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BREXIT NEWS - SECOND HALF OF AUGUST 2017  (Latest appears first)
               © Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
The facts about the ‘Brexit Bill’ for UK and world readers
Dear Facts4EU.Org Reader /
Dear Messrs Barnier, Juncker, Tusk and all other unelected officials of the European Union /
Dear elected leaders and politicians of the EU27 countries, including MEPs /
Dear pro-EU journalists of the British media and of the media of the EU27 countries /
Dear undemocratic politicians in British political parties refusing to accept the Leave vote /
Dear members of think-tanks, institutes, associations, trade and business bodies, international bodies, and all other bodies who express views on Brexit /
This article aims to give you a clear statement of the UK government’s position regarding the EU’s demand for what the EU refers to as the ‘single financial settlement’. Without the UK’s acquiescence to this demand, the EU currently refuses to negotiate an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom.
Millions of people are affected by this refusal by the European Union to negotiate a normal agreement for the full withdrawal of the UK and for the future arrangement between the UK and the EU from the date of exit.
Specifically the EU’s intransigence affects citizens of the United Kingdom and the European Union, hundreds of thousands of EU and UK companies and millions of their employees, as well as all the countries around the world who currently trade with the United Kingdom and the EU and who wish to continue doing so.
Finally it also affects those in many countries in the EU and outside the EU who rely in any way for their own security on the United Kingdom’s considerable security and defence capabilities and the way in which these are currently deployed to protect others, both in the EU and outside it.
Some UK journalists (deliberately or otherwise) are suggesting that the UK has already agreed to a Brexit Bill.
This is simply not the case, as we show below. Where government ministers have talked about this, they have said that of course the UK will honour its obligations. (See below for examples.)
That is not the same as saying that the UK will make a financial payment over and above what the UK normally pays the EU each year up until the date of exit.
This is also referred to as the ‘Divorce Bill’, ‘Punishment Bill’, and the ‘Brexit Bill’. Given that the concept and wording of a ‘Single Financial Settlement’ is something the EU invented after the UK voted to leave, we will not use the EU’s term. We prefer to use ‘Brexit Bill’, as this is how most British people see it being referred to.
The term ‘Single Financial Settlement’ does not appear in any EU rule, law, directive, or treaty. It simply does not exist in legal form. It isn’t even referred to obliquely or by implication in any formal EU document (until just before negotiations started).
It doesn’t exist.
Michel Barnier first raised the concept of a Brexit Bill with his colleagues on 15 December 2016 – six months after the UK voted to leave. At that point, it is said that a figure of €60 billion euros was mooted. It was then the subject of speculation for months, until finally the EU produced a ‘Position Paper’ on 29 May 2017 entitled ‘Essential Principles on Financial Settlement’. You can read our analysis of their document here.
The EU’s document on the Brexit Bill does not specify any sum, and provides no legal justification for their claim.
The UK government has asked the EU to justify the legal basis for any demand for payment and we understand that the EU has been unable to do so.
Please note that if the EU had been able to provide any legal justification, it would have done so with some alacrity, as it is increasingly desperate to know where its money is coming from after the UK leaves. The UK is one of the two countries (along with Germany) that funds over half the EU.
Four increasingly worried men from the EU
The EU is currently preventing the smooth agreement of arrangements for the UK to become a fully independent country again from the end of March 2019. The ramifications of this for the EU27 countries, for the UK, and for the rest of the world are significant.
Despite any statements to the contrary by EU bureaucrats, the position of the UK government is clear, and has been for months. It is that set out in three documents.
These are well known to the European Union and they are the British Prime Pinister’s ‘Lancaster House speech’ of 17 Jan, the UK government’s White Paper of 02 Feb, and the UK government’s Article 50 letter of 29 Mar 2017.
Below we have extracted the relevant paragraphs for you.
British Prime Minister’s ‘Lancaster House speech’, 17 Jan 2017
“And because we will no longer be members of the single market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. There may be some specific European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, and this will be for us to decide, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution.”
In other words, no agreement to any ‘Single Financial Settlement’.
UK government White Paper, 02 Feb 2017
“Once we have left the EU, decisions on how taxpayers’ money will be spent will be made in the UK. As we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to make vast contributions to the EU budget. There may be European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution. But this will be a decision for the UK as we negotiate the new arrangements.”
In other words, no agreement to any ‘Single Financial Settlement’.
UK government Article 50 letter, 29 Mar 2017
“We will need to discuss how we determine a fair settlement of the UK's rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the United Kingdom's continuing partnership with the EU. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.”
In other words, no agreement to any ‘Single Financial Settlement’.
We find the EU’s attitude over their demand for money with menaces (the Brexit Bill) bizarre and deeply regrettable. There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that it is politically motivated. This demand exists for two reasons:
  1. ‘Pour encourager les autres’ – to dissuade other member states from daring to break free, and
  2. Because without the UK's funding, the EU will be desperately short of money.
We think it’s inevitable that when the world knows the details it will draw the same conclusions.
Our view is that if they want to start talking about debts, the EU owes the UK not the other way round. We have previously published chapter and verse on the legal question. There simply is no legal basis for the EU’s claim. Only an arrogant and delusional organisation like the EU would even consider pursuing such a claim, once its bluff had been called.
Let them eat cake.
What do you think? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
No-one else today will be running a story anything like the one above. We don't just recycle stories you can read elsewhere, like so many other Brexit websites.
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[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the EU | EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.10am, 31 August 2017
Name: : Matty, Wilts      Date/Time: 31 Aug, 11.41am
Message: Loved that article and agree with everything. So good to read common sense backed by facts.
Name: : Exasperated, Essex      Date/Time: 31 Aug, 11.10am
Message: It has been obvious for some time that the EU are not going to negotiate on a level playing field with the UK. The EU economic model of protectionism, is obsolete. The WTO have negotiated trading tariffs down with other countries around the world. The UK trades under WTO rules, in all other countries, we should now prepare to trade under WTO rules with the EU. Contingency planing to this effect, should go full steam ahead. There will be major short term disruption, if the EU negotiations fail. But long term the UK will be a better,more prosperous, free trading, sovereign nation again. There is no price for freedom.
This was a public service by Brexit Facts4EU.Org. Mr Verhofstadt was answering questions, in between long questions by MEPs. Nb SELECT 'ENGLISH' FROM THE LANGUAGE OPTION BELOW!
               © EU Commission
If these people drive you crazy, you can vent your frustrations here. Please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       15.00pm, 30 August 2017
Name: : Exasperated, UK      Date/Time: 30 Aug, 6.22pm
Message: That's eight minutes of my life I shall never get back, watching the verbose Guy Verhofstadt outline the negotiation committees and sub-committees. That video outlines what is wrong with the EU, constant minutiae of non essential details, committees, working groups, not cutting to the quick.

The deal is, EU citizens in the UK, get the same rights and benefits as UK born citizens. No special deals, one rule of law, Common Law based on Saxon Law, backed up by Magna Carta of 1215 if that's not good enough, sorry that's the deal, take it or leave it, your choice. The UK is an open law abiding society. You either accept it go back and abide by your own country's laws.
Name: : Paul A, UK      Date/Time: 30 Aug, 4.13pm
Message: GV could be doing something useful for the people of Europe, but as usual and instead is coming out with this load of unmitigated drivel. Should anyone need to see just one small benefit of leaving please listen to this rubbish.
Name: : Editor, Brexit Facts4EU.Org      Date/Time: 30 Aug, 3.45pm
Message: Verhopeless must be the best recruiting sergeant for the Brexit cause in the whole of the EU. The more he speaks, the more likely Remain voters are to make the final jump over to becoming Leavers. As time goes by and Remain voters see how they were lied to, and how rosy the future looks for Brexit Britain, the more we expect this to happen - especially if this ghastly Belgian gets plenty of airtime on British TV!
(There are of course a large number of fundamental problems in the EU,
but here’s a topical one.)
Eurocrats like Michel Barnier and his boss Jean-Claude Juncker have lived in another world for so long they don’t know how to return to the real one. In fact, some would maintain that the more successful Eurocrats are able to forget the existence of the real world completely.
When the current Brexit talks finally break down – for break down they almost certainly will – Barnier will struggle to understand why anyone thinks he’s on another planet.
Jean-Claude Juncker will have similar difficulties. He has been spouting complete EU Klingon for so long he fails to hear how ridiculous it sounds to anyone with their feet firmly planted on planet earth.
Yesterday was a case in point. Here is your EU Commission President, pronouncing as if anyone had actually elected him to anything, about the Brexit negotiations:
“I would like to be clear that I did read with the requisite attention
all the papers produced by Her Majesty’s government
and none of those is actually satisfactory.”
               © EU Commission
Not to put too fine a point on it, Jean-Claude, but you’re not exactly satisfactory yourself, and neither is your minion Barnier. However we’re British and normally far too polite to point that out. Ours to rule and sacrifice, you know.
The fundamental problem we referred to at the start of this article is that Juncker, Barnier, et al, are used to people who play in the same pretend game they do, on the same pretend planet. Faced with people who come from the real world, who have real world reactions to alien lifeforms, they easily get confused and not a little upset.
As an example, let’s look at the suggestion by the UK negotiators that the EU might want to justify its claim to a punishment bill – sorry, a ‘financial settlement’. This suggestion that the EU might provide a simple statement of the legal basis for their claim has been met with astonishment and hurt feelings. And these feelings are just starting to turn to anger.
In essence the EU wants to punish the UK. It also wants, pure and simple, a huge ‘wedge’ to help it to pay its absurdly inflated bills and prevent voter unrest in EU countries which will have to pay more in future.
The UK has asked a simple question: why? Why should we pay anything at all, over and above our normal annual subs up until the day we leave? The problem for the EU is that they have no answer. There is no legal basis whatsoever. There isn’t even any moral basis. Even their get-down-on-their-knees-and-worship-the-EU lordships from the Other Place produced a report stating clearly that there is no legal basis to pay one cent. And as we have said many times before, if the EU had a legal case it would have made it by now.
The other area which is causing Barnier, Juncker and their cronies to get rattled is that of process. Big on process, are the EU. Process documents are revered in Brussels and followed to the final dot and until the very last ‘t’ is left standing – or until Frau Merkel changes the EU’s policy and the process suddenly has to be changed.
It has become clear to the EU side that the UK never intended to take any notice of the EU’s insistence that three arbitrary items had to be agreed before both sides could talk about all the obvious things which need to be discussed and agreed.
To remind you, these 3 items are money, money, and money.
No, wait. That's not quite right. The 3 items are money, money, and money, and citizens' rights and the Northern Ireland border. Yes, that's it.
The problem is that when the EU persuades itself of something, it becomes hard for them to put their feet back on mother earth. A good example of this was ‘no negotiation before notification’. This was decided and then trotted out repeatedly for nine months until the UK triggered Article 50.
Was it an existing rule or directive? No. Was it in the Treaty somewhere? No. It was something dreamt up by the EU immediately after the shock referendum result, in a panic to stop EU member states from splintering into factions. We then heard this being trotted out every day, in close association with repeated piffle about the ‘unity’ and ‘solidarity’ of the EU.
Try talking unity and solidarity to the Hungarians who’ve just recalled their ambassador from the Netherlands, or the the Poles whose Prime Minister wrote a “Look little boy don’t be naughty and don’t do it again” note to the young French president at the weekend. Or to the many other member states in conflict with other member states or in conflict with the EU Commission.
Anyway, the ‘no negotiation before notification’ principle was formed, and now EU folk look back and talk of it as if it had been part of ancient EU lore dating back centuries. In fact all this did was delay a large number of issues from being discussed on an initial and informal basis, which would have made today’s negotiation process so much more efficient.
The problem this week is that the EU has persuaded itself in a similar way to that of the ‘no negotiation before notification’ thing. It has created two new monsters.
Set in tablets of stone, circled in shiny gold stars, are two EU Commandments
  1. Thou shalt pay through the nose, Britisher dogs, and
  2. Nothing else shall be discussed until thou agreest to Commandment 1
Given that Monsieur Barnier probably goes to sleep at night reciting mantras like these, it’s not difficult to see why he’s looking decidedly rattled these days. He simply can’t understand why the British don’t seem to have received the memo.
Watching Barnier closely, as we do, we’re certain that the British team will be twisting the knife.
One of the British negotiators, let's call him David: “Ze beel, Mr Barnier? What do you mean?”
[Suddenly the puzzled faces on the British faces turn to comprehension.]
“Ah! You mean the Brexit Bill. Botheration! We knew there was something we were going to have a little think about over the summer. Well, never mind, let’s just crack on with the jolly old trade deal and we can always come back to that little Brexit Bill thing of yours later.”
We think it’s fortunate Barnier works out of the Berlaymont building in Brussels, rather than 10 Downing St, or he would have aimed a kick at Palmerston by now.
Yesterday the Guardian reluctantly published its ICM poll of attitudes to the Brexit Bill. We say reluctantly, because they didn’t exactly splash it as headline news.
People were asked if paying an “exit fee” of up to £10bn/£20bn/£30bn/£40bn, “as a one-off or in instalments, as the UK’s contribution to spending commitments made by the EU when the UK was a member”, was acceptable or not acceptable.
Here are the results:-
                Chart © Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
The majority of British people will not consider even £10 billion.
It is our strong opinion that the only reasons that people are prepared for the UK to pay any kind of exit bill at all is because certain elements of the media have told the British public it’s payable. [Note! Not all our media is like this – we have many friends in the mainstream media who are doing an excellent job explaining difficult subjects to the public.]
Unfortunately there are unpardonable people such as George Osborne and others who deliberately distort simple facts. For example, we’ve lost count how many times we’ve seen it reported that Boris Johnson admitted last week that a Brexit Bill was payable.
He did no such thing. He merely said that Britain is a country which pays its debts and that the UK would settle its legal obligations. He went onto say:
“We should pay not a penny more, not a penny less of what we think our legal obligations amount to.”
After months of detailed work, the Facts4EU.Org team has finished its calculations. The result at the bottom of thousands of lines of figures in our spreadsheets was in fact negative. Yes, it seems that the EU owes the UK a great deal of money, not the other way round.
Billions, in fact. No, we’re not going to tell the EU how many billions just yet. First we want them to roll over, play dead, and admit that they will pay us whatever we say.
Welcome to our (real) world, gentlemen and ladies of the EU.
What do you think? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | The Guardian | ICM Unlimited ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.59am, 30 August 2017
Name: : W. Alkaway, UK      Date/Time: 30 Aug, 09.21am
Message: How I laughed. So enjoyed reading this Outer Space, out of their minds item. Let's humour the Chief EU Negotiator: 'Hey Monsieur Barnier, look over there! Dr Spock from Star Wars is waving to you. Er,seems not. Oh dear, he's sticking two fingers up!'

You, Facts 4EU, as always, have hit the nail on the head. David Davis is dealing with people who have become power crazy. Control is their main mantra. They cannot believe that anyone, or any country, has had the nerve to stand up to them. Well they have, and others in the EU have started to see the EU for what it really is. The rot is setting in. And still the Commissioners do not realise the full implications... yet.

No wonder David Davis wears a huge smile. He knows that so long as he sticks to his guns, the EU negotiators will eventually give in to the British. They think we are wimps, easily pushed over, but they have not reckoned with the British Bulldog stamina and determination to get justice.

Love to be a fly on the wall when, or if, David Davis pulls out a long list of itemised 'What the EU owes Britain', amounting to an eye popping figure of billions and billions of Euros. Am so looking forward to buying cars, wines, dairy products, clothing and so much more from non-EU countries. David Davis is there to discuss trade with the EU. But if Barnier continues to turn a deaf ear, then he will be answerable to the people within the EU as to why he has harmed their export sales to the UK.
'Meeting the Challenge of Migration and Asylum', Paris, 28 Aug 2017
At the Elysee Palace yesterday, young French President Macron put on an event to which he invited the heads of two former French colonies, the acting head of Libya, and Macron’s three EU colleagues running Germany, Italy, and Spain. He also ensured the EU’s de facto Foreign and Defence Secretary, Federica Mogherini, was there.
               © Bundesregierung/Steins
Present from the EU were: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.
Present from Sub-Saharan and North Africa were: the President of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Déby, the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, and the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Fayez Al Sarraj. All three are majority Islamic countries.
Interestingly, the French President didn’t invite any of the East European countries who are most concerned about migration. From the EU side, only the elite countries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain received an invitation.
Early last year, Chancellor Merkel partly reduced the migrant flows by throwing EU money at Turkey. This year it is reported that President Macron wants to emulate her by throwing EU money at former French colonies.
Following the conference, various press statements were issued. The EU issued theirs in French, as did the Elysee Palace not surprisingly, and the Germans released theirs in German. Strangely, no formal statements were released in English. We have therefore read them on your behalf and bring you the highlights below.
Paris Summit on Migration & Asylum, summary conclusions:
  • EU countries should commit to expenditures under the EU’s Africa funds
  • Try to persuade migrant-origin countries to take their people back
  • Do more to fight people-smuggling
  • Improve rescue missions for migrants in the desert
  • Increase and enhance EU military missions in Mali, Niger, Chad and Libya
  • Enhance border controls in African countries
  • Work closely with UNHCR and IOM (UN’s Migration Agency) to reduce trafficking and improve voluntary returns
  • European Union (through the European Development Fund) and the Member States to increase their aid to Niger and Chad
  • Look to strengthen border controls between Libya and southern neighbours
  • Use EU money to ‘create alternative sources of income’ for local communities, other than trafficking
  • Work with Libya’s ‘Government of National Understanding’ to improve local conditions
  • Enhance EU’s naval military mission in Med, in conjunction with NATO
  • Persuade NGOs to sign up to new code of conduct for their rescue boats
Note: As with all meetings of this nature, the statements contain a lot of 'waffle'. We've done our best to summarise from some very lengthy conclusions in the different languages.
There was apparently a lot of discussion about money, with the African leaders not surprisingly asking for more. Frau Merkel seemed to agree - the German Chancellery last night reported her as saying: "If we want to stop human traffickers in Agadez (town in Niger), this is only possible with development aid."
Unlike the United Kingdom, France retains a highly paternalistic view of its former colonies.
They feature prominently in the European Union’s activities in regard to foreign aid and military assistance. This is mainly due to the expertise of France in pushing its case for the EU paying for this so that France doesn't have to. Conversely, the UK continues to make vast aid donations to its former colonies, but to our knowledge it has never asked the EU27 to contribute to this programme.
What's all this about sending in the EU army?
On the military front, it’s surprising how often the nascent EU army keeps finding itself in the middle of Africa, in countries that the peoples of member states (excluding France) have barely heard of. French news is often full of stories of military action in places like Mali or Benin. The French do have their own forces in these places but funnily enough that’s where the EU army often seems to pop up too.
So, the new EU Military Command is already involved, even though there is almost no British TV or press coverage of EU military involvement in Africa. If we had more resources we would have been able to report on this in detail by now. [ Yes, that was a hint :) ]
Follow the money
We have long held the view that one possible solution to the migrant crisis is to establish territories within Africa. Recently it seemed that President Macron might have been thinking on similar lines. Judging by the statements coming out of the various European capitals yesterday evening, however, it appears the money for this has not yet been approved.
Nevertheless there are existing EU funds which can be used for new projects relating to migrants. The joint statement which was issued in French yesterday urges EU countries to meet their commitments in paying into these funds, according to what they have promised.
In any kind of rational world, the fact that the UK wasn’t invited to Macron’s little cabal would indicate that the UK will not be expected to cough up for any costs arising out of the plans discussed.
However this isn’t a rational world, it’s the EU. The UK wasn’t present in late 2015 when Angela Merkel started knocking up her little €6 billion euro deal with Turkey, and yet the UK had to pay a huge share of that.
It's our view that if the EU plans to throw vast amounts more money at African states, the UK should not under any circumstances participate. The UK has its own extremely generous foreign aid programme and the EU's priorities are not those of Her Majesty's Government.
What do you think? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
No-one else today will be running a story anything like the one above, although it will doubtless get picked up by the mainstream media at some point. We don't just recycle stories you can read elsewhere, like so many other Brexit websites.
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VIP MEMBERS -   M J Donnan, Middx
GOLD MEMBERS -   Pamela Barnes, Gloucestershire  |  Judith Slater, Essex  |  P Ingram, Monmouthshire  |  John Murphy, Scotland  |  D Price, Berkshire  |  C Latham, East Sussex  |  D Cooper, Berks  |  G Gardner, Cheshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  J Holmes, Shropshire  |   C Mainds, London  |  P Abbott, E Sussex
MEMBERS - Simon Jones, Wiltshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  S Cooper, Surrey  |  N Brooker, London  |  M Wood, Ceredigion  |  R Parkin, England  |  Anonymous, UK
VALUED SUPPORTERS - Stuart C, Lancashire  |  P Bushell, West Midlands  |  D Joyce, Powys  |  William Crook, Lancashire  |  R Halton, UK  |  G Reakes, London  |  S Lerigo, Northampton  |  J Hatfield, South Ayrshire  |  F Carstairs, W Sussex  |  N Martinek, W Yorks  |  A Hammond, Lincs  |  Anonymous, Aberdeen  |  P Derbyshire, GB
[ Sources: EU Commission | Elysee Palace | Bundeskanzlerin ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.50am, 29 August 2017
Polish prime minister has to offer French president lessons in economics, politics, and manners
Latest polling in France shows that it hasn’t taken long for President Macron’s star to wane with French voters. In just three months his popularity has fallen faster than any French president in recent history.
Here, however, we look at how he has become toxic in the EU’s Eastern member states.
The passionately pro-EU President Macron’s star has fallen at home and abroad. Unfortunately on his first foreign tour as President, Macron managed to isolate the ‘offensive’ element from the charm offensive he was supposed to be on.
On Friday the Polish Prime Minister released what is one of the most critical and damning statements ever issued by any leader against one its (supposed) closest allies.
               © Polish government
In effect, Polish PM Szydło told French President Macron:-
  • Mind your own business
  • Try to emulate Poland’s economic performance
  • Don’t promote disunity in the EU
  • Try to gain experience and learn
  • Don’t be so arrogant in future
The Polish Prime Minister ended her tirade with a reminder of what has caused all of this: the posted workers directive.
Emmanuel Macron has just finished his tour of Vienna, Romania and Bulgaria, meeting five mostly East European leaders. His purpose was to persuade them to support reform of the EU’s Posted Workers Directive. Noticeably he did not visit Warsaw to see Mrs Szydlo, nor did he stop in on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest.
A posted worker is an employee who is sent by his employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis of no more than 2 years.
Why are they controversial?
Critically, the workers are subject to the tax and benefit regimes of their host (home) country, not the country they’re temporarily working in. Effectively this means it can be much cheaper to employ posted workers.
Why is President Macron so bothered?
France has one of the most penal tax and social security systems in the whole of the EU. It also has one of the worst regimes of employment law.
It was a campaign pledge of Macron that he would do something about the so-called ‘dumping’ of cheap EU foreign labour in France. For the last year there has been a proposal from the EU Commission to reform the Posted Workers Directive.
The Posted Workers Directive dates from 1996. In 2014 the Enforcement Directive was approved in order to try to tackle fraud and the circumvention of rules in the first Directive. Then in 2016 the EU Commission proposed some major reforms, including the shortening of the ‘temporary’ definition from two years to one year.
Here are the facts about ‘posted workers’ in relation to France:
  • Workers posted to France: 177,674
  • Workers posted from France: 139,040
Here are the comparable figures for the UK
  • Workers posted to UK: 54,344
  • Workers posted from UK: 44,332
Youth unemployment is still a major problem in France. The latest figures from June 2017 show that 522,000 young French (under 25 years) were out of work. That's a rate of 19.5% or almost one in five of the French youth.
Nevertheless many commentators (including us) consider there to be many other important issues to address in France which will assist in reducing unemployment, and posted workers will only be a small part of the whole solution.
Emmanuel Macron made various promises in order to get elected. Of particular interest to us was that he promised to reform France’s archaic and dysfunctional labour laws. To the best of our knowledge this has been promised by every French president since Charles de Gaulle... possibly even Napoleon.
If President Macron were successful against all the odds in reforming France's labour laws, then France would undoubtedly be far more competitive and would be a force to be reckoned with, for a post-Brexit UK.
It is perfectly understandable for President Macron to want to try to stand by one of his election pledges. Unfortunately it seems that his elitist attitude – and boy is this one, elitist, French president – has rubbed many other EU leaders up the wrong way.
The bizarre thing is that the President has so upset other EU leaders over something which will make relatively little difference to France.
If you want to amuse yourself this Bank Holiday Monday, try looking up what the pro-EU elites from the British Establishment had to say about Emmanuel Macron before he was elected. It will be fun watching them slowly trying to distance themselves somewhat from the Boy Wonder, as he sinks further in the public estimation in his own country and abroad.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Polish government | Elysee Palace | EU Commission | Eurostat ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.55am, 28 August 2017
Name: : Dave L, UK      Date/Time: 28 Aug, 4.41pm
Message: Wouldn't Germany benefit from Poland getting the lion's share of the new fund as they would use Poland as a cheap manufacturing labour source and probably love to have them in for cross border trade with Russia.
Diplomatic ties severed by Orban government over Islamic insult by Dutch Ambassador
Hungarian PM Orban and Dutch PM Rutte at funeral of Helmut Kohl in July               © Hungarian Govt
Facts4EU.Org has read the interview (in Hungarian) with the Dutch ambassador and we are bringing you exclusive highlights which you will not read elsewhere.
On Islamic terrorism:
  • Compared the Hungarian government's extremism and fanaticism to that of terrorists.
  • Seemed to imply that both organisations are losing, so both are looking for foreign enemies
On Brexit:
  • The EU question in the referendum caused a debate about why the British paid tax.
  • British people have no problem with Pakistanis, Bangladeshis or Indians, but do have a problem with Poles, Bulgarians, and Central and Eastern Europeans
On Hungary:
  • Everybody is always looking for the enemy.
  • Government regards everybody as a migrant and no-one is a refugee. So, we’re not on the same page.
On Geert Wilders, leader of Holland’s most popular party:
  • Referred to him as “the extreme right-wing Geert Wilders”.
  • Only has two main themes: migration and being anti-Brussels.
As a result of the Dutch ambassador’s remarks, Viktor Orban’s government has recalled its ambassador to Den Haag (the Netherlands).
  • “The Dutch ambassador to Budapest has contravened all normal diplomatic etiquette, gone even further, and made statements violating Hungary's dignity and sovereignty. This is almost unprecedented,” said Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Foreign Minister.
  • “For an indefinite time, I have withdrawn the Hungarian Ambassador to the Netherlands. The normal diplomatic relationship will cease between the two countries.”
  • Questioning what is behind all of this, he stated “Hungary is not a punch bag.”
  • The Hungarian Foreign Minister added that if the Netherlands government does not apologize, then the Hungarian government will take further political and diplomatic action.
  • Referring to the Dutch ambassador, Mr Szijjártó said: “We hope he will go home quickly.”
The Dutch Ambassador to Hungary, Gajus Scheltema, gave an interview on Thursday 24 August to a Hungarian weekly news magazine called ‘168 Ora’. ( The interview started by a short discussion on the Dutch Ambassador’s new book, but quickly went on to more controversial topics.
Dutch Ambassador to Hungary, Gajus Scheltema, giving the interview to               © 168ora
Soon, the departing Dutch Ambassador was talking about politics in Hungary.
A: “Here, [in Hungary], however, only ‘for’ or ‘against’ positions are possible. Someone is either with you or against you. A classical Marxist worldview. Here everybody is always looking for the enemy.”
Q: “What is your answer to migration?”
A: “Migration is an extremely complex problem, there is no black and white response.
“As a first step, a distinction needs to be made between refugees and economic immigrants. But here [in Hungary] the government regards everybody as a migrant, and no one is a refugee. So, we’re not on the same page.
“What’s more, there aren’t any migrants in Hungary, the population is homogenous. In the Netherlands, mainly because of our colonial past, there are many immigrants. We are an open society, we welcome arrivals. It doesn’t matter if they’re Hungarian or Indonesian. In a crazy way, the campaign of the Hungarian government works because it’s a distant danger, so it’s possible to make it seem bigger.
Q: But the danger isn’t distant. There have been many terrorist attacks in the EU. Just the other day, there was the fanatic who killed in Barcelona.”
A: “Car attacks can take place anywhere, most of them happen in the Middle East. So should we be bombing the Middle East?”
“We’re talking about a group whose members are losing out because of globalization, turning to extremism and fanatical religiosity because it gives them a sense of security. They’re creating enemies in the same way that the Hungarian government is creating enemies.”
Q: [Question regarding money, the transfers of funds, and a corruption scandal involving a Dutch director]
A: "The debate about what's happening with our money is getting more focused. We can not finance corruption, we can not keep a corrupt system alive. Areas which are lagging behind still need support to continue. This is solidarity. Hungary is still economically behind Western Europe, so we need to help, but in a way that both Hungarian and Dutch people are satisfied. The system needs to be made more transparent, accountable and more controllable. Money is currently flowing to regional governments who do what they want with it, and this must be changed.”
Q: “It will not be easy, it has not succeeded so far.”
A: “Let me give you two examples, one from Holland, one from Great Britain.
“In our country, the extreme right-wing Geert Wilders' two main themes are migration and being anti-Brussels. He says: we do not want to give our taxpayers’ money to corrupt countries. He didn’t name one, but one could guess who he was referring to.
“In Great Britain, Brexit caused a debate about for whom and why the British paid tax. They didn’t have a problem with the Pakistanis, Bangladeshis or Indians working there, but they did have problems with the Poles, Bulgarians, and Eastern Europeans.”
Q: “Péter Szijjártó [Hungarian Foreign Minister] would answer: ‘We spend our money the way we want to, and no one should meddle in Hungary's internal affairs.’”
A: “The Dutch taxpayers’ money is not an internal affair in Holland. Nor is it for any other European taxpayer.”
Piece by piece, the frail and worn tapestry of EU 'solidarity' is falling apart, of that there is no doubt.
We must admit to there being some wry smiles in the Brexit Facts4EU.Org office in the early days following the Referendum, and again once Mrs May had triggered Article 50 in March this year. The common refrain we heard from the EU, not to say repetitive mantra, was all about the unity of the EU27 against those nasty Brits.
The message was: If the British government had any thoughts of trying to divide and conquer, forget it. They would find it impossible to insert as much as a cigarette paper between the rock solid foundations of EU27 solidarity and unity. All for one and one for all.
Or so we were told...
It really comes as no surprise to see the disunity shown above. Relations between various of the Visegrad EU countries of the former Soviet Bloc and the western EU nations such as the Netherlands have been rocky for a long time.
However, even we didn't expect such a drastic event as one EU country withdrawing its ambassador from another EU country.
This is an extraordinary step for any country to take, let alone against a country with which it is in a firm and all-encompassing political and trading union.
We think the last time the UK withdrew an ambassador was from Libya, and that was for security reasons.
Photo left: Viktor Orban
The EU's hierarchy must be reeling this weekend. Below we are reproducing a tweet received from the Polish government, which we haven't had time to write up in the form of an article.
However all you have to do is to read this, to see how disunited and dysfunctional the EU now is.
               © Polish government
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Hungarian government | | other Hungarian news sources | Polish government ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       11.45am, 27 August 2017
Chancellor talks money in her podcast yesterday
Frau Merkel fails to deny that a sum of €40 billion has been agreed
Frau Merkel speaking at Munich Security Conference in Feb                                   © MSC
In her latest weekly podcast yesterday, the German Chancellor was asked about Brexit and specifically about the 'financial settlement'.
Frau Merkel was asked:
“Regarding Brexit, the divorce costs which Great Britain has to pay are estimated to be up to 100 billion euros. Now the parties seem to have agreed on a payment of 40 billion euros. This means a claim of up to 60 billion will fall back on the EU. What impact could Brexit have on the Union budget? And above all, will the payment obligations be paid?”
The Chancellor answered:
“The negotiations with Great Britain are still very much in the beginning and we have divided them into two phases. Phase 1 is also intended to address financial issues. There is still no agreement. It is therefore not about divorce costs - that sounds like penalties/fines. It is about obligations that Great Britain has entered into and which must of course be be honoured. And that is why we are still at the beginning of these negotiations.
“Of course this will have an impact on the budget of the European Union, even if this agreement has been reached on this difficult issue, because the UK is one of the net contributors. And in this respect, the next budget negotiations are certainly very difficult. But they can not be predicted today, before you have an idea how the negotiations with Great Britain will look and go.”
Photo: Angela Merkel
It certainly isn't news that Angela Merkel is standing by the EU's position that the UK must pay an enormous financial settlement for leaving the European Union. It was however interesting that she was asked specifically about a settlement of €40 billion euros having been agreed, and she failed to query this particular sum, preferring instead to say that no agreement had been made.
Mrs Merkel appears to be feeling the heat as the German elections get ever closer.
We fully expect fireworks at some point in the coming weeks, when she pressures Monsieur Barnier for some good news and he fails to deliver as the UK stands firm. She then has to meet her electors with a dysfunctional and disunited EU behind her.
Mrs Merkel's 'interviewer' for her podcast yesterday was a 23-year old man called Björn who studies at the Institute for European Studies of the Technical University Chemlitz. His university is so far into eastern Germany it lies only 30 miles from the Czech border, and he uses the EU flag as the backdrop to his social media profile picture. Perhaps this gives you some idea of this young man's perception of life, politics, and history.
What is perhaps little understood in the United Kingdom is the nature of the young generation of Europeans who have been completely brainwashed by their education system, their media, their political class, and naturally by the EU Commission and all its propaganda arms.
We haven't met Björn, of course, and we might be doing him a terrible injustice, but we think we're fairly safe in guessing that he has little sense of what it means to be German. If he thinks of the vast cultural wealth of his country at all, he will not see what we see, as non-Germans.
Putting aside the German people's past propensity for dressing up in uniforms and engaging in ghastly domination, terror and death across continents, Björn could have a great deal to be proud of, if he so wished. He lives in the most successful economy in Europe which together with the UK has kept the EU financially afloat for decades.
He comes from the land of Luther, Böll, Brecht, Goethe, Grass, Hauptmann, Hesse, Von Heyse, Kleist, Mann, Schiller, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Händel, Haydn, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann, Stockhausen, the two Strausses, Wagner...
There's even Kraftwerk, and goodness, who can forget 'Neunundneunzig Luftballons' by Nena something-or-other?
Photo: 'Nena' and her red balloons (click for nostalgia)
As for great scientists, you have them coming out of your ears, mein freund. Far too many to mention here.
Okay, German cinema hasn't been a highpoint... unless you're feeling suicidal in which case a dose of Herzog or Fassbinder should see you nicely on your way. But then you always have fussball, Björn. Remember all those penalty shoot-outs. Half of England is still trying to forget them, so that should cheer you up.
Yes, all-in-all, there is a lot to celebrate in being German. Just remember, Björn, the only thing the EU has ever done for you culturally is to steal one of your greatest composers' best tunes and use it as their anthem.
A final thought on the financial question
It was interesting for us that in amongst all the usual pro-EU and anti-UK propaganda we have to read in the continental media, Boris Johnson's message last week did get through.
To remind you, he said “We should pay not a penny more, not a penny less of what we think our legal obligations amount to.”
Given that the UK's legal obligations amount to nothing more than our normal annual contributions up to the day we leave, this is fine by us.
Photo: Boris Johnson
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Bundeskanzlerin ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.50am, 27 August 2017
The third round of UK-EU Brexit talks start tomorrow,
with little sign of any closing in positions from either side.
Conor McGregor taking on Floyd Mayweather in tonight's Vegas super-fight                                   © Reuters
The third round of talks will begin on Monday 28 August in Brussels. Here is the schedule:-
16.00 (UK time) Monday, 28 August 2017
David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, meet at the Berlaymont Building (VIP corner)
Principals’ meeting
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Negotiating groups
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Coordinators’ meetings
Negotiating groups
Thursday, 31 August 2017
Closing plenary
Press briefing - Michel Barnier and probably David Davis (unconfirmed)
There are three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, the so-called financial settlement, and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland and the governance of the withdrawal agreement will be addressed by the Coordinators.
Over the past few weeks you will have read countless stories in the newspapers and online about the progress in the Brexit talks. The vast majority of what you'll have read will have been piffle, filling column inches in August.
Unless there is something particularly interesting, we tend not to comment on the 'here today, gone tomorrow' tales of who is threatening whom with what, who 'has the upper hand', and how the UK has absolutely no choice but to surrender abjectly to the morally superior European Union. We come most definitely from the 'stand tall and proud' school.
It will be interesting to see how the body language and tones of voice continue to develop. As we have pointed out before, the EU side is sounding increasingly nervous and tense, the longer it goes without any positive noises from the UK side about the so-called financial settlement.
                                   © Twitter / Michel Barnier
Monsieur Barnier tweeted again about this last week and it's obvious his neck is on the line if he doesn't bring home the British bacon.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the EU | EU Commission | Budeskanzlerin ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.50am, 27 August 2017
Extensive research, combing through thousands of lines of raw data released by the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics this week, has produced a very interesting fact.
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
There has been a massive jump (over 500%) in the number of EU Nationals and their families applying for and receiving permanent residency documents and permanent residency cards in the year since the Referendum.
Year to June 2016:     27,162
Year to June 2017:   145,433
Increase:                    535%
(Facts4EU.Org analysis of official Home Office data)
The UK government has never once remotely suggested that the position of any EU nationals living in the UK is under threat and there has been no request for them to register. However it is clear that many EU immigrants are keen to establish their presence in the country officially, ahead of any formal registration process which may be required in the future.
Far from causing a mad dash for the exits, as Remainer politicians and the Remainer commentariat in the media have been trying to tell us, large numbers of EU nationals have been quietly seeking to normalise their position in order to stay in the UK after Brexit.
Millions of EU citizens have chosen the UK as their home in the last 44 years. Over the last 15 years in particular this has rocketed, and we hope to be producing some information on this tomorrow.
Remoaner death wish
Following the referendum, bizarre stories started appearing in the pro-EU media including the incurably Europhile BBC, about supposed hate crime towards EU migrants. These claims have proved to have been either false or wildly exaggerated, but it hasn’t stopped them being made.
As the months have gone on, all manner of variations on the theme have surfaced. In recent weeks we’ve seen lurid suggestions of the imminent collapse of the UK economy due to crops being left unpicked, patients dying uncared for in hospitals, and life as we know it generally falling in around us. All of this is down, we are told, to a mass exodus of EU nationals because the UK is finished as a country.
Well guess what? The UK is actually doing very well.
The good economic news stories keep coming in every day: record employment, biggest destination for inward foreign investment in Europe, huge international companies opening up European headquarters here, etc, etc. We even managed to launch Europe’s largest warship while no-one was looking.
As for EU nationals voting with their feet, just look at our report yesterday. In the last 12 months almost 250,000 EU nationals chose to come to live and work permanently in the UK.
But heck, these are just facts. And facts are distinctly uncomfortable things for Remoaners, because the vast majority of facts prove the opposite of what they’re saying.
Perhaps that’s why we somehow keep struggling on, with no financial support from rich individuals or think tanks, in order to shine the light of truth onto such a complex subject wherever we can.
And the end result of all that effort, we hope, will be the clean and positive Brexit we voted for and a dynamic and successful independent country to live in.
A Happy Bank Holiday weekend to you all.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
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[ Sources: The Home Office | Office for National Statistics ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       08.00am, 26 August 2017
Name: : Steve, London      Date/Time: 26 Aug, 4.25pm
Message: A Polish friend came to believe the anti Brexit slurs and that the Polish centre in London was graffitied because of anti immigrant morons. It was apparently written in italics as the letters referred to the Polish version of Ukip. The thug that murdered the Pole in some sink hole has been found to have attacked British people too. Meanwhile there has been no publicity to disprove the hate slurs. They still point the finger and hope to make us feel guilty.
Name: : J Slater, Essex      Date/Time: 26 Aug, 11.20am
Message: This huge jump in EU Nationals coming to Britain to work shows not only how much better life in Britain is for them, but also how awful things are getting in the rest of the EU. Takes a lot for people to up sticks and move from their land of birth. However, this is creating huge pressures for massive house building programmes throughout the UK. Loss of agricultural land AND most importantly causing huge problems in health services and schools. Not forgetting water supplies, sewage systems, roads and all manner of other infrastructures. Britain welcomes working people, who pay taxes, but the influx should be gradual so that services can match up to demand. A surge is not good. Secondly, if we send back ALL illegal immigrants and economic asylum seekers coming from the rest of the world, as soon as we leave the EU, we would then have a far better way of life, both economically and socially. Bring it on, Theresa May and Team. Give us, the British, what we so rightly seek.
Latest ONS figures show that people keep on coming – from EU and RoW
Yesterday the ONS released more in a series of datasets, showing the migration figures into and out of the United Kingdom in the year until Mar 2017. In other words, the period covers 3 months before, and 9 months after, the vote to leave the EU. None of the period in question falls after the formal triggering of Article 50 at the end of March this year.
You’ve had the BBC version – ‘Everyone’s leaving because of Brexit’
Now here’s the Facts4EU.Org version, with the interesting perspectives you expect from us
Net immigration of non-British persons was +306,000
And the proportion of EU to non-EU new immigrants actually increased!
Yes, the proportion of EU immigrants actually went up, not down. In 2016 48.11% of all non-British immigrants were from the EU. In the latest figures, this figure is slightly higher, at 48.25%!
The increase is only marginal, but the point is that it's an increase, not a decrease.
The figures we've used exclude Brits coming and going, but the same is true even if you include British people. The percentages are slightly different, but the percentage of EU immigrants compared to non-EU immigrants rose in the latest release from the ONS.
The other key figure which you won't have heard yesterday is that net immigration (the numbers coming in minus the numbers leaving) was actually 306,000 if you exclude British people leaving or returning. On that basis it means that the population increased by a conurbation bigger than two Cambridges, or two Telfords, or two Blackburns – in the year to Mar 2017. (To keep things simple, we’re excluding births and deaths.)
Brexit has not caused immigration to stop. The population is still rising. Just not quite so fast. And the proportion of EU nationals entering actually rose.
1. Forget how many left, how many came?
  • Total non-Brits arriving: 514,000
  • Of these, EU nationals were: 248,000
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
2. Of the 248,000
  • 133,000 were EU15 (Italians, Spanish, etc)
  • 52,000 were EU8 (East Europeans joining in 2004, eg Polish, Lithuanian, etc)
  • And 59,000 were EU2 (Bulgaria & Romania joining in 2007)
3. Not only did almost a quarter of a million EU nationals continue to pour into the UK, the numbers of EU nationals leaving did NOT outweigh the numbers coming in. Here are the NET figures for each category.
  • EU15 countries: 75,000
  • EU8 countries: 6,000
  • EU2 countries: 43,000
  • Total net EU: 126,000
So, looking at net migration from EU countries, we can say that in the 12 months being studied it was the equivalent of a conurbation the size of a Cambridge, a Telford, or a Blackburn entering the country permanently.
In our overall total figure above, we excluded British people in the comings and goings. This would never even occur to many commentators and politicians. We did so because many people are concerned about what they consider to be ‘extra’ people which the country must house, educate, employ, keep healthy, etc. The movements of British nationals are of less importance because they are in a sense ‘counted in’ by many people.
On this basis the movements in and out of the country show a net increase of 306,000.
When it comes to immigrants from the EU, we have yet to come across a reader who is hostile or who would be in any way unpleasant or discriminatory on a personal level. We regret to say that some members of our team have direct personal experience of being treated rather differently when living in other EU countries.
The problem for British people has always been the overall numbers, not personal animosity. And if people make a joke about Germans or the French or any other nationality, it’s just that, a joke. (Get a sense of humour, CPS.)
When it comes to overall numbers, the BBC reported yesterday:
“Net migration falls to 246,000 - the lowest for three years - as Poles and other EU migrants depart. Net migration has fallen to the lowest level for three years after a surge in the number of EU nationals leaving the UK since last June's Brexit vote.”
This is technically true. However the BBC (and some other news outlets) yesterday gave the impression that EU nationals were leaving the UK in their droves.
The BBC even quotes the pro-EU CBI saying: “The loss of these vital skills should concern us all.” Strangely our national broadcaster seemed unable to find someone from a pro-Brexit organisation to comment.
248,000 EU nationals arrived, and
The number of EU nationals increased in net terms by 126,000.
Just saying...
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Postscript: To be fair to the BBC, they do have a buried story by Dominic Casciani which suggests that there may be other reasons why the immigration figures might fluctuate, other than Brexit.
[ Sources: Office for National Statistics | BBC ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 25 August 2017
Name: : Denis Cooper, Berks, UK      Date/Time: 25 Aug, 5.30pm
Message: Having seen a headline about the "Brexodus" since the referendum I've been checking in my Bible, and I find that according to the book of Exodus Moses led almost all of the Israelites out of Egypt with little or no flow in the opposite direction, and afterwards there were far fewer Israelites left in Egypt than before, maybe none at all... That is not quite what has been happening here with foreign EU citizens in the UK, where their number has gone up but just not quite as rapidly as before.
Prior to the Government’s latest Brexit document being published at noon yesterday, all manner of commentators were pronouncing on its contents before they had read it. It’s fair to say that this document had a very bad press before it was even given to the press.
The assumption was that the government were set to cave in over jurisdiction by the CJEU (Court of Justice of the EU, formerly known as the ECJ), despite judicial independence being a red line for most Brexiteers.
Minutes after it was published, the BBC, Sky, many newspapers and even more commentators were full of stories about how the UK government was suddenly considering the ‘Moldovan’ model. This was a complete distortion if you read the document, of course.
Following Brexit, the UK and the EU27 will interact with each other in an enormous number of different ways just as they do at present. These interactions need to play out in the way the parties intended, so they must be enforced and any disputes need to be resolved.
After Brexit the UK and the EU27 will be separate from each other and will have separate legal regimes. New enforcement and dispute procedures will be needed, because the UK will be an independent country with its own legal system. The CJEU can no longer operate for the UK, only for disputes within the EU27.
Post-Brexit, the UK and the EU27 therefore need two major things:-
  • Supervisory / enforcement bodies, to ensure smooth running of arrangements, and
  • A disputes mechanism and appropriate body to adjudicate if necessary, for each type of activity
The government’s latest document is entitled: ‘Enforcement and dispute resolution - a future partnership paper’. Let’s start with some positive takeaways from the paper. Here are some quotes you might like:
“In leaving the European Union, we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
“When the UK leaves the EU and repeals the European Communities Act 1972, the EU Treaties, the jurisdiction of the CJEU and the doctrine of direct effect will cease to apply in the UK.
“Withdrawal from the EU will mean a return to the situation where the UK and the EU have their own autonomous legal orders.
“The Withdrawal Agreement and the future partnership must respect the autonomy and integrity of both legal orders.
“There are currently no precedents for the CJEU to act as the means of enforcing an international agreement between the EU and one or more third countries.
“ common feature of most international agreements, including all agreements between the EU and a third country, is that the courts of one party are not given direct jurisdiction over the other in order to resolve disputes between them.”
By the time you reach point no.23 of the document, you will find an important and very encouraging declaration by the UK government.
In essence point 23 in the document says:
  • UK law will apply in the UK
  • EU law will apply in the EU
Here is the wording in full:
“This means, in both the UK and the EU, individuals and businesses will be able to enforce rights and obligations within the internal legal orders of the UK and the EU respectively, including through access to the highest courts within those legal orders. This would be the case in respect of both the Withdrawal Agreement, including an agreement on citizens’ rights, and the future partnership.”
The document then goes on to raise dispute resolution mechanisms and then the trouble starts. Up until this point in the document (point no.29 on page 6), most Brexiteers would generally be happy with what they’ve read.
Unfortunately, from point 30 it all goes south. Point 30 is entitled ‘Precedents’. From this moment onwards, the document loses any pretence of being what might have been called a ‘Position Paper’ and starts to become a ramble about agreements and dispute mechanisms in general.
Here is what Point 30 says:
“There are a number of existing models and approaches which provide the context for the mechanisms for resolving disputes between the UK and the EU. They cover a range of agreements which vary in substance and level of cooperation. These models and approaches carry advantages and disadvantages.
“For this reason they are presented here purely illustratively, and without any commitment to include any specific aspects in the design of our future partnership.
“Nonetheless, they set out a number of ways in which the parties to international agreements, including the EU, have obtained assurances that obligations in those agreements will be enforced, that divergence can be avoided where necessary, and that disputes can be resolved. These different models and approaches are not mutually exclusive, and dispute resolution mechanisms can combine a number of these together.”
After five pages of examples talking about different types of agreement and not actually proposing any of them, the document arrives at its twelfth and final page entitled ‘Conclusions’.
Essentially there are two conclusions which the government reaches:
  • There is no precedent in international law for the CJEU to govern the post-Brexit deals, and
  • The EU has already done different types of deal without the direct jurisdiction of the CJEU over a third party.
We’ve just spent another four hours on this document in the early hours and we’re still at a loss to explain it.
Yesterday morning when we were waiting for it, we had naturally hoped it would contain a clear refutation of any notion that the UK would remain in any way subject to the CJEU. Having read it, in large part we believe that this is what the government does in fact intend the document to say.
We had, however, anticipated more of a position paper which might have shed some light on the government’s thinking in relation to the role of supervisory, enforcement and legal systems in the post-Brexit world. In this, we were let down, albeit gently.
The second half of the document is spent on ‘illustrations’ of differing systems, with no statements of intent or preference. When we got to the final page, ‘Conclusions’, we expected something to indicate a direction of travel.
Unfortunately it almost feels like the author ran out of gas at this point, because the conclusions are shallow and disappointing, to say the least.
It’s a shame. Within this document are some very good points, well made. Regrettably there are no new proposals which push the debate forward. Furthermore, the amount of waffle makes it inevitable that many commentators will be concerned at the government rowing back on its promises. Waffle allows for confusion to creep in.
We are amongst the first to criticise when it’s justified. For example we're still shocked at the statements in the government's position paper on Future Customs Arrangements last week, which allow the EU to prevent the UK starting trade deals until after a transition period has ended. We profoundly disagree with this and can’t understand why the Brexiteer community aren’t up in arms about it. (Read our pieces on this here and here.)
However with this latest document on enforcement and dispute resolution, we don’t see anything to make us start thinking about ‘going to the mattresses’, except perhaps with the intention of falling asleep.
Finally, and for the second time of asking: The government's document does not contain a date of publication. Nor does it contain any information whatsoever as to who wrote it. There are no names, department details and no contact information.
If you were given a printed copy of this document you would have no idea where it came from.
We acknowledge that the Dept for Exiting the EU has a lot on its plate but this really is below the professional standard we would expect of the Civil Service.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the EU ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 24 August 2017
Yesterday we reported on an extraordinary article written for the Guardian newspaper by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders. You can read her article here.
This was an ‘opinion’ piece by Ms Saunders, announcing the new initiatives by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to refocus its efforts against so-called ‘hate crime’.
Whilst not strictly a subject which relates purely to Brexit, hate crime has been associated with it by Remainers and by the authorities, as you will see below.
You read it here first
Last year, well ahead of the current media frenzy on this subject, Facts4EU.Org published a series of articles on hate crime. Yesterday we asked if you would like us to revisit this subject. Our mailbag was a unanimous yes.
Below is a synopsis of what we wrote last year. Unfortunately things have now got a lot worse. We would like to suggest that this is NOT a matter you can ignore, if you are a free born British man or woman.
Please feel free to comment - either for publication or privately to us.
       06.30am, 23 Aug 2017
Name: : R Ellison, Region not given, UK      Date/Time: 23 Aug, 7.59pm
Message: Freedom of Speech is vital for a civilised society. Anything less is backward, and will lead to a society of drones controlled by the few. Unbelievable. Not allowable. Not tolerated by free thinkers. We must, and shall, pursue a society of enlightened thinking, and if that involves stepping on a few toes on the way (but no harm done) then so much the better. Debate is a healthy state of affairs. Do keep us informed on this topic, Facts4EU. You are just splendid.
Name: Sweetfa, Region not given, UK      Date/Time: 23 Aug, 12.28pm
Message: Hate Crime. Do the following come under this heading: Remainers against Brexiteers? Brexiteers against the EU (stress - not Europe)? Spanish and French against holidaymakers? Too many. The mind really does boggle.
Also see article yesterday (further down the page) for some of the comments received yesterday.
Does this headline seem odd to you?
It shouldn’t, if you know something about new laws on so-called ‘hate crime’ and their interpretation by the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Have you criticised Remainers? Be careful... For the last two weeks [Ed: This was first written in Oct 2016] we’ve been researching a series of articles which will affect you. The results of our research are shocking.
If you think that we still live in a sane world, here’s a headline from this Guardian website: (10 Oct 2016)
“Homophobic attacks in UK rose 147% in three months after Brexit vote”
Can any of you think what homophobia has to do with Brexit?
Have you criticised Remainers? You may already have committed a crime.
In many countries in the EU including the UK, true freedom of speech no longer exists under the law. The limitations placed upon it make the term inappropriate.
Any civilised and democratic society might reasonably wish to impose some limited exceptions, such as the prohibition of incitements to violence.
However a large number of EU countries have gone much, much further, including the United Kingdom.
The recent ‘hate crime’ laws governing free speech, and the interpretation of these laws by the Police and the CPS, are largely unknown to most British people.
You might already have written something on social media, or said something, which the police would consider to be a ‘hate crime incident’.
We look at how the Home Office and the College of Policing defines it.
The Home Office says:
"A hate crime or incident includes assaults, criminal damage, minor public order, harassment, and incitement offences."
It is particularly the last two definitions of crimes or incidents which may worry many readers, as they could be open to interpretation.
Here is what the UK’s College of Policing has to say :
“Hate crimes and incidents are taken to mean any crime or incident where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised.”
They go on to say that the crime or incident need only be “perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice”.
So that makes you subject to police action for telling any one of a large proportion of jokes in circulation, or for criticising a group of people. It doesn’t even matter if your accuser wasn’t the butt of the joke. ‘Any other person’ can accuse you even if they weren’t physically present. If you are deemed ‘hostile’ (see point 4 below) then you can be investigated.
The guidance continues: “The victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief, and police officers or staff should not directly challenge this perception. Evidence of the hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident.”
Yes, you are reading correctly. The crime or incident only needs to be 'perceived by the victim or any other person' and 'evidence of hostility is not required'. This is from the National College of Policing.
No, we are not talking about some banana republic here. We're talking about the United Kingdom in the 21st century.
Are you already guilty of hate crime?
In order for you to be prosecuted, the Crown Proscution Service needs to show ‘hostility’ in your words or actions. So how does the CPS define ‘hostility’?
We hope you’re sitting down for this. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) gives the following guidance to prosecutors:
“In the absence of a precise legal definition of hostility, consideration should be given to ordinary dictionary definitions, which include ill-will, ill-feeling, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment, and dislike.”
The abuse of the English language continues in other ways : “Phrases such as ‘the victim is a cerebral palsy sufferer’ are likely to cause offence as they imply that the impairment is the defining factor of a person’s identity.”
Unfriendliness? Dislike? Resentment?
In relation to the term ‘hate crime’ these are not words which would spring to mind in the average person if they heard that someone was accused of being hostile. Most people would assume that if someone were accused of being hostile in an incident or crime, this might include anger and threats of violence.
There is clearly a move to define ‘giving offence’ as something to be investigated by the police. Unfortunately there are now numerous examples of people being subject to police investigation for a Twitter post, expressing an opinion but not inciting violence.
Against which groups can you commit hate crime?
There are now 5 groupings against which hate crime is monitored: Race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity.
The police guidance covers many forms of hate crime, including those against groups which are not specifically defined.
The national College of Policing mentions a further 21 groups but say that any group can be considered.
Presumably this could include resentful comments about stamp collectors, or unfriendly comments about Remainers who don’t accept the Referendum result...
In short, you might no longer feel comfortable discussing ideas freely and openly, for fear of legal action by the State.
You might not be an activist for the overthrow of the State or of our society. You might not be advocating violence or hostility (in the usual meaning of the word) to anyone. But you are nevertheless muzzled in expressing yourself.
You may wish to reflect on the stifling of public debate in the UK, where it can now become an incident involving a police investigation to say or write something which any other person might consider to be ‘unfriendly’ towards them or someone else, if the law considers them to be part of a vulnerable grouping.
This should go without saying, but...
We abhor all violence, discrimination, and persecution of minorities. Most people in the country have an inate sense of what's right and wrong.
Our concern is the extent to which new laws are now being used, or are capable of being used, to stifle fair and reasonable debate.
The above represents a synopsis of research we undertook in September and October last year, 2016. We are reviewing the latest information coming out of the CPS. Regrettably the article by the Director of Public Prosecutions tells us a great deal about her direction of travel on these questions.
Naturally our lawmakers are at fault for allowing such laws to be drafted and to appear on the statute book, and this needs to be looked at urgently too.
[ Sources: The Guardian | College of Policing - Hate Crime Operational Guidance | Crown Prosecution Service | Home Office Hate Crime Action Plan | Public Order Act 1986 | Football (Offences) Act 1991 | Crime and Disorder Act 1998 | Anti-terrorism; Crime and Security Act 2001 | Criminal Justice Act 2003 ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.05am, 23 August 2017
David Davis has issued two more position papers – boring but essential
Yesterday David Davis' Dept for Exiting the EU issued six new ‘position papers’ outlining the UK's proposals on two important but fairly unexciting areas of Brexit.
This paper outlines 4 key principles:
  1. “Firstly, we want to ensure that goods which are placed on the market before exit day can continue to be sold in the UK and EU, without any additional requirements or restrictions.
  2. “Secondly, we want to avoid unnecessary duplication of compliance activities that have been undertaken by businesses prior to exit. This means that where products have gone through an authorisation process prior to exit, for example a type approval for a car, this approval should remain valid in both markets after exit.
  3. “Thirdly, we are clear that patient safety and consumer protection in the EU27 and UK are paramount, which means that any agreement will need to facilitate the continued oversight of products to ensure the necessary action can be taken for non-compliant or unsafe goods.
  4. “Finally, the provision of goods and services is increasingly interconnected. Services are essential for production of goods, for their sale, distribution and delivery, and for their operation and repair. Where goods are supplied with services, we believe there should be no restriction to the provision of these services.”
This paper responds to the EU’s paper on “Issues relating to the Functioning of the Union Institutions, Agencies and Bodies.”:
  1. “As the UK leaves the EU, it will be important to establish a framework for the continued respect of obligations of confidentiality and the protection of official documents exchanged while it was a Member State.
  2. “The UK considers that any agreement on confidentiality and access to official documents produced or exchanged while the UK was a Member State should be reciprocal, affording an equivalent level of protection to the UK and the EU after the UK’s withdrawal.
  3. “The necessary protections concerning both UK and EU data should be on equivalent terms to those laid out in existing regimes.”
Today Mr Davis is expected to say that it is ‘unnecessary, inappropriate and unprecedented’ for EU judges to have power over British courts after we leave the EU. In particular he is expected to comment on the EU’s demand that the rights of EU citizens living in Britain must be enforced by the Court of Justice of the EU after Brexit. This would be unprecedented in international law. If Mr Davis issues this position in a position paper as we expect, we will of course comment on it more fully.
The two papers issued by the British government yesterday do not contain anything earth-shattering.
It sounds like complete common sense to say that any product which has been approved for sale prior to Brexit (whether it be British or an EU27 product), should of course continue to be approved for sale after Brexit.
Perhaps the fact that the British government thought it necessary to include this and write a 'position paper' about it shows just how crazy the world of the EU has become.
Your comments are welcome, as ever.
[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the EU ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       05.05am, 23 August 2017
Last year Facts4EU.Org wrote a series of articles which we published on this site, about the risks to freedom of thought, speech, and expression being posed by the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and some politicians. We expressed our opinions about aspects of what was happening, as well as giving objective facts and quoting the CPS extensively.
Yesterday the rest of the country caught up with our concerns, after the Director of the CPS published an article in a left-wing newspaper.
Yesterday the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, wrote an 'opinion' piece for the Guardian newspaper entitled:
"Hate is hate. Online abusers must be dealt with harshly."
The sub-heading was:
"Whether shouted or tweeted, prejudice devastates lives. That’s why prosecutors are committed to taking internet hate crimes as seriously as face to face ones."
In addition to writing her opinions in a left-wing newspaper, Ms Saunders also took to YouTube to speak in a video.
© UKCPS / Youtube
Photos: Screengrabs from Twitter, by Facts4EU.Org
Finally, the organisation which Ms Saunders heads - the CPS - published a large number of tweets about 'hate crime' yesterday.
In the month to date, the CPS had been publishing just over one tweet per day.
Yesterday it published 19 tweets - in one day - all on the subject of hate crime.
If you want to check the CPS Twitter account for yourself you can do so here.
Left: 19 tweets in one day from the CPS - all about 'hate crime'. Previous daily average for August across all topics: 1.2 tweets per day.
Let's just stop and think about all of this for a moment.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, who has one of the most important jobs in public service, wrote her opinions in a left-wing newspaper, about a subject which is highly controversial politically and which directly concerns the lives of every person in the country.
In her article Ms Saunders writes: "Some may criticise the new approach and guidance for prosecutors as heavy-handed." If that was you giving us permission, Ms Saunders, we didn't need it. We will criticise anyway because we believe you are profoundly wrong in your approach.
Facts4EU.Org publishes original work on the subject of Brexit, the EU, and increasingly on the UK's role in the world as we move to independence from the European Union. Occasionally we publish a 'good news story' relating to the UK and Europe, such as the one below about the success of the British Eventing Team at the weekend.
The subject of freedom of speech is not really within our remit. With the permission of you (our readers), however, we intend to update and republish our series of articles on this important topic of freedom of speech, particularly as it relates to Brexit and subjects allied to that.
Please let us know now if you prefer that we 'stick to the day job' and ignore this subject completely. It does actually matter to us what you would like to read about.
Best wishes, the Brexit Facts4EU.Org Team
P.S. If the consensus of your emails to us is that we should write the articles explaining the threat to you and to Brexit from the CPS' behaviour, we hope you will stand ready to help fund our legal case if they bring charges!
[ Sources: The Guardian | CPS | Twitter ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.30am, 22 Aug 2017
Name: Elizabeth M, Region not given, UK      Date/Time: 22 Aug, 11.12pm
Message: Please keep highlighting this worrying development. Angela Merkel appears to be leading the way here. She was reported to have asked Mark Zuckerberg how she could censor people on the internet, and he said, "We are working on it". Well, he seems to have got there. I tried to look at a video on Youtube of Italian soldiers being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants and it was blocked, in that one had to register before being allowed to look at it. No-one could have classified it as pornography or terrorist propaganda. But it did possibly have a bearing on her having extended Free Movement of People to other continents.
As for hate speech and hate crime here, they are only pinned on the so called majority, not the so called minorities. This deep injustice is eventually going to cause a reaction. Lady Justice is supposed to be blind, and that includes colour blind.
Name: Odyssey, Derbyshire, UK      Date/Time: 22 Aug, 11.56am
Message: Surely 'hate' is entirely subjective. One person's hatred (OED definition 'intense dislike or loathing') could be another's considered opinion. The CPS should be entirely apolitical, but seems over the last few years to have become riddled with bias and knee-jerk reactions to perceived 'injustice'. Another swamp to be drained?
Name: Paul A, Sussex, UK      Date/Time: 22 Aug, 10.49am
Message: Re CPS Without prejudice. Her job should be above political bias. Sadly the current 'guilty unless proven innocent' message is that apparently hate crime only travels one way.... which in itself now appears, under her new guidelines and retraining of prosecutors, to constitute a hate crime.
Name: Carole, Merseyside, UK      Date/Time: 22 Aug, 09.01am
Message: I find that the CPS and organisations like it, disenfranchises ordinary, average people. It suggests that I can't be hated because I am not disabled, coloured, of a certain religion, gender or sexual persuasion. When I discuss, analyse, or criticise these groups I am immediately flamed as racist, homophobic, intolerant, right-wing and so on, no matter how gently I tread. It is now a stock reaction. For an example, you only need to look at the abuse received by people who voted for Brexit.
Jubilant scenes at Strzegom in Poland yesterday                                                 © FEI (Screengrab by Facts4EU.Org)
Amazing performances from all of the British combinations in the final show jumping phase at the 2017 FEI European Championships, Poland, saw Great Britain taking home the team gold and individual bronze medals.
Nicola Wilson was the final British rider to enter the arena and came away with the individual bronze medal, to rapturous applause from the rest of the team. GB's Tina Cook was fourth, with Ros Canter fifth and Gemma Tattersall in eighth. For full details see the British Eventing website.
© FEI / Youtube
Brexit Facts4EU.Org - always happy to bring you good news from Europe!
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Owen Paterson MP | British Eventing | FEI ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       16.10pm, 21 Aug 2017
Putin takes the salute, 2017 naval exercise                                                 © Euronews
EU Parliament demands armed forces be unionised and ‘standardised’
There is growing disquiet among senior military figures about the UK government’s acquiescence over the last 12 months to the EU’s proposed common defence forces.
Concerns have grown because, despite information published by the Facts4EU.Org Team and other serious organisations such as Veterans for Britain, the government has failed to address the evidence of what it has signed up to since the Referendum.
Many readers will no doubt wonder if the concerns we have continually expressed about the ‘EU army’ are justified.
We have published many reports on the future ability of the United Kingdom to maintain a sovereign and fully-independent defence capability after Brexit in 2019. Here is just one more example which evidences our concern, which we hope will make you stop and think – and then maybe contact your MP.
It is the policy of the EU Parliament that the common armed forces currently being developed must be unionised. No restriction against striking was put on this when the Parliament voted, and harmonisation across EU countries was stressed.
Here is the wording contained within the motion which was passed :
“Calls on the Member States to particularly recognise the right of military personnel to form and join professional associations or trade unions and involve them in a regular social dialogue with the authorities; invites the European Council to take concrete steps towards the harmonisation and standardisation of the European armed forces, in order to facilitate the cooperation of armed forces personnel under the umbrella of a new European Defence Union”
This motion was passed in November with 369 votes in favour and 255 against, and 70 abstentions.
Britain's new F35 fighter                                                © Lockheed Martin
It has hitherto been the policy of Her Majesty’s Government that trade unions are not appropriate vehicles for the communication of grievances or pay bargaining in the defence forces.
There are various rules and laws governing this question. Firstly, under Queen’s Regulations members of the armed forces are restricted as follows:-
J5.581. [Political Activities]
a. Regular Service personnel are not to take any active part in the affairs of any political organization, party or movement. They are not to participate in political marches or demonstrations.
b. No restriction is to be placed upon the attendance at political meetings of such personnel provided that uniform is not worn, Service are not impeded, and no action is taken which would bring the Service into disrepute.
J5.588. [Trade Unions]
a. Regular Service personnel may become members of civilian trade unions and professional associations in order to enhance their trade skills and professional knowledge and as an aid to resettlement into civilian life. They are not to participate in industrial action or in any form of political activity organized by civilian trade unions or professional associations.
Secondly, national legislation states:-
Armed forces personnel are specifically excluded from the definition of "workers" for the purposes of all trade union legislation. In fact the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 precludes the setting up of a trade union for armed forces personnel.
There is a long standing tradition of military unionism in many EU countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. In Austria and Sweden military personnel even have the right to strike, and the Dutch are moving in that direction.
There is a definite tendency towards a relaxation of views on this issue in several countries, including Ireland and Slovenia. Further afield, even Australia has made moves in this direction.
It is worth noting that in all the research we have undertaken for this article, the overriding sense gained from the authors of all the documents we read and all the decisions of official bodies is that unionisation in the military is inevitable.
This applies to work we have read from EU organisations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and even a decision of the European Court of Human Rights which went against the French government.
Some things are simply right and they work, like the principle of non-unionisation of our armed forces. However the luvvies’ arguments just never stop until they get their way, regardless of how impractical their thinking is. Constant vigilance is needed.
It is our strong opinion that the United Kingdom’s armed forces should continue to cooperate fully with other nations as part of NATO, and should cooperate on a continuing bilateral basis with our many friends in the defence arena such as the French, Australians, New Zealanders, etc.
However it is our very strong opinion based on very real knowledge of the mindset within the EU that British armed forces should not be part of any formal common European defence organisation.
We didn’t vote to leave the EU only to see our armed forces shackled to it.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
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[ Sources: EU Parliament | EU Commission | Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe | British Armed Forces Federation | NATO | Labour Friends of the Forces ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.45am, 21 Aug 2017
Name: Paul A, region not specified, UK      Date/Time: 21 Aug, 08.09am
Message: For your wry amusement. I noticed you used 'Luvvie' in today's update article on the EU army... so here is the definition of a 'Luvvie': A person who is so open-minded their brains have fallen out. Keep up the good work. You are doing a fantastic job and supplying me with all sorts of info to 'share' with my MP. Best, Paul
This is Guy Verhofstadt MEP
Here is what he had to say yesterday, following the islamic terrorist attacks in Spain:
© Twitter
[Facts4EU.Org translation - "manifs" = 'demonstrations']
Mr Verhofstadt would like to equate a campaign of islamic terrorist attacks in Europe where hundreds of people have died and been maimed, often in grotesque ways, with recent demonstrations by supposed white supremacists in the USA.
Some hours later Mr Verhofstadt forwarded a tweet from the ALDE Group – the political group in the EU Parliament that he leads – which said: “#WeStandWithBarcelona now and always. We will fight terrorism together.”
This statement resembles those they have made after every islamic terrorist attack in recent years. On each occasion they fail to categorise the terrorism as islamic in nature and they generally seek to deflect attention from details of the event itself. On this occasion their deflection tactic is to refer to events in the USA, as if these are in any way connected to what happened in Barcelona and Cambrils.
Despised by many, ridiculed by more, Mr Verhofstadt is an MEP in an organisation that incorrectly refers to itself as the European Parliament. It is of course nothing of the sort. The body in question should be called the EU Parliament, as it doesn’t include the 16-21 other countries (according to your definition) on the continent of Europe.
  • Every 5 years a small and declining proportion of the public vote in the 'European Elections'
  • In the UK in 2014, only 35.6% of the British people voted
  • UKIP won a significant victory and have the largest number of UK MEPs
  • Twice per month the entire Parliament decamps from Brussels (Belgium) to Strasbourg (France)
  • This expensive exercise is of course necessary because of French pride
How much does this Parliament cost?
The European Parliament's budget for 2015 was €1.8 billion Euros.
€1.0 billion Euros (57%) of this was spent on MEPs' salaries and expenses, staff, and translation.
Let’s just repeat that :
€1 billion Euros (£910 million pounds) was spent on MEPs' salaries and expenses,
staff, and translation costs in 2015
The total cost of this parliament is over £2 million pounds per MEP per year.
The people of the EU member states have shown less and less interest in their Parliament over the years. Below are the voter turnout percentages for the EU as a whole.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
So, Mr Verhofstadt is a member of a failing institution within an even larger failing institution. Nevertheless he feels the need to share with us his feelings following the events of Islamic terrorism in Spain.
What a shame that a supposed leading figure within the European Union can't simply name and condemn yet another series of barbarous terror attacks in a civilised West European country carried out in the name of Islam.
A growing number of EU citizens have been waking up to the threat posed by the calamitous immigration policies of the EU elites. The effects started to be seen 20 years ago but it is only in the last 5 years or so that it has been impossible for the leaders of EU member states and of the EU itself to hide the massive problems which they have caused.
Mr Verhofstadt has never been one to shy away from opportunities to promote himself and to demonstrate his fanatical europhilia. Brexit has of course given him a wonderful opportunity to grandstand, once he was appointed the EU Parliament's chief spokesman on the matter. This doesn't give him any actual power to negotiate, but it does allow him to spout his nonsense about Brexit and about the joys of a federal Europe on even more occasions.
EU Parliament building in Strasbourg - used twice a month
© EU Parliament
Let's be clear: the EU Parliament is full of idiots. Mr Verhofstadt just happens to be one of the more noticeable ones. Their grip on reality - the reality which most of us experience in our daily lives - is often tenuous to a degree which allows them to come out with the most unbelievable drivel. We know, we have to watch EU debates and committee meetings on your behalf.
The EU Parliament has to approve the Brexit deal and it will never agree anything sensible when it comes to Brexit. Even if the EU national leaders come to their senses and compromise on their 'UK must suffer' stance, the MEPs will never vote for a deal which is in the sound economic interests of their constituents. The best we can hope for is some kind of fudge. This may satisfy the misinformed people who are currently advocating some form of EEA/EFTA arrangement, but it will never satisfy us.
Ah well. It's Sunday and we'd like to leave you with something cheerful. When you next think of Guy Verhofstadt just remember one thing he can never get away from. He clearly but secretly envies the British, but he will never escape the incurable fact of being Belgian.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Parliament | Verhofstadt's Twitter account] Journalists and politicians can contact us for the detailed list of links, as usual.
       07.30am, 20 Aug 2017
EU delivers another £85 million from £58 billion fund, to install thermal insulation and solar panels in Polish art schools
The UK pays into this £58 billion fund,
but is not allowed to receive anything from it
On Wednesday this week, the EU Commission slipped out some news in French. It concerned another payout to the largest recipient of EU funds, Poland.
The amount itself is relatively small - 'only' £85 million - but it's one of thousands of payments by the EU which are agreed each year and which are seldom reported upon. Below we report on this, as an example of what goes on daily in the EU without you knowing.
The €94 million euros (approx £85 million GBP) comes from the Cohesion Fund - an EU Fund which the UK can never benefit from. The sum is being invested in 'energy renovation works' in public art schools belonging to the Polish Ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage across Poland.
Regional Policy EU Commissioner Corina Creţu commented: “This project demonstrates our commitment both to the protection of the cultural heritage of our member states and to the necessary energy transition throughout Europe in line with the objectives of the Energy Union. Cohesion policy investments are one of the main drivers of this Union.”
The EU Commission described the works more specifically: "These 94 million euros will be spent on reinforcing the thermal insulation of buildings, replacing doors and windows, renovating heating, ventilating or air-conditioning systems, or installing renewable energy systems (solar panels, heat pumps, etc)."
Photo: Corina Cretu, EU Commissioner
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 £58 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’.
The breakdown below shows that the ‘Green Agenda’ on its own takes 45% of the total fund, with the remaining 55% being spent on 'transport and energy infrastructure' projects - which must also qualify under the 'environment-friendly' umbrella. In effect, the entire fund is spent furthering the EU's environmental policies.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Despite contributing a major part of the fund, the UK receives nothing at all from it. This 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. Only 15 member states are eligible to receive any payments.
Here is the allocation of the funds by member state :-
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
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
When the EU Commission releases news in French or German, we always look closely. Frequently this means that they don't want too many people to know - and certainly not people in the UK. These days that matters less of course, because the Eurocrats are no longer having to cover up their activities to the same extent from the British people who fund their extravagances.
In the case of this news item about another Polish payout, the amount of money was relatively small - 'only' £85 million pounds. The problem is that these expenditures are going on constantly and the totals become exorbitant.
In the decades prior to the Referendum last year, the British public were kept blissfully unaware of how their money was being spent. Even to this day, we wonder how Remainers would react if they discovered what we have known for years. We mean if they really knew everything - all the ghastly minutiae of the workings of this dysfunctional machine that is the EU.
No-one in their right mind would talk about the EU the way many Remainers do, if they knew the truth. And yes, we realise the implication of that last sentence.
Looking at the Cohesion Fund, it is essentially a wealth distribution scheme between richer and poorer members of the EU. It does this on a massive scale. No-one can argue that the current budget of £58 billion isn't an enormous sum. And quite a few would argue about the kind of 'green' projects which the money is being spent on.
We would like to ask Remainers some questions:
At what point did you (or the rest of us) agree that such a wealth transfer scheme be set up?
Not only that, but this Fund is also a way of channelling vast sums into the green agenda, as the funds must be spent on projects which support the EU's green/climate change/environmental policies.
Putting aside your views on the EU's environmental policies, at what point was it debated and agreed that such an enormous sum be devoted purely to projects supporting these policies?
Even if you agree with the underlying agenda, why should this expenditure by the EU be restricted to just 15 member states?
And why should 36.6% of this enormous fund go to just one country: Poland?
Finally, given that the majority of this expenditure has not actually been made yet, don't you think the EU should be rethinking its plans, instead of expecting a member who is about to leave to pick up the tab for many years to come?
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
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[ Sources: EU Commission | Polish gov't ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 19 Aug 2017
600,000 NEW N.I. NUMBERS
Another unique analysis from the Facts4EU.Org Team
Yesterday there were many headlines about the extra 126,343 EU27 migrants who have started working in the UK in the last year – ‘despite Brexit’.
We like to look at issues in more depth. In fact, a little more research into the question of EU27 migrant workers provides some even more interesting information - particularly when we looked again at the issuance of National Insurance numbers.
The Dept for Work & Pensions (DWP) says:-
  • 593,000 new Nat Insurance numbers issued to EU27 nationals in last 12 months
  • 5.7 million new N.I. numbers for EU workers have been issued in last 15 years
[These are from DWP figures released in May, for Mar 2017, compared to Mar 2016.]
© Brexit www.Facts4EU.Org 2017 - please only use with full attribution
In 2014, visa restrictions were lifted on Romanians and Bulgarians. Up until then they had been subject to ‘transitional controls’ in an attempt to stop a sudden rush to the UK the moment these countries joined the EU. What is interesting in the graph above is the number of Romanians and Bulgarians who managed to get N.I. numbers before 2014, when there were supposedly restrictions on their ability to enter the UK to work.
The Dept for Work & Pensions (DWP) also says:-
  • Romanians and Bulgarians have been issued 224,000 new N.I. numbers in last 12 months
[These are from DWP figures released in May, for Mar 2017, compared to Mar 2016.]
© Brexit www.Facts4EU.Org 2017 - please only use with full attribution
Yesterday the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures on workers in the UK from the EU, based on a survey, not National Insurance numbers.
The graph below shows the ONS' latest estimates for the number of EU27 nationals who are resident and working in the UK. These estimates come from the Labour Force Survey and involve a survey of a sample of households.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) says:-
  • 2.37 million EU27 workers in UK at Mar 2017
  • Voting for Brexit hasn’t deterred EU migrants
  • An increase of 126,343 EU27 workers since 2016 – ‘despite Brexit’
[These are from ONS figures released 16 Aug, for Mar 2017, compared to Mar 2016.]
© Brexit www.Facts4EU.Org 2017 - please only use with full attribution
In summary, the Brexit vote last year hasn’t stopped the flow of EU migrants coming to the UK to work. 452,934 EU nationals have applied for N.I. numbers since the EU Referendum alone.
The latest figures from the ONS nail yet another lie which has been spread by Remainers and repeated many times on the BBC and other mainstream news outlets. It simply isn’t the case that people from the EU27 countries have stopped coming to find work in the UK.
Prior to the Referendum in June last year, Facts4EU.Org published several reports on the problem of the growing migration from the EU into the UK. One of the issues we highlighted was our disbelief in the accuracy of the figures being produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The problem was the enormous gulf between the immigration figures of the ONS, and the number of new National Insurance numbers being issued by HMRC, reported by DWP.
During our research, we found that HMRC were issuing 3.5 times as many new NI numbers to EU migrants as there were new EU migrants themselves. In other words, each EU migrant appeared to be applying for and receiving over 3 national insurance numbers each. Clearly this wasn't right, so we delved further.
  • ONS ‘EU worker’ figures are based on sample household surveys
  • Answering a household survey is voluntary
  • Results are therefore likely to be highly inaccurate
  • ONS ‘EU migrant’ figures are even less reliable
  • They are based on passenger surveys at airports and ports, again voluntary
  • DWP ‘NINo’ figures are based on real National Insurance numbers issued to real people
  • We just don’t know if and when some of the people leave
So what’s wrong with using higher DWP ‘NINo’ figures instead of ONS ‘Worker’ figures?
During the Referendum campaign, we and a couple of other serious organisations tried to get to the bottom of the discrepancy between the very high DWP figures for EU migrants working, and the much lower figures from the ONS for EU migrants resident in the UK.
At the time it was clearly advantageous for the pro-EU Cameron government to be understating the level of EU immigration into the UK. We strongly suspected that the figures were up to twice as high as those being stated officially.
Unfortunately the government departments and organisations involved were unable to provide much assistance. Their answer was mostly to refer to the inclusion of short-term migrants in the NI data from the DWP. In other words, they implied that the vast majority of EU nationals coming to the UK and registering for a national insurance number were doing so purely for short-term visits, and were therefore not included in the ONS’ figures for more permanent migrants.
Here’s what the government said in early 2016:
“The DWP NINo [‘national insurance number’] data covers people allocated a NINo for all types of work – including the self-employed and students working part-time – and whatever the length of stay in the UK. It also covers adult overseas nationals allocated a NINo to claim benefits or tax credits.
“The DWP NINo data does not show when overseas nationals subsequently depart the UK, nor does it show length of stay in the UK. The DWP figures are therefore a measure of inflow of overseas nationals registering for a NINo. They do not measure outflow or overall stock of overseas nationals in the UK.”
So, the figures for National Insurance numbers include some short-term migrants, and those claiming benefits. However they are real numbers. In theory, each person is only supposed to have one N.I. number. If they leave the country and return, their N.I. number is still valid, so why would they apply for a new one each time?
It is not our contention that the N.I. numbers from the DWP represent the true levels of EU immigration into the UK. We do, however, believe that the government’s own figures for EU immigration are nonsense, and that the N.I. numbers show that the true immigration level has always been much higher than admitted.
The elephant in the room has always been: “Why doesn’t the government know basic data like how many people are entering, staying, working, and leaving the country?”
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Office for National Statistics | Dept for Work and Pensions ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.50am, 18 Aug 2017
Name: W. Alkaway, region not specified, UK      Date/Time: 18 Aug, 3.25pm
Message: I was taught a simple lesson by my mother when I was an 11 year old, living in Cairo. When shopping in an Arab Market place, haggle. If it doesn't look like working, just walk off. It worked. An early lesson in tactics! Why don't our politicians do the same now with the Brexit negotiations? Sure, the European bureaucrats will mouth off and stamp their non too dainty feet, and make a lot of noise and rumpus. But, as the door is slowly creaking shut, you bet they'll come running asking for a deal. And if they don't? Just go. If they are so blind as to what is best for the countries they dictate to, then they will never see clearly. No point wasting our politicians' time on them. We have better things to do. Britain has shown willing. More than willing, in the face of constant posturing, threats and outright rudeness by the EU, so called, 'negotiators'. That is no way to behave. They don't know how to deal fairly with anyone, hence also their bullying threats to certain other EU countries to do as they say, unquestioningly. They are petrified that other countries will follow Britain's example, and leave the EU too. We can trade with any newly freed countries. With the richer nations gone, those with most to lose with ever-increasing demands to send money to the EU Piggy Bank, this paper-thin 'Club' will surely collapse. Why would the UK wish to trade with the other EU nations? We have not done well so far by trading with the EU. There are better profits, and lower tariffs, to enjoy elsewhere. In conclusion, we are not a country to be pushed around. Uncertainty and delays, I read, are more damaging to the British economy, than any fictitious 'cliff edge', a phrase brought about by past, now ridiculed, British politicians. Meanwhile, we, Great Britain, are moving towards other advantageous world wide trading partners, and deals will be successfully struck. Something more advanced nations understand: trading for 'mutual' benefit.
This latest piece of research from Facts4EU.Org has been met with a variety of reactions from world leaders, ranging from celebration to incredulity to resignation to abuse.
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VALUED SUPPORTERS - Stuart C, Lancashire  |  P Bushell, West Midlands  |  D Joyce, Powys  |  William Crook, Lancashire  |  R Halton, UK  |  G Reakes, London  |  S Lerigo, Northampton  |  J Hatfield, South Ayrshire  |  F Carstairs, W Sussex  |  N Martinek, W Yorks  |  A Hammond, Lincs  |  Anonymous, Aberdeen  |  P Derbyshire, GB
       07.40am, 18 Aug 2017
Astonishingly-good employment figures released by the ONS yesterday
Overall Employment Summary:
  • Unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, lowest since 1975
  • 32.07 million people in work, up by 338,000 in a year
  • Employment rate rose to 75.1%, the highest since 1971
  • “Zero-hours contracts” fell by 20,000
  • EU27 workers increased by 126,000 to 2.37 million
  • Non-EU (and non-UK) workers fell by 18,000 to 1.20 million
[These are from ONS figures released 16 Aug, for Apr-Jun 2017, compared to Apr-Jun 2016.]
Let’s compare this to what we were threatened with, if we voted to leave the EU
Former Prime Minister & Chancellor threatening Brexit chaos       © BBC (screengrab)
Exactly one month before the EU referendum, the Treasury produced a lengthy document which predicted economic Armageddon if the UK voted to leave the EU. The Prime Minister David Cameron, and the Chancellor George Osborne, launched this ‘document of doom’ with a major campaign speech at the Head Office of B&Q, allowing Cameron to predict “a DIY recession”.
Specifically, George Osborne predicted “up to 820,000 jobs lost”. Publishing Treasury analysis, he said a Leave vote would cause an "immediate and profound" economic shock. This was widely reported in all the media at the time, and the BBC took great pleasure in running a major video on the subject. Below you can see the BBC’s Economics Editor Kamal Ahmad presenting this.
BBC's Economics Editor reports Chancellor's dire warnings, 23 May 2016       © BBC (screengrab)
According to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday, Brexit Britain is performing considerably better than the then Chancellor and then Prime Minister threatened.
There were 32.07 million people in work, 125,000 more than for January to March 2017 and 338,000 more than for a year earlier.
The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.1%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.
There were 883,000 people (not seasonally adjusted) in employment on “zero-hours contracts” in their main job, 20,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
There were 1.48 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 57,000 fewer than for January to March 2017 and 157,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The unemployment rate (the proportion of those in work plus those unemployed, that were unemployed) was 4.4%, down from 4.9% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975.
There were 8.77 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 64,000 fewer than for January to March 2017 and 90,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 21.3%, down from 21.6% for a year earlier and the lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
Yesterday evening our Editor received a call at home from a former Cabinet minister. During the conversation, this senior and well-regarded politician mentioned the continuing attacks he receives from Remainers.
“What staggers me is the way they continually lie quite blatantly,” he said.
“Even when it’s been something I said in a recorded interview the same day, which they can listen to on the Internet, they quote me as saying something different. And if my office tries to point this out, they don’t care and keep repeating the lies.”
Of course most of the public will say that politicians lie, and regrettably history is full of examples. In fact some of us would go further and endorse a theme of a major US network show of the last decade, whose main character’s view of people was: “Everybody Lies”.
Unfortunately, however, the sheer magnitude of the lies from some Remainers is quite appalling.
Photo: Hugh Laurie as 'Dr House'
The Remainer lies above were typical
For the benefit of our many overseas readers who have received a quite different impression from the grotesquely Europhile BBC over the last year or two, the British public were lied to most by the Remain campaign, not by the Brexiteers.
Frankly the Brexit campaigns didn’t need to lie or exaggerate – the EU is quite bad enough without needing to overstate. The only exaggeration was a claim made on the side of a bus by a moron in the Vote Leave back office team - one which we never supported. However this was very mild in comparison with the lies of the Remainers including the Prime Minister and his senior team. The figure on the bus was overstated in net terms (it didn’t specify gross or net) but its point was still valid. Britons were (and still are) haemorrhaging their tax pounds to the EU on a weekly basis.
One thing there can be no doubt about, over a year after the historic vote to leave the EU, is that the UK is on great form. A wide variety of indicators are positive and the good news just keeps on coming.
Yes, of course nothing's ever perfect and of course there are many things we would all like to see improve. That's always the case, regardless of one-off events like Brexit. However it's impossible for any reasonable person not to admit that the portenders of doom and misery got everything hopelessly and unarguably wrong last year. Brexit Britain is in good shape and should hold its head up very high when talking to the EU.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Office for National Statistics | BBC ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.10am, 17 Aug 2017
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VIP MEMBERS -   M J Donnan, Middx
GOLD MEMBERS -   Pamela Barnes, Gloucestershire  |  Judith Slater, Essex  |  P Ingram, Monmouthshire  |  John Murphy, Scotland  |  D Price, Berkshire  |  C Latham, East Sussex  |  D Cooper, Berks  |  G Gardner, Cheshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  J Holmes, Shropshire  |   C Mainds, London  |  P Abbott, E Sussex
MEMBERS - Simon Jones, Wiltshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  S Cooper, Surrey  |  N Brooker, London  |  M Wood, Ceredigion  |  R Parkin, England  |  Anonymous, UK
VALUED SUPPORTERS - Stuart C, Lancashire  |  P Bushell, West Midlands  |  D Joyce, Powys  |  William Crook, Lancashire  |  R Halton, UK  |  G Reakes, London  |  S Lerigo, Northampton  |  J Hatfield, South Ayrshire  |  F Carstairs, W Sussex  |  N Martinek, W Yorks  |  A Hammond, Lincs  |  Anonymous, Aberdeen  |  P Derbyshire, GB
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