
IPA II
ENI
DCI
PI
EIDHR
IcSP
HUMA
CFSP
INSC
MFA
GF
UCPM4
EUAV
EFSD
TCC

GRLD
European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
European satellite navigation systems (EGNOS and Galileo)
International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)
European Earth Observation Programme (Copernicus)
Nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Bulgaria and Slovakia
Nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Lithuania
Horizon 2020
Euratom Research and Training Programme
Competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME)
Education, Training and Sport (Erasmus+)
Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
Action programme for customs in the European Union (Customs 2020)
Action programme for taxation in the European Union (Fiscalis 2020)
Programme to promote activities in the field of the protection of the European Union's financial interests (Hercule III)
Exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting (Pericles 2020)
Anti Fraud Information System (AFIS)
Connecting Europe Facility-Energy
Connecting Europe Facility-Transport
Connecting Europe Facility-Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
European statistical programme (ESP)
Specific activities in the field of financial reporting and auditing
Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations, businesses & citizens
Enhancing consumers involvement in EU policy making in the field of financial services
Wifi For All
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
European Social Fund (ESF)
Cohesion Fund (CF)
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – CF contribution
Youth Employment initiative (specific top-up allocation)(YEI)
European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)
European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) — Market related expenditure and direct payments
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs)
Environment and climate action (LIFE)
Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
Internal Security Fund
Schengen Information System (SIS)
Visa Information System (VIS)
Comparison of fingerprints for effective application of the Dublin Convention
Justice
Rights, Equality and Citizenship
Union Civil protection Mechanism
Europe for Citizens
Food and feed
Health
Consumer
Creative Europe
Instrument for Emergency Support within the Union (IES)
Instrument for Pre-accession assistance (IPA II)
European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)
Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)
Partnership instrument for cooperation with third countries (PI)
European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)
Humanitarian aid (HUMA)
Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC)
Macro-financial Assistance (MFA)
Guarantee Fund for external actions (GF)
Union Civil Protection Mechanism
EU Aid Volunteers initiative (EUAV)
European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD)
Instrument of financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community (TCC)
EU Cooperation with Greenland
OBSERVATIONS
Even if you don't bother to read the annexes above, just look at the length. You may wish to take stock of the extent to which the EU has spread its interests far beyond any concepts of mutually-beneficial trade, or even of cooperation on areas of common interest between member states.
We have previously run articles on various of the items in the lists above, showing how money is being spent by the EU unknown to the British taxpayer.
To many people some of the items will be somewhat... surprising. For example, why does the EU have a "Trust Fund for Columbia"? (And don't they know how to spell 'Colombia'?) Why is the UK expected to pay for "the protection of the euro against counterfeiting"? We could go on.
We happen to think that yesterday's document is quite important to Brexit. We could write a lot more about it if we were paid professionals with a big team backing us up.
The BBC seems to have a different editorial position.. This morning we had to trawl hard through the BBC's news website before we eventually found it buried. It was mentioned briefly in just three lines within another story.
If you are campaigning against a Remain-supporting candidate in the General Election, we hope you find the above adds to your ammunition.
As ever, we welcome your thoughts on the above. Post them here and they will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.00am, 30 May 2017
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 G7 DECISIONS RELEVANT TO BREXIT
A summary of what the communiques contain, and their relevance for Brexit
The leaders of the most advanced economies of the world met on Friday and Saturday as the G7.
These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund and they account for 64% of net global wealth.
As we have noted for previous G7 Summits, the EU was also present in the forms of Presidents Juncker and Tusk, despite the EU not being a country. The European Union is described as “a non-enumerated member”. It should be remembered that currently out of the seven countries in the G7, four are members of the EU, so it can be said that the EU is extremely well-represented overall.
Photos © G7
For anyone wanting to know why the EU is included in the talks and had two delegates (Tusk and Juncker), they need only look at the body deciding membership – the pro-EU IMF, based in Paris, and run by the Europhile Frenchwoman Ms Christine Lagarde.
WHAT DID THEY DISCUSS?
There were four main topics:
  • Citizen safety and immigration
  • Climate change
  • Gender and other inequalities
  • The ‘Next Production Revolution’
Two of these issues did not go at all according to plan: immigration and climate change. We cover immigration below, given its relevance to Brexit, but on climate change we note simply that no G7 statement could be issued because the US has yet to decide if it will pull out of the Paris agreement.
Angela Merkel told journalists that “The whole discussion on the topic of climate was very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory”.
WHAT DID THEY DECIDE THAT IS RELEVANT TO BREXIT?
Turning to issues of relevance to Brexit, below we look at three areas specifically mentioned in the official final communiques.
1. TERRORISM & SECURITY COOPERATION
Despite Remainer claims that the UK will be isolated post-Brexit, here is what the communique says:
“We will pursue a collective approach to managing the risk posed by foreign fighters as they disperse from theatres of conflict... We will offer our expertise and resources to develop legal pathways in order to return foreign fighters to their country of origin. We will commit to greater knowledge- sharing of known individuals who have travelled to Daesh/al-Qaeda territory. We will cooperate on the upstream collection of battlefield evidence to enable prosecution of returning foreign fighters.”
“We are also committed to supporting INTERPOL in its information-sharing functions. We will further enhance connectivity of priority partner countries to its Database System and continue to assess how we can jointly accelerate this endeavor.”
2. IMMIGRATION
Right of countries to have sovereign immigration policies is confirmed:
“We also recognize the need to support refugees as close to their home countries as possible, and enable them to return safely to and help rebuild their home communities. We reaffirm the sovereign rights of states, individually and collectively, to control their own borders and to establish policies in their own national interest and national security.”
However the section on immigration closes with the following:
“We will safeguard the value of the positive aspects of a safe, orderly and regular migration, since properly managed flows can bring economic and social benefits to countries of both origin and destination as well as to migrants and refugees themselves.”
3. TRADE & WTO
“We reiterate our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight protectionism, while standing firm against all unfair trade practices. At the same time, we acknowledge that trade has not always worked to the benefit of everyone. For this reason, we commit to adopting appropriate policies so that all firms and citizens can make the most of opportunities offered by the global economy.
“We push for the removal of all trade-distorting practices - including dumping, discriminatory non-tariff barriers, forced technology transfers, subsidies and other support by governments and related institutions that distort markets - so as to foster a truly level playing field.
“We recognize the importance of the rules-based international trading system. We commit to working together to improve the functioning of the WTO, to ensure full and transparent implementation and effective and timely enforcement of all WTO rules by all Members and to achieve a successful 11th WTO Ministerial Conference.”
OBSERVATIONS
On security, the G7 (with the EU) emphasised their commitment to greater knowledge-sharing about individuals and organisations who may pose a threat. It’s hard to reconcile this with claims from Remainers that the UK will be excluded from any intelligence that EU countries may have which is of use to the UK.
On immigration, there is a growing understanding of the need to establish support for refugees as close as possible to their home countries, i.e. not simply accepting refugees/migrants into the EU.
It had been expected that the G7 would agree to a lengthy stand-alone statement on immigration that underscored the international community’s obligations to resettle refugees. This was to involve commitments, financial and otherwise, but the entire idea was torpedoed by the US in the days preceding the Summit. In the end, any global approach to resettlement and financial aid got watered down into two fairly anodyne paragraphs in the main communique.
Nevertheless, the hand of Frau Merkel can be seen in the statement that “properly managed flows can bring economic and social benefits to countries of both origin and destination”. German policies on immigration have changed drastically as the effects of uncontrolled immigration have increasingly been felt by the German public (and by the rest of Europe), but the Chancellor is still unable to admit that she made a mistake in opening Germany’s frontiers in August 2015.
On trade, the G7 remain committed to open and free trade - and to the importance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This will be important to the post-Brexit UK as it forges new and extended deals with countries globally.
[ Sources: G7 Communiques | EU Commission | The White House ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       08.00am, 29 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: Anonymous, UK      Date/Time: 29 May 2017, 11.10am
Message: "Right of countries to have sovereign immigration policies is confirmed:"
This is contrary to the political policy of the EU with the inclusion of freedom of movement being a tenet of the single market membership.
“We will safeguard the value of the positive aspects of a safe, orderly and regular migration, since properly managed flows can bring economic and social benefits to countries of both origin and destination as well as to migrants and refugees themselves.”
Surely this is what the United Kingdom has always wanted and is a major reason for our leaving the EU. We want to take back control.
Note from Facts4EU Team: You can comment anonymously, but we request that a pseudonym is used. Thank you!
Name: StuartC, Lancashire      Date/Time: 29 May 2017, 12.38pm
Message: Dear Sirs, I would like a question answered which is very relevant to our situation. Who do we owe the One and a Half Trillion pounds national debt to? Who gets the interest and how much? Why cannot the general public receive a fair interest rate on their savings, which would fund extra revenue for our economy. I will donate very soon and have used your information to good effect during the "Leave" campaign. Thank you for all you do, Stuart.
 WHO DO YOU WANT DEFENDING US – NATO OR THE EU?
Both organisations made statements on future defence and security last week
Last week the EU moved closer to its goal of an EU army, as President Trump lambasted EU leaders for their lack of commitment to security and defence.
A Facts4EU.Org analysis of the two choices facing Europe
THE NEW OPTION - THE EU
In all the reporting of President Trump’s Thursday attack on EU countries for not paying their way on defence, the latest announcement of the EU’s plans for a common defence force to rival NATO was barely mentioned by the media.
On Wednesday – the day before the NATO Summit – the EU Commission held “an Orientation Debate” on the future of European Defence by 2025. The new policy is due to be adopted in less than two weeks’ time on 7 June.
Here is what the EU Commission said on Wednesday:
“A stronger Europe when it comes to security and defence matters has also been a priority for the Juncker Commission since it took office, with President Juncker announcing the creation of a European Defence Fund in his 2016 State of the Union address.
 
“With a worsening security situation in Europe's neighbourhood and a strong economic case for greater cooperation on defence spending amongst EU countries, the Commission believes now is the time to make strides towards a European Security and Defence Union.”
EU Commission press statement, 24 May 2017
THE EXISTING ARRANGEMENT - NATO
The following day, President Trump addressed the meeting of the leaders of NATO countries, which include 21 countries from the EU.
Here is what the President Trump said on Thursday:
“The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration, as well as threats from Russia and on NATO’s eastern and southern borders. These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the Alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations, for 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense.
 
“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.”
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
“We have to make up for the many years lost. Two percent [of GDP] is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats. If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism.”
President Trump addressing leaders of the NATO Alliance, 25 May 2017
OBSERVATIONS
Despite the claims of the Remain campaign in the Referendum debate last year, there is no doubt that the EU plans to merge the defence and security forces of its member states.
At the Bratislava Summit in September 2016, the leaders of 27 Member States (the UK wasn’t invited) concluded: "We need the EU not only to guarantee peace and democracy but also the security of our people." The EU Commission itself is quite clear: “the Commission believes now is the time to make strides towards a European Security and Defence Union” (24 May 2017).
In November 2016, Facts4EU.Org interviewed the distinguished former Falklands commander Maj-Gen Julian Thompson, who stated “I’m quite clear that the intention of the European Union is to set up its own defence organisation which they hope will eventually replace NATO.” We agree.
Three months ago, Facts4EU.Org analysed the spending of the 21 EU member states who are also members of NATO. This analysis (see graph above and below) showed that President Trump was right to be critical last week.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
We believe that President Trump could have gone much further. It’s our strong opinion that the EU is merely paying lip service to the idea of NATO and that it aims to replace it. Reading the numerous documents and statements from the EU about defence and security in recent years makes this the inescapable conclusion.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOU
1. Will the EU ever be able to defend itself?
2. Should the UK ever join the proposed EU Defence Union?
3. What is the future of NATO?
We welcome your thoughts on these questions and any other comments you may have. Post them here and they will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | NATO | The White House | Maj-Gen Julian Thompson ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.10am, 28 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: StuartC, Lancashire      Date/Time: 29 May 2017, 1.11pm
Message: Why is Germany withholding it's contribution to NATO? Is it waiting for an EU army which will be dominated by the wealthiest EU member - Germany? We should take care, this may be the third time Germany has tried to take over Europe in the last 100 years.
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 UK IS TOP CUSTOMER IN THE EU FOR US GOODS
Latest official US data shows why President Trump is keen to do trade deal with UK
Exclusive Facts4EU.Org Research Report on US Trade - Part 1
Last year the UK was the top customer for American products, according to official data from the US Census Bureau.
20.5% of all US goods exported to the EU were bought by the UK. UK customers bought 12% more than the Germans, 79% more than the French, and over 3 times more than the Italians.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
The UK bought $55.4 billion of American goods – more than any other EU country.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
OBSERVATIONS
The EU remains keen to do a trade deal with the US, after the spectacular implosion of the much-vaunted and long-awaited ‘TTIP’ deal last year.
No doubt President Trump will be looking at how the EU market for American products will be only 79.5% of its current size, once the UK exits the EU in 2019.
No other EU country is as important to exporters of American products as the UK. Naturally the EU27 remains a very important market for the US, but given the complexities of trying to negotiate with the EU it’s not surprising that the US Trade Dept is keen to agree a deal with the UK as soon as possible.
Next article: Why President Trump told the EU on Thursday that Germany is "very bad"
Do you have anything to say about the above article? Post your comment here.
[ Sources: US Census Bureau ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.25am, 27 May 2017
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 WHY PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID GERMANY IS “VERY BAD”
Latest figures show the USA has a trade problem with Germany
Exclusive Facts4EU.Org Research Report on US Trade - Part 2
Latest figures from the US Census Bureau show why President Trump singled out Germany when he spoke to Presidents Juncker and Tusk on Thursday. A row broke out following the meeting, after the US President described Germany as ‘very bad’ during the short talks which took place.
We researched the EU’s trade with the US and compiled the information relating to each of the 28 member states. The news is good for the UK, but not so encouraging for Germany, and it explains President Trump’s remarks during his whistlestop visit to the EU’s Brussels HQ.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
  • The US had a trade deficit in goods of $146 billion with the EU last year
  • Germany was responsible for a staggering 44.3% of this
  • Germany sold the US $114 billion in goods, but only bought $49 billion in return
Germany was responsible for 27.4% of all goods imported into the US from the EU last year. In overall terms Germany is therefore doing very well out of the EU’s relationship with the US, and it’s hardly surprising that President Trump focused on Germany when talking to Presidents Juncker and Tusk about the EU’s massive imbalance of trade with the US.
Conversely, the US had a small trade surplus with the UK last year. The US sold the UK $55 billion in goods, and bought $54 billion of goods in return.
Do you have anything to say about the above article? Post your comment here.
[ Sources: US Census Bureau ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.25am, 27 May 2017
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 PRESIDENT TRUMP ‘DOES’ THE EU IN 90 MINUTES
US President shows what he thinks of the EU in double-quick order
Yesterday the President was able to tick off his first meeting with all three institutions of the EU in record time. He covered the EU Council, Commission and Parliament from 10.00-11.30am, before heading back to the US embassy.
© EU Commission
The President of the most powerful country in the world flew in to Brussels yesterday, and met the EU for the first time.
Specifically President Trump met EU Council President Tusk and EU Commission President Juncker. That took 20 minutes.
They were then joined by EU Parliament President Tajani and EU Foreign Minister Mogherini, for a chat about terrorism, combating radicalisation, North Korea, climate change, Ukraine, and unfair trade practices. That took another 70 minutes.
By 11.30am, duty done, Mr Trump headed back to the US embassy. He didn’t even feel that his first meeting with the EU in Brussels merited a press conference.
OBSERVATIONS
If anyone was in any doubt what the President of the United States thinks of the EU as an organisation, all such doubts were obliterated in just 90 minutes yesterday.
Read our next article for details of what President Trump and the US administration said yesterday, and what the EU said about him.
Note: We have seen nothing in the UK media to highlight this virtual dismissal of the EU by Mr Trump yesterday. If you value our daily output of unique information, please support us. We receive no backing from any organisation or advertisers or hedge funds and we need contributions from members of the public to survive. Thank you.
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[ Sources: EU Council | EU Commission | EU Parliament | The White House ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.35am, 26 May 2017
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Tim Farron, LibDems
 
Please help us to wipe the smile off his face
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 ONE ELECTED PRESIDENT TRUMPS THREE UNELECTED ONES
How the EU was brought down to size in 90 minutes
EU Council President Donald Tusk’s diary had the following entries yesterday:
© EU Council
President Tusk must have hoped that his (and the EU’s) first meeting with the leader of the free world would have been more of an occasion. Unfortunately for him, and for the other unelected EU apparatchiks, President Trump had other ideas.
Not only was Donald Trump’s visit to the EU’s HQ in Brussels perfunctory, the body language and facial expressions on view could not disguise how badly things went.
© EU Commission
When the EU has something to crow about, it crows. Big time, as the US President might say. Even when a meeting hasn’t gone well, the EU usually finds some way of spinning the news into a positive story.
It is therefore enlightening to look at the official statements from all participants, which were released after the visit by the US President yesterday.
EU COMMISSION - PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER
Monsieur Juncker couldn’t even bring himself to make a formal statement about his meeting with President Trump. Instead he gave a press conference about his meeting with President Macron of France. During questions afterwards, he was asked how it went with Trump. He spoke in French, of course.
“We touched on a lot of topics ... We insisted on the need for free, but fair competition for us. And so we agreed to bring together Europeans and Americans ... because we felt that there were too many divergences between these two great economic groups.”
At the time of writing, the EU Commission still hasn’t issued a formal press statement on the meeting.
EU COUNCIL - PRESIDENT DONALD TUSK
“During my meeting with President Trump, we discussed foreign policy, security, climate and trade relations. My feeling is that we agreed on many areas. First and foremost, on counterterrorism, and I am sure that I do not have to explain why. But some issues remain open, like climate and trade.
“My main message to President Trump was that what gives our cooperation and friendship its deepest meaning are fundamental Western values, like freedom, human rights and respect for human dignity. The greatest task today is the consolidation of the whole free world around those values, and not just interests.
“Values and principles first - this is what we, Europe and America, should be saying.”
EU PARLIAMENT - PRESIDENT ANTONIO TAJANI
“The alliance and friendship between Europe and the United States is based on shared values, cultural roots, language and religion. Citizens, on both sides of the Atlantic, are asking us for concrete responses on terrorism, peace and jobs.
“I reaffirmed the European Parliament’s position on China, namely that it does not recognise that China is a market economy.”
President Tajani also said to President Trump that, “Europe is taking on greater responsibility on defence, developing a common European industry, market and research.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP – OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT
The US President chose not to bother with a press conference. Instead the White House issued a short, formal statement:
“The leaders discussed the United States’ and the European Union’s shared challenges in fighting global terrorism and protecting our homelands. They agreed on the need to work together to deepen our security cooperation in fighting ISIS, combating radicalization, and responding to other common threats. They also discussed the threat from North Korea and agreed to work together to further isolate the North Korean regime politically and economically.
“The leaders agreed that the United States and the European Union should deepen our strong economic relationship. They also discussed the need to protect American and European industries against unfair competition.”
OBSERVATIONS
Just think about the above for a moment. Can you think of a meeting of two major economic and political powers where the leaders didn’t conduct a joint press conference afterwards?
No, neither can we.
Nor can we remember a time when President Jean-Claude Juncker missed an opportunity to grandstand in front of the cameras, after such an event as the first meeting with the US President.
Meanwhile in Berlin...
Extraordinarily, whilst President Trump was in Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel was sitting next to former US President (and Europhile) Barack Obama at an outdoor event at the Brandenburg Gate.
Actions speak louder than words. President Trump yesterday showed exactly what he thinks of the EU by giving it the shortest amount of time he could, before going to spend far longer down the road at NATO HQ.
In a second statement issued by the White House yesterday, the President showed considerably more support for the UK than he did for the EU. The statement ends:
“There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.”
FOOTNOTE
What is the BBC’s headline about Mr Trump’s visit?
“Blunt Trump averts diplomatic disaster in Brussels”.
And what is the BBC’s headline about Mr Obama’s visit to Berlin?
“Merkel and Obama grieve for Manchester”.
No bias there then.
Do you have anything to say about the above article? Post your comment here.
[ Sources: EU Council | EU Commission | EU Parliament | The White House ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.35am, 26 May 2017
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 “NO CREDIBLE LEGAL ARGUMENT” FOR BREXIT BILL
EU’s legal case for Brexit bill is destroyed again by eminent lawyers
At Facts4EU.Org we have published several articles about the EU’s desire to punish the UK and subsidise its overstretched finances with a Brexit bill, alleged to be in the region of €60-100 billion euros. (Approx £50-85 billion pounds.)
On each occasion we stated that the EU has no legal justification for any Brexit bill, beyond the UK continuing to pay its normal dues up until the date of exit.
After Michel Barnier’s speech about Brexit on 03 May, we wrote:
“It is highly significant that Monsieur Barnier was not able to give any legal basis for the EU’s demand for money from the UK. If he had had legal backing he could have used, he would have used it.”
NEW LEGAL OPINION DESTROYS EU'S LEGAL CASE
On Tuesday our friends at Lawyers for Britain sent us their latest assessment of the EU’s legal case. It makes devastating reading for the EU.
The author is the eminent QC specialising in EU law, Martin Howe, who says the following:
 
Martin Howe QC
“The European Union’s ever expanding Brexit financial claims against the UK, now apparently northward of €100bn, have raised their head in the campaign. Last weekend, the Prime Minister gave an interview to The Sunday Telegraph in which she insisted that the UK’s rights must be respected -- including its claim to a share of the European Investment Bank -- as well as any obligations. David Davis gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which he was dismissive of the EU’s financial demands for €100bn or more and commented: “I’m sufficiently poor to think that €1bn is a lot of money.” He also raised the possibility that the EU’s stance on this and other issues might lead to “no deal”.
At Lawyers for Britain, we have looked in detail at the EU’s Brexit financial claims as they are now being advanced under the European Council’s approved negotiating guidelines. Our new and updated Analysis of the UK’s potential financial liabilities looks at the legal arguments in depth.
We have failed to find a credible legal argument either for a liability on the UK to contribute to the EU’s unfunded pension fund deficit, or for any liability to contribute to the EU’s ongoing programmes after Brexit day on 29 March 2019, with the possible exception of an obligation to carry on contributing overseas aid of €1.3bn up to the end of 2020 via the European Development Fund (EDF). But the EDF example is actually helpful to the wider argument that the UK has no ongoing liability at all to contribute to the EU budget, since the funding for the EDF is agreed via a quite different mechanism in which the individual Member States assume direct obligations to fund the programme outside the framework of the EU treaties.
On the other hand, the UK has a firm financial claim for the value of its shareholding interest in the European Investment Bank (EIB) worth about €10bn, although it is likely that the UK’s interest in the EIB and its uncalled capital obligation will have to be unwound together with a proportion of its loan book rather than being “cashed up”.
We have also examined the vexed question of whether there is an international court which has jurisdiction to adjudicate on these financial claims and counterclaims. We conclude that neither the ECJ nor the ICJ (International Court of Justice) have jurisdiction, and indeed neither is an appropriate forum to decide this dispute. On the other hand it would be possible to establish an ad hoc international tribunal to rule on the dispute in accordance with well recognised procedures. In view of the strength of its legal arguments, the UK should welcome adjudication of these claims in front of a fair and impartial tribunal. If an impasse over these financial claims causes a blockage in the Brexit negotiations, a possible solution may be to refer the claims and counter-claims to adjudication.”
OBSERVATIONS
At Facts4EU.Org we have conducted our own research into various aspects of this subject, and readers may wish to remind themselves of some our previous articles on the topic:
No legal justification: 04 May, 03 May, and 29 Apr
Do you have anything to say about the EU's proposed Brexit bill? Post your comment here.
[ Sources: Lawyers for Britain ]        07.15am, 25 May 2017
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Name: Paul A, East Sussex      Date/Time: 25 May 2017, 08.55am
Message: Impartial Tribunal is an oxymoron.... a bit like 'friendly EU' etc. Keep up the good work! Best, Paul.
Name: J Finn, UK      Date/Time: 25 May 2017, 1.55pm
Message: Let's not forget that these are the same legal experts who argued that there was no need to consult parliament before Article 50 was triggered. However, it's largely irrelevant. The EU can ask whatever it likes. How much we end up paying will depend a lot on which party is in government after the election. The Labour party is committed to remaining in the single market and customs union and will be happy to pay a sizeable chunk to achieve those goals. The Tories seem more prepared to walk away so we'll pay something but probably not anywhere near £100 billion (pounds or euros).
EVIL TERRORIST ACT SUSPENDS DEMOCRACY AGAIN
We do not normally comment on UK political matters unless they relate to Brexit. However we're compelled to ask why political campaigning is once again suspended in the UK today. Silencing and destroying democracy is surely one of the terrorists' aims?
       Facts4EU.Org, 06.45 Wednesday, 24 May 2017
 EU’s ‘EUROPE FOR CITIZENS’ FUND BECOMES ‘SAVE THE EU’ FUND
Priorities for 2017 are fighting Euroscepticism and promoting migrants
One of the thousands of funds operated by the EU Commission (and paid for by the taxpayer) is called the ‘Europe For Citizens’ Fund.
According to the EU, the aim of the Europe For Citizens programme is to:
  • Contribute to citizens' understanding of the EU, its history and diversity
  • Foster European citizenship and improve conditions for civic & democratic participation at EU level
In practice, this Fund has become yet another mechanism for the EU to promote itself and fight a rearguard action against the rising tide of Euroscepticism, which saw over 46% of the French people voting for anti-EU or Eurosceptic candidates in the presidential elections last month.
In its own words, the EU’s priorities for this Fund in 2017 are:
  1. Challenging Euroscepticism and fostering informed debate
  2. Solidarity in times of crisis
  3. Combatting stigmatisation of "migrants" and building counter narratives to foster intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding
  4. Debate on the future of Europe
Grants range from £8,000 to £128,000 per project. Below we show some examples from last year:
Chart © EU Commission
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS POLITICAL AGENDA?
The Europe for Citizens Fund is implemented by the Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA), which in turn is governed by the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs, part of the EU Commission.
WHO GETS THE MONEY?
Grants are given to organisations who apply from all the EU countries, plus Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The EU lists details including contact points and country information for all countries, however the UK is listed as having “no designated contact point”.
Below we show a typical listing from another EU country (Poland), and the listing for the UK. (Incidentally, clicking on 'Calendar of Events' on the UK's listing takes you to an irrelevant page from 2013.)
  
© EU Commission
OBSERVATIONS
This Fund is yet another way in which the EU tries to promote itself and its political agenda.
The decisions on which projects are given grants are of course made by EU bureaucrats, who share a certain political philosophy. This is very apparent when you look at the types of projects receiving funding.
Facts4EU.Org did consider applying for a grant under the 2017 priority “Debate on the Future of Europe”, but we reluctantly concluded that our application might not be well received in Brussels.
No doubt if we saw the light and started spouting total and utter pro-EU tosh with no basis in facts, they'd be showering us with grants...
As usual, we're interested in your comments on the above.
[ Sources: EU Commission | EACEA | Europe for Citizens ]        06.50am, 24 May 2017
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ACT OF EVIL IN MANCHESTER
Like all readers, we were shocked at the evil terrorist act in Manchester yesterday evening and our thoughts are with all those affected.
       Facts4EU.Org, 06.45 Tuesday, 23 May 2017
 Q:  WHEN DOES ‘READY’ MEAN ‘NOT YET READY’?
 A:  WHEN IT’S THE EU SAYING IT
EU falsely claims it's ready to start negotiating Brexit
Yesterday the EU produced yet another collection of Brexit negotiation documents, following the various ‘guidelines’ and ‘principles’ it has already issued. Yesterday’s approval by the EU’s General Affairs Council of the ‘final’ negotiating guidelines was supposed to be the EU’s last word, allowing negotiations to commence.
As part of their documents yesterday, the EU issued a press release in which they quoted EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.
 
IN THE EU'S FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
“We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the UK. Our objective is to rapidly reach an agreement on the issues put forward by the Council today.”
Michel Barnier, EU Chief Negotiator, Mon 22 May 2017
THERE’S JUST ONE PROBLEM – THE EU AREN’T IN FACT READY
Michel Barnier also made a speech yesterday as part of the EU’s announcements.
IN MICHEL BARNIER'S SPEECH:
“The new Brexit Council working group will meet tomorrow already. In the course of the next few days we will finalise our negotiating positions on the key subjects for the first phase of the negotiations.”
Barnier went on to say:
“These positions will then be sent to the UK. I expect this to happen very quickly, very quickly, after the elections. I hope to organise the first round of negotiations as soon as possible, hopefully in the week of 19 June.”
 
So they still haven’t finalised anything and
it’s the EU that is responsible for the continued delays
Michel Barnier has therefore admitted that he won’t be able to send the EU’s final negotiating positions to the UK government until after the UK General Election. He is then ‘hopeful’ of organising the first negotiating session sometime after 19th June.
The EU's New Negotiating Directives
The new 'Negotiating Directives' from the EU Council are as to be expected - an extreme position from the EU which no British government could accept, or even take seriously. You can download them here.
WHY ALL THIS MATTERS
The British media have spent decades failing to cover the European Union’s activities, except for certain key moments such as the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties, or the times when the EU excelled itself with directives on the curvature of bananas or such like.
Before you blame the British media, they adopted this approach because, frankly, the British public weren’t interested in what the EU got up to. Some very limited information was available, but it was generally buried deep within newspapers as it wasn’t deemed newsworthy. And the British TV media virtually ignored the EU for the most part, barely ever showing important speeches.
In contrast, the activities of the EU have consistently been covered by the continental media. The EU has been adept at using propaganda to promote itself and this continues to an ever-increasing extent today. The main sections of the British public that were victims of this propaganda were the young – via school teachers and university lecturers – and those working in areas like science and farming who were the recipients of UK taxpayer money redirected back to the UK by the EU as ‘EU funding’.
The EU’s announcements yesterday were designed to show the people of the EU27 that the EU is ready to negotiate whilst the British are not. To give just one example, below is the headline in one of Germany’s leading newspapers this morning.
© Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
EU ist bereit für Brexit-Verhandlungen
(The EU is ready for Brexit negotiations)
The BBC hasn't even covered this story on its website. The Guardian's headline is "We are ready for Brexit talks, says EU's chief negotiator".
As we have shown above, the EU is NOT ready for Brexit negotiations. We propose that the British government issue a press release, welcoming the EU’s gradual moves towards negotiations and saying that it looks forward to starting negotiations as soon as the EU is ready.
Readers may feel that it doesn’t matter if the people of the EU27 think it’s the UK which has held up the start of negotiations thus far. However this is a classic example of how the EU has been winning the battle for hearts and minds. This will matter when it comes to the final deal, because the UK will need the goodwill of the people of the EU27 countries as a brake on the EU elites’ desire to punish the UK, at no matter what cost to their own citizens.
It’s time for government ministers to wake up the civil servants responsible for the UK’s PR.
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Council | FAZ ]        06.30am, 23 May 2017
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Name: Carole, UK      Date/Time: 29 May 2017, 09.11am
Message: I have just found an important quote from David Davies from this time which was hardly reported by the UK at the time and is important: "The deal we reach will need independent and impartial enforcement..... But an ideological obsession in Brussels with one-sided jurisdiction by the European Court of Justice - in the UK, after we have left the EU - is not acceptable and will not work."
 EU IS HAPPY TO REPLACE UK WITH THE WEST BALKANS
EU’s Foreign Minister says UK will lose ‘the game’ and puts brave face on Brexit
The EU’s Foreign Minister, ex-Communist Federica Mogherini, spoke on Saturday at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, which was described as “a gathering of 1200 global leaders”.
 
THE EU'S FOREIGN MINISTER AT THE WEEKEND:
“The big loser of the game that currently is being played
will be the UK.”
Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of EU Commission
Ms Mogherini is the second most powerful figure in the EU Commission. She is the ‘High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’ and Vice-President of the European Commission.
The title of her event was “The Future of Europe - A Growing European Union”, during which she explained to the audience at the World Economic Forum that the EU would soon be replacing the UK.
“We always think the EU future will be the 27. Actually we are negotiating accession with several countries.”
“When we talk about the future of the EU, we have to take into consideration that countries especially in the Western Balkans will eventually become members of the European Union so we will be more than 27. The power of attraction of the EU is still extremely strong.”
 
[Click to enlarge]
The candidate countries in the Western Balkans to which Ms Mogherini refers are: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. None of them are anywhere near satisfying the criteria for full membership of the EU, despite the EU making encouraging noises for years. In addition there are two countries with ‘possible candidate’ status: Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
  • $2,629 billion : UK GDP
  •      $65 billion : Combined GDP of Ms Mogherini's 4 EU candidate countries
OBSERVATIONS
Based on the innumerable speeches we have listened to, Ms Mogherini is no fan of the United Kingdom. She studied political science in Italy and France and did her dissertation on Islam. She spent the first eight years of her political life as a member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation.
It seems Ms Mogherini is happy to replace the UK with four countries whose combined GDP is only 2.5% of the UK’s. Good luck with that, Federica.
In her talk to the World Economic Forum, she explained that soon she will have the responsibility for the EU’s future relations with the UK, saying that she ‘will have the file’ once the EU’s initial demands have been met.
It is less than encouraging to hear the second most powerful member of the EU Commission describing the Brexit negotiations as a game. It is equally disappointing to hear her expressing the outcome in terms of the UK being ‘the losers’.
This is the unappetising flavour of the organisation that the British people very wisely voted to leave.
[ Sources: EU Commission | World Economic Forum | IMF ]        07.45am, 22 May 2017
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Name: John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 22 May 2017, 11.23am
Message: I'm not sure why you are overly concerned about the make-up of the EU - after (IF) we leave. That's their concern. I'd be a bit more worried about the result of the UK election. It's now not clear the Conservatives will achieve anything like the majority they were seeking. The EUcrats are cheering Team Corbyn, the LibDems, the SNP and any other party who will obstruct/oppose/soften the Brexit process. They will be delighted with the way things are shaping up in the current election campaign.
Name: Hugh G, UK      Date/Time: 22 May 2017, 1.32pm
Message: Would it be a good idea for the UK to form a reformed EFTA with the existing EFTA countries (i.e persuading them to leave the EEA) that is based on trade only without the 4 freedoms and without political union of any kind? Once achieved we could extend the offer to any other countries who want to leave the political union, and self determine their own future in the new trade only based EFTA lead by the UK. I am pretty sure the eastern European countries (particularly Hungary) would join?
Name: Hugh G, UK      Date/Time: 22 May 2017, 6.11pm
Message: Surely if UK rejoins and reforms EFTA, as a trade only union, outside of the jurisdiction of the EEA/EU, other countries will eventually flock to the EFTA if the EU attempts their coup on sovereign nation states? The constitution of a new EFTA would include clauses for "No Political Union", "No Economic Union", "No Free Movement", etc etc.
 
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 Q:  WHEN IS BREXIT NOT BREXIT AT ALL?
A:  WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORDS ‘EEA’ OR ‘EFTA’
Another simple explainer from the Facts4EU.Org Team
In the last two weeks, press articles have started appearing again regarding the ‘EEA’ and ‘EFTA’. You may therefore find it useful to know:
  • What is EFTA and what’s the EEA?
  • Could they give the UK what it voted for?
  • Are they a good ‘half-way house’ on the way to full Brexit?
1.  WHAT IS EFTA?
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) consists of 4 countries: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The UK was a founder member in 1960, when EFTA established “a framework for the liberalisation of trade in goods amongst its Member States” and “an economic counterbalance to the more politically driven European Economic Community (EEC).” [EFTA description.]
As EFTA countries like the UK started joining the EU, they left EFTA, which is why it now contains only 4 countries.
Over the decades EFTA has become more like the EU, with its own court adopting the rulings of the ECJ. EFTA’s countries are all members of the EEA (see below) except Switzerland.
2.  WHAT IS THE EEA?
The European Economic Area (EEA) was set up in 1994 to extend the EU’s provisions on its internal market to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. Switzerland is a member of EFTA but does not take part in the EEA.
The EEA consists of the 28 EU countries, plus 3 non-EU countries of Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. That’s 31 countries in total.
The UK is already member of the EEA by virtue of being a member of the EU.
3.  COULD MEMBERSHIP OF EFTA/EEA GIVE US WHAT WE VOTED FOR?
EFTA is governed by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Whilst the EFTA Court is ostensibly separate from the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ), in practice it adopts its rulings.
So, EFTA membership means accepting jurisdiction of the ECJ via the EFTA Court.
Membership of the EEA means membership of the Single Market. This in turn means having to abide by the EU’s four freedoms, which means the UK would still have to accept freedom of movement and would not control its borders.
As stated above, Switzerland is a member of EFTA but not of the EEA. However Switzerland has over 120 bilateral agreements with the EU in relation to trade and other matters. Any suggestion that the UK would wish to embroil itself in negotiations with the EU over a similar (or probably much larger) number of bilateral agreements is fraught with danger.
The EU is deeply unhappy with Switzerland’s current status and it’s certain that they would not wish to see another country go down this path. Specifically the EU is in dispute with Switzerland because of the principles of free movement and the single market. The Swiss people had the temerity in 2014 to vote against free movement, which has put the country into increasing conflict with the EU ever since.
4.  IS THE EFTA/EEA OPTION A GOOD ‘HALF-WAY HOUSE’ ON THE WAY TO FULL BREXIT?
A small minority of pro-Brexit campaigners have always advocated an EFTA/EEA arrangement as a halfway house on the way to full Brexit. They and an increasing number of Remainers suggest that reverting to an EFTA/EEA status gets around the problem of leaving the Single Market.
However any possible EFTA/EEA option immediately comes up against the EU’s four freedoms including freedom of movement, and as EFTA themselves say: “the common rules of the EEA Agreement are updated continuously with new EU legislation.”
In effect, access to the Single Market via EFTA and EEA membership leaves the UK where it was in many respects, and it would still require an enormous amount of negotiation.
A look at the breakdown of the EFTA countries shows how strange it would be for the UK to join. Two of the four countries are tiny – Iceland with a population of 320,000 and little Liechtenstein with a population of just 37,000. The economies of Norway (5m people) and Switzerland (8m) are both very different to that of the United Kingdom.
OBSERVATIONS
If, as seems increasingly likely, the EU will not negotiate a sensible deal with the UK, Remainers will become even more vocal about the supposed ‘cliff edge’ which Britain will fall off unless it caves in on a wide range of fundamental Brexit principles.
We would strongly counsel against any idea that an existing organisation has the answers to an interim arrangement for the UK. The British people voted to leave the EU and not to have the EU’s suffocating rules imposed on it by the backdoor, for an indeterminate number of years to come.
Note: The rules governing EFTA and the EEA are complex. The above is a simplification but we hope you find it useful.
As always, we welcome your thoughts.
[ Source: EFTA | EU Commission | EU Parliament ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.00am, 21 May 2017
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 HOW MUCH DO THE TOP 5 EU COUNTRIES WORK?
Another interesting perspective on the EU without the United Kingdom
The EU faces some major challenges when the UK leaves in just 22 months’ time. We have previously published our research on a number of the impacts to the EU. Here we look at another example of the importance of the United Kingdom, in the context of the EU27 countries remaining after the UK has left.
This example shows the employment rate in the top 5 EU countries. The employment rate is the proportion of people aged from 15 to 64 who are in work, compared to the total population.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
According to the EU’s official statistics, 73.5% of the total UK population work. The latest report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed an even higher figure of 74.8%, but we’re using the EU’s statistics for comparison purposes.
What is striking is the disparity of the UK’s healthy 73.5% with the significantly smaller percentages in France, Italy, and Spain. When the UK leaves the EU in 22 months’ time, these countries will be the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th economies in the EU, after Germany.
Currently 2 countries - Germany and the UK - account for
almost one-third (32.4%) of all those in employment in the EU
14 countries – that’s half the EU28 - account for
only 10% of those employed in the EU as a whole
Source: Official Eurostat data for 2016
WHY THIS MATTERS FOR THE BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS
The bureaucratic elites of the EU – and the leaders of some of its member states – continue to act as if the UK’s departure represents just 1 country leaving out of 28.
Certainly this is how they wish to present this to the world, and in particular to those countries with whom they are now rushing to try to agree trade deals. (We hope to publish some research on this soon.)
Whilst no-one would wish the United Kingdom to be arrogant in its negotiations with the EU, neither should the UK adopt its usual self-deprecating stance. The UK is a major force in the world economy and the EU will need to establish excellent relations with its newly-independent neighbour, if this smaller EU is to overcome its many challenges and succeed for all its citizens.
The EU28 might be reducing by 1 to become the EU27, but no-one in the EU or around the World should be in any doubt just how significant the loss of this one member will be to the EU.
As ever, your thoughts are welcome. Please use the ‘submit your comments’ link below. (And please don't forget to tell us roughly where you hail from.)
[ Source: Official Eurostat data, accessed 20/05/2017 ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.45am, 20 May 2017
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 BREXIT NEGOTIATION PERIOD IS CUT BY ONE-THIRD
The EU needs 8 months of the 2-year negotiating period for its internal procedures
Everyone in the EU and the UK still refers to a “2-year negotiating period” for Brexit. Politicians, EU bureaucrats, and the media always use this timeframe when talking about the negotiations.
The reality is that the period is far, far shorter than 2 years.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Minutes of the last EU Commission meeting, released yesterday, confirm that Michel Barnier is planning to start negotiations with the UK in mid-June.
The EU is busy telling the world that it's the UK General Election that is causing delays in the start of negotiations. In fact the minutes of the last EU Commission meeting confirm that the EU is still not ready to start.
The EU knew in June last year that the UK was leaving the EU. It had many months’ warning of the date by which the UK would formally give notice under Article 50. Despite this, it has still not agreed even its own negotiating principles and talks are not scheduled to start before 15 June of this year.
Monsieur Barnier also confirms that six months will be required for the EU27 to ratify any proposed deal. There will therefore be less than 16 months of negotiations, not 2 years – a reduction of one-third. It’s important to note that this reduction in the 2-year timeframe is down to the EU, not the UK.
 
In the minutes of the latest EU Commission meeting, Monsieur Barnier says he envisages :
“the possible launch of the second phase of the negotiations, which would define the framework for future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom and the transitional arrangements, between December 2017 and spring 2018”.
Michel Barnier, EU Chief Brexit Negotiator
SUMMARY
The bulk of the negotiations are not envisaged by the EU to start before the end of this year, leaving just 9 months to agree everything before 29 September 2018.
OBSERVATIONS
The tone of Michel Barnier’s report to the EU Commission suggests that the timeframes he refers to will not be met. To anyone with any experience of watching the EU trying to achieve anything of any importance, this will come as no surprise.
Readers may feel it is clear that the EU never had any intention of concluding a full deal with the UK by the end of the 2-year notice period. Indeed, some may feel that the UK government should immediately prioritise negotiations with the World Trade Organisation.
Note: None of the above is particularly new, however we felt it important to show the timeframe graphically. It really is time for everyone involved to be open about this.
YOUR VIEWS ARE WELCOME
Given the near-certainty that a full deal with the EU will not be available by the end of the notice period (29 March 2019), what are your views on a lengthy extension period lasting years, whereby the UK remains under the jurisdiction of the ECJ and continues to make payments to the EU?
[ Source: EU Commission ]        06.20am, 19 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: Steve R, UK      Date/Time: 19 May 2017, 11.54am
Message: M. Barnier told us recently that if the UK did not settle the very large account provided by the Commission, in order to allow them to carry on as before but without the second highest contributor, then the result would be "explosive". Certainly, explosif in the Commission gents.
Name: Anthony, UK      Date/Time: 19 May 2017, 4.51pm
Message: At present I am going all out to get Teresa in. Reading your excellent stuff can wait till she is safely back, and getting on with the job!
Name: Raymond Byers, UK      Date/Time: 19 May 2017, 5.10pm
Message: Does anyone know if Sheffield has any UKIP candidates yet? I've got my postal vote ready but no candidates listed for Sheffield Heeley.
 PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION
Normal people like to hear the truth
A Facts4EU.Org opinion piece
The peoples of the EU27 are being told a very different story about Brexit compared to reality.
Here are just three of the distortions repeatedly propagated by EU27 politicians and unelected EU bureaucrats:-
  • The British voted to leave because they were lied to
  • Many Leave voters now regret their decision
  • Any delays in starting Brexit negotiations are down to the British
These distortions are repeated throughout the continental media and naturally these influence public opinion in the EU27 countries.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
It has always been clear to us that a logical and reasonable approach by the EU to Brexit negotiations would never happen. Put at its simplest, this is because the EU has never been about logic or reason.
The EU has always been driven at high level by idealistic and dictatorial elitists, masquerading as democrats. There is overwhelming evidence of this from statements over decades, both public and unguarded, by those guiding ‘the project’. We have previously cited numerous examples.
The propaganda being inflicted on the peoples of the EU27 countries matters because in the end the agreement between the UK and the EU will be politically-driven. It doesn’t matter what the Treaties say, nor what is 'fair and reasonable’. The EU will do what it can get away with in the court of EU27 public opinion.
Currently it’s the EU that is winning the propaganda battle. We urge the British government once again to step up its PR operation and correct the distortions propagated by the EU machine. In the end, the UK will need the acceptance of the peoples of the EU27 countries that the eventual deal reached is fair and reasonable to both sides.
Below we give an example, correcting the dominant myth on the continent
that the British people are regretting their decision to leave the EU.
Facts4EU.Org        06.55am, 18 May 2017
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 NON, ON NE REGRETTE RIEN
What the British people really think about moving forward with Brexit
Right: The wonderful chanteuse Edith Piaf
Contrary to the myths put forward constantly by EU bureaucrats, unelected EU Presidents, and MEPs, the British are now heavily in favour of moving ahead with Brexit.
Excluding the “don’t knows”, here is the latest YouGov poll on the subject.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
In the above chart we have excluded the nearly 10% of “don’t knows”. Included in the 75.6% are those who voted originally for Remain but who now think the government should proceed with Brexit.
If we include the “don’t knows”, only 1 in 5 Brits want the Referendum vote overturned.
MESSAGE TO BRUSSELS
We suggest that the Brussels machine stop deceiving the people of the EU27. The clear majority of British people want the UK government to proceed with exiting the European Union.
We realise that it’s an uncomfortable fact for them to present to their populations but the British are rejecting the EU as a political institution and supranational government.
Finally Brussels, please note that whilst we reject your institution, we look forward to a warm and cooperative relationship on so many levels with the governments and peoples of the EU27.
[ Source: YouGov ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.        06.45am, 18 May 2017
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 LIBDEM’S ‘EXTREME BREXIT’ CLAIM IS 'CLEGGED'
Epic Andrew Neil destruction of LibDem's Brexit claims about Single Market
Nick Clegg and Tim Farron’s claim that “no-one voted to leave the Single Market” was destroyed yesterday in a golden moment of TV history.
Fully one month before the Referendum, Nick Clegg made it clear that
leaving the EU meant leaving the Single Market:
 
“To be fair, the Brexit campaign have come clean now and said ‘we dislike it so much, we want to tear up Margaret Thatcher’s Single Europe Act – we don’t want to have anything to do with the Single Market’. I think that is a devastatingly self-harming thing to do economically and I wouldn’t want it on my conscience.”
Nick Clegg, Brexit Spokesman, LibDems, 23 May 2016
So, we did vote to leave the Single Market.
The best political interviewer on TV, Andrew Neil, had Nick Clegg as his main guest on the BBC’s Daily Politics show yesterday. During the interview, Mr Neil pressed the former LibDem leader several times about his claims that it was not clear before the Referendum if leaving the Single Market was part of Brexit.
Nick Clegg, Tim Farron, and other Remain MPs from all parties have claimed that leaving the Single Market is an extreme form of Brexit, not voted for by the British people. This is now a central plank of the LibDem’s campaign in the General Election.
Clegg Caught On Camera
Unfortunately for Mr Clegg, a month before the Referendum he took part in a filmed and streamed debate entitled “The Great Intelligence Squared Brexit Debate”. Mr Clegg was the main speaker for Remain, with the now-retired Labour MP Gisela Stuart representing the Leave campaign.
During the course of the debate, Clegg confirmed that the Brexit campaign had made it clear that Brexit meant leaving the Single Market.
OBSERVATIONS
When Andrew Neil played this clip to Nick Clegg it was a delicious moment. However, unlike most of us who would have said something like “Ah, well I suppose it’s a fair cop”, Clegg tried to brazen it out.
He did this despite Mr Neil savouring his moment by first re-playing to Mr Clegg the now-famous clip of key Referendum figures all confirming that leaving the EU meant leaving the Single Market. These figures included the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor George Osborne for the Remain campaign, and Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom for the Leave campaign.
We make no comment on the LibDem’s electoral campaign as a whole, but when it comes to its EU policy and the claims they are making, it’s clear that any shred of credibility they may have had has now vanished.
We only regret that this important TV moment yesterday was not repeated anywhere else on the BBC yesterday. The Daily Politics is an excellent programme, but alas it is not seen by the vast majority of British people.
What a shame our national broadcaster sees fit to bury an excellent piece of political journalism from Mr Neil and his team.
[ Source: BBC Daily Politics | Intelligence Squared ]        07.00am, 17 May 2017
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Name: John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 16 May 2017, 4.57pm
Message: While we should probably have never joined the EU - we did and the problem is we have become increasingly entrenched in it. Our economy has been gradually shaped by our membership of the EU over the last 40 years. It is going to be difficult to fully extricate ourselves without inflicting a damaging shock on the economy.
 UK TOPS EU LEAGUE TABLE FOR RESETTLEMENT OF MIGRANTS
Latest EU progress report shows UK is clear leader in EU
Back in September 2015 when David Cameron was PM and was regularly agreeing EU Commission proposals in the EU Council of national leaders, the EU devised its Emergency Resettlement and Relocation of Migrants Plan.
  • The UK agreed to resettle 2,200 migrants under the Plan
  • Yesterday’s EU report shows that the UK has fulfilled its commitment
  • The UK has resettled more than any other EU country under the Plan
  • The UK is responsible for almost 1 in 5 of all migrants resettled so far
The total for migrants resettled in EU countries under the 2015 agreement so far is 12,221. Having resettled 2,200, the UK has taken 18% of that total.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Note: The EU uses the term ‘Resettlement’ to refer to the taking in of migrants from outside the EU. ‘Relocation’ refers to the moving of migrants already in the EU, from one EU country to another.
Specifically this ‘relocation’ element of the EU’s Plan was designed to move migrants from the top two entry countries of Greece and Italy, and spread them across the EU.
Below we report on the EU’s progress regarding the relocation element of its Plan – which the UK was not part of, as a result of not being a member of the Schengen open borders zone.
[ Source: EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.        06.30am, 17 May 2017
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 EU’S ‘RELOCATION OF MIGRANTS’ PLAN: 88.5% FAILURE RATE
EU Migrant Relocation Plan continues to fail, with few countries obeying it
EU COMMISSION 16 MAY REPORT ON 2015 RELOCATION PLAN, 16 MAY 2017:
“The current pace of relocation is still below what is needed to meet the targets set to ensure that all those eligible are relocated over the coming months”
  • Original Plan: 160,000 migrants to be relocated across EU from Italy and Greece
  • To date, 18,418 relocations have been carried out in total
  • 12,707 have been relocated from Greece and only 5,711 from Italy
  • That’s an 88.5% failure rate
Hungary, Poland and Austria have not relocated a single person. This is in breach of their legal obligations. The Czech Republic only accepted 12 migrants in the first months of the Plan and has has not accepted a single person since.
Many other countries are in breach of the Plan, by not taking any migrants from one or other of the two source countries, (Italy and Greece), and all are behind in their commitments.
“The Commission urges those Member States that have not relocated anyone, or that have not pledged for Italy and Greece for almost a year, to start doing so immediately and within the next month. If no action is taken, the Commission will then specify in its next report in June its position on making use of its powers under the Treaties and in particular on the opening of infringement procedures.”
Two countries look highly likely to be taken to the ECJ by the EU Commission: Poland and Hungary. This has been the case for months, but then things move slowly in the EU. The latest EU Commission statement effectively now gives these countries a month’s notice.
[ Source: EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.        06.30am, 17 May 2017
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 TIM, IF THE SINGLE MARKET
IS SO WONDERFUL,
PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS
Right: Tim Farron talking to nurses yesterday © BBC
 
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
50 YEARS OF UK ECONOMIC GROWTH
  • Before Single Market (1967-1993) : 2.5% average annual growth
  • Since Single Market (1993-2016) :  2.2% average annual growth
Since the Single Market started in 1993,
the UK’s annual growth rate has trended downwards.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Addressing the Royal College of Nurses in Liverpool yesterday, LibDem leader Tim Farron once again adopted his extreme rhetoric against the democratic decision of the British people to leave the EU.
He again described the government’s approach as “the most extreme version of Brexit”.
As usual, the facts tell a different story. The Single Market has had no impact on growth, and the average growth rate has actually fallen since it started.
It’s not surprising that the (pro-EU) OECD’s major report on the Single Market last year summarised it as “unfinished and stalled”.
OBSERVATIONS
It is highly regrettable that Mr Farron continues to deceive the British public, despite knowing full well that leaving the Single Market is part and parcel of leaving the EU.
Being a member of the Single Market requires free movement of people and UK law being decided by the EU under the jurisdiction of the ECJ. Staying in it would also entail massive payments every year from the UK to the EU.
No serious politician can say that the British people didn’t vote to leave all that.
To the 25% of LibDem voters who voted to leave the EU:
We pass no comment on the other policies of the Liberal Democrats. However Mr Farron is sounding increasingly obsessed with the EU and is simply and factually wrong about it in almost every way. We will therefore continue to demonstrate this with evidence.
Please share this article as widely as possible, by posting links to it if you’re commenting on other websites or on Twitter.
What's your opinion? Add your comment below by sending it to us here.
[ Sources: Office for National Statistics | World Bank | OECD
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.35am, 16 May 2017
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 HALF OF THE EU GENERATES ONLY 7% OF ITS GDP
THE UNBALANCED EU
A unique Facts4EU.Org overview to put the EU27 into perspective
Using official EU figures, we give you an interesting insight into the relative sizes of the economies of the UK’s EU partners.
The following charts have been prepared by Facts4EU.Org based on official Eurostat data and look at how the GDPs of the 28 EU member states contribute to the EU’s total. Naturally GDP is only one measure of looking at the relative importance of countries, but it’s a highly relevant one when the EU is talking about making the UK pay for Brexit.
1. GDP OF EACH OF THE 28 EU MEMBER STATES
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
The UK is responsible for 16% of the EU’s GDP. On exit, the EU will be noticeably smaller – particularly to those countries around the world who have been trying to negotiate trade deals with it.
2. THE TOP 3 AND THE TOP 6 PRODUCERS IN THE EU
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Astonishingly for many British people, just 3 countries account for over half of the EU’s total GDP: Germany, the UK, and France.
3. HALF THE EU COUNTRIES PRODUCE JUST 6.8% OF THE EU’S GDP
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
This is perhaps the most surprising graph of all. Half of the EU’s members produce only 6.8% of the total GDP of the EU.
Of these 14 member states, 10 of them account for only 2.5% of the EU’s total. These include the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus, and the Baltic states, and interestingly they also include the home country (Luxembourg) of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
OBSERVATIONS
Most British people have visited 2 EU countries or less. There can therefore be a tendency in people's minds to give equivalence to each member state – as if somehow all the countries are of a significant size. Clearly people know that some countries are smaller, but few know just how much smaller - in economic terms and in other ways.
When it comes to the Brexit negotiations, it’s important to remember that the EU has stressed the importance of standing as one against the UK. There is a full expectation within the EU that all 27 members’ interests will be fully respected.
The recent EU-Canada trade deal, which still isn’t in force, had to receive the approval of every national (and in some cases regional) parliament in the EU. In effect every member state, no matter how small, had an equal say in whether the deal could be approved or not.
We therefore thought you might like to have a visual sense of the way the EU is unbalanced in economic terms, in order to compare this to the equal weight of each country when it comes to approving a trade deal with the UK which involves mixed EU competences.
Please share this article as widely as possible, by posting links to it if you’re commenting on other websites or on Twitter.
[ Sources: Official Eurostat figures, GDP is at current market prices.
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.45am, 15 May 2017
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 ‘THE DAY OF THE MIFIDS’
THE UK’S FINANCIAL SERVICES, THE EU, AND ‘MIFID I & II’
Will the City of London still be able to trade with the EU after Brexit?
A Facts4EU.Org Explainer
Over several years the EU Commission has built up its involvement in regulating the financial services industry at an EU level. Currently the City has to comply with a myriad of EU Directives which relate to something called ‘passporting’.
WHAT IS ‘PASSPORTING’
Put simply, passporting is the name given to a system for enabling a financial organisation to conduct its business in another EU member state. In fact this concept also applies to non-EU countries, but here we focus on the EU.
So, financial passports allow a financial services firm to trade in another country using an approval from the regulator in their home country. In the case of the UK, this is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and to a lesser extent the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) of the Bank of England.
Passporting works both ways – firms in the EU27 require passports to carry out UK work just as much as UK firms need passports to carry out EU27 work.
WHO BENEFITS?
The latest data we have on the number of passports being used comes from a written answer given to the Treasury Select Committee on 17 Aug last year. The FCA reported the numbers of outgoing passports for UK firms, and the number of incoming passports for EU firms.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
  • 5,476 UK firms have a passport to do business in another EU country
  • 8,008 EU firms have a passport to do business in the UK
So that’s 46% more EU firms having UK passports,
than UK firms having EU passports.
HOW COMPLICATED IS PASSPORTING?
A number of EU directives enable passporting:
  • Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID)
  • Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD)
  • Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD)
  • Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD)
  • Payment Services Directive (PSD)
  • UCITS Directive (UCITS)2
  • Electronic Money Directive (EMD)
  • Capital Requirements Directive (CRD)
  • Solvency II Directive (Solvency II)
In short, the EU's simplification of doing business across the EU involves financial firms complying with legislation, directives and procedures running to many thousands of pages in each area.
WHAT ABOUT ‘EQUIVALENCE’ AND MIFID II?
In 2014 the EU introduced the concept of 'equivalence' of regulatory regimes in other countries and new permissions will come into force on 1st Jan 2018, before the UK leaves. The new regulations expand the scope beyond the EU and EEA and are known under the acronyms MiFiD II and MiFiR.
It is important to note that the UK will be fully compliant when it leaves the EU on 29th March 2019. It will have full ‘equivalence’ of its financial regulations, to use the EU’s parlance.
WILL EURO ‘CLEARING’ MOVE TO FRANKFURT OR PARIS?
This was one of the many scare stories from Project Fear before the Referendum, and it has appeared almost weekly in the financial pages of newspapers ever since.
The facts are that the UK took the European Central Bank (ECB) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and fought a 4-year legal battle to prevent the EU from insisting that clearing of euro transactions could only take place in a Eurozone country.
Eventually the ECJ found in the UK’s favour, although the judges made sure to suggest the way in which the EU could defeat the UK in the future. In the end it came down to regulatory authority and financial muscle – neither of which the ECB had at the time of the judgement in March 2015.
The ECB does not have the competence necessary to impose such a requirement on central counterparties involved in the clearing of securities
General Court of the European Court of Justice, Mar 2015
So, London’s status as the largest centre for euro clearing was under threat many years before the EU Referendum.
London handles 75% of Euro interest-rate derivatives and swaps, and the Eurozone actually needs London's financial power.
OBSERVATIONS
The UK is known worldwide for its excellence in international financial operations. The sheer power of the available infrastructure and funds all in one place, under a legal system which the world trusts, will make its position hard to shift after Brexit.
There are a great many issues over financial services to negotiate in the lead up to Brexit. However with over two centuries as the most innovative financial market in the World, we fully expect the City will find ways to carry on as usual, using its customary ingenuity.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Financial Conduct Authority | Prudential Regulation Authority | Norton Rose Fulbright | Financial Services Negotiation Forum | Bank for International Settlements | Treasury Select Committee
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.15am, 14 May 2017
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EUROPEAN TRIUMPH - CONGRATULATIONS SARACENS
Sarries won rugby's European Champions Cup yesterday for the second time in two years, against the French team Clermont Auvergne.
© Sky Sports 2017
       Facts4EU.Org, 08.25 Sunday, 14 May 2017
 OVER 1,000 ILLEGAL MIGRANTS PER DAY NOW ENTERING EU
VIA THE MEDITERRANEAN
Latest UN migration figures show doubling since last month
“Who is paying for these Mediterranean taxis?”
demands Italian Parliament Vice-President
  • An average 1041 illegal migrants per day have entered the EU in the first 10 days of May
  • They are being picked up in the Mediterranean by NGO boats and the EU Coast Guard
  • Italy has been receiving 86% of this immigration in 2017
  • Nigerians are largest nationality, followed by Bangladeshis
The latest report issued yesterday by the UK’s Migration Agency will only be adding to President Juncker’s woes. It clearly shows a dramatic rise in illegal immigration into the EU, with numbers per day doubling in the last month.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
The graph above clearly shows how numbers are escalating rapidly again – something which we have been warning about for months.
This renewed increase is despite the £5 billion which the EU is committing to Turkey as part of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey – an EU fund to which the UK is contributing 17.5%. (The initial fund is for £2.5 billion but this is due to double next year.)
THE REACTION IN ITALY
 
"Who pays for
these Mediterranean cabs,
and why is he doing it?"
[Luigi di Maio, Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, April 2017]
Signor di Maio is a prominent member of the Five Star Movement (M5S), the most popular party in Italy, led by Beppe Grillo.
The M5S won 25% of the vote in 2013 and this month polls have shown it on between 27-32%.
Questions are now being asked in the Italian parliament, about the private organisations – usually referred to as NGOs – which are funding the very large vessels patrolling the area between Libya and Italy. In recent months the head of EU’s own Coast Guard and Border Agency has criticised these NGOs, suggesting that they are encouraging people traffickers. There has been talk of collusion regarding pick-ups at sea, which is hotly denied by the NGO boats.
SOURCES OF THE IMMIGRATION
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
The above graph, using data from Italy's Interior Ministry, shows that EU immigration is now mostly about economic migration.
OBSERVATIONS
The EU’s immigration policy is yet another example of how this dysfunctional body seems unable to cope with any crisis it faces. Solutions are proposed and implemented without public consultation. Billions of euros of taxpayer money are thrown at the problem, a ‘success’ is reported, and yet it soon becomes apparent that the ‘solution’ is yet another fudge.
Meanwhile, the UK has quietly (compared to the EU’s trumpeted self-congratulatory announcements) been making a difference by supporting those in need in the camps themselves. The UK is the largest donor to these camps in the region. In doing this it has not encouraged the people traffickers to put vulnerable people into unsafe boats, thereby avoiding even more tragic deaths.
Ultimately the EU must face some realities and be open with its citizens. Large parts of the populations of member states still think that the immigration crisis is about Syria and war – something which long ago ceased to be true. The bulk of ‘irregular’ immigration is now about a desire for a better life. Understandable, yes, but it’s important that this is recognised.
[ Sources: Italian Ministero dell'Interno | UN Migration Agency | Various Italian media
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.15am, 13 May 2017
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 GOING ON HOLIDAY TO FRANCE OR ITALY THIS SUMMER?
Don’t forget to report the good Brexit news from the EU Commission yesterday
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
  • EU Commission’s economic forecast for the UK revised dramatically upwards
  • UK unemployment half that of France and Italy
  • UK growth significantly faster than those 2 main EU economies
Here’s what to say on your holiday if offered sympathy for Britain’s economic plight
Some readers may have planned summer holidays on the continent this year. If they get into conversations with locals they may be surprised at being offered sympathy for how bad things now are in Britain after it voted for Brexit last year.
The EU Commission and the continental media have been relentless in portraying the Brexit vote as a disaster for the UK. Leave supporters may despair of the biased anti-Brexit reporting by some elements of the UK media, but this is nothing compared to the dire portrait that has been painted in many elements of the continental media.
In this, they have relied on continuous distortions presented to them by the EU Commission, the EU Council, the EU Parliament, and the pro-Remain Financial Times - which has the highest readership of any British paper in Brussels.
Relax with the good Brexit news
Holidaying Brits may therefore like to quote a couple of basic economic facts, to reassure the locals that the immediate economic Armageddon predicted by the Remain campaign, by George Osborne, and by his co-conspirators in Brussels, has proved to be completely unfounded.
In fact, if you’re headed for the South of France or Tuscany this summer, you may feel it should be you who should offer the locals sympathy, not the other way round.
Yesterday the EU Commission released its Spring Economic Forecast for 2017
Below we highlight two important economic indicators
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
ABOVE:  At 1.8%, the EU is now forecasting the UK economy to grow at a rate 29% faster than that of France, and double that of Italy.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
ABOVE:  At 5%, the EU is now forecasting the UK unemployment rate to be half that of France and much less than half that of Italy.
OBSERVATIONS
Bear in mind that EU figures never flatter the UK and that the reality usually proves to be even better for the UK than they forecast. As proof of this, the EU’s Autumn 2016 Economic Forecast predicted UK growth this year of only 1.0%.
Six months later and not even the EU Commission can maintain the fiction that the UK’s economy is falling off a cliff due to Brexit.
The 1.0% growth forecast has been hiked to 1.8% - a breathtaking difference.
Overall, the EU’s Spring Economic Forecast is very positive about the prospects for the Eurozone and the EU27 overall. It is certainly to be hoped that the optimism continues, as it's in Britain’s interest to have thriving economies as its neighbours.
When the UK leaves the EU, France and Italy will be its 2nd and 3rd largest economies. If they are able to tackle their current internal difficulties, they will remain important export markets for the UK post-Brexit.
[ Sources: EU Commission economic forecasts
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.45am, 12 May 2017
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 EU OVERSTEPS MARK AGAIN – BARNIER TO VISIT N.I. BORDER
EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator makes intervention
Today, EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier will address both houses of the Irish parliament – an honour usually reserved for visiting heads of state. Following this, he will travel to the border with Northern Ireland as a guest of the Irish government.
Monsieur Barnier is a Brussels bureaucrat in charge of Brexit negotiations, reporting to the EU Commission and the EU Council. He has been appointed, not elected.
 
OPINION
We find it strange that an unelected Brussels bureaucrat should be invited to address a joint sitting of both houses of the Irish parliament, but that is of course the business of the Irish.
However, his visit today to the border with Northern Ireland is another matter, particularly during a UK General Election campaign. The only possible reason for his visit is political.
The border issue is important but a visit to the Irish side of the border, as a guest of the Irish government and seemingly with no involvement from the British government, is in itself a political move.
Monsieur Barnier’s job is to effect policy – specifically to carry out the instructions of the elected leaders of the EU Council - not to make it. Neither is it his job to ‘be seen’ anywhere – that again is a politician’s job.
Perhaps Mrs May should ask the Italians if she can visit the border at Mont Blanc, where the French have been in dispute with them for over 150 years.
[ Sources: EU Commission.      Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       09.40am, 11 May 2017
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 “NOBODY VOTED TO LEAVE THE SINGLE MARKET”
What do the EU’s laws say about EU membership and the Single Market?
Facts4EU.Org looks at how the Single Market is inextricably embedded in EU membership
Firstly, the EU refers to the Single Market as ‘the Internal Market’. They are one and the same thing, but in the UK we always use the term ‘Single Market’ rather than ‘Internal Market’.
The EU legal database contains over 31,000 documents relating to the internal market - Treaties, International agreements, Legislation, EFTA documents, Consolidated legislation, Preparatory acts, EU case law, Directives, Judgements, Decisions etc.
We focused on 13,000 of them. We researched these to give you a breakdown of the main areas. The areas we looked at are the EU Treaty, legislation currently in force, and EU case law.
HOW DEEPLY THE SINGLE MARKET IS EMBEDDED IN EU LAW
1.   In the current Treaty: 54 appearances
2.   Legislation in force: 3,486 documents
  • Decision (2035)
  • Regulation (422)
  • Directive (376)
  • Decision (192)
  • Resolution (123)
3.   EU Case Law: 9669 documents
  • Judicial information (4755)
  • Judgment (3085)
  • Opinion of the Advocate General (1386)
  • Order (418)
  • Communication (182)
The sheer weight of the Single Market’s appearances in formal EU legal documents of all kinds gives a very good idea of how deeply it is embedded in membership of the EU. Now let’s look at the current Treaty which enshrines principles of membership.
WHAT THE EU TREATY SAYS OVERALL
“THE INTERNAL MARKET
1. The Union shall adopt measures with the aim of establishing or ensuring the functioning of the internal market, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties.
2. The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties.
WHAT THE TREATY SAYS SPECIFICALLY
Art 3 – Exclusive competences
Article 3 is the first Treaty article after the general blurb. It defines the exclusive competences of the EU – those areas which are wholly decided by the EU, not nation states. The internal market is the second item listed, after the customs union.
“1. The Union shall have exclusive competence in the following areas:
(a) customs union;
(b) the establishing of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market;”
Art 4 – Shared competences
Article 4 defines the areas of ‘shared competences’ – those areas which are decided jointly by the EU and member states. The first item in the list is the single market:
“Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following principal areas:
(a) internal market;”
OBSERVATIONS
With the Single Market being contained in the Treaty and over 13,000 EU documents regarding legislation and case law, it is inextricably entwined with EU membership.
With the Treaty actually defining it as “an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured”, perhaps this gives you some idea of why the rest of the EU were adamant that leaving the EU and its 'four freedoms’ meant leaving the Single Market.
The good news is that leaving the Single Market does NOT mean leaving the continent of Europe, nor does it mean ceasing to trade with it.
The vast majority of countries in the World trade quite happily with the EU without being a member of the Single Market and without a Free Trade Arrangement.
And no-one calls all these countries ‘extreme’....
[ Sources: Official EU Legal Database.      Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.45am, 11 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: J Holmes, Shropshire      Date/Time: 11 May 2017, 2.32pm
Message: When some bitter Remainer pokes you in the chest and aggressively and gleefully tells you that, according to the precise wording on the ballot paper, Leave voters didn't vote to leave the Single Market, only to leave the EU, it seems to me that the only possible response is to point out to them that, according to the precise wording on the ballot paper, Remain voters didn't vote to stay in the Single Market, only to stay in the EU! Six months ago this type of twisted logic (pushed incessantly by the likes of Clegg, Fallon and the Non-Liberal Anti-Democrats) was mildly amusing. Now it's simply nauseating.
 LIBDEMS MAKE CAR-CRASH CLAIMS OVER PUMP PRICES
“Price of petrol has increased by 5p thanks to Brexit.”
© LibDems on Twitter, 09 May 2017
UNFORTUNATELY FOR THE LIBDEMS, THE FACTS SAY OTHERWISE
  • Pump prices in the EU have risen by a very similar amount
  • Pump prices in the UK were rising twice as fast before the Referendum
Yesterday the LibDems claimed that the cost of petrol had risen by 5p per litre since the Referendum and blamed this on Brexit. They proudly tweeted this and their Brexit spokesman Nick Clegg went on TV to promote it.
© Sky News 2017
As with most LibDem claims about Brexit, the facts tell a very different story. Pump prices in the EU have risen by almost the same amount as in the UK.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
As you can see, the latest official figures show there has been nearly a 5% increase in pump prices across the EU countries since July 2016. The difference between the UK’s price rise and the EU’s is tiny, and this clearly demonstrates that Brexit has had nothing to do with the change in pump prices.
EVEN MORE EMBARRASSING FACTS FOR THE LIBDEMS
  • Pump prices in the UK were rising well before the Referendum
  • They rose almost twice as fast in the 6 months before the Referendum compared to the 9 months since
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
OBSERVATIONS
The LibDems are still trying to re-run their EU Referendum campaign from last year. Their claims were wrong then and they are wrong now.
Back in May and June last year, the LibDems could say what they liked about Armageddon if the UK voted to leave the EU. Their threats were based on blind Europhilia and guesswork.
It’s a shame they don’t seem to have realised that we now have facts since the Referendum. It is no longer acceptable to mislead the public, when the official facts contradict their claims on so many counts.
[ Sources: UK Government Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | EU Commission Oil Bulletin latest figures | Sky News
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.25am, 10 May 2017
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IF WE DON'T RESEARCH PIECES LIKE THE ONE ABOVE, WHO WILL?
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 HAPPY EUROPE DAY, 9th MAY 2017
Dust off your glad rags, polish the motor, hang out the bunting.
Today is Europe Day!
© EU Commission 2017
“Europe Day, held on 9 May every year... marks the anniversary of the historical Schuman declaration... Schuman's proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.”
EU Commission website 2017
WHAT DID SCHUMAN SAY IN HIS DECLARATION?
Ostensibly, the former French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman's speech in 1950 contained a proposal to create a joint Franco-German-led community, whose members would pool coal and steel production. In reality it had deeper ambitions:-
In reality the Schuman Declaration had more sinister ambitions:-
Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.
...the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe...
The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries… will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.
With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent.
By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation...
...the organization will ensure the fusion of markets...
It's clear that a Federal Europe was already being proposed by Schuman in 1950, seven years before the Treaty of Rome. You will also note that the intention was “to lay a true foundation for their economic unification”. So we can’t say we weren’t warned.
And the additional aim, rarely mentioned, “to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent” perhaps explains why a €2.8 billion ‘off the books’ Trust Fund for Africa has recently been created.
HOW ARE THE EU COUNTRIES CELEBRATING?
Unfortunately for the EU, Schuman made his speech the day after Victory in Europe Day, when western EU countries celebrate what might be seen as a more important event.
Somewhat hilariously, the EU Commission’s webpages about the 9th May start thus:
“To celebrate Europe Day, the EU institutions open their doors to the public on 6 May in Brussels, 13 & 14 May in Luxembourg and 14 May in Strasbourg.”
Only the EU could find it normal to celebrate 3 days before, and 3 days after, but not to celebrate on the day itself. Perhaps you can guess why?
Yes, all employees of EU institutions are given the day off
on 9th May each year to celebrate Europe Day.
According to the EU, “Each year thousands of people take part in visits, debates, concerts and other events to mark the day and raise awareness about the EU.”
For a European Union of 508 million people (pre-Brexit), that might be said to sound somewhat underwhelming.
SO WHAT IS THE UK DOING TO CELEBRATE?
Er... not that much, actually. Just three events are advertised in the UK. Two are in Scotland and the third is a ‘European Literature Night’ with a Scottish writer.
IDEAS FOR CELEBRATING?
Do write and tell us how you're planning to spend Europe Day.
[ Sources: EU Commission.     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.55am, 09 May 2017
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 YESTERDAY ONE-THIRD OF FRENCH VOTERS REJECTED THE EU...
...AND THE EU CELEBRATED
Firstly, congratulations go to Emmanuel Macron, President-elect of France. Up until 9 months ago, Monsieur Macron was the French socialist government’s economy minister, before departing to set up his own political movement.
Yesterday he achieved 66% of the popular vote and will be the next President of La République. (Results are still coming in at the time of writing.)
The result means that one-third of French voters favoured the candidate who rejects the EU. This did not seem to concern the EU’s elites last night :-
© Twitter
Below you can see how the support for the anti-EU Front National has risen in France since the presidential elections in 2002, 15 years ago.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
With support for the anti-EU Front National almost doubling in the last 15 years, it remains to be seen for how many more years the EU will be able to celebrate the election of a pro-EU French President.
[ Sources: French Interior Ministry | France TVInfo |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       08.10am, 08 May 2017
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 HOW THE EU WILL JUSTIFY ITS €100 BILLION ‘BREXIT BILL’
Here’s one example which will be included in the EU’s demands
A €6 BILLION EU FUND, OFF THE BOOKS, WHICH YOU ARE PAYING FOR
IN ADDITION TO THE UK’S ANNUAL ‘NET CONTRIBUTIONS’
When the EU finally attempts to justify its £86 billion claim against the UK, the bill will be made up of hundreds of parts. This article is about just one part, which we understand will be included in the bill.
In recent years the EU has been working on various ways to increase its budget without alerting the peoples of the member states including – in particular – the UK. One such way they found was the establishment of special funds which are not counted as part of the EU’s budget. This allowed them to announce that the EU’s budget hasn’t risen when in fact it has.
When it comes to the EU’s Brexit bill, it is clear from all the recent leaks that the EU is planning to throw everything they can think of into their final demands. One of these elements which they have already identified is the ‘Facility for Refugees in Turkey’.
“There should be a single financial settlement related to the Union budget and related to… all institutions or bodies… as well as to the participation of the United Kingdom in specific funds and facilities related to Union policies (e.g. the European Development Fund and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey).”
[Leaked EU Commission document, 20 Apr 2017]
KEY FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT THE 'FACILITY FOR REFUGEES IN TURKEY'
  • UK has paid €327.6 million so far, and will owe another €327.6 million in 2018-2020
  • UK is second-largest contributor - 17.6% of total
  • UK total: €0.66 billion (£0.56 billion), if it doesn’t say no to second tranche of the Fund
  • Total size of Fund : €3 billion 2016-2017, plus €3 billion 2018-2020
  • €4 billion of this comes direct from member states
  • This Fund does NOT form part of the EU budget
  • It is therefore NOT included in the UK’s ‘annual net contributions’
  • This Fund is NOT part of the UK’s legal obligations under the EU Treaties
  • Belgium, Poland and Romania have paid nothing at all
  • The Fund was part of Angela Merkel’s deal with Turkey, to alleviate flows of migrants
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
OBSERVATIONS
The UK was not obliged to contribute to this Fund but it agreed to do so under David Cameron’s government. However the government only committed to participate in the first tranche of €3 billion, not the second €3 billion.
It seems that participation in the second €3 billion tranche of the Fund will be part of the EU’s Brexit bill demands.
There’s a very simple answer to this: No. If the UK wishes to contribute further to Turkey’s finances it can do so bilaterally. Then at least the UK taxpayer’s money will be badged ‘UK Aid from the British People’.
As ever, we welcome your comments.
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Parliament |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.15am, 08 May 2017
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 HOW THE EU IS USING UK TAXPAYER’S MONEY
TO PAY FOR ITS MIGRANT CRISIS
Funds agreed for one purpose are quietly being 're-allocated' by the EU
The UK makes annual net contributions to the EU budget on the basis of an agreed breakdown of EU spending across its various priority areas. The British people are aware of this, even if they are not generally told the details.
The UK also makes contributions to EU Funds which are not part of the EU budget, and which do not appear as part of the UK’s net contributions. The British people are NOT aware of this.
If the British people actually knew what its money was planned to be spent on by the EU, it’s doubtful that they would be happy. Even Remainers would struggle to defend this. That said, the UK government agrees the budget framework each time, so that’s that.
What the British people would definitely not expect, however, is that the EU would then use British taxpayer money for purposes other than those which had been approved by the UK government when the EU budget is agreed.
Careful Facts4EU.Org analysis of EU Commission and EU Parliament documents
show that this is what is happening.
The EU’s migrant crisis punched an enormous hole in its expenditure plans, starting in 2014 and growing significantly each year. In our article yesterday we showed how the EU has been forced to more than double its expenditure on the migrant crisis. And that is just for funds which are officially designated as being for that purpose.
In reality funds are now being allocated to the migrant crisis, which were originally destined for other purposes or were to be used as reserves. And the EU is careful not to produce a total for all this money which is now being used.
X
 
And when the UK gives foreign aid via the EU, the EU makes sure to take all the credit.
 
Specifically, UK taxpayer money is being allocated or ‘re-designated’ towards solving the EU’s migrant crisis in several ways :-
EU'S RE-ALLOCATION / RE-DESIGNATION OF FUNDS
  • Funds reserved as the EU’s ‘contingency margin’ have been used for the migrant crisis
  • Money designated for the €63 billion Cohesion Fund (subsidies to 15 member states) is to be used
  • Money designated for the €83 billion European Social Fund is already being used
  • New rules have been implemented to allow switching of monies for expenditure areas in the same year, and switching between years
  • 'Trust Funds' such as the €2.8 billion EU Trust Fund For Africa have been set up on an 'off-the-books' basis, to fund the migrant crisis
  • Special 'off-the-books' facilities such as the €6 billion EU-Turkey Facility for Refugees have been set up, which don’t appear in the EU’s budget
  • Another 'off-the-books' fund - the €30.5 billion European Development Fund now appears to be mostly for the migrant crisis
OBSERVATIONS
The British are the second-largest donors of humanitarian and development aid in the World after the Americans. British people can hold their heads up high.
Given this, people are surely allowed to question why they are having to pay extra for the EU’s problems which were escalated to an enormous degree by Angela Merkel’s rash immigration policies in 2015. Particularly when the UK is not part of the EU's open borders Schengen agreement.
British people may further question how the EU is now able to use UK taxpayer money, originally designated for other purposes within the EU, in order to try to solve the EU’s migrant issues.
Finally – and as we have stated many times – the British people surely have the right to know that substantial sums have been paid by the UK to the EU to assist with its migrant problems, which do NOT appear on any calculations of the UK’s ‘net annual contributions’.
If any mainstream journalists or major Brexit organisations would like details of our research in producing information like that above, they only have to ask...
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Parliament |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.15am, 07 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
© GoFundMe
IN 11 DAYS LAST MONTH, GINA MILLER RAISED £344,000
APPEAL: Could you spare just £1.20 per week to keep us going?
We need to raise an extra £5,000 per month
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 EU’S BUDGET FOR MIGRANT CRISIS MORE THAN DOUBLES IN TWO YEARS AND WILL KEEP ON GROWING
And the UK is expected to keep paying for this for years after Brexit
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
The EU has a 7-year budgeting framework called the MFF. In addition to the annual adjustments it also has a major ‘Mid-Term Review’, proposed by the EU Commission.
“Migration, refugee crisis and security”
“Critically, the implementation of the first years of the MFF [EU budget] has been characterized by the urgent need to address the internal and external dimensions of the migration and refugee crisis.”
EU Commission Mid-Term Review
The Review clearly shows that the EU’s migrant crisis is having a serious effect on the EU’s finances. In the graph above we have shown the EU’s own figures for “Evolution of Migration / Refugees Expenditure”, with one addition in 2016.
The addition we have made for 2016 is for a proportion of the ‘Facility for Refugees in Turkey’ which the EU had failed to include.
OBSERVATIONS
It’s very important to note that there are many more expenditures in relation to the migrant crisis which the EU has not included in its figures, as they appear buried in other, obscure-sounding funds.
The true figure is much higher.
However we have used the EU’s figures even though they don’t include large sums placed in other budgets but which relate to the migrant crisis. We have done this because you can still see how rapidly the costs of the EU’s migrant crisis are escalating in proportionate terms. The actual migrant budget declared by the EU for 2016 is more than double the costs only two years earlier when the 7-year budget framework was signed off.
Unfortunately, the costs which are now being proposed will affect the UK long after they have been agreed, if the EU gets its way. Many of these funds won’t even be committed until after the UK has left the EU, but the EU proposes to include them anyway in its ‘financial settlement’.
It gets worse. The EU itself recognises that the funds it is currently proposing are unlikely to be enough, and it will be working on further funding before the UK exits. Here is what the EU Commission says in its Mid-Term Review:-
“Should these measures prove not sufficient to address the migration and security challenges, additional resources would need to be made available. This could also be financed by the proposed new European Union Crisis Reserve”
We will soon be publishing an article about the extra funds we mention above – ones which are not included in EU budget figures, nor in the ‘net contributions’ which the UK makes to the EU.
[ Sources: EU Commission |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.15am, 06 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: Paul A, East Sussex      Date/Time: 06 May 2017, 1.51pm
Message: We should just walk away, stop all contributions and use WTO rules. It is the EU who will suffer and frankly I couldn't care less about them anymore, not that I did much in the first place. Really, ask yourself a question 'Would you join a dysfunctional bullyboy club led by a drunkard?'. No? I suspect I am not alone.
 THE EU'S GIVERS AND THE EU'S TAKERS
Our definitive and simple guide to the winners and the losers in the EU's budget
The Facts4EU.Org Research Team brings you the information
which the EU and Remainers don’t want you to see
The EU does not publish clear information showing which member states are responsible for keeping the EU afloat. They seem to be uncomfortable with country-by-country comparisons of gross and net contributions to the EU’s budget.
Below we will try to put that right, using data from the EU for the latest year for which information is available: 2015.
OVERALL SUMMARY FOR EU BUDGET 2015 (latest available data)
  • The UK is the second-highest net contributor to the EU budget
  • It’s Germany and the UK who keep the EU afloat
  • The UK pays - net - more than double the amount that France pays
  • Poland is by far the biggest net recipient of EU funds
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
1.  GROSS PAYMENTS TO THE EU
  • For gross contributions, the UK is the second-biggest payer
  • The UK is one of 3 countries representing over 50% of total gross contributions
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
2.  GROSS RECEIPTS FROM THE EU
  • For gross payouts from the EU, 5 countries account for 50% of the EU’s largesse
  • The UK is not amongst these, being in the second tier of recipients of EU grants
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
3.  NET CONTRIBUTIONS – THE GIVERS AND THE TAKERS, 2015
  • For net contributions, the UK is again in second place: €14.0 billion (approx £11.9 billion pounds)
  • Germany and the UK are easily the biggest net donors
  • The UK pays 21/4 times more than France pays, in net terms
  
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
4.  WITHOUT THE UK IN 2015...
  • The EU would have had a €14 billion black hole in its accounts – for just one year
  • At today’s exchange rate that’s £11.9 billion pounds
How we calculated the above information
The information you can see above comes from analysis of spreadsheets backing the EU Commission’s 2015 Financial Report. We have recreated this information in graphical form to make it more easily understandable.
It's important to note that the information relates only to the official EU budget. The UK also pays further amounts to the EU which are not formally included in the EU's budget, and which do not appear in any summaries you will read in the British media or in House of Commons Library reports. We have highlighted these additional funds many times, and hope that more bodies will start to show these extra figures as the debate over the 'Brexit bill' intensifies.
OPINION
The obvious point to make is that the EU is in big trouble without the UK's massive net contributions. In 2015 these equated to almost £12 billion at today's exchange rate.
Perhaps the second point to make is a more general one. The graphs show a significant disparity between the treatment of the member states of the EU. For example, why should France pay (net) less than half what the UK pays? After all, the economies of the UK and France are a very similar size. Why does Poland receive so much more than anyone else?
As we have stated previously, the EU is not yet discussing what it will do to cut back on its expenditure in the light of the UK's imminent departure. Be in no doubt: if it wanted to, the EU could immediately scale back on many of its more dubious projects. A great deal of money has been budgeted for but not actually committed.
Instead the EU seems to want to focus on extracting the maximum possible ransom from the UK for having the temerity to leave. We suggest they address their spending plans as a matter of urgency, rather than expecting the UK to pick up the tab. All they are doing is kicking the can down the road - something for which the EU is notorious.
Sooner or later they will need to make some difficult decisions. Knowing how long this takes in the EU, now would be a good time to start.
Finally, if you would like us to be able to carry on researching and publishing vital information like that above, please consider supporting us financially. None of the main Brexit campaign organisations are producing anything like our daily output. For some reason they won't fund us or accept our invitation for Facts4EU.Org to become their research and news arm, but maybe you could help with some 'people power'?
[ Sources: EU Commission |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       08.10am, 05 May 2017
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 EU27 ARE STILL NOT READY TO START NEGOTIATIONS
And they can't give legal justification for a Brexit bill
Two important takeaways from the EU Chief Negotiator’s conference yesterday
Below we give you links to the key documents issued by the EU yesterday regarding the Brexit negotiations. Firstly though, two issues stood out.
1.  THE BREXIT BILL
Following his speech Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief negotiator, was asked about the EU’s Brexit bill demand.
Q: What is the legal basis for a Brexit bill?
A: Monsieur Barnier had no answer to this question.
Q: Roughly how much will the bill be?
A: Monsieur Barnier doesn’t know yet.
It is highly significant that Monsieur Barnier was not able to give any legal basis for the EU’s demand for money from the UK. If he had had legal backing he could have used, he would have used it.
Readers may wish to remind themselves of the legal position which we outlined in a previous article.
2.  TIMING OF NEGOTIATIONS
The EU’s PR machine has been giving out the message on a daily basis that the EU is waiting on the UK, not the other way around. In the last two weeks, they have been saying that negotiations can’t start until 09 June, following the UK’s General Election.
However it’s the EU that isn’t ready, as it still doesn’t have formally agreed negotiating guidelines. The ones issued yesterday remain in draft form. This is perfectly clear from the European Commission’s Fact Sheet released yesterday morning:-
“What are the next steps?
"The General Affairs Council will meet on 22 May 2017 to adopt the draft negotiating directives (by strong qualified majority) and to authorise the opening of negotiations. Once adopted by the Council, the European Union will be ready to begin formal negotiations with the United Kingdom.”
EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier
So, the EU27 still aren't ready to negotiate.
 
OPINION
The EU still isn’t ready to conduct negotiations - it has to hold yet another meeting. And (allegedly) it still hasn’t calculated even an approximate amount for the ‘Brexit Bill’.
As far as we’re aware, the UK government has not told the EU that negotiations can’t start until 09 June. It is entirely in the EU’s interests to portray to the people of the EU27 countries that the UK is delaying negotiations by claiming this.
In the same way, they have portrayed the issue of citizens’ rights as being something which the EU wants to resolve, not a priority for the UK. EU27 citizens are unaware that the British government offered to agree this back in December but the EU declined.
We reiterate the necessity of the UK government speaking out strongly to the people of the UK, to the people of the EU27 countries, and for global consumption. An effective PR campaign has been under way in Brussels for the last year. It’s time for the UK to catch up.
Here are the documents released by the EU yesterday morning. The last item is particularly worth reading :-
[ Sources: EU Commission |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       04.50am, 04 May 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 04 May 2017, 10.19am
Message: Could you tell us who asked Barnier the questions relating to the EU bill. It's just that it doesn't sound like anything the BBC might ask.
Reply from Facts4EU.Org Team      Date/Time: 04 May 2017, 11.00am
Message: The question about the legal basis of any bill came from a foreign journalist and the question about the amount of the bill came from Mark Stone of Sky News.
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 MANUFACTURING CONFIDENCE INDEX HIGHEST IN 3 YEARS
Another example of ‘despite Brexit’ good news
The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI is an important indicator of output and confidence in the economy.
Yesterday the index rose to 57.3, up from 54.2 in March and a 3-year high.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
OPINION
Remember Project Fear? We hope its proponents are all asked onto TV today to explain this latest example of how the economy has not fallen off a cliff as they predicted.
With the good news that has come our month after month since the referendum, they could also be asked why they deceived so many of the British public into voting Remain.
[ Sources: Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI ]        10.00am, 03 May 2017
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 THE PM’S DINNER DATE WITH PRESIDENT JUNCKER
In all the phoney outrage by Remainer politicians and commentators about the leaked dinner conversation between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker, why is no-one trumpeting the fact that the Prime Minister allegedly told the EU Commission President:
‘There is no legal basis for a Brexit bill and we do not owe you a penny’
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Quite right. Well done, Prime Minister.
[ Sources: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ]        07.25am, 03 May 2017
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 £20 BILLION SPENT ON COUNTRIES WANTING TO JOIN EU
Grandiose ambitions require grandiose budgets, hence a grandiose Brexit bill
Another Facts4EU.Org example of why the EU wants the UK’s money
Over the last couple of years we have regularly researched various EU funds. Their sheer number and scope are breathtaking and the details are often BIA (Buried In Acronyms). There are funds within funds and any attempt to work out what relates to what is not a task for the faint-hearted.
There are also funds which do not appear within the EU budget – and which therefore do not appear as part of the UK’s ‘net contributions’ to the EU.
Here is yet another example of how your money has been – and is being – spent by the EU. This example covers money given to non-EU countries who would like to join.
INSTRUMENT FOR PRE-ACCESSION ASSISTANCE (IPA)
1.   WHAT IS THE IPA?
The EU has an Enlargement Policy. There are 5 ‘candidate countries’ and 2 ‘potential candidate countries’ who would like to join the EU:-
The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) gives money to these 7 countries for the areas of
  • Public administration reform
  • Rule of law
  • Sustainable economy
  • People
  • Agriculture and rural development
Here's what the EU Commission says: “The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the means by which the EU supports reforms in the 'enlargement countries' with financial and technical help. The IPA funds build up the capacities of the countries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region.”
2.   HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
2007-2013 - €11.5 billion
2014-2020 - €11.7 billion
Total from 2007-2020 : €23.2 billion (approx. £19.7 billion GBP)
3.   WHO GETS THIS MONEY?
Current recipients are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.
Iceland was a candidate country but pulled out, and Croatia was a candidate country until it joined in 2013.
Here is how the money has been shared out
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
OPINION
At what point in the last 10 years did you become aware that you were funding countries like Albania to adopt more EU standards so that they could one day join the EU?
And at what point did you become aware that Albania would be given £1 billion pounds to make these changes? And trust us, £1 billion pounds is a LOT of money in Albania.
Let’s take another look at our graph and consider Turkey. Nearly £8 billion pounds spent, and yet Turkey is further away from joining the EU today than at any time in the last 10 years.
Every day we watch interviews with the likes of Tim Farron, Nick Clegg, Diane Abbot, Anna Soubry, and many others, blithely wittering on about the EU, how wonderful it is, and how the UK would be an economic basket case without it.
These people use generalities about their imagined view of what the EU is. Do any of them have the faintest idea of the facts?
We don't expect them to know specifics like the IPA Fund numbers, but we do expect them to know the basics. Alas we see on a regular basis that they don't even have a fundamental understanding of what the EU does, what its ambitions are, what the main parts of it cost, and what little benefit the UK derives from it.
[ Sources: EU Commission |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.55am, 03 May 2017
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 EUROPOL AIMS TO BECOME A SMART ALEC
EUALEC – the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation
A new EU Directive came into force yesterday, 01 May, giving Europol extra powers, enhancing its mandate as the EU's central law enforcement agency, and introducing a new data protection regime. The UK opted in on 07 March 2017.
© Europol
The final text of the Directive was approved by David Cameron and the other EU leaders on 10 March 2016 and voted on by the European Parliament on 11 May 2016. The new Regulation took effect in all EU Member States as of yesterday, 01 May 2017.
The UK has an opt-out on the areas of freedom, security and justice but can opt in to certain measures if it chooses. In the case of Europol, Prime Minister May decided to exercise this opt-in late last year ahead of the new regulations which came into force yesterday.
EUROPOL MEMBERSHIP RULES:
  • Full membership of the EU
  • Payment via percentage of EU budget
  • Jurisdiction of the ECJ
  • Full application of Directive (EU) 2016/680 in processing of data
  • Supervision of the European Data Protection Supervisor
Europol is effectively a cross-border law agency : “Europol shall support and strengthen action by the competent authorities of the Member States and their mutual cooperation in preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy.” [Europol]
The budget for 2017 is €115 million euros and Europol employs 786 staff and persons seconded by member states. The budget has increased by 20% in the last two years and is destined to increase much faster.
OPINION
Currently it is hard to see how any of Europol’s membership rules would be compatible with Brexit.
As ever with the EU, it is inevitable that Europol’s remit will increase in practice. Most people would agree that cross-border co-operation on terrorism and major crimes is desirable. The problem comes when the remit includes statements such as “forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy”. As EU policies cover almost everything from cradle to grave, (and anything not covered now is bound to be included in the end), this gives Europol a fairly wide orbit of activity.
One EU country held a referendum in 2015 on its participation in EU security and defence policies, including its membership of Europol. The people voted against, but to see how this has worked out please read the next article about Denmark.
[ Sources: Europol | EU Commission | UK Parliament |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       06.50am, 02 May 2017
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 'YOU CAN CHECK OUT ANY TIME YOU LIKE,
BUT YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE'
Denmark’s Referendums, Democracy, and the Vanquishing of the Vikings
The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen     © Tourism Denmark
TECHNICALLY, DENMARK LEFT EUROPOL YESTERDAY – OR DID IT?
  • In a 1992 referendum the Danes voted against the Maastricht Treaty, so they were asked to vote again in a second referendum the following year.
  • In 2005 the planned referendum on the EU Constitution (which became the Lisbon Treaty) was cancelled by the Danish government, after the French and Dutch people had rejected it.
  • In 2008 the Danish government then ratified the Lisbon Treaty without allowing a referendum.
  • In a 2015 referendum the Danes once again voted against their government, and rejected the proposal to allow a case-by-case opt-in to the EU’s home and justice framework, including Europol.
  • In 2017 the Danish government went ahead and agreed a Europol deal with the EU anyway, and it came into force yesterday.
Technically, Denmark left Europol yesterday. It did so following the Danish people’s referendum vote in Dec 2015 by 53.1% to 46.9%, to reject the changing of its opt-out from the EU’s home affairs and justice agenda. This decision by the Danes meant leaving Europol.
However, everyone is now familiar with the line in the Eagles’ song Hotel California: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.
On Saturday 29 April, just two days before Denmark was due to leave Europol, a last-minute agreement was made in Brussels between the EU Commission and Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.
The agreement itself was then signed the same day in Valletta, by Director of Europol Rob Wainwright, and by Director of the Danish National Police Sven Larsen, away from all the publicity of the EU Summit taking place in Brussels.
THE DANES VOTED NO, SO WHAT DID THEY GET?
  • Denmark now has a special ‘Associate Membership’ of Europol
  • The Danes continue to pay for Europol
  • The EU forced the Danish parliament to pass a new law, encompassing EU data protection law
  • Jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice applies
  • Supervision by the European Data Protection Supervisor applies
  • 6 Danish police officers seconded to Europol’s headquarters
OPINION
The EU and the Danish government have ‘window-dressed’ the new arrangement, in order that the Danish people don’t say their democratic vote has been violated.
If they are continuing to pay for Europol, have had their laws changed to comply with the new Europol transition into the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (see article on ALEC above), and are subject to all the EU’s laws about Europol, then...
...The EU machine has once again steamrollered over the Danes.
[ Sources: Europol | EU Commission | LEX-EUR | Danish government |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]        08.20am, 02 May 2017
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ORIGINAL REPORTS, DETAILED RESEARCH FROM OFFICIAL SOURCES
Unlike most of the main Brexit-oriented sites, we produce our own material,
and we do so daily on a shoestring.
       Facts4EU.Org, 09.00 Tuesday, 02 May 2017
 'EUXTORTION'
By our amateur cartoonist, Sara
Giving Facts4EU's humorous take on
the world of Brexit and the EU
       11.30am, 01 May 2017
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 THE EU’S £53 BILLION FUND
FROM WHICH THE UK RECEIVES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
The EU has thousands of funds: some small, some more significant. One of these is called the ‘Cohesion Fund’. In the EU’s current 7-year budget from 2014-2020 it is allocated €63.4 billion euros - approximately £53 billion GBP.
The EU describes it as being “allocated to trans-European transport networks and to projects falling under EU environmental priorities”. In other words it’s spent by qualifying member states on roads, railways, and waterways, as well as projects falling under ‘environment protection, low-carbon economy, and climate change’.
HOW THE EXPENDITURE BREAKS DOWN :-
The breakdown below shows that the ‘Green Agenda’ takes 45% of the total fund, with the remaining 55% being spent on transport and energy infrastructure projects.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
WHO GETS THE MONEY?
Despite contributing to the fund, the UK receives nothing at all from it. The fund is in effect a wealth transfer scheme from richer EU countries to poorer ones, ostensibly aimed at standardising cross-border transport and energy infrastructure.
Here is the allocation of the funds by member state :-
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
EXAMPLE OF USE OF FUNDS - Croatian Inland Waterways
The Croatian government says:
“The goal is therefore to improve and restore the inland waterway system in Croatia, in order to make it more attractive and specific in comparison with other modes of transport.”
HOW MUCH OF THE £53 BILLION HAS BEEN SPENT SO FAR?
This is highly relevant to the EU's coming claim for a 'Brexit bill' to be settled by the UK.
As the latest information below shows, less than 6% of the fund has been spent. A total of 25% has been 'decided', leaving 69% which is still at the planning stage. This is an example of monies which could be re-thought by the EU, based on the fact that one of its major donors is leaving.
Almost 70% of the fund hasn't yet been committed :-
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
OPINION
We would like to ask you some questions.
  • Did you know about this fund?
  • Whether or not you are in favour of a wealth distribution scheme between richer and poorer members of the EU, do you think you should have been asked if you approved?
  • Whether or not you unconditionally support expenditure on the green agenda, is 45% an appropriate share for this, for such a large fund?
  • If it is, why should this expenditure be restricted to just 15 member states?
  • Why does just one country (Poland) receive 36.6% of the total fund?
  • Do you think the EU should be re-thinking funds like this to see where savings could be made, rather than expecting the UK to continue funding things for which it will get no benefit?
The EU will shortly detail an exit bill which it says the UK must agree to, before the EU will agree to reciprocal citizens’ rights and before it will start talking about a future trade deal.
The Cohesion Fund will be one of the many funds included when the EU performs its calculations of what it will claim the UK owes.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org will continue to shed some light on the many and various ways the EU has been spending the UK’s net contributions over the last 43 years.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Croatian government |     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]
       07.50am, 01 May 2017
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© GoFundMe
IN 11 DAYS GINA MILLER HAS RAISED £344,000 POUNDS
APPEAL: Could you spare just £1.20 per week to keep us going?
We need to raise an extra £5,000 per month
Facts4EU’s articles and research are used and quoted by the national press.
Amongst our readership we number MPs, MEPs, and former Cabinet Ministers.
With your help we can make a difference – we can’t do it without you.
Subscribe With a monthly donation
From £1.20 / week
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To read all of April's output, simply click here.
We have also researched and published some excellent reports in previous months.
Please use the news archive menu at the top of the right-hand-column of this page to access them.
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