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BREXIT NEWS 01-16 AUG 2017  (Most recent appears first)
Watch live as HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship in Europe, sails into Portsmouth for the first time.
CLICK HERE to watch this proud moment in Britain's naval history.
LIVE FROM PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND 16 AUG 2017        © Royal Navy, via Youtube
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[ Sources: Royal Navy ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       05.06am, 16 Aug 2017
Yesterday lunchtime the government released a document entitled ‘Future customs arrangements - a future partnership paper’.
This document is intended for the European Union, to form the basis of continuing discussions regarding the process of the United Kingdom leaving the EU.
Specifically this document addresses the issue of possible new customs arrangements between the UK and the EU.
Overall Document Summary:
  • Option 1: For a streamlined and technologically-advanced customs system
  • Option 2: Two parallel customs systems – one for the Rest of the World and one for the EU
  • Proposal for continuation of Customs Union following Brexit, using another name
  • Duration of this ‘time-limited interim period’ to be discussed with EU
  • Exploit latest technologies to streamline imports and exports between the UK and the EU
  • Takes advantage of advances in customs procedures underway regardless of Brexit, including HMRC’s new IT system for customs called CDS
  • Will make full use of electronics, ANPR, Authorised Economic Operators scheme, etc
  • Designed to continue moves to frictionless borders
  • All pretty much as expected from government’s statements to date
  • 2 systems: Rest of World (RoW) and EU
  • RoW system gives UK total independence on customs procedures and tariffs
  • EU system is for goods entering UK for EU, and for UK/EU goods for consumption within UK and EU Assumes no tariffs as at present, so this would have to be negotiated
  • Two tandem systems, giving UK independence on global front and effectively no change on EU front
  • This is the surprise new option, unlikely to be agreed to by EU, for politicial ‘punishment’ reasons
Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis said:
“The approaches we are setting out today will benefit both the EU and UK and avoid a cliff-edge for businesses and individuals on both sides.”
“The way we approach the movement of goods across our border will be a critical building block for our independent trade policy. An interim period would mean businesses only need to adjust once to the new regime and would allow for a smooth and orderly transition.”
“The UK is the EU’s biggest trading partner so it is in the interest of both sides that we reach an agreement on our future relationship. The UK starts from a strong position and we are confident we can deliver a result that is good for business here in the UK and across the EU.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:
“Our proposals are ambitious, and rightly so. They set out arrangements that would allow UK businesses to continue to trade with their European partners in the future, while expanding their markets beyond the EU.”
“And in the near term they will reassure people and companies that, the day after we leave the EU, they will still be able to go about their business without disruption as we make a smooth transition to our bright future outside the EU and deliver a Brexit that works for Britain.”
“The leading document crucially sets out that the UK will be guided by what delivers the greatest economic advantage to the UK, and by three key objectives: to ensure trade with the EU is frictionless as possible, to avoid any form of hard-border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and to establish an independent international trade policy.”
International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:
“Leaving the Customs Union will allow us to operate a fully independent trade policy in Britain’s national interest which will benefit UK businesses and consumers.”
“We will seek a new customs arrangement that ensures that trade between the UK and the EU remains as frictionless as possible and allows us to forge new trade relationships with our partners in Europe and around the world.”
“As we leave the EU and establish an independent trade policy, the Government will prioritise ensuring that the UK and EU businesses and consumers can continue to trade freely with one another as part of a new free trade agreement. In 2016, UK imports and exports from the EU totalled £553 billion alone.”
We studied the government’s new document during the night, to bring you this and the other summaries below.
This article is a distillation of the key facts. Below is a Facts4EU.Org assessment of the document on a deeper level, which looks at the political dimension and the key issue of whether the government is betraying the Brexit decision of the British people.
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 ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       05.51am, 16 Aug 2017
Government’s latest ‘policy paper’ is shabby, unprofessional, and most importantly it’s a betrayal of Brexit
The document released yesterday by the Dept for Exiting the European Union is ostensibly about future customs arrangements following Brexit. In reality it’s a positioning paper for the British public, designed to test public opinion on the key question of the date of Brexit.
Few members of the public will care about the precise details of the UK’s new customs procedures with the EU following our departure. Most people will regard this as being ‘for the anoraks’. Trust us, the EU is full of people who would love nothing more than to waste the next 20 years arguing about the details of this. Whatever is agreed on exit, the arguments on the detail will continue in perpetuity, because that’s how the EU works.
The key problem isn’t what the government’s new document says about customs arrangements. The key problem is what it says about timing.
Here is the most important part to read:-
“Our ultimate customs arrangement will depend on our negotiations with the EU. However, under either approach, both the UK and EU Member States would benefit from time to fully implement the new customs arrangements, in order to avoid a cliff-edge for businesses and individuals on both sides. The Government believes a model of close association with the EU Customs Union for a time-limited interim period could achieve this. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption and provide certainty for businesses and individuals if this principle were agreed early in the process. The Government would need to explore the terms of such an interim arrangement with the EU across a number of dimensions. The UK would intend to pursue new trade negotiations with others once we leave the EU, though it would not bring into effect any new arrangements with third countries which were not consistent with the terms of the interim agreement.”
It has always been our stance that the EU will never negotiate a rational deal with the UK. The EU is full of political monsters who would do anything to damage the UK as it works to become a sovereign country once more.
On a rational level, the EU would be mad not to agree a sensible no-tariff trade deal with the UK, and mad not to cooperate as the UK extricates itself from the quagmire of EU regulations and institutions. After all, the EU needs the British consumer market badly and it needs the UK to continue to employ millions of its workers. It also needs the UK’s defensive umbrella, its considerable soft diplomatic power, and its sophisticated security networks.
However you only need to observe the EU at work to realise that nowhere in the corridors of the bastions of bureaucracy in Brussels does logic overrule the emotional responses of these strange people.
Yesterday David Davis referred in an interview to the EU’s Chief Negotiator Barnier, saying that “Michel is getting quite cross with us” about the Brexit bill. Facts4EU.Org has written several times in recent months about the emotional responses of Monsieur Barnier during negotiations so far. He personifies the problem.
It remains our opinion that the government should proceed on the basis that the EU will never be reasonable, realistic, or rational. We believe the majority of the government’s efforts should be directed at a ‘no deal’ scenario, where the UK exits and enjoys all the benefits of freedom, democracy, and a world waiting to trade with us.
Liam, you crack on and ignore this. Get those relationships set up, ready to rock and roll from April 2019!
Finally, sorry to have to point this out, but....
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 ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.20am, 16 Aug 2017
Name: Denis Cooper, Berks, UK      Date/Time: 16 Aug, 09.32am
Message: You have picked the wrong test for whether Brexit has occurred. Turkey is not in the EU but it is in a customs union with the EU customs union which restricts its freedom to conclude trade deals around the world. Clearly we would not want to end up in the same position as Turkey on a permanent basis, but that is not what is being proposed.

[From the document, para 48]: “The Government is keen to explore with the EU a model for an interim period which would ensure that businesses and people in the UK and the EU only have to adjust once to a new customs relationship. This could be delivered through a continued close association with the EU Customs Union for a time-limited period after the UK has left the EU..."

So the “continued close association” with the EU Customs Union would be “AFTER the UK has left the EU”, it would not delay Brexit, and it would be “for a time-limited period”. It would be for negotiation how far we could go with FTAs with the rest of the world during that transitional period; for example it could be that we could negotiate and even conclude deals, but with them only coming into effect at the end of the transitional period.
Name: Carole, Merseyside, UK      Date/Time: 16 Aug, 09.12am
Message: Apparently, the reason for not being able to negotiate our own trade deals is an EU measure to prevent arbitrage. Arbitrage is basically buying a security in one market and simultaneously selling it in another market at a higher price, profiting from a temporary difference in prices. I am strongly opposed to any customs arrangement that impinges on our sovereignty but realistically the odds of a "no deal" are appealingly high.
President’s tweet to celebrate International Youth Day
forgets about the EU's youth
Tweet from EU Council President Tusk 14 Aug 2017        ©Twitter / EU Council
Yesterday the President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, tweeted to the young people of the EU two days after ‘Youth Day’ which took place on Saturday.
Tusk did this with a new graphic, highlighting employment and growth statistics. Unfortunately in his special tweet for 'Youth Day' he failed to include a graphic showing one particular area of massive concern to millions of young citizens across the EU. This is the level of youth unemployment.
Youth unemployment has been a social blight for many years and considerable EU funds (much of which is provided by the UK) have been thrown at the problem.
As President Tusk forgot a youth unemployment graphic, we’ve made one for him:-
Latest figures from Eurostat         Chart ©Brexit Facts4EU.Org
Some additional facts which may be useful when viewing President Tusk’s graphic above:
President Tusk makes much of the fact that the EU28's and Eurozone's unemployment rates are the lowest since 2008 and 2009 respectively.
President Tusk naturally fails to mention that the UK’s overall unemployment rate is now at only 4.5% - the lowest since the first EU Referendum (EEC Referendum as it then was) back in 1975. That's 42 years ago. This rate is under half that of the 9.1% rate of the main economies of the EU, which are in the Eurozone.
Latest figures from Eurostat         Chart © Brexit Facts4EU.Org
Lowest rate since the first EU (EEC) Referendum in 1975
At 4.5% it's less than half that of the Eurozone
All this despite the immediate cliff edge last year, promised by the Remain campaign
President Tusk tagged his tweet ‘#YouthDay’. For him to omit the most important detail for millions of the EU’s youth can only have been a deliberate act.
There are swathes of Europe where young people have faced appalling job prospects for many years. Ten years after the start of the global crash, the EU has still been unable to improve matters for millions of its younger citizens. Indeed many of these are now passing into middle age, still waiting for their economic prospects to improve.
Remainers reading this will immediately say that it is the responsibility of the national governments of the member states to create high employment societies for their young people. We would happily agree, were it not for the fact that the EU rushes to claim every piece of good economic news as a victory for EU policies.
Even the graphic above demonstrates this. Tusk’s opening sentence is “EU is growing and creating jobs”. He can’t have it both ways. If the EU claims credit for ‘creating jobs’, then why hasn’t it done this for the EU’s youth?
The UK has saved the EU
One significant point never made by the EU, nor admitted by Remainers, is that the UK has been soaking up the EU’s unemployed for many years. Millions of people have come from the rest of the EU in recent years, looking for UK jobs as none are available in their own countries.
If all these people had not been employed in the UK, they would have appeared in the unemployment statistics of their own countries, making the EU’s data look even worse than it already does.
The graphics such as the one used by President Tusk yesterday are churned out constantly by the EU. They are used liberally across the EU’s hundreds of websites, on social media, and they are also released to the newspapers, magazines and tv stations of the EU member states.
Imagine if the UK government had an ‘information dept’ which rushed out graphics every five minutes, exhorting the British people to adore it? Naturally the UK government does like to publicise its successes, but this is nothing compared to the constant stream of propaganda emanating from the EU Commission and the EU Council.
If the EU’s bodies paid a little more attention to solving the enormous problems they have across the bloc and less time trying to promote the EU itself, the European Union as a whole might be in a better state.
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 Council President | Eurostat | ONS ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.57am, 15 Aug 2017
Brexiteer International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Remainer Chancellor Philip Hammond
Hammond sees sense and agrees to Brexit again
The Secretary of State for International Trade and the Chancellor of the Exchequer co-authored an article which appeared in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. In it they confirmed the original policy of the government towards Brexit.
In effect this represented a defeat for the Chancellor after his attempts in the last few weeks to row back on what Brexit means. His various speeches and interviews while the Prime Minister was on holiday came across to many as so 'Soft Brexit' that many commentators felt that he was attempting to subvert Brexit entirely.
Both Liam Fox and Philip Hammond have now re-confirmed that the UK will:
  • Leave the EU in March 2019
  • Be a ‘third-country’ not party to EU treaties
  • Leave the Single Market and the Customs Union
  • Be free to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world
Below are some highlights of what Mr Hammond and Dr Fox wrote:
“We respect the will of the British people – in March 2019 the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation.”
“[We will] leave the single market, because there was a vote for change on June 23rd and that is what we will deliver”.
“We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty – but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.”
“We are both clear that during this period the UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union and will be a ‘third-country’ not party to EU treaties.”
“But we are also clear that during this period our borders must continue to operate smoothly; goods bought on the internet must still cross borders; businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the EU and our innovative, world-leading companies must be able to hire the talent they need, including from within the EU.”
“Once the interim period is over, we want a permanent, treaty-based arrangement between the UK and the EU which supports the closest possible relationship with the European Union, retaining close ties of security, trade and commerce.”
We avoided writing much in recent weeks about the internal political scene in the United Kingdom. At this time of year there is often a degree of politicking which rarely lasts out the summer.
We are pleased to see that Remainer Phil appears to have backed down from what we regard as his blatant attempts to subvert the will of the British people. Will we forget what he tried to do? No. However for the moment we principally care about the government presenting a united front for a clean Brexit, and that is what happened yesterday with the article he co-wrote with Dr Fox.
For the record, here is part of the open letter we wrote to Mrs May last year, just before she chose her Cabinet:
Hammond has presided over the politicisation of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to such a degree that it shames the independent principles of the Civil Service. His arrogance and disregard for the views of the people make him as unfit for office as Osborne.
Rudd and Soubry share Hammond and Osborne’s arrogance and together all four will drive voters into the arms of other parties.
Should you appoint any of them to high office, it is our opinion that you risk the radical reshaping of British politics and decades of divisive coalition government.
Immediately after Hammond's appointment as Chancellor we wrote the following:
Just like the UK, the power in most EU nations is generally in the top two positions – the equivalents of the UK’s Prime Minister and Chancellor.
The UK now has pro-Remain May and pro-Remain Hammond in these two positions.
If the new role of ‘Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union’ is to be taken seriously in continental Europe, Mrs May must make it clear that the pro-Remain Chancellor has a subordinate position in relation to EU Brexit negotiations.
It must be clear to EU leaders that David Davis’ role is pre-eminent and that he will be the driving force, with her full backing.
Mrs May must find a form of words for saying that the new Chancellor will only play a subordinate and supporting role.
Needless to say, we haven't changed our opinion of Mr Hammond.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Sunday Telegraph ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       07.45am, 14 Aug 2017

Iranian MPs rushing to take selfies with
the EU's Foreign and Defence minister
(She's the one in the head-scarf)
A week in the life of Federica Mogherini
(The most powerful woman most people have never heard of)
Much of what happens in the European Union goes unreported by the British media. This is one of the reasons why the masquerade of the EU was allowed to develop for so long. The majority of the British public were blissfully unaware of what was happening and how powers were being handed over to such an undemocratic and dysfunctional institution.
Today we bring you a pictorial account of how one woman - unelected by you or anyone else, and whose name is known to only a tiny number of Britons - represented the foreign, defence and security interests of your country around the world last week.
Your 'High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy' and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini - the last week in pictures.
Meetings with Iran, USA, Russia, China, Australia, Canada, and many other countries
5-12 August 2017
An Exclusive Facts4EU.Org Analysis
Bilateral meetings with Iran President Hassan Rouhani, as coordinator of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), discussed the state of implementation of the nuclear deal
Meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, discussing lifting of economic and financial sanctions on Iran
"From trade to migration, from defence to counter-terrorism. Together we can make our two regions stronger" - Meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte & Foreign Minister Alan Cayetano
Adoption of new ASEAN-EU Plan of Action - traditional & non-traditional security areas, maritime security, counter-terrorism, etc
Signed major new EU-Aus Framework Agreement with Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
With South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to discuss North Korea
Meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for bilateral discussions on wide-ranging matters including Iranian sanctions and nuclear, Syria, and North Korea
Bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on Syria, Iran, North Korea and other matters
With Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi
Meeting with Foreign Minister of Thailand Don Pramudwinai to discuss further development of EU-Thailand relations
Meeting with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, exchanged views on Partnership & Cooperation Agreement and Free Trade with EU
Expressed to Foreign Minister Vivian Bala the EU's commitment to continue working closely with Singapore
Meeting with Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, to discuss major international issues
Discussed global issues with Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland in the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum
At village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, on the anniversary of a wartime Nazi atrocity
Photos are generally all © EU Commission
The above all took place between 5th and 12th August 2017, on different continents. Major international agreements were signed and significant discussions took place relating to the security and foreign interests of the United Kingdom.
Ms Mogherini ended her week yesterday in the hillside village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, on the anniversary of a wartime atrocity. On 12 August 1944, German troops of the 2nd Battalion of Waffen-SS Panzergrenadier Regiment butchered 560 local villagers and refugees, including 130 children, and burned their bodies. The killings were carried out systematically using machine guns, grenades, and bayonets.
In 2005 ten former German soldiers were found guilty of the crimes by the Italian courts, but the German government refused to extradite them. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia but none has served any time.
Regarding the last event in her calendar, on her personal Twitter account yesterday Ms Mogherini wrote “The duty of memory 70 years after the Nazi fascist massacre. Peace and reconciliation made with our European Union.
We recognise the strength of feeling regarding this appalling massacre which took place 73 years ago, but it was not the EU which made peace possible. The EU did not even exist until the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, some 48 years after the end of WWII. Even if you allow for poetic licence from Ms Mogherini, the EU’s forerunner, the EEC, did not start until 12 years after the end of the war. It has been NATO which has kept the peace, not the EU.
How did we get here?
Federica Mogherini was catapulted into her position as the most powerful woman in the EU administration after just 6 months ministerial experience in Italy. The story behind her rapid rise to power is for another day.
On this Sunday in mid-August 2017, we will simply leave you wondering how it is that so much of the foreign, defence and security policies of your nation came to be in the hands of this woman.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Tehran Times | Various other international papers ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.

       07.50am, 13 Aug 2017
Name: Shieldsman, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 13 Aug, 10.04am
Message: How many United Kingdom citizens were aware that Catherine Margaret Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, GCMG, a British Labour politician served as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission in the Barroso Commission from 2009 to 2014. The media virtually ignored her and the EU Foreign Policy.
In what can sometimes seem like a world of depressing news, here is something that's harmless and relaxing!
CLICK HERE to track HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy's latest pride and joy and the largest aircraft carrier based in Europe, as she cruises around the British Isles on her sea trials.
HOT NEWS THIS MORNING is that she left Inverness during the night and headed north, passing John o'Groats. It looks like she'll be heading down the west coast on her way south to enter her home port of Portsmouth for the first time on Friday.
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Picture © Twitter - North West Regional College
(Read on to see why these people look like they won the lottery this week.)
There are many ways in which the EU channels British taxpayer money back to the UK, dressed as though it were ‘Funded by the EU’. One of these is the Erasmus+ programme.
Erasmus+ is one of those EU ‘projects’ which even Brexiteer politicians say might they might want to keep paying into after Brexit. The government has as yet made no guarantees, so this is the ideal time for everyone to learn about this (supposedly) educational programme.
Erasmus+ is “the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe,” says the EU Commission.
This new version of Erasmus started in 2014, with a 40% increase in funding and a significant increase in its scope.
This scope now covers matters which have little to do with higher education, such as ‘youth exchanges’ and ‘volunteering’. It even includes programmes to “develop new teaching practices or curricula” – something most people probably think is the role of the Dept for Education in the UK.
Erasmus funds and “promotes – among other things – good governance, social inclusion, the fight against racism, dual careers, and physical activity for all.”
1/3rd of the budget goes on “partnerships + reforms of the education and youth sectors”
Many British people (including our young people) imagine that Erasmus+ is all about giving our students a chance to study for all or part of their degrees abroad. However this is just a minority part of the whole programme.
This entire project is much more insidious and far-reaching in its aims.
No, Erasmus+ is no longer all about education in the sense most people understand the word. In common with most other areas of the EU's activities, Erasmus has expanded way beyond its original brief. Even if it were, not all things connected to education are necessarily things which match the UK's needs as an independent nation post-Brexit.
Secondly, only 0.5% of British higher education students benefited from the EU’s Erasmus+ programme in 2015 - the last year for which we have figures.
Here are some shocking facts for you:
  • Less than 10,000 British students used Erasmus+ in 2015, out of 1.8 million in higher education
  • In 2014 almost 3 times as many EU27 Erasmus students came to the UK, than vice versa
  • Almost 3,000 British staff took advantage of Erasmus+ to further their careers
  • Many more EU students and staff benefit than their UK counterparts
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
It would appear that Erasmus+ is a very popular programme which is taken advantage of by college and university teachers and lecturers. In fact it seems more popular with them than it is amongst their students.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Note to Remainers: The EU refers to the cost of Erasmus+ without including the extra amount which it gives under the programme to non-EU countries. We have included this information to give a truer picture, hence the figure of £14 billion. The list of these non-EU countries is long and the amount now represents about 10% of the total cost of Erasmus+.
  • The 2014-2020 budget for Erasmus+ is £13.9 BILLION
  • This includes £1.4 billion spent on grants to non-EU countries
  • Only around one-third is spent on higher education
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
To all intents and purposes, it would not be surprising if the people in the photo felt like that have just won the Euro-lottery. In fact they were informed on Tuesday that they have been approved for grants totalling €898,751 from various parts of the Erasmus+ budget. That's approximately £810,000.
The North West Regional College’s European & International Projects Officer, (yes, they actually have one of those), described how the money was going to be used.
NWRC Derry-Londonderry
The bulk of the £810,000 will come from the Vocational Education and Training programme and be spent for “students to gain opportunities in Training through Assessment in Vocational Employability and Life Skills in Europe. 168 students and 135 staff will benefit from the project”. Smaller amounts will be used to allow staff and students to take part in Higher Education programmes abroad, 20 students travelling to Barcelona for a two week mobility programme in 2018, and an IT based programme to improve teaching in the classroom.
We have a great deal more information on Erasmus+ but insufficient resources to bring you everything. In summary our research has consistently shown that Erasmus+ is not what the EU presents it as. In fact it is difficult not to see it as part of the insidious propaganda machine which has been indoctrinating Europe's young people for decades.
International Youth Day 2017
Today is International Youth Day. The EU is in full swing, joining in with events and celebrations. You'll be pleased to know that the Commission is “focussing on young people's contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace”.
“Hoorah!” we hear you cry.
One of the EU Commissioners said yesterday: “Young people are at the heart of development. Our goal is to empower them to change the world for the better. Thanks to EU support, in the last decade, almost 14 million more boys and girls benefited from primary education. We will also continue supporting young people as champions of peace-building and countering violent extremism in their communities such as through the 'One Young World Peace Ambassadors' initiative launched today.”
The Commission continued: “This year, we also celebrate the 30th anniversary of Erasmus, one of the biggest success stories. To date, the current programme, Erasmus+, and its predecessors have given 9 million people across Europe, the chance to study, train, volunteer or gain professional experience abroad, creating an open-minded generation aware of European and global challenges.”
We could hardly agree less with the aims and ambitions of the EU Commission in regard to the young people of the European Union. No-one (as far as we know) empowered the Commission to decide how our youth are to be educated, nor what values are to be promoted. And they certainly are not empowered to pursue what is fundamentally a pro-EU political agenda which is horribly reminiscent of certain historical totalitarian regimes.
There has been a lot of talk about the UK possibly wishing to continue to pay into certain EU programmes after Brexit. Erasmus+ has been spoken of as being one of them.
We would suggest that Erasmus+, as it is presently constituted, is not an appropriate programme to fund. Here is how Erasmus+ is summarised in the EU’s budget for 2014-2020 :-
“Aims: Erasmus+ aims at boosting skills and employability. The programme will increase the quality and relevance of Europe’s education systems by providing funding for the professional development of education and training staff, as well as youth workers and for cooperation between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and NGOs.”
MFF, EU Commission
Clearly this is not in any way something which an independent country like the post-Brexit UK would have need of.
However we would advocate a simple and separate deal with the EU in respect of ongoing exchanges of students. This ‘student exchange’ programme could be agreed between the Dept of Education and the EU’s EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency). There may also be a limited number of other educational activities which the UK may agree to discuss with the EU27, which are contained with Erasmus+, but this is outside our remit today.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Universities UK | THES | ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       08.10am, 12 Aug 2017
EU sold us £8 billion more than we sold to them
More very positive economic news yesterday, as HM Revenue & Customs released their latest import/export figures showing the results for June. Strangely, we haven't yet seen this reported anywhere.
The HMRC’s data yesterday helped to reinforce the stream of positive economic news which has kept coming since the Referendum, despite the prophecies of economic Armageddon by the Remain campaign and the then government.
UK exports key facts
  • UK exports rose to £28.3 billion in June
  • That’s 14.6% higher than a year ago
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
(EU citizens will consider the EU Commission irrational if it ignores this)
Whilst the HMRC’s figures make very positive reading for the UK in terms of the continued growth in exports, they will be difficult for the EU Commission. The figures show that the EU simply can’t afford to cut its successful trade relationship with the UK.
EU sales to UK - key facts
  • The EU27 sold us £22.3 billion pounds worth of goods in June
  • That’s £7.9 billion more than we sold to them
  • It’s 6.3% higher than May, and it’s 9.3% higher than a year ago
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
It doesn't seem to matter how often the good news keeps on coming, Remainers are unable to recognise it and to accept that Project Fear was a sad episode in the nation's history. Surely it must be possible for all British citizens to be pleased at such good export results?
The second obvious point when looking at the information is the excellent news for the EU27 countries. They continue to trade with the UK and to do very well out of the relationship. In fact they do far better out of the arrangement than we do.
Never mind, the offer on the table from the British government is to carry on with this most advantageous arrangement for them. No tariffs, no trade barriers. Just good old-fashioned and profitable trade.
Here at Facts4EU.Org we're not naive. We know that neither the EU Commission nor MEPs nor certain leaders of EU27 countries can afford to let the UK be seen to succeed in the future. This means them doing everything they can to make a trade deal impossible.
However sooner or later, some pragmatic types within the EU27 countries are going to start asking questions. In June they sold us £22.3 billion pounds of goods. That's around €25 billion euros. In one month. That's an awful lot of money to jeopardise for the sake of teaching Britain a lesson for wanting democracy as a normal, independent nation.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: HMRC ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.55am, 11 Aug 2017
Food Standards Agency raises estimate of threat to UK 33-fold
Tensions escalated yesterday over the EU's growing egg poisoning crisis, as the UK's Food Standard's Agency (FSA) was forced to admit it vastly underestimated the magnitude of the problem affecting British consumers.
A variety of products containing eggs were pulled from the supermarket shelves at Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda, as the FSA increased its estimate of the number of EU eggs that had made it into the British food chain from 21,000 to 700,000.
List created by Facts4EU.Org
The FSA's statement said “Some of the products made from these eggs will have had a short shelf life and will have already been consumed, however, we identified some that were still within the expiry date. These are now being withdrawn by the businesses involved. Attached is a list of products we have identified to date and we will update this list as our investigations proceed.”
The FSA have continued to stress that at this stage they do not believe there is a significant risk to public health. Readers should go to the FSA's website for the most up-to-date information.
EU bodies, Belgium, & the Netherlands accuse each other of complicity
Belgium claimed that it had alerted the EU on 6th July and that Dutch authorities had known about the contamination as long ago as last November.
The Netherlands Food Safety Agency (NVWA) denied this but was less clear about why it had not alerted authorities in June when the accusations resurfaced. It then emerged that Dutch police had arrested two directors of a Dutch company in connection with the scandal.
Maggie de Block, Belgian Health Minister
EU Commission: 'Nothing to do with us'
Meanwhile the EU itself denied claims from Belgium that it had been told about the problem in early July. The EU Commission said yesterday: “On July 6, there was a bilateral exchange between Belgium and the Netherlands within the framework of the so-called administrative support and cooperation system. The Commission does not actively monitor the exchange in the AAC as is the case with the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).”
As this story was growing in its implications and intensity across the EU, the BBC was desperately looking in the other direction, as we reported two days ago. Whilst we were bringing you the latest developments, the BBC led its Europe coverage with the reprieve of a gay Uzbek journalist from deportation.
Readers will no doubt recall the alacrity with which the BBC jumped on the overblown story of American chlorinated chickens, at the same time that Britain's International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox was in the USA trying to boost the UK's trade prospects.
It's a shame that the BBC has shown far more reluctance to cover a story which demonstrates that all the EU's systems and laws have failed to prevent a public health scandal.
We're certain that if challenged on this the BBC would be indignant, as usual. Unfortunately the simple fact is that the BBC's coverage of Brexit and all matters connected to the EU is now a national disgrace.
The greatest shame of all is that the people involved are so cocooned in their metropolitan pro-EU world they have no idea just how warped their coverage has become.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: FSA | EU Commission | RTBF | AFSCA ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       05.45am, 11 Aug 2017
Name: J Slater, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 12 Aug, 9.40pm
Message: You've got to be kidding: a Health Minister who looks like she's about to die from over-grossing on fatty foods. She can't be for real. Do they wheel her in, or does she actually move her legs? I shouldn't mock the afflicted, but this woman is a HUGE joke. On a serious note, was she also involved in the cover-up (lasting several months - as the Dutch continued knowingly supplying the UK with poisoned eggs by the thousands and thousands? And to think we've been saddled with innumerable Elf & Safety rules issued by the EU and yet they can blithely send us poisonous food products. Fat Lady, it's all over, even though I don't hear you singing! When times get hard, as they will, you will soon lose your excessive rolls of lard.
And the EU Commission is still hiding 85% of it
Yesterday the EU Commission finally released some limited details of expenses of its Commissioners, for a 2-month period last year. It only did this extremely reluctantly and when forced to do so, after a formal complaint to the European Ombudsman in Strasbourg.
EU Commissioners' Travel Expenses
  • The EU Commission says it has done enough
  • It has given you a small fraction of what was asked for
  • It will not give you more information about how it’s spending EU taxpayers’ money
It’s not just the money
The mainstream media has carried much of the headline news from the very limited amount of information which was finally dragged out of the EU Commission by Madrid-based NGO Access Info Europe.
You will no doubt have read about President Juncker’s overnight trip to Rome in February last year, chartering a private jet to make the onerous journey from Brussels. President Juncker’s travel expenses came in at €26,958 euros (approx £24,300 GBP) for this little jaunt to see his friend Matteo Renzi. Signor Renzi is of course no longer Italian Prime Minister.
You may also have heard about Vice President Federica Mogherini’s 2-day trip to Armenia and Azerbaijan last March. Total mission cost: €75,393 euros (approx £68,000 GBP).
The real cost is to trust and credibility
“Only two months’ worth of expenses data is a token gesture,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe. “The Commission has told us that it has had lengthy discussions about how to handle these requests over the course of the past six months. That time could have been better spent responding to the requests.”
“The real cost here is … to the credibility of and trust in the European Commission when it refuses to publish basic information about the spending of taxpayers’ funds,” added Darbishire.
Belgian magazine Knack broke this story, and it was then picked up by Politico. Below are some of the fundamental figures extracted from the information released by the EU Commission.
If ever there were a case which showed the total arrogance of the elitist ruling class that is the unelected EU Commission, this is it.
‘That’s yer lot’
Unfortunately the EU Commission sees no further need to inform the public. It describes the disclosure of more information as being ‘disproportionate’ and feels that giving two months information from more than a year ago is enough.
We are looking into a simple way in which you can send a request to the appropriate EU body to demand the release of the rest of the EU Commissioners’ travel expenses and that these be published online in future, as is the case with the expenses of MPs. We will publish this shortly if you feel this would be useful? Please let us know.
The NGO involved
Last night the head of the Spanish-based NGO which fought the EU Commission on this, Ms Helen Darbishire, told BBC Newsnight: “These expenses are really quite reasonable.”
Her criticism remains of the EU Commission for not being more transparent, but she seemed keen to downplay the affair.
According to her biography on the UNESCO website Helen Darbishire “is a human rights activist specializing in the public’s right of access to information, and the development of open and democratic societies with participatory and accountable governments.”
Private jets for Commissioners were common, says Brexit MP
Fortunately Newsnight also had Rt Hon John Redwood MP to give a more sensible verdict: “When I was a minister negotiating for Britain, I used to go on a normal public plane at normal fare, but there were all sorts of executive jets on the tarmac including ones for EU Commissioners. All the time British taxpayers are helping to pay for those bills.”
The EU’s transparency gets less clear by the day
The jaw-dropping behaviour of the EU eurocrats in it thinking they can hide their spending habits is perhaps only matched currently by their pronouncements over democracy to the errant member state Poland.
Faced with Poland’s refusal to give in over what the EU sees as undemocratic moves in its lawmaking, what does the EU do? It threatens Poland that it will no longer be able to vote in EU Council meetings, thereby denying it a democratic voice. Stunning in its reverse logic.
Returning to the question of money, how dare the EU elites decide whether to show the taxpaying public how they spend its money? The EU is forever grandstanding about ‘transparency’ as one of its core beliefs, most recently in lead up to the Brexit negotiations. Monsieur Barnier still goes on and on about it when given half a chance... and frankly he still goes on about it when not given any chance at all.
However in the EU, it’s now clear that transparency is there to be heard, not seen.
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: Knack | Access Info Europe | European Commissioner | Politico ]
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       07.55am, 10 Aug 2017
Name: R Ellison, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 10 Aug, 08.14pm
Message: The Highway Robbers have been caught out. And now they are looking to see who else they can rob, now that Britain is waving farewell! Britain is now safe from the EU bandits and scoundrels. We should leave without paying a single penny. Oh, and send the EU our bill for the overpayments we've been making for near-on 40 years, plus a repayment for the construction of their parliamentary buildings. By all means let the EU feel the pinch for it won't last much longer. It is doomed to topple. World politics will overtake. The EU is in a total mess. And, whereas Great Britain is preparing for future changes and challenges, the EU is stuck in a quagmire of their own making. It is one overspent, undemocratic, lost cause. The EU will eventually bankrupt itself. Looking forward to Theresa May returning invigorated from her holidays soon, ready to unshackle the UK from its greasy-palmed neighbours over the English Channel. Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen, Ciao and Buenos Notches! Oh, and one more, 'Good Riddance'.
Maggie de Block, Health Minister in Belgian government © Belga
Recall notices issued in EU27: 'Do not eat, bring back to store'
Belgium's Health Minister Maggie de Block is coming under increasing pressure as the country's food hygiene scandal rebounds through many EU countries. The source of the problem is in Belgium and the Netherlands and relates to the contamination of millions of eggs over many months.
Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) is under fire, after being made aware of the contamination at least one and a half months before alerting other EU countries to a serious danger of contamination of its egg production. Millions of eggs have potentially been affected and the consequences of the particular type of contamination can be severe, with liver, kidney and thyroid damage being the most worrying.
Belgium’s AFSCA agency has been attacked in particular for its failure to communicate on such an important matter. Facts4EU.Org can reveal that AFSCA doesn't just fail to communicate about contaminated eggs. It fails to communicate on most of its other areas of responsibility as well. The last press release on its website was dated June 2015.
How the UK consumer is affected
85% of the eggs consumed in the UK are from British farms and there is no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated. However the Food Standards Agency has confirmed that a small number of contaminated Dutch eggs have entered the UK. It stresses that the numbers involved are believed to be very small and it is "urgently investigating the distribution of these eggs in the UK". It also states that consumers should not stop buying eggs.
Belgium’s Health Minister
Weighing in at over 20 stone (over 125kg), Maggie de Block is quite a presence on the Belgian political scene. Ms de Block is in fact very popular and was a doctor for over 20 years. This current crisis comes on the back of previous major food crises in Belgium, however, so it remains to be seen how she will ride this one out.
This has been headline news in many EU countries, with supermarket chains such as Aldi pulling all eggs off its shelves. Meanwhile the BBC chooses to continue barely to cover this story. Its Europe coverage this morning leads with the reprieve of a gay Uzbek journalist from deportation.
We really have to ask: If this story had shown the EU's food hygiene regulations in a positive light, and those of the UK in a bad light, does anyone think that the BBC wouldn't have splashed big and long with the story over the last few days?
This story is most definitely not a good news story for the EU. It shows that despite all the EU's costly interference in agriculture and the imposition of 'standards' in every aspect of our lives, the EU's management and supervision of its food standards are appallingly bad and people's lives are being threatened.
British lion stamp of quality on eggs
Can you imagine what the EU itself would have done if it had been British eggs that were contaminated? We have absolutely no doubt that a total ban on UK egg exports would have been imposed by the EU Commission, within hours.
It's a shame that the very high standards of food production in the UK, often far higher than in most EU countries, are not more widely celebrated by the government and the British media.
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: FSA | Die Welt | RTBF | AFSCA ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.45am, 09 Aug 2017
Name: Old Albion, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 09 Aug, 07.03am
Message: I'm more surprised that she is the 'health minister'.
EU budget boss dictates: 'You Will Pay'
The EU’s Budget Commissioner is named Günther Oettinger.
Here is what he told the German newspaper Bild in an interview yesterday:-
“After the 2019 exit, the British will still have to pay for long-term programs agreed before the Brexit decision. They are tied to it.”
“London will therefore have to transfer money to Brussels at least until 2020.”
The EU Budget Commissioner also spoke about the impact of Brexit on the EU27:
“In the long term, however, Brexit means a drop of 10-12 billion euros a year in the EU budget.”
“I believe that the missing British billions will be compensated by a mix, that is, through savings and higher contributions from the member countries. In Germany, a manageable one-digit bill amount could be added.
“But I also want to abolish all rebates to EU countries. They were introduced decades ago, because Great Britain was on a discount. If this "mother of all discounts" is removed by Brexit, all other rebate bonuses must also be deleted. This would be a significant simplification of the administration and would put an end to the previous horse-trading in budget negotiations.”
On Herr Oettinger’s first point that the UK will still have to pay for long-term programs after Brexit, this is simply not true, mein Herr. If there were any legal basis at all for your contention, you and your colleagues would have produced it long ago.
To paraphrase our Foreign Secretary, and Lauren Bacall: “You know how to whistle don’t you Günther? You just put your lips together and blow.”
On the EU Budget Commissioner’s second point, about how the EU is going to continue after Brexit without going bust, here’s a.....
Here is how the EU plans to manage without the UK's money.
  1. The EU’s budgets will have to be cut. This is rather strange, because the justification for the EU’s Brexit bill demand is that monies have already been committed and can’t be rescinded. Now it seems the EU can cut its commitments at will.
  2. EU27 taxpayers will have to pay more. Despite supposedly speaking for the EU as one of its Commissioners, Herr Oettinger seemed to forget this, and addressed the increase in annual contributions for Germany. When he refers to ‘a manageable one-digit bill amount’ being added to Germany’s contributions, he is referring to an increase of between 1-9 billion euros per year. Small beer for a politician, but German taxpayers may not be so happy.
  3. It has long been the EU’s policy to abolish rebates. The EU was already planning to abolish the UK’s annual rebate, which would have increased the UK’s contributions by at least £4 billion per year. This was never talked about by Remainers or by the BBC, despite the fact that Facts4EU.Org and others wrote about this many months ago.
Herr Oettinger is merely using Brexit as the excuse for accelerating the process for abolishing all rebates, thereby pinning another piece of blame on Brexit. The other countries affected by the loss of rebates will be the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, and Germany itself.
Incidentally, during the EU referendum debate, leading Brexiteer Michael Gove warned: “Our rebate is not a permanent and unalterable feature of our membership anchored in the treaties. It’s a negotiated settlement which could be eroded.” We pointed out the same thing, and showed how Tony Blair had given up a large part of the UK’s rebate in 2005.
This rebate question is a classic example of how no-one who voted Remain in the Referendum knew what they were voting for. It’s interesting how Remainer politicians never talk of the huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the future of the EU and its member states. As we have reported several times, the EU is in a state of introspection, and is trying to decide on its fundamental structures and ambitions.
Each time a Remainer tells you “But you can’t tell us what Brexit looks like”, you might want to point out that it’s a damn sight clearer than the complete mystery surrounding what the EU will look like within the next 10 years.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Bild ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       09.05am, 08 Aug 2017
“Absolutely nothing” is what France would give the EU
Faced with an unlawful demand for a huge sum of money, with menaces, there is only one way the French would react. And it would not be with talk of paying ‘a leettle less’ than the outrageous sums being demanded of them.
Here was French President Francois Hollande talking at the Delors Institute in Paris on the evening of 6th October 2016. The current EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was in the audience.
“I have great affection for the UK,” he proclaimed, as solemnly as only a French President can.
Some minutes later, once the laughter had died down, he got serious about Brexit.
“There needs to be a threat, there must be a risk,
there must be a price.”
This statement by the French President was quite extraordinary and in our opinion constituted demanding money with menaces.
If it had been France leaving the EU, their response to repeated demands for vast sums might well include the words of its most famous chanteuse Edith Piaf in her song ‘Je ne regrette rien’:
“Non, rien de rien.”
(Literally ‘nothing of nothing’, or more colloquially ‘absolutely nothing’.)
It is quite certain that France would never have talked of a lesser figure, say £36 billion, to be paid in instalments. On smaller issues than this have French governments fallen.
Photo right: Edith Piaf
Over many months we’ve watched as Brexit Bill stories have come and gone. Occasionally, we reported on something of substance. Most often we kept our own counsel.
Facts4EU.Org Summary:
  • There is no legal basis for any ‘Brexit bill’
  • There is no moral case for any ‘Brexit bill’
  • The treaties cease to apply on exit and that will be on Mar 29 2019.
In recent days there has been talk of ‘British officials’ in Brussels and Whitehall leaking a figure of £36 billion. Yesterday this was denied by a spokesman for No.10. Nevertheless, this morning the rest of the EU is convinced that the UK has given in to its demands for massive repatriations.
Let’s be clear: British officials and politicians who give off-the-record briefings to pro-EU journalists, suggesting that the UK is going to pay any kind of sum to the EU in addition to its normal contributions until 2019, are acting against the interests of their country. This also applies to journalists working for eurosceptic papers but who are in reality Remainers.
In the days before Tony Blair, the crime of high treason was still on the statute book with the death penalty as punishment. Blair might have abolished the death penalty, but for many people in the UK this doesn't make it any less of a crime.
Yesterday we commented on a tweet from the fine legal minds at Lawyers for Britain.
© Twitter
We recommend Lawyers for Britain’s excellent summation of the legal position. You can read it here, or by clicking on the photo of the tweet. If you scan through our back pages you will also find excellent articles from members of the Facts4EU.Org Team on this subject!
As Rt Hon John Redwood MP, the former Single Market Minister, told LBC yesterday: “The idea Britain must pay before the EU will talk about trade is ridiculous. We don't owe them a penny!”
Martin Howe, Chairman of LfB, made it equally clear yesterday: “UK's financial liability is, legally speaking, £0 (= €0)”.
We wonder just how much clearer we all need to be?
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Elysee Palace | LBC | Lawyers for Britain ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       07.35am, 08 Aug 2017
This is according to figures from Stronger In, the official Remain campaign
Even before leaving the EU, the UK is doing less and less trade with the EU27. Each year, the Single Market has become increasingly less important to the UK’s businesses.
Only 3.6% of UK businesses use the single market
Last year before the Referendum the official Remain campaign, Stronger In, produced figures on the number of British businesses which they said were trading with the EU. They used official figures from HM Revenue & Customs, to tell the voting public that 200,000 UK businesses were trading with the EU.
They even produced a poster on this:-
© Stronger In
Quite reasonably albeit slightly tongue in cheek, we looked at how many businesses were actually trading in total, to see what proportion 200,000 represented of the total of all businesses in the UK.
According to the government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), there were a total of 5,497,670 businesses in the UK last year. 200,000 is only 3.6% of 5,497,670.
'Stronger In' also commented on the size of the Single Market, stating "Being part of Europe means UK businesses get free access to over 500 million customers in the EU – and can trade with no tariffs or barriers."
Time and again we pointed out that the figure of '500 million' included the population of the UK. The true figure which they should have used last year was 443 million, which represented the population of the EU without the UK.
For our international readers, we should explain that 'Stronger In' was the officially-recognised and government-backed Remain campaign during the EU Referendum last year. It was heavily supported by every Establishment body you can think of, and by all the Remain politicians from David Cameron and George Osborne downwards.
Prominent amongst politicians supporting 'Stronger In' were our current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and our current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, both of whom have been causing significant political disruption in recent days and weeks with their continued and barely-disguised support for Remain.
This is all a bit of fun at the expense of the Stronger In campaign and Remainers generally. However it's important to remember that whilst the UK remains a member of the EU, all British businesses are subject to EU law, whether they trade with the rest of the EU or not.
Only a small proportion of the total number of British businesses actually do any business with the EU's 'Single Market'. The vast majority do not benefit at all from Single Market membership, and yet they have to put up with all the costs and inconvenience of complying with EU regulations. Yes, we know that it's the larger businesses that are more likely to trade with the EU, but we're trying to redress the balance here. The Remain side still have the huge advantage of having the Establishment behind them, which means that facts like the ones we've given you above will never see the light of day on the BBC.
It's a sad fact that we hear Remainer politicians and commentators talking daily about the Single Market, often with little idea of what it is or what benefits and costs it brings. It would be refreshing one day to hear a politician or commentator say "Well, actually I don't really know enough about the Single Market to say."
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Stronger In | Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) | HMRC ]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       07.05am, 07 Aug 2017
Name: Phil Jones, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 11 Aug, 11.39pm
Message: How does the number 200,000 relate to value of trade done? Your article mentions the total number of businesses in the UK, but you don't say how many of these are 1 person businesses e.g. the local window cleaner. What matters is the value of the trade done. What % of the value of GB trade does that 200,000 represent?
Reply: Hi Phil. This article is entirely based on a claim by the Stronger In campaign, as we made clear in the piece. Stronger In didn't research the value of trade done by the 200,000 businesses they specified, they simply focused on one number, and therefore so did we. Each piece we write tends to focus on one issue, or it would be too long for anyone to read. We've researched and written many other articles about trade where the figures are in Euros or Pounds, which you might want to look at. The overriding message here is that every business in the UK currently has to abide by EU regulations (and the entire country has to abide by its imposed laws) whether that business exports to the EU or not. And the vast majority do not export to the EU.
Name: John Finn, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 07 Aug, 10.06am
Message: You need to be careful when making statements of this kind. It's true that only a small proportion of 'active' businesses trade with the EU. However (a) The ones that do trade are likely to be disproportionately larger businesses and (b) While over 90% businesses don't trade directly with the EU, many of them rely on businesses that do trade directly with the EU.
Reply: Hi John, you make good points. In fact we had part-addressed these points just before your comment came in. (See 'Observations' above.) We would just add that we haven't had time to check Stronger In's claim of 200,000 businesses trading with the EU. They say they got the data from HMRC but we haven't yet checked HMRC's tables on this. If their 200,000 is accurate then so is our 3.6% figure. If they have exaggerated then the 3.6% figure will be even smaller. The overall point is that the supposed benefits of the Single Market are massively overplayed.
Name: Carole, Merseyside, UK      Date/Time: 07 Aug, 08.55am
Message: Puts everything into perspective. So when the government say that they need a transition period for businesses they are really only talking about 3.6% of all companies who actually trade with the EU.
Some more stories from the last couple of weeks, demonstrating the unshakeable unity of the EU, its members, and its neighbours...
POLAND: ‘Poland is not needed for the EU’
Interviewed outside the Warsaw courthouse last week, EU Council President Donald Tusk said: “There is a question mark over Poland's European future today.”
“I do understand emotions of Poles who are concerned about courts, or Poland's future in the EU.”
Poland’s former prime minister continued: “It smells like an introduction to an announcement that Poland does not need the European Union and that Poland is not needed for the EU.”
“I am afraid we are closer to that moment.”
Photo right: EU Council President Tusk yesterday - screengrab © Polish TVP
TURKEY: ‘EU isn’t sincere’. ‘Continent could be taken by Turkey in 3 days’.
A government-supporting Turkish newspaper, Yeni Söz, ran a piece on Tuesday discussing a report on how Turkey could ‘take’ the rest of Europe in just three days. It suggested that the citizens of EU countries were unlikely to fight for their countries, unlike the Turkish people.
This came on the back of President Erdogan’s latest announcement that “The majority of my people don’t want the EU any more. They don’t think the EU’s approach to Turkey is sincere. Despite all this, we will continue being sincere with the EU for a little more time. We will see what that brings to us.”
Turkey remains a candidate country of the EU and is receiving billions in various forms of aid and support.
ITALY AGAINST FRANCE: ‘Nationalism and protectionism not acceptable’
The French government of President Macron took a controversial decision to nationalise the STX France shipyard at Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast, to prevent a majority stake being taken by an Italian company.
This reversed the agreement made between previous president Francois Hollande and Italy’s previous prime minister, and left the current Italian government up in arms last week. State aid is subject to very strict rules in the EU – rules which the French are well-known for ignoring when it’s in their national interest to do so.
Photo left: President Macron
Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and Industry Minister Carlo Calenda took the unusual step of issuing a joint statement, saying: “Nationalism and protectionism are not an acceptable basis for establishing relations between two great European countries. To work on joint projects you need reciprocal trust and respect.”
There isn’t a week that goes by without rows breaking out between EU member states, or between the unelected EU Commission and the governments of member states.
This hasn’t prevented a standard EU narrative from being propagated in the last year, repeated by the Remainer elements of the British media such as the BBC and Financial Times, that the EU is solidly united in harmony against the nasty, naughty United Kingdom.
From time to time we’ll continue to give examples of how this narrative is simply untrue. You may want to read our previous instalment in this occasional ‘Tales of Eunity’ series.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Italian gov't | Polish gov't | European media ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       06.40am, 06 Aug 2017
'24 hours off the coast of Scotland'
The HMS Queen Elizabeth tracked by the Facts4EU.Org Team © 2017
HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain's newest aircraft carrier and the largest warship in the EU, remains on trials off the Scottish coast, near Inverness. Over the past 48 hours we've watched her progress online as she has performed a variety of turns.
The screengrab above shows the track of HMS Queen Elizabeth for 24 hours up to 09.30am yesterday, as she tested her steering gear. Below are pictures taken by the ship's crew on Friday.
© Crown Copyright MOD
The HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales
It's important to note that HMS Queen Elizabeth is not yet in service. She is however one of two aircraft carriers which were ordered by the British government and is now on sea trials. Under construction is her sister ship, the Prince of Wales. These two ships have displacements of 70,600 tonnes each. (Note: you may see 65,000 tonnes quoted in newspapers but this was superseded and is incorrect.) The first of these two ships to be commissioned will be the HMS Queen Elizabeth at the end of this year.
Each ship on her own would have been by far the biggest warship in the EU.
(If the UK had voted to stay in the EU.)
Together, they represent more aircraft carrier tonnage
than the rest of the EU combined.
They are due to be the largest warships of any navy other than that of the US.
France's carrier in dry dock
Up until recently, the French had the largest warship in the European Union, with the aircraft carrier the General de Gaulle. Unfortunately the De Gaulle has been bedevilled with a series of technical problems since the start of its sea trials in 1999.
Earlier this year the De Gaulle returned to dry dock for a major refit, which will last until 2019.
Even when the De Gaulle returns to service, her 42,000 metric tonnes will be dwarfed by the Queen Elizabeth's 70,600 tonnes. Nevertheless, the de Gaulle represents a potent piece of weaponry in the French arsenal.
Photo left: Charles de Gaulle in Toulon dock
© Marine Nationale
               HMS Queen Elizabeth as she approached Scapa Flow a few days ago     © MOD Crown copyright
Over the coming years you will no doubt read some critical articles about Britain's new aircraft carriers. These will be written by the same type of people who can find nothing good to say about Britain's prospects post-Brexit. Already there have been many negative pieces regarding the concept, the construction, the weaponry, the strike fleet (fast jets and helicopters) and other things.
We prefer to be positive. The UK will soon have eight new acres of sovereign territory able to deploy anywhere in the World. Knock it all you want but we're just damn proud of these ships, and the boys and girls who'll man them.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: MOD | Royal Navy | Marine Nationale | Marina Militare ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.        06.40am, 06 Aug 2017
Mostly an opinion piece, from the Facts4EU.Org Team
One of the EU’s 3 ‘Big Issues’ before they will discuss future trade arrangements and the full exit agreement is the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
Why is the Irish border question back in the news?
This came up in the last week with the new Irish PM Leo Varadkar (don’t ask) making noises about a possible new form of customs union, and the like. Don’t be fooled. Varadkar might sound like a character from a Harry Potter story, but in reality he’s just another Europhile Establishment politician.
For months the EU has been posing on the Northern Ireland question like teenagers on the night of the summer ball. It’s mostly all a load of puff about nothing from self-obsessed mirror-gazers. Unfortunately, the EU’s position has played into the hands of the self-important nationalist politicians who have long missed the limelight they enjoyed during the troubles there.
In reality, the EU’s concentration on something which is no more important than many other issues in relation to the eventual Brexit agreement, has encouraged the nationalist politicians in Northern Ireland to posture even more. It must be asked whether in fact the Northern Ireland Assembly might by now have been reconstituted, had the EU stayed out of things.
A man who knows a thing or two about Northern Ireland and its relationship with the Republic, and who also knows a thing or two about the EU and about trade, is the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and former Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson.
Mr Paterson was also formerly a shadow Minister for Transport and speaks French and German fluently. If you add all his talents and experience together, it's hard to understand why the government is not using his services. Regular readers will know he has long been on our shortlist of those who should be in the Cabinet.
Click the photo to listen to the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World At One’ yesterday, talking about the Irish border question.
Photo left: Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP
The EU has external borders all over Europe. Some of these EU/non-EU neighbours have border disputes with each other, and some have even deeper long-term animosities. Some involve borders cutting through areas and dividing ethnically-similar communities.
It is typical of the Little-Europhile-Englander mentality of the Remainers amongst our politicians and the commentariat that they focus only on Northern Ireland, and to a lesser extent Gibraltar. It never occurs to them that border issues have occurred (and still occur) elsewhere in the EU, and that they’ve been resolved without the parties re-starting an armed struggle.
[On a side note, isn't it interesting that it's always those in favour of Brexit who talk of global issues, free trade around the world, relationships with Australia, Canada, India, etc? Remainers can't seem to lift their blinkered eyes above the EU to see the wider world out there.]
There are technical options available to the Northern Ireland border trade question and in any case things must be kept in proportion. As Owen Paterson points out, only about 5% of Northern Ireland’s exports go across the border to the South. There will doubtless be a change to the logistics of transporting goods across the border, but life in Northern Ireland will carry on normally after Brexit.
We hope to entice Owen Paterson to expand on what he told the BBC yesterday, as he kept getting cut off when he was saying something particularly interesting. We'll bring you that here if Mr Paterson can spare the time today.
The other two issues are citizens’ rights and the ‘single financial settlement’.
The truth is that the only issue the EU’s elites truly care about is the last one – the payment of a large sum of money by the UK for.... um.... er.... well, stuff.
Everyone knows that the Brexit bill demand is there to show the other EU member states how badly they’ll be punished if they have the temerity to follow the lead of the British people and vote to leave.
In the case of the UK the threatened bill also has a practical purpose, as the UK is one of the two countries which basically funds the EU. The practical benefit for the EU is therefore that the sum it is conjuring up is truly enormous, because the UK is a very rich country and they think we can afford it.
Yes, yes, Remoaners will point to all the statements from the EU elites – presidents, commissioners, MEPs, whoever – saying that these people care truly, madly, and deeply about the fate of the EU’s citizens in the lawless Britain to which they’ll be exposed post-Brexit. They say that EU citizens’ rights come first, followed closely by the Irish border question, and only then by the spondulicks.
But who are they trying to kid? No-one buys that, not even in the other EU27 countries. Everyone in the EU27 is eyeing the money – with varying amounts of greed in their eyes.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: BBC Radio 4 ] As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       07.15am, 05 Aug 2017
Name: Carole, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 05 Aug, 5.08pm
Message: There is more about the border from Owen Paterson here.
Exclusive Facts, from the Facts4EU.Org Team
It was the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle of Passchendaele on Monday. The French embassy chose to tweet about it, and we replied the next morning.
© Twitter / Facts4EU.Org 2017
For the French Embassy in the UK to politicise Passchendaele and use it to promote the lie that the EU is responsible for the peace in Europe is shameful, in our opinion.
The French Ambassador Mme Sylvie-Agnès Bermann will soon be relinquishing her position.
Below are the figures for defence expenditure for EU members which are also members of NATO. Mme Bermann might like to study these facts and figures on the plane, on her way back to Paris.
Here are some facts that French Ambassador may wish to reflect upon:
  • Only 4 countries pay the minimum NATO guideline of 2% of GDP on defence
  • The only major EU economy which does this is the UK
  • 6 EU countries aren't even members of NATO
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Out of the major economies in the EU, only the UK spent the NATO agreed minimum of 2% of GDP on defence last year. This has been the case for many years.
6 of the EU countries aren't even members of NATO, including Ireland and Sweden.
When Eurocrats and Brexit-denying British politicians and commentators talk about how the EU has made us safer, perhaps they might want to read our information above.
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[ Sources: NATO Paper on Defence Expenditures 2009-2016 | Munich Security Conference Feb 2017 speeches | House of Commons Library.]
As usual, journalists and politicians can contact us for the list of links to the research.
       07.10am, 04 Aug 2017
Name: Telford Tim, UK      Date/Time: 04 Aug, 08.09am
Message: Another article which hits the nail on the head. Thank you for getting the truth out there. My wife just made a donation (she's the Frau Merkel of our household) and I hope you get many more.
According to latest official EU survey
Terrorism tops the list of 'Top Issues'
The EU’s latest ‘Standard Eurobarometer’ survey of public attitudes was published yesterday. There were several interesting facts contained within the survey, not the least being that the majority of EU citizens now see terrorism as the EU's no.1 issue.
The EU Parliament’s Brexit Spokesman, Belgian Guy Verhofstadt, wasted no time making an anti-Brexit comment on Twitter yesterday:-
Guy Verhofstadt’s tweet about the latest Eurobarometer, using anti-Brexit photo  © Twitter
As usual, we are producing our own analysis and summary, and as usual it differs from the summaries produced by the various EU organs (including Mr Verhofstadt). It uses exactly the same data as the EU’s propaganda documents.
  • Only 42% have trust in the EU
  • Only 40% have a positive image of the EU
  • Only 42% think their voice counts in the EU
  • Only 46% think their country’s economy is in a good state
  • And 27% don’t even support their own currency, the Euro
Top concerns nationally:
  • Unemployment (29%)
  • Immigration (22%)
Top issues for the EU:
  • Terrorism (44%)
  • Immigration (38%)
The EU’s ‘Standard Eurobarometer’ survey of public attitudes was first run in 1974. Each survey consists of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews per country and the survey takes place twice yearly.
As soon as the Eurobarometer survey was published yesterday, the EU’s propaganda ministry and its high priests promptly went into overdrive, preaching as many positive messages as they could find in all the data. Unsurprisingly our summary above does not pick out the facts that the EU want you to remember.
The EU presumably would not want you to focus on the fact that only 40% of EU citizens have a positive image of the EU. And this is according to the EU’s own survey of itself.
Interestingly, citizens now think that the no.1 issue facing the EU is terrorism. This is the first time that terrorism has hit the no.1 slot. Fairly close behind is an issue that many would say is very closely linked to terrorism, that of immigration.
Terrorism and immigration are both issues in which the EU has involved itself to a considerable extent. In the case of immigration this became a hot potato in 2015 when Frau Merkel unilaterally opened Germany’s borders and ever since caused chaos across a very large number of member states. Since then, the EU has seen the ‘solution’ as an EU matter and the price continues to be paid by all members – including the UK.
In the case of terrorism, the EU is becoming more and more involved. This has been used to justify ever more involvement and encroachment by the EU, from EU-wide police agencies to the EU’s new Border and Coast Guard to justification of much of the Common Security and Defence Policy, which in turn is leading to a fully-fledged EU Military Union.
Regrettably, in neither the control of terrorism nor immigration is the EU shining. Only yesterday it became clear that the EU’s new passport controls were producing chaos at airports, with 4 hour queues. It was the EU which decided to introduce the new controls in the busiest week for airport travel of the entire summer, rather than waiting for the autumn.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Twitter ]        06.58am, 03 August 2017
23 EU cities want the gain
None want the pain
© EU Council
23 EU cities are in the race to take 2 EU agencies from the UK. The European Council yesterday released details of the cities/states bidding for glory, in the biggest international challenge since the Eurovision Song Contest.
The EU Council has received 27 proposals from 23 cities to host the two EU agencies currently based in the UK. There have been 19 offers to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and 8 for the European Banking Authority (EBA).
These are the cities proposing to host the EBA, as of 1 August 2017:
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Paris (France)
  • Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Luxembourg-City (Luxembourg)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Warsaw (Poland)
The European Banking Authority (EBA) assesses risks and vulnerabilities in the EU banking sector through regular risk assessment reports and EU-wide stress tests.
Paris and Frankfurt are two of the key contenders to take the EBA
These are the cities proposing to host the EMA, as of 1 August 2017:
  • Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Bonn (Germany)
  • Bratislava (Slovakia)
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Bucharest (Romania)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Helsinki (Finland)
  • Lille (France)
  • Milan (Italy)
  • Porto (Portugal)
  • Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Malta (Malta)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Warsaw (Poland)
  • Zagreb (Croatia)
The EMA evaluates and supervises human and veterinary medicinal products. It does not itself conduct research (no laboratory work, animal tests, or clinical trials), nor does it produce medicines.
It is being widely reported in the national press this morning that the cost of relocating these agencies will be over £520 million. Up to £400 million of this is reported to be down to a negotiating error when the lease contract was signed for the EMA (Medical Agency). It seems that no-one thought to ensure there was the standard break clause in the contract.
The candidates’ bids will be evaluated by the EU Council in October and the decision will be taken by a vote in the Council in November.
The UK will not get a vote, strangely, and so it’s down to 27 ministers from the other EU member states. On 22 June at the last EU Council meeting they decided how the voting process should work.
Now please sit up straight and pay attention, for a lesson in democracy from the EU.
Below we are reproducing the detailed notes issued by the bureaucrats of the EU Council in June:
“Decision-making and voting process”
“The decision-making process is informed by the assessment referred to in section 5. It will be preceded by a political discussion organised among the representatives of the Member States on the basis of the Commission's assessment. This discussion will be thoroughly prepared at Coreper level (art. 50) and take place in the margins of the General Affairs Council (art. 50) in October. During the preparation at Coreper level the Commission will make an oral presentation of its assessment of the offers. Member States which have submitted one or more offers to host will be given the occasion to make a short presentation of their offer (maximum 3 minutes). In the margins of the European Council (art.50) in October, the Prime Minister of the Member State holding the Presidency will inform the 27 Heads of State or Government about the discussion among ministers.
“The decision will be taken by vote in the margins of the General Affairs Council (art.50) in November. All offers, except for any withdrawn by the Member States concerned, will be submitted to the vote. The voting process should be similar to the process used for the decision on the relocation of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), namely the outcome of a vote consisting of successive voting rounds, with the votes cast by secret ballot and all 27 Member States having the same number of votes. However, the specific rules for the voting rounds have been adjusted in light of the expected high number of offers and the need to ensure a decision at the end of the procedure.
“The first voting session will be on the European Medicines Agency. The Member State selected for the European Medicines Agency cannot be candidate to host the European Banking Authority. As a consequence, if that Member State has also submitted an offer to host the European Banking Authority, its offer will be discarded in the voting process on the latter. The Member State selected for hosting the European Medicines Agency can take part in the vote on the European Banking Authority.”
“1st voting round”
“In the first voting round, each Member State has one vote consisting of six voting points which should be allocated with three points to the preferred offer, two points to the offer which the Member State ranks second and one point to the offer which the Member State ranks third. All six voting points must be allocated in this manner for a vote to be valid.
“If an offer receives 3 voting points from at least 14 member States, hence being the preferred offer for 14 Member States (14 Member States awarding three points to the same offer), that offer is considered to be the selected offer.
“If no offer receives 3 voting points from at least 14 Member States, the three offers which receive the highest number of points will proceed to the second voting round. In case of more than three offers receiving the highest number of points, all offers that have received the same highest score will go on to the second voting round.”
“2nd voting”
“In the second voting round, each Member State has one vote (consisting of one voting point) that it can give to one of the three (or more) offers which have been chosen for the second voting round.
“If an offer receives 14 votes or more, hence representing the majority, it is considered to be the selected offer.
“If no offer receives 14 votes or more, the two offers which receive the highest number of votes will proceed to the third round.
“In case of a tie between three (or more) offers, these will all go on to a third voting round.”
“3rd voting round”
“In the third voting round, each Member State has one vote (consisting of one voting point) that it can give to one of the offers which have been chosen for the third voting round.
“An offer that receives the highest number of votes, will be considered the selected offer. In case of a tie, the decision will be taken by the Presidency drawing lots between the tied offers.
“The offer drawn will be considered the selected one.”
“The decisions on the new locations on the seats of the Agency outcome of the voting process will be confirmed in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Art. 50).”
“On this basis, and considering the particular nature and context of these decisions, the Commission will, without delay, prepare legislative proposals to modify Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority) and to confirm the new location of the seat in Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 laying down Community procedures for the authorisation and supervision of medicinal products for human and veterinary use and establishing a European Medicines Agency. The Council and the Commission commit to give priority to the handling of the legislative proposals in view of the urgency.”
We have three observations to make about the relocation of these two EU bureaucratic agencies.
  1. The voting process outlined above is a perfect demonstration of why nothing ever gets done in the EU.
  2. No-one in the UK is forcing these agencies to move. This is an EU decision.
  3. If the EU wants to move them, it should meet all the costs.
As with all other EU demands for a Brexit bill to be settled, there is no contractual or legal basis for the UK to make any payment in respect of the cost of moving these two institutions.
Helpful suggestion for the EU from the Brexit Facts4EU.Org Team
We have a suggestion for a quick way of whittling down the number of bids for these agencies. The EU should announce that the successful bidding country must meet the costs of relocation. Over time, the hosting countries for these agencies will make billions. If they want the gain, they should take the pain.
That should make the cumbersome voting process last almost no time at all.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Council | EU Commission | Express and Mail ]        06.55am, 02 August 2017
Name: Tom McCourt, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 02 Aug, 08.06am
Message: 75% of the EMA want to stay in London after Brexit. That must be a slap in the face for the EU Empire.
How the EU wants to swallow NATO in Europe
© Estonian Presidency of EU Council
The picture above is a screen-grab we took from a video produced for the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was published only 3 weeks ago.
This particular video, one in a series, is entitled "Safe and Secure Europe".
As you can see, it shows the symbol of NATO, surrounded by the 12 stars of the EU's flag.
The symbolism of this image from the video may not strike you as important, but these things are not done without reason.
In every new document we read about the EU's growing military ambitions, announcing some new EU military budget or directive, the EU hierarchy are at pains to stress that everything is being done in complete harmony with NATO and not in competition with it.
In fact they repeat this so often and with such force, there is only one conclusion. An English writer summed it up best, around 400 years ago:
'Methinks he doth protest too much'
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Estonian government | EU Commission ]        06.15am, 01 August 2017
Name: Tom McCourt, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 01 Aug, 1.36pm
Message: Some great research from you guys/girls. Keep it up. I'm curious to know how much the Germans have contributed to the EU army. It is no coincidence they have been skipping on their NATO payments.
Name: Andrew, region not given, UK      Date/Time: 01 Aug, 09.03am
Message: As Michael Portillo has remarked the Europeans are wholly unrealistic about defence and have these delusions of an EU Army etc divorced from the USA, and now the UK. Not only is this dangerous from the point of view of defence, but for the EU to gain any control of military force should be deeply worrying. When an unaccountable and arrogant power like the EU is able to use force then you usually find Liberty is its first victim.
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