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BREXIT NEWS JULY 16-31 (Latest appears first)
Current holder of EU Council Presidency, Estonia,
asks USA for missile defence system
© Raytheon Company 2017
“The USA is indispensable to ensuring the security
of our immediate neighbourhood as well as all of Europe”
– PM of Estonia, current holder of EU Council presidency, 30 July 2017
US Vice-President Mike Pence flew to Estonia yesterday for the start of his 4-day tour of some eastern European states. Today he will meet the PM’s of Lithuania and Latvia, as well as the Estonian PM again.
Despite the EU racing fast to accomplish its Military Union, it seems that the Baltic States are pragmatic enough to know that they still need America’s money and missiles.
Yesterday (Sunday) the US Vice-President was welcomed to Tallinn by Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. Here is what Mr Ratas had to say after the meeting:
“NATO’s collective position of deterrence and defence has strengthened in the Baltic region and the USA is indispensable to ensuring the security of our immediate neighbourhood as well as all of Europe.”
“We are states that share the same values, we have a strong bond and cooperation and we are grateful to the USA for their contribution to the safety of Europe. The decision of the US administration to increase the financing of the European Reassurance Initiative by $1.4 billion is remarkable.”
Estonia is a member state of the EU and it is also a member of NATO. As a NATO member it is supposed to spend at least 2% of its GDP on defence.
Estonia is in fact one of the very few EU countries that meets the NATO expenditure goal. Last year Estonia’s defence spending was at 2.17% of GDP, albeit that it seems to have a tendency to spend a lot on cyber rather than conventional defence forces.
The picture across the rest of the EU is much bleaker. In the last 8 years the EU members who are also members of NATO have underspent by over half a trillion pounds. Conversely the UK spent over £50 billion pounds more than it was obliged to, in the same period.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Facts4EU.Org analysed the spending of the 21 EU member states who are also members of NATO, and here are some of the worst offenders:-
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
If EU countries have not even been able to fund NATO - the existing, successful, powerful organisation which has guaranteed their safety and security since soon after WWII - what chance do they have of funding a new military organisation, the EU Military Union?
It is our firm view that when it comes to defence, the EU should forget its global military ambitions and focus instead on supporting NATO. The EU has quite enough of its own messes to sort out in many other areas of its activities.
Technical note: Raytheon’s Global Patriot™ Solutions is a missile defence system consisting of radars, command-and-control technology and multiple types of interceptors, all working together to detect, identify and defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, advanced aircraft and other threats. Patriot is the foundation of integrated air and missile defence for 13 nations.
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 | NATO | ONS | MOD ]        09.00am, 31 July 2017
Name: Tam, Edinburgh      Date/Time: 31 Jul, 9.46pm
Message: Brilliant graphs, thank you. It's ridiculous, the EU racing ahead with its own military structures when EU countries haven't even funded NATO properly. And it gets my goat each time I hear the EU claiming the credit for the peace since 1945! Keep up the great work Brexit Facts4EU, Rgds Tam.
© Raytheon Company 2017
As president of the EU Council on the current rolling 6-month programme, Estonia’s government has released various documents which we have waded through. These relate to its priorities during the 6-month period it will be playing a leading role in EU affairs. This period will last up to 31 Dec 2017.
In Estonia’s main document outlining its priorities for 01 July – 31 Dec 2017, 'Security and Defence' gets a large section.
Programme of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
“Closer defence cooperation and increased defence spending will strengthen security in Europe”
“In the field of European defence cooperation, Estonia will seek to enhance military capabilities of the European Union Member States, including determining the level of defence spending and investments of the Member States and reaching agreement on the revision of the common funding of European Union operations, notably to increase the usability of European Union Battlegroups.
“Estonia supports and contributes to the discussions on Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and a European Defence Action Plan (EDAP). Estonia supports the Com-mission’s initiatives, in particular in the field of defence research and development and in strengthening the European defence industrial base in order to create better opportunities for involving and funding the small and medium size enterprises operating in the sector.
“In a new security environment, identifying hybrid threats, increasing the awareness of such threats and stepping up resilience measures have become essential to enable timely responses to threats. Estonia continues to contribute to the European Union’s early warning system and to promote exchanges of experience between institutions and Member States. All the tools at the disposal of the European Union and NATO are required to tackle hybrid and cyber threats. Estonia supports EU-NATO cooperation through practical actions in accordance with the EU-NATO joint declaration of 2016 and contributes to the cooperation objectives in the field of cyber defence, including organising mutually open and coordinated exercises.”
Estonia’s concerns about its eastern neighbour Russia are highlighted by the military exercises which are about to start in the region. In September Russia and Belarus will conduct a series of exercises called ‘Zapad’, involving troops and equipment on a scale that will dwarf NATO’s exercise last month called Saber Strike.
Those NATO exercises started in late May and lasted 4 weeks. They included Poland as well as the Baltic States and had considerable involvement from UK military forces. Whilst impressive, it’s thought that the scope of Russia’s and Belarus’ exercises will give everyone in the region cause for increased concern.
Here at Facts4EU.Org we have never stopped covering the rapid rise in the EU’s military ambitions. We’ve exposed information which the BBC and other mainstream news outlets chose not to cover. Or if they did cover it, this was done sparingly and in such a way as to make it sound innocuous.
Make no mistake about it – the EU is racing towards a union of hard military power and it fully intends to replace NATO. It has set up command structures, battlegroups, laws on shared procurement, new budgets to fund its ambitions, and all of this comes under the unelected former Communist Federica Mogherini, High Representative and Vice President of the EU.
Even more shockingly, the UK government has acquiesced in all of this since the Referendum, agreeing to everything and committing the UK to all manner of new EU structures, budgets, and systems.
We, and the excellent folk at Veterans for Britain, are working hard to publicise what is going on and to bring it to the attention of our parliamentarians.
Can you please help fund this work? We rely 100% on small voluntary contributions, which means we barely make it from one week to the next.
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[ Sources: Estonian government | EU Commission | NATO ]        09.00am, 31 July 2017
Taxpayer-funded, anti-Brexit propaganda
This EU Commission video is entitled "Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom"
Video © EU Commission 2017
3 countries account for over half the EU’s gross receipts, one of which is the UK. Out of the 28 member states, only 9 countries make a net contribution to the EU. Germany and the UK make by far the largest net contributions.
In short, British taxpayers paid for a big share of the cost of this pro-EU, anti-Brexit propaganda video.
We prefer to leave it to you to express your feelings about this video. You can do so here.
[ Sources: EU Commission ]        08.05am, Sunday 30 July 2017
Name: Bertie W, Salop      Date/Time: 30 July, 4.07pm
Message: It's outrageous the EU Commission thinks it can spend public money on a pure propaganda video against one of its own member states. It's even worse the member state is one of the few that actually pays the cost of the EU. I don't suppose it would do any good complaining but I'm going to try. I can't wait until we're out of this shambles. Roll on March 2019!
EU is forced to abandon pretence of unity
as it announces legal action
Yesterday (Saturday) EU First Vice-President Frans Timmermans sent a Letter of Formal Notice to the Polish government, announcing that legal action will be taken against Poland in the next month. This legal action relates to two new laws which Poland’s government is introducing.
This EU process started in January last year and has gone through many stages. Poland has shown no signs of wanting to back down in the last 18 months and it would be very surprising if it now did so.
Here is Jarosław Kaczyński, Chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). He is considered by many to be the de facto decision-maker in Poland’s government:
“Who attacks us will not win. Poland will remain Poland.”
“The question is whether the [European] Union in its current shape, with its horrible bureaucracy and institutionalized undermining of the nation state, is able to survive. According to me, no.”
And here was Polish government spokesman Rafał Bochenek last week:
“We won’t accept blackmail on the part of EU officials, especially blackmail that is not based on facts. All the laws prepared by the Polish parliament are in compliance with the constitution and democratic rules.”
The Commission's key legal concern identified in the law on the organisation of ordinary courts relates to the discrimination on the basis of gender due to the introduction of a different retirement age for female judges (60 years) and male judges (65 years). This is contrary to Article 157 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Directive 2006/54 on gender equality in employment.
That is what the EU Commission says in its statement. However the issues go deeper, and relate to the Polish government's proposed changes to its laws on the appointment of judges generally, and other constitutional matters. It would be fair to say that the EU Commission dislikes the Polish government and all that it stands for. It would also be fair to say that the President of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, shares the Commission's view. Tusk is a former Polish prime minister who has been loudly criticised by the Polish government.
The next most probable action by the EU is what is called the Article 7 procedure.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday:
"If the Polish government goes ahead with undermining the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Poland, we will have no other choice than to trigger Article 7."
Like Article 50 before Brexit, Article 7 has never previously been invoked. It means that the EU can strip Poland of its voting powers in the European Council and there are further sanction mechanisms which could involve the withholding of payments.
It is also perhaps worth mentioning that no citizens in the EU have previously had any idea what was in Article 50 in the case of the UK, and Article 7 in the case of Poland. All of the laws and procedures contained within the Treaties of the EU were ushered through (in some cases after being rejected by electorates of member states) without the peoples of Europe really knowing what was happening.
Not interfering in other countries
We will not comment here on the governance of Poland, nor on the new measures that the democratically-elected government in Warsaw is proposing to enact. These are matters for the Polish people.
The reason we think this story is interesting is that the EU Commission’s actions yesterday have begun a serious stage in the deterioration in the imaginary fabric of EU ‘unity’.
For many British people, the smug and vacuous smiles of Eurocrats over the last year have been somewhat irritating, as they have talked of how united the EU27 are. Frequently Brexit has been cited by Eurocrats like Juncker, Tusk, and Barnier as the cause of this newly rediscovered ‘unity’ and ‘solidarity’.
On Thursday we provided a list of just some of the fundamental splits in the EU which have been making the continental news in the last week. One of these was Poland and the possibility of legal action, which has now jumped forward in the list. With the EU Commission’s actions yesterday, on a Saturday afternoon at the end of July, that item has now gone up the agenda.
The impact on Brexit? Follow the money
There’s an old adage which exists in policing, journalism and politics: ‘follow the money’.
Poland is by far the largest recipient of EU funds, having pocketed over €9 billion Euros in 2015, according to the EU's own figures. If the EU’s current actions take their course – and they show no signs of not so doing – then Poland’s supply of money from the EU could be cut. This could have an interesting impact on Brexit.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Over the past couple of years Facts4EU.Org has uncovered EU funds which are ‘off-the-books’ and to which the UK is a major donor. These are additional to the ‘conventional’ annual payments which the UK makes to the EU’s budget each year and don’t appear in any totals from the ONS, the OBR, the House of Commons Library, or even ‘BBC Fact Check’ – that walking misnomer of a department.
Even the conventional net budget contributions have always been understated by Remainers, but when you start adding in the ‘off-the-books’ funds too, the contribution of the UK to total EU funding each year is even greater. When the UK stops paying, the EU - and its apologists in the British Remainer community - will want to continue the pretence that the UK had not actually been paying much to the EU each year.
However the simple fact is that the UK has been a major bank-roller of the EU Project for 43 years.
When the UK leaves, the EU must demand higher contributions of EU member state taxpayers, or cut its spending. Against this background, taking legal action against Poland which will lead to payments being cut is an interesting option for the EU. Its overall spending is effectively reduced, and it is able to weather the post-Brexit storm more easily. We can just hear Juncker now, breezily saying: “You see, ze British have left and we get stronger. Ze British weren’t paying much at all. Particularly when you look at all ze benefits zay were getting.”
Poland now has a month to decide how it wishes to respond to the EU’s legal action letter. We seriously doubt that it will suddenly say “Gosh, EU Commission, you were right. We’ll annul our laws and make sure that we run any new ones past you in the future.”
Looking at the growing problems like this which the EU is facing, the fractures and acrimony really do seem to keep mounting on many levels. Once again we are forced to ask all ill-informed and naïve Europhiles:
“Where’s the love?”
Your comments are welcome, as always.
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[ Sources: EU Commission ]        07.15am, Sunday 30 July 2017
Name: R Ellison UK      Date/Time: 30 July, 8.55pm
Message: The cracks are beginning to show. The EU bureaucrats think they have a hold over the people of Europe. With their bullying tactics not only towards the British people, who have hugely funded the EU for too many years, they are now also trying to squeeze the Poles into submission. Do they really think other Europeans will stand by and allow this to happen? They have made yet another huge misjudgement. Huge unrest will result. I can see the Poles, and other nations, hitting back. These unelected officials are no longer the faceless ones. They will be held responsible for a struggling EU. The EU Empire is falling, and failing, as all such empires have done in the past.
(With our apologies to the original 'Hammer House of Horror')
Like characters from a horror film of the seventies, arch-Remainers
Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd reverted to their ghoulish selves last week
and stalked the radio, television and print media.
They did so in the knowledge that their boss Theresa May was on a three-week holiday in - of all places - Europe. They also knew that much of the country was focused on the start of the summer holidays.
Here is what the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, says the Cabinet has agreed:-
  • No full Brexit until 2022
  • Free movement to continue until then
  • A three-year transitional period to start from 2019, to be agreed with the rest of the EU
  • UK not able to strike trade deals with other countries until 2022
Inevitably, although not specifically stated by Mr Hammond, membership of the Single Market and Customs Union would continue, as would ongoing annual payments to the EU.
Here is what Mr Hammond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday:-
“There will be a process between the date we leave the European Union and the date on which the new treaty-based arrangements between the UK and the European Union which we hope and expect to negotiate come into force.”
“I can’t tell you a precise period of time because we haven’t had that discussion yet. It will be driven by technical considerations, how long it will take us to put the necessary arrangements in place. People have talked about a year, two years, maybe three years.”
“I think there is a broad consensus that this process has to be completed by the scheduled time of the next general election, which is in June 2022, so a period of at the most three years in order to put these new arrangements in place and move us on a steady path without cliff edges from where we are today to the new long-term relationship with the European Union.”
On free movement and immigration
“We’ve been clear that it will be some time before we are able to introduce full migration controls between the UK and the European Union,” he said. “That’s not a matter of opinion, that’s a matter of fact. During the transition period that will follow our departure from the European Union, European citizens will still be able to come here but they will have to register.”
In what appeared to be a coordinated move amongst the powerful Remoaning lobby within Cabinet, Home Secretary Amber Rudd rowed back on the curtailment of Freedom of Movement, telling BBC Scotland:
“When we leave the EU, which will be in March 2019, the current freedom of movement will obviously end so what we'll need is a new system and we've said that that new system will have a proposal whereby new EU workers coming here will need to register.”
“We will need that grace period for a while before the full changes come in, which is what we're consulting on with the MAC.”
“The MAC have been asked to give us the real evidence about the value of EU migration to the UK because we know it has been hugely valuable and we want to make sure that the changes we put in place are evidence-based.”
In other words, EU nationals will continue to enter - they will just be asked to register.
Her final statement was particularly interesting. She has asked for an inquiry into EU migration to assess its value, and yet “we know it has been hugely valuable”. She wants an inquiry to give her an answer which she has pre-determined.
Philip Hammond (or ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ as he is known to some of his Cabinet colleagues) is and has always been an apologist for the European Union. Not known for his social IQ, Mr Hammond has not covered himself in glory since becoming Chancellor last year. His shambolic NI blunder on the self-employed immediately springs to mind, amongst other faux-pas.
Mired in Establishment Remainerism, we doubt that Mr Hammond’s world is rocked by many original thoughts or that his mind is ever open to actual facts and data about the EU. Instead he pursues an ideological agenda. His approach may lack any imagination or flair, but he is dogged. It's clear he wants the UK to remain in the EU and he is doing everything he can to achieve this.
Amber Rudd campaigned vigorously for Remain last year. No-one could have described her Remainerism as being anything other than strident. Who can forget her nasty and pre-planned attack on Boris Johnson in one of the final TV debates? Truly, in Hammond’s House of Horror she is a woman possessed.
It has been absolutely clear since the Referendum that Ms Rudd has not changed her views at all. She would be happy to see the Referendum result undermined. On Thursday Ms Rudd even wrote an article for the Daily Remainer (the Financial Times, given that wonderful monika by former Tory Minister Michael Portillo) in which she laboured the value of workers from the EU and talked of the need for a ‘transition period’.
In Hammond and Rudd, Mrs May has two prominent and dangerous members of the walking dead. Both these individuals will never embrace with enthusiasm the bright future ahead of us in a post-Brexit Britain.
We utterly reject their views and call on Mrs May to counter what is now being put forward as the consensus Cabinet view. We do not and will not accept anything other than Brexit in 2019.
Transitioning to freedom
Does there need to be a time-limited ‘Implementation Period’? Inevitably yes. Whatever is agreed with the EU will be last minute – the EU is incapable of working any other way - and naturally there will be disruption and the need for a temporary implementation period. However from Mar 2019 the UK must be out of the Single Market, the Customs Union, out from under the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and not paying any more annual subscriptions. It must also be able to sign trade deals globally.
Should there be a ‘Transition Period’ lasting several years? Absolutely not. That is not what the people of the United Kingdom voted for and it is not what anyone would expect. It will add to disruption and uncertainty, not reduce it.
The ‘transition’ arrangements promoted by the likes of Hammond and Rudd are nothing more than thinly-veiled means of keeping the UK in the EU indefinitely.
The only way is out: completely out. Even if it’s a little messy at first, because of the EU’s intransigence and unreasonableness. Even if they do everything they can to punish us. Even if the UK’s Remainers squeal like vampires sighting a wooden stake descending.
This Hammond House of Horrors must end.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
Please consider supporting us financially. We get no funding from any organisations and desperately need your support to carry on fighting for a clean Brexit.
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[ Sources: BBC | FT ]        07.05am, 29 July 2017
Name: Robert T, Wilts      Date/Time: 29 July, 2.54pm
Message: What on earth are these politicians thinking of? They’ve gradually slipped this delay in without any real discussion. It seemed to be going well and now we’re heading back to remaining in, while pretending to be out. I will NEVER vote Conservative again if Hammond and Rudd get their way. In 2019 we must leave the single market and customs union and stop making annual payments and there must be no ECJ or EFTA court from 2019. Hammond and Rudd are fooling no-one. They're Remainers still and they want to keep us in via the back door.
Name: Carole      Date/Time: 29 July, 09.23am
Message: Hammond said much more to the FT: UK chancellor Philip Hammond has told business leaders he wants to negotiate a simple “off-the-shelf” transition deal with Brussels to maintain current trading relations with Europe for at least two years after Brexit. Mr Hammond said he wants a “standstill” transition leaving companies with full access to the single market and customs union, followed by a further “implementation phase” while a new, UK-specific trade accord is put in place.
Name: J Allen      Date/Time: 29 July, 07.48am
Message: In the 2017 general election, I voted for the Tories to ensure that we get the best Brexit, thus if the Conservatives fail to get us out of the EU by 2019 and effectively stitch us up with a likely never-ending transition period to please the Remoaners like Rudd and Hammond, like many people who support democracy and the will of people, I will not vote for the Conservatives in the GE 2022. I voted for Brexit, not for the UK to stall in a 'transition period' when we are almost out the door. I don't think our businesses will like the extra uncertainty of a transition period, opposite to what Hammond and Rudd thinks.
is something you will probably never hear this woman say, alas.
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VIP MEMBERS -   M J Donnan, Middx
GOLD MEMBERS -   John Murphy, Scotland  |  D Price, Berkshire  |  C Latham, East Sussex  |  D Cooper, Berks  |  G Gardner, Cheshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  J Holmes, Shropshire  |   C Mainds, London  |  P Abbott, E Sussex
MEMBERS - Simon Jones, Wiltshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  S Cooper, Surrey  |  N Brooker, London  |  M Wood, Ceredigion  |  R Parkin, England  |  Anonymous, UK
VALUED SUPPORTERS - Stuart C, Lancashire  |  P Bushell, West Midlands  |  D Joyce, Powys  |  William Crook, Lancashire  |  R Halton, UK  |  G Reakes, London  |  S Lerigo, Northampton  |  J Hatfield, South Ayrshire  |  F Carstairs, W Sussex  |  N Martinek, W Yorks  |  A Hammond, Lincs  |  Anonymous, Aberdeen  |  P Derbyshire, GB
The HMS Iron Duke
The USS George HW Bush
The US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS George HW Bush together with its accompanying carrier fleet supplied by Britain and other NATO countries will start Exercise Saxon Warrior on Monday.
The USS George HW Bush arrived in the Solent yesterday, with Rear Admiral Kenny Whitesell USN saying that after 5 months in the Middle East, "the most fun part of this deployment will be working with the Royal Navy strike group battle staff.”
This NATO exercise on the EU's doorstep is designed to give the Royal Navy's strike team valuable experience ahead of the deployment of its two new aircraft carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales.
Meanwhile in Brussels...
Well done to Nick Gutteridge, the Express' man in Brussels, for uncovering this photo of Michel Barnier, Chief Brexit Negotiator for the EU27, and his TF50 team meeting President Juncker in the bowels of the Berlaymont building yesterday.
© EU Commission 27 July 2017
We've now nicknamed this overcrowded room 'the Juncker Bunker', given the bunker mentality which appears to be slowly descending on the EU Commission now that it's clear the UK is not going to roll over on what the EU considers to be red-line issues.
Elsewhere in Brussels yesterday Michel Barnier told a meeting of the EU ambassadors that UK-EU trade talks are unlikely to start in October, as not enough progress is being made on the EU's first priorities - the most important for the EU being the financial settlement.
Changes are being made in government departments over the way in which communications is handled. This has been imperative for many months, during which time the EU has easily won the PR battle.
Readers may wonder at our slightly militaristic headline this morning. We make no apologies for our gradual attempts to redress the balance of reporting in the UK, where so many young journalists and TV presenters have been brought up on a diet of 'Bad little Britain' education.
The United Kingdom is a much more powerful and important beast on the world stage than much of our news media know or understand.
We feel it should be part of our public service remit to make this clearer to those educated to believe that Britons should be ashamed of their past, and that the EU is automatically right whenever it criticises the UK.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: MoD | Royal Navy | US Dept of the Navy | Daily Express ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.30am, 28 July 2017
Name: J Allen, UK      Date/Time: 28 July, 11.33am
Message: Britain still has to balance its relationship with America and the EU. For example, America rather wants us in NATO whilst the EU wants us to be its future army. The EU are not our allies and never have been, rather we have been used as their piggy bank for their big projects and their big pay packets. The USA are actually one of many allies that Britain has outside the EU, our other closest allies are the Commonwealth Realms of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. After leaving the EU, The United Kingdom should consider making the Commonwealth into a free trade block to allow easier trading between like-minded countries. Perhaps also at border control at UK airports where there is currently a special section for EU/EEA passport holders, we should change it for Commonwealth passport holders instead, so that the people of the Commonwealth are able to get the benefits of quicker passport control.
“That’s my wife, sorry...... No, it was Mrs Merkel.”
© EU Commission 27 July 2017 (Facts4EU.Org screengrab)
This morning EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker held a live, televised press conference. It was with the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, who is also the current head of the 4 ‘Visegrad’ countries – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
As President Juncker was concluding his remarks his mobile phone rang. “That’s my wife, sorry” he said, to general laughter. On checking his phone he corrected himself: “No, it was Mrs Merkel.”
Click on video below
© EU Commission 27 July 2017
Perhaps Frau Merkel had been listening to the press conference and wanted to give President Juncker some further instructions to correct what he had said.
Perhaps she wasn’t aware that he was actually in the middle of a press conference. If so, it’s remarkable that she doesn’t have her staff check to see if President Juncker can take her call before making it.
Whichever is true, one thing has always been clear. Frau Merkel calls the shots in the EU.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Source: Eu Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.        10.45am, 27 July 2017
Below are Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in Australia for the annual meeting of UK and Australian Foreign and Defence Ministers.
© Australian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade 2017
This photo was taken during the night, UK time, and opposite the British party is Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. The Secretaries of State are discussing the future of Europe, regional security and defence, East Asia, terrorism and promoting our common values.
Isn’t this such a genuinely happy photograph? Such a contrast with the photos we see of EU meetings of Ministers...
One of the major spin-off benefits of Brexit for many people in both the United Kingdom and in Australia and other Commonwealth countries is the opportunity to build even stronger relations going forward. We will be writing more about these opportunities in the coming months.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Source: Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       08.45am, 27 July 2017
The EU has been crowing for the last year about how ‘unified’ it is, and how the EU27 are acting in complete ‘solidarity’. Unity and Solidarity have been the buzzwords of the EU since Brexit.
EU Commissioners in Brussels yesterday - © EU Commission 2017
Yesterday the EU Commissioners had their regular weekly get-together in Brussels. We can’t imagine that it was a happy and uplifting experience for them.
Here is what is going on this week across the EU27 :-
  • EU Commission launches new actions against Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland on immigration
  • EU Commission threatens legal action against Poland over its new laws
  • Poland: “We won't accept blackmail from EU officials”
  • Austria and Slovenia defeat Croatia at ECJ over right to send migrants back there
  • ECJ Judges rule against Commission strategy - migrants CAN be returned to first country of arrival
  • Romania is furious with EU Commission – accuses it of double standards on food labelling
  • Croatia breaks with EU27 ‘unity’ to demand free movement to UK
  • “Clearly Turkey is and stays a candidate country,” says EU Vice-President
  • No, EU must “give itself the goal of ending the accession talks”, says EU Parliament’s biggest party
The above are just some of the disputes which have been in the headlines in Europe in the last day or so.
We are not for one moment suggesting that this represents a falling-apart of the EU, merely that the EU27 are not the warm, loving family they are portraying themselves as.
Given the high level of acrimony visible and audible across the European Union right now, our only question is:
"Where's the love?"
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: EU Commission | European Council | National newspapers across the EU ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       07.50am, 27 July 2017
Right: Brexi-Kitten, the Facts4EU.Org Team Mascot
Post-Brexit Pets, Their Vets, & The Threats
A Shocking Facts4EU.Org Report
We expose the UK's veterinary profession and its pro-EU stance on recruitment, pet health, and food hygiene.
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       08.00am, Thursday 27 July 2017
Latest EU survey shows up stark differences
UK is the EU leader in the digital world
Yesterday the EU published its 2017 ‘Consumer Conditions Scoreboard’. In essence this survey looks at the consumer experience – what it’s like buying goods and services in each country of the EU.
This 2017 report had a focus on the online world. Below we show some interesting summary information that we’ve extracted from it, starting with the online commerce world and moving onto the consumer experience generally.
Summary findings:
  • EU countries are VERY different – many of them are almost prehistoric in their use of the Internet
  • Brits are the most confident buying goods or services online in their country
  • Brits are by far the biggest online buyers in the EU
  • Overall the UK comes top or near the top on most measures
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Chart © EU Commission 2017
Looking at consumer issues generally, as opposed to online experiences only, the UK comes out at the top or very near the top of most of the main areas of study in the report.
UK's Overall Consumer Performance
  • The United Kingdom scores first in consumer trust in organizations, in retailers and service providers, in NGOs and in ADR.
  • Consumer trust in redress mechanisms and in courts in the United Kingdom are the second highest in the EU-28.
  • Consumer trust in public authorities in the United Kingdom is the third highest in the EU-28.
  • Consumers in the United Kingdom have the EU’s highest trust in product safety and the EU’s second highest trust in environmental claims.
  • Confidence in online shopping is the highest in the United Kingdom among the EU-28 countries.
  • United Kingdom has highest online sales in the EU-28.
  • United Kingdom has the EU’s second highest score on the compliance and enforcement composite indicator.
  • Consumers in the United Kingdom are the least exposed to other illicit practices from domestic retailers in EU-28.
  • Retailers in the United Kingdom are the second most likely in the EU to think their domestic competitors comply with consumer and product safety legislations.
Here is how the EU describe this 156 page report:
“The Consumer Conditions Scoreboard, published every 2 years, is the main instrument for monitoring the consumer environment across Europe. It looks at three main dimensions: knowledge and trust; compliance and enforcement; complaints and dispute resolution. Together these form the composite Consumer Conditions Index. The Scoreboard also examines progress in the integration of the EU retail market based on the level of business-to-consumer cross-border transactions and the development of e-commerce.”
Overall the report shows just how futile it is for the EU to try to treat every citizen of every country the same. EU countries are different and are at different stages of development, and the behaviour of the peoples of those countries reflect this.
In many ways this EU report shows up what the EU elites are interested in – the homogenisation of European cultures so that we all lead exactly the same lives.
Any attempt to ram the various odd-shaped peoples of the EU into standard EU round-shaped holes is doomed to failure. Nevertheless the EU elites have spent decades trying to do this as quickly as they can. Sometimes they go too far too fast and people rebel, as they did in the UK’s EU referendum last year.
When this happens the Eurocrats retreat a little and ‘rebrand’, before carrying on down the same path. That is what is currently happening with the ‘5 options’ future plans which we reported on recently.
The Eurocrat mindset is so fixed that no attempt at reforming the EU will ever be possible. Only a ‘start again’ approach will ever work.
If the peoples of other countries wish to follow a different path from the centralising Eurocratic elites, they will have to do what the people of the UK did and vote to leave. Of course this assumes that their own political elites will give them a referendum.
Right now there is little appetite for other exits across the EU. Certainly when a large proportion of the EU countries are recipients of the generosity of a small proportion of wealthier members, all those poorer countries would be mad to turn off the tap of money. Gradually, however, this will change and in a later piece we will write about what could happen.
For now, we will leave you to wonder how the UK became part of a political union which has countries whose inhabitants’ online spending is one-fortieth of that of the UK’s inhabitants. Online buying isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s one of many reasonable indicators of widely-different lifestyles. We could equally well ask how it is that some farming in EU countries is still done by horse and cart.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Eurostat ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       11.15am, 26 July 2017
The UK’s International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has been busy for the last two days in the US, representing British interests pre and post-Brexit.
Yesterday Dr Fox made a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. The transcript is here but you may prefer to watch it below.
Liam Fox champions global free trade at the American Enterprise Institute
© Dept for International Trade / YouTube
When did we become such a nation of pessimists?
Britain launched the first of its two new aircraft carriers recently, for sea trials. All that large parts of the press could do was criticise and say that the new fighter jets for the ship weren’t yet ready. The new ship is a triumph of British engineering and defence technologies.
Yesterday the UK’s International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox was batting for Brexit Britain and doing a fine job from what we’ve read in the American media. As he points out in his speech above, some of the British media seem more obsessed with a detail of chlorine-washed chickens.
Liam Fox sitting opposite US Trade Secretary Robert E. Lighthizer.        © Dept for Int. Trade
Chickens may be an important detail in the agricultural part of trade negotiations in the long run, but what matters right now is that the US is keen to do a trade deal with us.
Here’s what we sent to the US President this morning:-
On the other side of the World, the Foreign Secretary has been busy making friends in New Zealand. Yesterday he met the NZ Foreign and Trade Secretary, as well as the NZ Prime Minister. The mood music was all very positive.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge just completed a very successful visit to Germany. Since then we’ve been treated to a succession of stories about how German industry cares more about EU27 political unity than it does about continued trade with the UK.
The simple fact is that since Brexit the United Kingdom has become a good news story worldwide, despite poor PR from government departments for so long. Things seem to be changing and we’re happy to share this with you.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
Please consider supporting us financially. We get no funding from any organisations and desperately need your support to carry on fighting for a clean Brexit.
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[ Sources: Dept for International Trade | Foreign & Commonwealth Office | American Enterprise Institute | British High Commission New Zealand | HMS Queen Elizabeth ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       11.55am, 25 July 2017
Right: Brexi-Kitten, the Facts4EU.Org Team Mascot
Post-Brexit Pets and Their Vets
A Shocking Facts4EU.Org Report
We expose the veterinary profession, its pro-EU elite, and the lies you will soon be told about the pet health and food hygiene industries.
This affects the 23 million sheep, 9.8 million cattle and 4.4 million pigs in the UK, as well as the 16m pet owners and every meat-eater in the country.
An Exclusive Facts4EU.Org Exposé
You will not see this anywhere else. Don't miss it!
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       06.30am, Tuesday 25 July 2017
BBC gives rare chance to UKIP MEP
for simple ‘clarification’ of the Brexit bill question
UKIP MEP and Agriculture Spokesman, Stuart Agnew, was allowed a rare opportunity by the BBC to give a Brexiteer’s views on Michel Barnier’s comments following the latest Brexit negotiations last week. In the 3 minutes he was on TV, Mr Agnew made an impression.
This video may be taken down, so you might want to watch it before it is.       © BBC / YouTube
The BBC’s Christian Fraser asked Mr Agnew: “First of all the financial settlement. He is looking for clarification –”
Stuart Agnew MEP: “Well I can give him clarification. We owe them nothing. We don’t even owe them this [holding up one penny], a penny. There’s nothing in the Lisbon Treaty about a financial settlement at all. This has been pulled out of thin air and now they’re trying to run with this as though it’s an established fact. We don’t owe them anything.”
BBC interviewer Christian Fraser: “Those countries are going to have to pick up that bill. They have to vote this agreement through for it to work and there’s going to have to be compromise on all sides.”
Stuart Agnew MEP: “No, there doesn’t have to be compromise on that at all. They have been net recipients, a lot of those countries. In fact the 20 smallest countries in the European Union, their economies combined don’t match ours. The European Union is going to be losing a massive partner when we go. They should be down on their knees to us, not telling us that we have got to do this, that, and the other.”
The BBC man raised the question of the tone of the language being used by Mr Agnew (“down on their knees”) and by the Foreign Secretary (“whistling for their money”). Christian Fraser suggested that this kind of language is not helpful, and this is certainly a familiar refrain from all Remainers when – rarely – terms like these are used by Brexiteers.
In fact these Remainers should try working in Brussels, as Mr Agnew does. They should try sitting through the interminable committees and plenary sessions of the European Parliament, and hearing the nonsense on offer every day.
Remainers could even try going through as much EU material as we do on a daily basis. Then maybe they might understand the sheer frustration engendered by exposure to EU-babble. They might also learn a thing or two, and maybe they might even start to realise that the European Union that they think exists, does so only in their imaginations.
Stuart Agnew has farmed for many years in the UK.        © S. Agnew MEP
We defy any rational British person with a ‘normal’ job, to spend a week working in Brussels – at the EU Commission or parliament – and not come back reeling from the illogicality and insanity of it all. Eurocrats and Euro-politicians simply don’t live in the real world.
Some of the craziness from the EU is so crazy that the only effective way to combat it is by being as 'un-English' as possible. We completely understand why Stuart Agnew was direct in his language. He has learnt that if you are polite in the face of patent absurdities, the person uttering them will never realise how ridiculous their views really are.
Naturally we generalise just as Mr Agnew did last week, but that’s because he and we have to make quick and simple points. We live and work in a world dominated by Remainer opinions being seen and heard on the television to the detriment of all else.
It can often be difficult to get through to the public with the reality. Thank goodness for the internet.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
Please consider supporting us financially. We get no funding from any organisations and desperately need your support to carry on fighting for a clean Brexit.
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[ Sources: BBC ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.05am, 24 July 2017
UK’s debt position improves, ‘despite Brexit’
At the end of the first quarter of 2017, the government debt to GDP ratio in the Eurozone stood at 89.5%, a worsening compared to the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.
Chart © Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
This is according to data released last week by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, and analysed by Facts4EU.Org.
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the first quarter of 2017 were recorded in Greece (176.2%), Italy (134.7%), and Portugal (130.5%).
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2016, the worst performers in the last three months were the Czech Republic (+3.1 percentage points – pp), Luxembourg (+3.0 pp), Croatia (+2.6 pp) and France (+2.3 pp).
Conversely, and ‘despite Brexit’, the UK’s ratio improved by -1.3 percentage points.
The EU’s statistical office doesn’t record its feelings about the performance of its home base (and home of the EU Commission). Unfortunately the ratio in Belgium is an unhealthy 107.7%. That’s worse than in the previous quarter and 19.7 percentage points higher (worse) than the UK.
Sadly, neither does Eurostat explain how it is that the UK - the bad boy of the EU and a country which by now should be on its knees financially - saw an improvement in its ratio of government debt to GDP in these latest figures.
Let’s just say that again for any Remoaners who may be listening: ‘The Brexit Kids Done Good’.
‘The Bad Brexit Boy of the EU’
Macro-economic data is produced all the time and it goes up and down. The main thing to draw from the data since the UK voted to leave the EU is that Brexit has not resulted in the immediate economic car crash confidently threatened by Messrs Osborne, Cameron, and their friends in the entire British and international Establishment.
The vast majority of economic news in the last year has been positive, despite the concerted and repeated attempts by so many commentators (not least at the BBC) to suggest otherwise.
Now there’s nice thought to enjoy on a summer Sunday in our great country.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: Eurostat ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.40am, 23 July 2017
    WE SAY TOM-AR-TO....
Jointly-produced document shows the gulf between the UK and the EU27
on citizens’ rights.
Following the second round of Brexit negotiations last week, the combined UK-EU Working Group on citizens’ rights was the only one to produce a paper showing each side’s positions on all the key elements of any future agreement between the UK and the EU27.
You can download the document here, but for those with limited time we have prepared a screenshot which demonstrates the amount of disagreement between the two sides.
Graphical representation of all the 'red' areas of disagreement
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
In the language of EU bureaucrats:
“Green indicates convergence, red indicates divergence and yellow indicates where further discussion is required to deepen understanding”
In normal language:
“Green=Okay, Amber=Some compromise is possible, Red=Forget it”
If this were a business negotiation, we would hone in on the red issues to see if there were any way a deal was going to be done. If it rapidly became clear that no deal was possible, this would save a great deal of wasted time on minor issues.
The biggest red issue on citizens’ rights is the EU’s demand for jurisdiction of the CJEU (European Court of Justice). It is - and always will be - unacceptable to have any EU court or similar body exercising judicial power in the United Kingdom.
The British people voted to leave the European Union, meaning the United Kingdom will once again become an independent and sovereign nation, like the vast majority of the 200-odd countries around the World.
For the EU as a foreign power to demand to exercise any judicial authority in the UK’s affairs is wholly unacceptable and is not something on which compromise is possible. For the avoidance of doubt, this also excludes any idea of a quasi-EU body such as the EFTA court or similar having any role.
EU citizens living in the UK should be perfectly happy to be governed under UK law, just like the citizens of the UK itself. There can not – and should not – be two laws operating in the UK.
The UK government needs to make this point very loudly and very clearly, so that negotiations can then proceed with the EU being fully aware that this is the case.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: DExEU | EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       08.05am, 22 July 2017
Name: Anon Reader, UK      Date/Time: 22 July, 08.44am
Message: I would go further than this. The EU citizens rights no longer exist after March 2019 when the UK becomes a non-EU member state. All rights given to them (whether equivalent or not) would be enshrined in UK Law and need to be regulated by UK Law. The ECJ should have no involvement whatsoever.
“That sounds like a deal, Michel!”
Barnier’s evidence to the Lords Select Committee is published
The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union © House of Lords 2017
The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union travelled to Brussels last week, to take evidence from the EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier and some of his colleagues.
The evidence was published yesterday. Below are three key points, and you can read the full transcript here.
1. Lords agree there should be a Brexit bill payment to the EU
“The media made a big story about the fact that in our view there was no legal obligation, but they did not read the rest of the report, which said that there should indeed be a payment... which I hope, like you, will be sooner rather than later;
“I feel your frustration that they are not coming up with an acknowledgement that there should be a payment.”
Right: Baroness Falkner of Margravine
2. Lords wanted to go back with a deal agreed

Committee Chairman, Lord Teverson
“If you say 12% to 14% and I say 15%, we can discuss it, can we not?” asks Barnier.
The Chairman, Lord Teverson: “That sounds like a deal, Michel!”
3. The Lords want to work for the EU to achieve this
Lord Teverson: “Thank you, Michel. It is good of you to give us a task, un travail, to take back to the United Kingdom. You mentioned the admirable idea of coming over to the UK and shedding light on Europe and what goes on. I think there would be consensus among everyone from the remain and the Brexit campaigns — from both sides — that that is exactly what the referendum failed to do during the campaign.”
Baroness Kishwer Falkner: Born and raised in Pakistan, Kishwer Falkner worked for the Lib Dems in the House of Commons and at Party HQ. She became Baroness Falkner of Margravine in 2004, having been appointed by Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy.
Baron Robin Teverson: Lord Teverson was a Lib Dem MEP who lost his seat in 1999. In 2006 he was appointed a Baron by Charles Kennedy. He currently chairs the Lords Select Committee on the European Union.
The other four members of the Lords Committee who travelled to Brussels were Lord Crisp, the Earl of Kinnoull, Baroness Suttie, and Lord Woolmer of Leeds. They were equally pro-EU in their discussions with Michel Barnier.
These Europhiliac peers should be ashamed of themselves. They quite clearly support the EU over the interests of their own country. Frankly it was nauseating having to read their sycophantic twaddle as they verbally genuflected before Michel Barnier.
Despite failing to come up with any legal justification for the UK to make a ‘single financial settlement’ to the EU on Brexit, they nevertheless are strong proponents of the UK paying a large Brexit Bill.
During the course of M.Barnier's testimony, it was clear that these peers would work in any way possible to secure the best possible deal for the EU, not the UK.
It is our opinion that if these peers of the realm feel the way they do about their country, and if they feel that the European Union is a superior culture and government, then they should immediately apply for Belgian citizenship and start househunting in Brussels.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
Please consider supporting us financially. We get no funding from any organisations and desperately need your support to carry on fighting for a clean Brexit.
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[ Sources: Houses of Parliament ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.10am, 21 July 2017
Name: Paul A, UK      Date/Time: 21 July, 7.12pm
Message: Just how many reasons do we have to have before the House of Lords is consigned to the dustbin?
Name: John Nolan, UK      Date/Time: 21 July, 12.35pm
Message: Its a fallacy that the UK no longer has the death penalty. In fact the death penalty still exists for the crime of treason, hence the lack of prosecutions by the CPS of jihadists returning to the UK because the Crown knows that a guilty verdict would lead to a sentence of death which the public would demand be carried out. All MP's, Lords and other ministers etc, who act against the will of the people are in fact committing acts of treason against the Crown (as Her Majesty is the guardian of the will of the people), and as such should be charged with treason and if found guilty taken out and publicly hanged. These people deserve no pity or mercy and in the very least should have all of their wealth and assets derived from employment with the Crown confiscated.
Name: Andrew, UK      Date/Time: 21 July, 5.48pm
Message: Sorry John Nolan, but you are wrong. Until 1998 the sentence for High Treason (Treason Act 1351) was indeed death. However, that was abolished in 1998 so Blair could sign Protocol 13 (I think it is) of the ECHR. The last working gallows at Wandsworth Prison were demolished.
Name: J Smith      Date/Time: 21 July, 10.01am
Message: These particular Members of the House of Lords have no business trying to influence the negotiations. They are unelected and only have one vote, the same as the rest of us. The current EU negotiations are being conducted by the elected representatives of the British Government, in accordance with the majority Referendum vote to leave the EU. These Lords have no legitimate mandate to interfere. As they obviously like the EU way of doing things, undemocratically, perhaps they should give up their rights to a British passport and move to Brussels immediately. Their persistent whining, just because they did not get their own way, could well lead to calls for the dismemberment of the House of Lords.
Name: Steve R      Date/Time: 21 July, 09.44am
Message: It sounds like things are getting explosif in the Assemblee hommes as well as the Commission's. We can't say M. Barnier didn't warn us. Stay well away and sign no cheques. If the Lib Dems in the House of Cronies want to chip in personally, they are welcome.
says French Economy Minister
French Economy Minister giving evidence to Economic Affairs Committee yesterday. © Assemblée Nationale
“The United Kingdom has a remaining balance to pay to the EU budget of €100 billion.” [£88 billion]
French economy minister issues bizarre red-line demand to UK.
“The UK must pay what it owes – that’s a non-negotiable condition at the start of the discussions.”
The French economy and finance minister (the equivalent of the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer) is Bruno Le Maire. Yesterday he was giving evidence to the Economic Affairs Committee of the Assemblee Nationale, the French parliament, when he made his extraordinary statements.
The intervention was clearly deliberate, as he switched into stilted English to say:
“We want our money back”
This was a rather clumsy reference to Margaret Thatcher’s fight to secure a rebate from the UK’s very high annual payments to the EU in the 1980s.
Right: Former Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher
Earlier in the session, M. Le Maire talked about France and Germany making quick strides towards economic union, which we will report on tomorrow.
It remains the case that the EU has been unable to come up with any legal justification whatsoever for its demand that the UK make a ‘single financial settlement’ to the EU, on Brexit.
For the EU to want money to help to get itself out of a hole is quite understandable. After all, the UK has been bankrolling the EU every year and the EU27 will certainly miss the UK’s largesse.
However, wanting money and being owed money are two different things. Given that there is no legal justification at all for the EU’s strange demands, we take a similar view to that of the Foreign Secretary regarding the suggestion of the EU whistling for it.
Mr Barnier may hear the sound of a clock ticking. We hear the sound of a desperate organisation on its uppers, clutching at absurd arguments which the rest of the world will find bizarre.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: L'Assemblée Nationale | Reuters | Le Figaro ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       6.05pm, 20 July 2017
Name: Paul A, UK      Date/Time: 21 July, 7.16pm
Message: Perhaps we could present them with our invoice for rescuing them in WW11 up to to the day we walk out of the EU?
Name: John Nolan, UK      Date/Time: 21 July, 12.41pm
Message: These demands are the demands of the desperate. The French politicians know that after Brexit their fishing and agriculture industry will be virtually destroyed and many farmers and fishermen will go bankrupt. This in turn will cause mayhem within France and the French government's promises to the French population about how well they will protect them and how they do not need UK or UK markets etc will be clearly shown to be bunkum. They fear this discord and wish to blame the UK for the crash of these industries just like they sought to blame the UK for deserting them at Dunkirk. It's a great excuse with theatre.
A Facts4EU.Org Opinion
Not a day goes by without the fundamental nature of the decision of the British people to leave the EU being questioned in some way.
When former Prime Ministers talk of needing a second referendum to correct the mistake of the first, and when the enactment of the majority decision is referred to as ‘the tyranny of the majority’, it is clear that we mustn't stop fighting.
“It can be stopped if the British people decide that, having seen what it means, the pain-gain cost-benefit analysis doesn’t stack up,”
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair,
speaking to the New Statesman.
“The tyranny of the majority has never applied in a democracy and it should not apply in this particular democracy,”
Former Prime Minister John Major,
speaking to the Times.
“We should give every youngster under 30 a weighted vote of twice the value of everybody else, because it’s their future.”
Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg,
speaking in Derbyshire July 2017
3.3 million more voters voted for Brexit, than for any government in the last 30 years.
It was the single biggest mandate in the UK, ever, for anything.
The message to the Establishment is simple: You lost. Now get over it and get behind your country as it negotiates its way to a bright new future in the World.
Below is a reminder of what a decisive mandate looks like.
The above shows the number of votes for the winning side in the national votes of the last 30 years
[ Sources: Electoral Commission | House of Commons Library | The Times | New Statesman ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       05.35am, 20 July 2017
Regular readers know that we cover the full range of issues in relation to Brexit. In the last month we've written more stories than usual about defence.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
A reader emailed to request that we produce a summary of links to recent defence pieces and we're happy to oblige below.
SPECIAL REPORT: How the UK government signed up to EU defence forces post-Brexit
Regular readers know that we cover the full range of issues in relation to Brexit. However in the last month we've written more stories than usual about defence.
We've done this principally because the British public are not being informed of what's being done in their name. The issues are complex and regrettably they are almost never covered on the TV news - which remains the principal source of news for most Britons.
We hope you've found the articles useful. Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: EU Commission | NATO | EU Council | UK Parliament | Veterans for Britain | and many other bodies ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       04.00am, 19 July 2017
By David Banks of Veterans For Britain, writing for Brexit Facts4EU.Org
© EU Commission
1. It threatens UK autonomy in defence procurement decisions
How? UK companies are tied into defence procurement deals which require adherence to EU defence policy and European Defence Agency (EDA) membership. When the UK leaves these, it regains defence autonomy. But the companies will be hostages to EU policy and political pressure from Brussels.
2. It gives the EU new leverage in the Brexit talks
How? The agreements are an additional set of UK commitments. These will be harder to unravel post-2019. They cover defence command structure, intelligence, defence finance and defence procurement.
Once signed up, the UK loses its ability to negotiate a deal that best suits an independent country.
Worse, as a key military power the EU wants our support, but we will have handed it over without gains in other Brexit areas in return.
3. It commits the UK to legal merger of defence capabilities for at least two years
How? It means refusing to even begin discussing UK disengagement from recent defence agreements until after March 2019. Exit talks first, future relationship second. That could take months or years and will keep the UK tied in for the duration of a transition deal, during which the UK will still be a member of the European Defence Agency and applying Common Defence Policy.
4. It hinders our exit from the European Investment Bank, the EU state bank, created to "further EU policy goals"
The new EU policy means linking UK membership of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to defence, making it more difficult to leave the European Investment Bank, which is an organisation closely association with supporting EU policy with considerable UK financial assets but for limited UK gain.
5. It adds a ‘gravitational risk’ to the UK for the start of defence talks in 2019, which are intended to take us closer to EU defence union
How? Since the UK is already part signed up, it feeds future calls for the UK to remain in the EU's centralising military strategy, removing the UK's ability to take independent action in defence and defence procurement to save jobs and expertise.
6. It threatens NATO
The European Commission's European Defence Action Plan repeatedly asserts the EU's 'strategic autonomy' in defence.
"The EU will continue to work closely with its partners, particularly with the United Nations and NATO, while respecting the autonomy of the EU’s decision-making processes."
The EEAS's Security and Defence Implementation Plan, as well as the EU Council conclusions from March, May and November 2017, repeatedly refer to the development of EU strategic autonomy in defence.
The EU is pursuing four separate funding streams that partly claim authority over member states' national defence budgets and joint financial assets. The decision making over these funds and their conduct will be done within the EU remit, not through NATO.
The protagonists of EU defence union have outlined areas in which NATO has not served the objectives of then EU. Ursula Von Der Leyen, German Defence Minister, justified EU defence union by citing NATO 'inability' to intervene in the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Africa. This helps explain why the EU is moving towards developing common pooled EU assets. It already has collective assets such as its Satellite Centre, and a Space Policy to go with it.
7. It is completely unnecessary for the UK to be involved, yet EU Commissioners have
    told the UK Govt it is expected to "play its full role".
Denmark, an EU member state plays no part in EU defence because it opted out. The UK should have insisted on the same deal.
Diplomats and Ministers thought they were "nurturing good will" by playing along, but that's not how the EU works. It's an acquisitive project that exploits every opportunity behind momentary consensus.
The EU Commission has told the UK that because "decisions over EU Defence Union were taken unanimously", the UK is expected to "play its full role while it remains a member".
By David Banks of Veterans For Britain, writing for Brexit Facts4EU.Org, published 3.30am, 19 July 2017
Name: J Allen, UK      Date/Time: 19 July, 08.23am
Message: As we are now defence wise, effectively joined up by the hip, thanks to this bounding. Is there a exit clause, a way out or has our idiotic government permanently bound our defence with the EU?
Recently the EU revealed the true extent of its confusion about its existence. It published 5 options for its own future and asked for people’s opinions on which way to go.
  • 5 possible EU’s proposed by EU Commission in White Paper
  • Remoaners can’t say which one will win
  • Decision to be made in 2019 – after UK has left
  • Voting ‘Remain’ could have resulted in any one of these 5 ‘destinations’
  • No EU citizens will get a vote on this
As President Jean-Claude Juncker said of their current navel-gazing exercise: “This should help the European Council draw first conclusions by the end of the year and decide on a course of action to be rolled out in time for the European Parliament elections in June 2019.”
British voters will therefore not know which EU they would have been staying in, until the second half of 2019. Some of these ‘destinations’ would involve massive changes to the EU, and if any of these are chosen it would take decades after that before such a revised or reformed EU could be delivered.
Right: EU Commission President Juncker
Here are the 5 options, as described by the EU Commission:-
1. Carrying On:
The EU27 focuses on delivering its positive reform agenda
2. Nothing but the Single Market:
The EU27 is gradually re-centred on the single market
3. Those Who Want More Do More:
The EU27 allows willing Member States to do more together in specific areas
4. Doing Less More Efficiently:
The EU27 focuses on delivering more and faster in selected policy areas, while doing less elsewhere
5. Doing Much More Together:
Member States decide to do much more together across all policy areas
Below is an EU Commission schematic, showing the effect of each type of EU on various policy areas. [Please note that this has been worded very carefully by the Commission and we would have written it up very differently.]

© EU Commission 2017
The EU Commission wrote a 32-page White Paper setting out the five types of EU in more detail. You can download this White Paper here.
Ah.... We’re sorry but voting isn’t possible as this would involve an exercise in democracy. The EU isn’t that keen on democracy, particularly after the British were allowed to vote in an EU referendum in 2016.
The French, the Irish, and the Dutch were also given the opportunities to vote on various aspects of the EU over the past 10 years, and in each case they voted the wrong way and were forced to vote again. (Or their vote was simply ignored by the EU.)
So no, voting will not be possible. Instead you can send the EU Commission an email, telling them which version you prefer and why.
As a public service, Facts4EU.Org is providing the link to the page where you can tell the EU Commission exactly what you think of their 5 alternative versions of the EU's existence. Please note that despite the form’s initial appearance, you can submit your thoughts anonymously. You are not required to give your name or email address.
Here’s the link – now ‘fill yer boots’, as they say.
[Nb Please restrict your comments to the alternative versions of the EU on offer and resist the temptation for a general rant. It will probably be some young intern who monitors this inbox, not Jean_Claude Juncker!]
We’ll end with a question for Remoaners and anti-democrats like Nick Clegg, Tony Blair, David Cameron, and most of the Establishment:
If you won’t accept our decision to Leave,
and you want to impose another referendum on us,
which of the five EUs will we be voting to stay in?
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       7.00am, 18 July 2017
Name: J Slater      Date/Time: 18 July, 1.57pm
Message: What a comedy. Whatever will the 'waste of timers' come up with next? I can just see the EU Bureaucrats coming up with this list of 5, all sitting around the Mad Hatter's tea party, Junker upside down in the teapot seeking alcohol, Barnier the Mad Hatter looking down his aquiline nose at all the rest. 'How many Destinations shall we have?' asks one. Five days later, a decision is made. It will be 5. 'What will our 5 'Destinations' be?' asks another. 'Well, I've always fancied going to Russia,' suggests one hopefully. He gets a biff round the ears. 'We'll have to ask Angie Baby M. We cannot think for ourselves. We have been programmed n o t t o t h i n k.' Snores all round. Meanwhile, with the downfall of Europe, under the heel of the EU Tinpot Jackboot Dictators, will be simultaneous with the rise of Nations in other parts of the World. Will Europe ever rise from its watery grave? I doubt in our life time, if ever.
 Exclusive to Facts4EU.Org
This is the incredible story of how the UK government has voted 5 times since the Referendum for ever-deeper joint EU defence structures, forces, capabilities, funding, and foreign policy.
Before the Referendum, the Remain campaign ridiculed any suggestion that the EU was planning its own EU armed forces. The idea was categorically denied by senior politicians and establishment figures.
Since the Referendum there have been two extraordinary developments:
  1. The EU has pushed ahead with its joint defence plans faster than even it thought possible, and
  2. The UK has signed up to all of these new EU plans over the past 12 months
What is astonishing is how all of this has been achieved without the news being splashed over the British public’s TV screens and over the front pages of newspapers.
It has happened without the express approval of Parliament. Not one decision made by the government - and signed up to at the European Council - has been debated and passed in a vote of the House of Commons.
In addition, Ministry of Defence officials deny what has been happening.
If you thought that the UK’s decision to leave the EU would safeguard the independence of the UK’s military, its defence industry, and its foreign policy, then you may find this series of articles to be compelling reading.
We reveal the truth about future defence arrangements - using EU documents, European Council statements and decisions, UK parliamentary research, and MoD statements.
Next, Part Two – How we got here, 1957-2016
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Council | UK Parliament | and many other bodies ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       08.30am, 16 July 2017
 Exclusive to Facts4EU.Org
The EU’s plans for a combined military date back to its beginnings in the 1950s, when it was part of the initial thinking for a United States of Europe.
By the end of the 90’s major decisions on combining defence were being made. At the June 1999 European Council meeting in Cologne (Germany), EU heads of state and government agreed that:
‘the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO.’
- 1999 EU Summit held in Cologne, Germany
Former PM, Tony Blair
In December 1998 a bilateral meeting took place in St-Malo between then President Chirac of France and then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The resulting declaration indicated for the first time a Franco-British consensus on the evolution of a defence component for the European Union. This in turn led to an agreement at the highest EU level in Cologne the following year.
In essence, by the turn of the century EU Member States had agreed to put in place institutional arrangements for the analysis, planning and conduct of military operations.
During the first decade of this century, new goals were set by the EU: “to be able to deploy rapidly and then sustain forces capable of ... operations up to corps level (up to 15 brigades or 50,000-60,000 persons). These forces should be militarily self-sustaining with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support services and additionally, as appropriate, air and naval elements. Member States should be able to deploy in full at this level within 60 days, and within this to provide smaller rapid response elements available and deployable at very high readiness.”
By the beginning of 2007, the EU had two Battle Groups ready to deploy. In the same year, the Lisbon Treaty was signed and it came into force two years later. This allowed for the further development of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), a mutual assistance and a solidarity clause, the creation of a framework for Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), and the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
It is the last 12 months which has seen a sudden acceleration in the EU’s defence ambitions. Whilst the World’s attentions were on the result of the UK’s Referendum to leave the European Union, the EU’s Vice-President, Italian former communist Federica Mogherini, has raced ahead with the “EU Global Strategy”.
Next, Part Three – The post-referendum surrender
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Council | UK Parliament | and many other bodies ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       09.20am, 16 July 2017
 Exclusive to Facts4EU.Org
Since the Referendum, the UK government has signed up to an extraordinary EU rush towards:
  • EU forces
  • EU defence budgets
  • EU defence research
  • Development of land-based weapons, ships, and aircraft
  • EU defence procurement
  • EU command structures and EU battlegroups
  • EU military officer training
  • Common EU foreign policy
Below we list a summary of five of the EU meetings since the Referendum, at which Theresa May or her ministers were present, and at which key decisions were taken towards the altering of the EU’s nature into that of a united country with its own military.
14 Nov 2016 - Council of the EU
Foreign affairs ministers and defence ministers held a joint session on the implementation plan on security and defence. Green light given to press ahead with deepening EU defence capabilities, new funding arrangements, and many other preparations of a combined EU defence structure.
15 Dec 2016 – European Council
Wide-ranging conclusions adopted by the European Council on defence and security. Serious talk of ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’ and a ‘European Defence Fund’.
The new setting for Council meetings in Brussels             Photo © European Council 2017
6 Mar 2017 –European Council
Council conclusions on progress in implementing the EU Global Strategy in the area of Security and Defence, including the establishment of a Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) within the existing EU Military Staff.
18 May 2017 – EU Foreign Affairs Council
EU Global Strategy - Implementation in the area of security and defence. Massive leaps forward across all defence implementation plans, with the EU’s Vice-President talking of EU’s new “ability to act as a security provider worldwide”.
22 June 2017 – European Council
European Council conclusions on security and defence, including the approval of the ‘European Defence Fund’, the ‘European Defence Industrial Development Programme’, and the ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’ (PESCO) on defence.
Crucially, (and we were the first to report this), the Council also agreed that the deployment of EU Battlegroups should be borne as a common cost on a permanent basis. This had previously been resisted by several countries but it was nevertheless approved by Mrs May.
We asked campaigning organisation Veterans for Britain if they felt we might be exaggerating the importance of what has been agreed by the UK government at the EU Council meetings in the last 12 months.
“Not at all,” said their spokesman. “The UK Parliament has not seen or discussed the vast defence plans that ministers have agreed at the EU Council between 14 November 2016 and 22 June 2017. It has been clear from the moment the first agreement was made in Nov 2016 that there are deep and serious consequences for UK autonomy in defence, at a time when the electorate and commentators would expect the opposite – that defence decision making within NATO had been preserved by Brexit.”
It is beyond debate that the EU has acted with extraordinary haste since the Referendum, in moving towards a full military capability, with associated funding, and a common foreign policy.
Things have moved so fast that even the EU’s high priestess of defence and foreign policy Federica Mogherini has expressed her amazement at being able to get things approved so quickly.
For example, here is what Ms Mogherini said on 9th June:
“Many believed and told me that it would have proven to be impossible for us to have a first Command Centre in Brussels for our military and training missions or that it would take us years, decades to do it.
“It took us a few weeks. And we decided it together, still at 28, and we did it.”
Note that Ms Mogherini was also surprised at the UK’s acquiescence in all of this.
EU Vice President & High Representative Federica Mogherini (right)
Given the significance of the EU’s moves in terms of its status as an international body, and in terms of the UK’s interests going forward as an independent country, it would be expected that parliament would have been asked for its views prior to the commitments which British ministers have made in EU meetings.
This has not happened.
On 16 December 2016 the European Scrutiny Committee reported on two letters they had received from government ministers, regarding EU Security and Defence Policy. The letters were from Sir Alan Duncan (Europe Minister) and Sir Michael Fallon (Secretary of State for Defence).
Right: Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon MP
In the report the Committee says:
“We clear both documents from scrutiny but we judge them of sufficient political importance to report them to the House. Both touch on considerations about the future of EU defence cooperation and the UK’s engagement in EU security and defence policy after it has withdrawn from the EU. We have already proposed that foreign and security policy be the subject of one of the general Brexit debates being scheduled by the Government. That debate will be a good opportunity to discuss the issues arising from these documents.”
Regrettably, no debate has taken place. Even more regrettably, the government has agreed even more serious defence issues in EU Council meetings since then, and yet we have not seen these matters being discussed in the House of Commons.
We would go further, having read what Sir Alan Duncan and Sir Michael Fallon told the Committee. We do not recognise their characterisations of the EU Council meetings in question. Our interpretations are based on the formal written conclusions of these EU meetings, as well as the numerous press conferences, question and answer sessions, and interviews which have taken place.
Following the last European Council meeting last month, we awaited the Prime Minister’s statement to the House with great interest. Unfortunately, Mrs May did not mention defence at all in her statement – an extraordinary omission given that it had been such an important topic at the meeting.
The PM later referenced defence very briefly in response to two questions by MPs. However she didn't state what had been agreed at the meeting, nor its implications. Introducing her first reply with "the European Council did touch on defence issues as well" is hardly giving clear information to Parliament about the substantive issues discussed, nor the decisions made.
Tomorrow, we look at how NATO's role is changing, as well as some other very disturbing factors in this grab by the EU for hard military power.
In the meantime, do you have any comments on our articles so far?
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Council | UK Parliament | Veterans for Britain | and many other bodies ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       5.30pm, 16 July 2017
Name: Steve R, UK      Date/Time: 17 July, 11.08am
Message: Both defence ministers are Remainers of course. The MOD emailed its civil servants before the referendum telling them to vote to remain. Their decision to join in the legal attack on servicemen using false evidence, resulting in the expulsion of Mr.Shiner, should have been unforgivable. But here they still are, selling us down the river. It will be interesting to see whether the EU spends 2% on defence now. Let's hope Pres Trump is handed a print of your excellent exposé.
Name: J Smith, UK      Date/Time: 17 July, 10.15am
Message: In [a previous] article you state: “What happens if no agreement is reached? The EU Treaties simply cease to apply to the UK two years after notification.” Would it not, therefore, be the case that any Defence treaties 'would cease to apply to the UK two years after notification'? Perhaps signing up, for now, to these Defence treaties is an inducement to the EU Barnier to agree to the terms set out by the UK Government on a Brexit? Whatever the motives, our Prime Minister Theresa May will at some stage soon face up to scrutiny by Parliament and the people of Britain, now that these Defence issues are in the open.
Reply: In fact the answer to your question is complicated when it comes to defence. When we get time we'll write an article explaining it.
 Exclusive to Facts4EU.Org
Between them, they’re re-organising European defence
Federica Mogherini and Jens Stoltenberg are true and passionate believers in the EU ‘project’. This would not necessarily be a problem if they weren’t also the biggest players in the fast-changing landscape of European defence.
The one on the left runs EU Defence & Foreign Policy. The one on the right runs NATO.
             Photo © NATO 2017
Both individuals are responsible for dramatic changes in the way European defence is being handled.
“We have established a single command centre in Brussels for European militiary training missions. And we are removing the obstacles to the deployment of the European rapid reaction force, the Battlegroups.”
“Over this past year our common [EU] defence has advanced more than in the previous 60 years.”
EU High Representativefor Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Official 2017 video
“So we have concluded more arrangements in the past three months than in the previous thirteen years. And I think that indicates that we are making progress in the EU-NATO cooperation.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the European Union, 20 May 2017
ABOVE: EU High Representative Federica Mogherini with one of her generals
LEFT: NATO has now agreed 42 combined actions with the EU
It is highly unlikely that the man or woman on the proverbial Clapham omnibus could put a name to her, but Federica Mogherini is the most powerful woman in the whole of the EU’s massive bureaucracy.
She studied political science in Italy and France and did her dissertation on Islam. She spent the first eight years of her political life as a member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation and only changed to become a member of the Youth Left when the Italian Communist Party dissolved. She has only ever worked in politics.
No friend of the UK, Ms Mogherini has said she’s looking forward to ‘having the file’ on Brexit as soon as the UK becomes what the EU refers to as ‘a third country’. Third countries instantly come under Ms Mogherini’s vast umbrella of job titles. She is High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Head of the European External Action Service. As such, she will be in overall charge of the EU’s relationship with the UK.
Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian who started his political life following a revolutionary Communist group called Red Youth. Later, for 4 years he was the leader of the Workers' Youth League, before eventually rising to become a minister in Norway’s Labour government. He was Prime Minister from 2000-2001 and from 2005-2013.
A fervent Europhile, he twice campaigned – unsuccessfully - for Norway to join the EU.
Stoltenberg the Remain Campaigner
Extraordinarily, Mr Stoltenberg intervened in the UK’s Referendum, most memorably on the day before the vote itself. On June 22nd Stoltenberg gave an interview to the Guardian, in which he said the following:
“What I can do is tell you what matters for Nato, and a strong UK in a strong Europe is good for the UK and it’s good for Nato, because we are faced with unprecedented security challenges, with terrorism, with instability and an unpredictable security environment, and a fragmented Europe will add to instability and unpredictability.”
“The arrangement [Norway] now has with the European Union is that we pay a huge amount of money to the European Union. We implement EU decisions and directives, but we don’t have a say. We are not at the table,” he said.
ABOVE: Typically friendly (and unnecessary) Tweet from Jens Stoltenberg to EU Presidents Juncker and Tusk
“Norway actually receives more migrants compared to its size than the United Kingdom … significantly more, compared to the size. So even if you stay outside the European Union you are affected by decisions made inside Europe, and so I think it’s better to be at the table influencing those decisions and those developments instead of being outside but being affected by decisions by the European Union.”
We find it deeply disturbing that the defence of the continent of Europe is being shaped by two individuals like this. Both former Communists, both fervent supporters of the EU project.
There is something very disturbing about the thousands of pages on the EU’s website which refer in some way to the work of the EU’s External Action Service. It is hard to find a page without at least one photo of Ms Mogherini. For an unelected person, who has never been subject to a popular vote in the EU, she seems to be very keen to promote herself. Either that or the EU is now engaging in the cult of personality. Try it for yourself and see if it unsettles you as much as it does us.
With regard to Mr Stoltenberg, we found his behaviour last year wholly unacceptable for someone in his position and we felt that he should have resigned (or been fired) after his disgraceful attempt to influence the Referendum result in the UK.
Putting that to one side, we feel that his passionate europhilia makes him a unsuitable person to be involved in discussions with the EU over its massive defence ambitions.
Here is Mr Stoltenberg on 3rd May at the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence Committee:-
“I don’t know exactly what to say about the Norwegian model because to be honest, I fought strongly for in favour of Norway joining the European Union back in 1994. We had a referendum in Norway and as you know, Norway is the only country in the world that has negotiated an accession treaty with the European Union not only once but twice, first in ’72 and then in ’94 and then voted it down in a referendum not only once but twice and I was on the losing side both times.”
“...that’s the reason why I was so eager coming here because this is the closest I’ve come to a kind of individual membership of the European Union.”
LEFT: We'll avoid any obvious caption to this Christmas photo, other than
© J Stoltenberg/Twitter 2016.
The discussions between NATO and the EU are fundamental to the security of half a billion people and it is clear to us that they are not being scrutinised as they should be by NATO. We have only read and listened to bubbling enthusiasm from Mr Stoltenberg whenever the EU’s plans are mentioned, and this is simply not an appropriate response.
To our readers who are MPs and MEPs, we would suggest that a very high degree of cynicism is used when looking at the current work of the EU in relation to defence matters, and also to anything said by Mr Stoltenberg when commenting on the EU’s plans.
The EU is clearly engaged in a grab for military power, no matter how it might pretend otherwise. The even more worrying part is that the UK is seemingly in agreement with absolutely everything that the EU and NATO are planning.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Council | UK Parliament | Veterans for Britain | and many other bodies ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

       9.30am, 17 July 2017
EU and UK teams to spend weekend
plotting for Round Two on Monday
Could money and laws trigger explosions?
On Monday, teams of negotiators from both sides of the Brexit negotiation will sit down to the start of Round Two of the EU-UK talks. These talks are scheduled to last until Thursday lunchtime, after which there will be a press conference with Secretary of State David Davis and Michel Barnier.
On the agenda are some of the thorniest Brexit issues:
  • Citizens’ rights
  • Financial settlement
  • ‘Governance’ – i.e. jurisdiction of European Court of Justice
  • Irish border
The latest summary of the EU’s position is contained in a ‘Factsheet’ published by the EU Commission on Wednesday 12th July. It is entitled “State of play of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom” and contains the following:-
“The withdrawal agreement should be based on a balance of rights and obligations, while ensuring a level-playing field. Cherry-picking of the Single Market and a sector-by-sector participation in the Single Market has been excluded by the European Council guidelines. The Union has also stressed that its four freedoms (people, goods, services and capital) will remain indivisible. The negotiations will be based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The European Union will remain united throughout the negotiation period and the European Council has excluded that there would be separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the UK's withdrawal. The withdrawal agreement should respect the autonomy of the decision-making of the Union, as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.”
Incidentally this ‘Factsheet’ also contains the following messages which may be of interest to Remainer and Brexit-Denier politicians and commentators in the UK:-
“What happens if no agreement is reached?
The EU Treaties simply cease to apply to the UK two years after notification.”
“Can a Member State apply to re-join after it leaves?
Any country that has withdrawn from the EU may apply to re-join. It would be required to go through the accession procedure.”
“Once triggered, can Article 50 be revoked?
It was the decision of the United Kingdom to trigger Article 50. But once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed. Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of the notification.”
It is becoming increasingly clear to us that Michel Barnier’s brief is to extract the maximum possible ongoing financial settlement to the EU from the UK, as a priority in the negotiations. It was always the case that the EU was going to try to soak the UK for everything it could get, but now it appears that the Brexit bill really has been the overriding objective of the Phase One negotiations by the EU.
It is our belief that the EU gained a false impression of the UK’s likely reaction to a €100 billion ‘Brexit bill’, thanks to the weak and appeasing attitude of Remainers in parliament and in some parts of the UK media. It is easy for British people to underestimate the influence in Brussels of pro-EU organs such as the BBC and the Financial Times.
The latter publication has a circulation in Brussels so high that you might think it was the UK’s best-selling newspaper. Given its craven attitude to all things EU, it is hardly surprising that its editor was given France’s highest honour last year. And when it comes to the BBC, our national broadcaster is so pro-EU it doesn’t even recognise its own extreme bias.
Brexit Billions
The simple fact is that the UK will pay its legal obligations until March 2019, as it is currently doing. Any suggestion of additional payments before and/or after the UK’s exit has absolutely no basis in law nor in the sense of ‘moral obligation’. Be in no doubt, if there were any legal basis for the UK to pay more than its normal annual contributions until March 2019, the EU would have produced a detailed paper on this.
Mr Barnier has been looking and sounding increasingly nervous and angry in press conferences, in speeches and when asked questions. It is possible that he is coming under pressure to deliver some agreement in principle from the UK that it will pay many tens of billions to the EU, with billions more in perpetuity. As this has been dismissed more and more as ‘whistling in the wind’, so the normally calm Mr Barnier has begun to look rattled.
Court of Justice of the EU
The other major area of contention is that of the legal jurisdiction of the EU – something they refer to as ‘governance’. Lost in their own little world, EU bureaucrats and many EU politicians have forgotten that there is a world out there over which the EU Commission and Courts do not rule.
The idea that after Brexit the UK will continue to submit to the rule of law of a foreign power is for the birds. Not only is it an absurd idea in and of itself – ask any world leader outside Europe if he would agree to such a thing - it would also be politically impossible for any government to propose signing a deal containing such EU legal jursidiction.
So, next week looks like it might be interesting. No to the EU’s demand to money and no to the EU’s demand to rule over the UK after Brexit. Might make for an interesting press conference next Thursday at 1.30pm UK time.
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[ Source: EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.30am, 15 July 2017
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