EU loves British money more than it loves democracy
The EU's antagonistic stance towards Brexit, which was on show again this week, is not motivated by lofty, internationalist ideals, but by financial factors. Self-interest comes before respecting democratic decisions.
If we don't get the result we want, vote again. Or else we just ignore it.
Anyone who still believes the EU supports 'democracy' should reflect on this week's events.
On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May's so-called 'Withdrawal Agreement' was heavily defeated in the House of Commons, with a large number of Brexiteers voting against it.
On the same day, European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Prime Minister of Poland, tweeted: "If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?".
If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 15, 2019
The message, was retweeted by, among others, Michel Barnier, the chief EU Brexit negotiator.
We all know, by a process of elimination, what Tusk means by the "only positive solution." That's Britain staying in the EU and sticking two fingers up at the 17.4m people, many of them from the most deprived parts of the country, who voted to Leave.
EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker meanwhile urged the UK to "clarify its intentions as soon as possible", warning that "time is almost up."
I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the @HouseofCommons this evening. I urge the #UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up #Brexithttps://t.co/SMmps5kexn— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) January 15, 2019
It's hard to escape the conclusion that the EU offered Britain such a bad deal because they knew it wouldn't be passed. Then, maximum pressure could be exerted on the UK to reconsider its decision to leave, or at least kick Brexit into the long grass, which is what having a second referendum would do.
Right on cue, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of the CDU, and the front-runner to become Germany's next chancellor after Angela Merkel, has made an '11th hour' plea for Britain to stay in the EU. The emotional plea, which lauds "the legendary British black humour" among other things, comes, appropriately enough, in a letter to the neocon propaganda organ the Times, which supported 'Remain.'
The European establishment is desperate for Britain to reconsider Brexit. Internationalist ideals about 'preserving European unity', don't come in to it, this is all about protecting income streams.
Consider a few facts. If Britain does leave without a deal, then the EU as an institution would be considerably worse off. The UK has consistently been one of the top three countries that puts most into the EU budget (after Germany and France).
It is one of ten countries that puts more into the EU than it gets out. In 2017, the UK's net contribution was £9bn.
If Britain leaves, the EU faces a financial shortfall. In 2016, 16 countries were net receivers, including Donald Tusk's Poland. Little wonder that he regards Britain staying as "the only positive solution".
The very generous financial remuneration packages of EU officials might also be threatened by British withdrawal.
In December, it was reported that the EU's top civil servants would be paid over €20,000 a month for the first time, and that Tusk and Juncker would see their packages rise to €32,700 a month. Austerity? Not in Brussels, mon ami!
The EU is a fabulous gravy train once you are on board. But the gravy train relies on its richest members not leaving, otherwise who's going to foot the bill?
If Britain leaves with 'No Deal', it's not just the EU budget which will take a hit. In 2017, EU countries sold around £67 billion more in goods and services to the UK, than the UK sold to them. Europe needs full and unfettered access to British markets, much more than Britain needs full and unfettered access to European markets.
That's not being 'nationalistic', but simply stating the economic reality. The country that would lose out the most with Brexit is Germany. Britain's trade deficit with Germany is higher than with any other country, even higher than China, whose products are everywhere in our shops! In 2016, the year of the EU referendum, Britain imported around £26 billion more from Germany than it exported.
It's no great surprise therefore to see the president of the Federation of German Industries as one of the signatories of the letter to the Times, pleading for Britain to stay!
Repeat after me: "We would miss Britain as part of the European Union. We would miss Britain as part of the European Union".
We also have to discuss fishing. The other EU countries do extremely well out of the Common Fisheries Policy, which provides them with access to UK waters.
Belgian fleets get around half their catch from British waters! As reported in the Independent, the Common Fisheries Quota has for the past 34 years given 84% of the cod in the English Channel to France and just 9% to the UK. Overall, EU vessels take out around four times as much fish out of UK waters as British vessels take out of EU waters.
Again, you don't have to be Albert Einstein to work out why the EU doesn't want Britain to leave.
If the EU's commitment to democracy was genuine, they would have done everything they could to make sure the referendum result of June 2016 was implemented. But the financial hit of Britain leaving is too high. So, instead they have done everything possible to subvert the democratic will of the people, while at the same time boasting about their commitment to 'democracy.'
Good news for democracy: Parliament is proposing EUR 1.8 billion funding for a new Rights and Values MFF Programme. Civil society will be our strongest ally to protect the #RuleOfLaw & fundamental rights across the EU! https://t.co/7UQLP71GMK— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) January 17, 2019
Of course, the EU is not the only party to blame. The British government, led by a Remainer, and with Remainers holding prominent positions in the Cabinet, has been pusillanimous.
Theresa May has shown she is desperate for a 'deal' whereas in fact, the ones who really need an agreement to provide continued unfettered access to lucrative UK markets, are the EU. If the UK government had called Brussels' bluff and announced that Britain would just leave, you can be sure Tusk, Barnier, Juncker and co would have come running with a much better offer.
Their (very high) salaries, and the profits of European businesses, depend on it.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.