The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand

Cookies are a technology which we use to provide you with tailored information on our website. A cookie is a piece of code that is sent to your internet browser and is stored on your system.

Please see below for a list of cookies this website uses:

Cookie name: _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmz

Purpose: Google Analytics cookies. Google Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. Please see Google's privacy policy for further information. To opt out of these cookies, please visit Google's website.

Cookie name: Sitecore

Purpose: Stores information, such as language and regional preferences, that our content management system (the system we use to update our website) relies on to function.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: ASP.net_session

Purpose: Allows the website to save your session state across different pages. For example, if you have completed a survey, the website will remember that you have done so and will not ask you to complete it again when you view another page on the website.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: website#sc_wede

Purpose: Indicates whether the user's browser supports inline editing of content. This indicates whether our content management system will work for our website administrators in their internet browsers.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: redirected

Purpose: Remembers when the site forwards you from one page to another, so you can return to the first page. For example, go back to the home page after viewing a special 'splash' page.

Function: This is a session cookie, which your browser will destroy when it shuts down. The website needs this cookie to function.

Cookie name: tccookiesprefs

Purpose: Remembers when you respond to the site cookie policy, so you do not see the cookie preferences notice on every page.

Function: If you choose to remember your preference with a temporary cookie, your browser will remove it when you shut it down, otherwise the cookie will be stored for about a year.

Cookie name: _ga

Purpose: Additional Google Analytics cookie. Google Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. Please see Google's privacy policy for further information.

Cookie name: SC_ANALYTICS_GLOBAL_COOKIE, SC_ANALYTICS_SESSION_COOKIE

Purpose: Sitecore Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. When you close your browser, it will delete the 'session' cookie; it will keep the 'global' cookie for about one year.

Facebook cookies

We use Facebook 'Like' buttons to share site feedback. For further information, see Facebook's cookie policy page.

Twitter cookies

We use Twitter 'Tweet' buttons to share site feedback. For further information, see Twitter's privacy statement.

YouTube cookies

We embed videos from our official YouTube channel. YouTube uses cookies to help maintain the integrity of video statistics, prevent fraud and to improve their site experience. If you view a video, YouTube may set cookies on your computer once you click on the video player.

Cookies pop-up

When you close the cookies pop-up box by clicking "OK", a permanent cookie will be set on your machine. This will remember your preference so that the pop-up doesn't display across any pages whenever you visit the website.

Opting out/removing cookies

To opt out of Google Analytics cookies, please visit Google’s website.

You can also control what cookies you accept through your internet browser. For details on how to do this, please visit aboutcookies.org. Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our website.

mailing list
donate now
join now
shop

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson is an Icelandic historian. He holds a master's degree in international relations with focus on European, defence and security studies. Twitter: @Hjortur_J

Norwegians reject the 'Norway option'

More Norwegians want to see a bilateral comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU replacing Norway's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) than those who want to hold onto the country's EEA membership according to a new opinion poll. The poll was produced last week by the polling company Sentio for the Norwegian organisation Nei til E...
Continue reading
1257 Hits
0 Comments

Can Brexit be a success?

Reportedly the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, says Britain leaving the European Union cannot be a success. Well, that is quite understandable from the EU's point of view. After all Brussels' idea of a success is not entirely the same as what most Britons have in mind. The most successful outcome of the Brexit talks ahead...
Continue reading
1065 Hits
1 Comment

The truth only Europhiles can tell about the EU

The EU is on the road towards a single state and is already largely there.

30th March 2017
Type text for SEO (example Bruges Group : Image Title)

The European Union is an attempt to unify Europe under one centralised authority in a fundamentally similar fashion as tried for instance by the Roman Empire and Napoleon Bonaparte. The difference is that this time it's being attempted through a different method.

 

This is not a reference to the words of some eurosceptic as someone might assume. Like for instance a supporter of Britain leaving  the EU. This is on the contrary a reference to a speech by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the main author of the European Constitution which was later renamed the Lisbon Treaty and is today the EU's supreme legislation.

 

The former French President delivered his speech on 29th May, 2003 in the city of Aachen, Germany while accepting the Charlemagne Prize for his contribution to EU integration. His words were meant to describe the EU's future with the then proposed European Constitution in place:


 

"Our continent has seen successive attempts at unifying it: Caesar, Charlemagne and Napoleon, among others. The aim has been to unify it by force of arms, by the sword. We, for our part, seek to unify it by the pen. Will the pen succeed where the sword has finally failed? In the scales of history, will the feathered quill outweigh the bloodstained blade?"


 

Last year, during the British EU referendum campaign, now Foreign Minister Boris Johnson pointed out pretty much the same thing while interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph. However, unlike in the case of Giscard d'Estaing Johnson's comments were condemned by EU proponents.


 

Johnson said European history had seen repeated attempts to unify the continent under a single authority. People such as Napoleon, Adolf Hitler and others had tried this with tragic results. Now it was being done through a different method. While Giscard d'Estaing did not refer to Hitler directly he clearly did so indirectly with the words "among others". Whether intentional or not.


 

Giscard d'Estaing went on saying he thought this time the unification of the European continent would succeed "because our success today is based on the free choice of the peoples of Europe to organise their common future. We shall have the answer in the months to come."


 

The EU got an answer when the European Constitution was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005. How did Brussels react to that free choice of the French and Dutch peoples? They decided that the voters of other EU members should not be asked and the European Constitution would be re-branded as the Lisbon Treaty and implemented anyway.


 

The main force driving the EU integration has indeed been the centuries old desire to create a single European state. With or without public approval. It's actually quite hard to find an EU leader in the last thirty years or so who hasn't called for a single state in one way or another.


 

This ultimate objective has already largely materialised. While the EU is not yet formally recognised as a single state it can be argued that in many ways the bloc is today more politically centralised than some formal states such as Switzerland. In fact it has been pointed out that in certain areas the Lisbon Treaty entails more centralised authority than the United States Constitution.


 

However, not everyone can obviously point this out in the eyes of EU proponents. This point can be made in order to justify further EU integration but not to criticise it. That, however, doesn't change the fact that the EU is on the road towards a single state and is already largely there.

Continue reading
1290 Hits
0 Comments

Norway's Progress Party set to reject EU membership

The Progress Party of Norway seems set to reach a significant milestone at its national congress in May when it comes to the party's policy on the European Union.

8th March 2017
Type text for SEO (example Bruges Group : Image Title)

To this day the Progress Party has in fact not had a policy whether the country should join the EU or not. The party has simply had the policy that the Norwegian people should decide whether to join the bloc or not.

 

However, this seems about to change fundamentally in May. A Progress Party committee, tasked with drafting the party's foreign policy for the national congress, has suggested adopting the policy of rejecting EU membership. Furthermore the committee has also suggested reviewing the EEA Agreement which Norway has been a member of for almost a quarter of a century.

 

The leader of the Progress Party, Siv Jensen, said at a party meeting last Saturday according to the Norwegian daily Nationen that she had voted for Norway to join the EU back in 1994 when the country last voted in a referendum on whether to join the bloc or not and rejected membership. However, she said that should there be a referendum today she would say no.

 

This is also a milestone in the sense that this will be the first time a Norwegian centre-right political party will reject EU membership. The traditional centre-right party in Norway, the Conservative Party (Høyre), is the party most in favour of joining the EU. The fundamental reason for this is quite simple. It has to do with the fact that Norway is in many ways a very socialist country.

 

The centre-right political parties have traditionally considered EU membership as a way to make Norway somewhat less socialist. However, this viewpoint is in fact based on the outdated notion that the EU is simply about economic cooperation and trade. As Jensen recognised in her speech last Saturday that is simply not the reality anymore as others have realised before.

 

The leader of the Progress Party said the EU wasn't about trade and less regulations anymore (when was that?) but more regulations which were furthermore beyond the power of the nation states. The trade and peace project, she said, had become a bureaucratic project. This is of course something which happened a long time ago and has since then moved fast in that direction.

 

Things have developed differently in Iceland. There the traditionally largest political party is the conservative and eurosceptic Independence Party while in Norway the traditionally largest party has been the Labour Party. Unlike in Norway centre-right voters in Iceland believe EU membership would among other things move the country further to the left making it more social democratic.

 

The milestone, which seems about to be reached by the Progress Party, is also important for those who reject EU membership since to this day there has in fact never been any organised opposition to joining the bloc on the centre-right in Norway. The cross-political eurosceptic organisation Nei til EU is almost entirely made up of people on the centre-left of Norwegian politics.

 

Whether the Progress Party actually will alter its policy on the EU or not in May remains to be seen. But even if it doesn't happen this time it is probably just a question of when. The party has to this day referred to the will of the people. For the last twelve years every single opinion poll published in Norway has had a vast majority against EU membership or around 70-80 percent.

 

However, if the Progress Party will adopt a policy rejecting EU membership that will without doubt put much pressure on Høyre as the opposition to joining the bloc is widespread on the Norwegian centre-right just as most everywhere else in the country. Even though Høyre remains in favour of EU membership the majority of the party's voters are not and have not been for a long time. With a new policy the Progress Party would become an alternative for eurosceptic Høyre voters.

 

Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson is an Icelandic historian. He holds a master's degree in international relations with focus on European, defence and security studies. Twitter: @Hjortur_J

Continue reading
1711 Hits
0 Comments