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.

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Bruges Group Blog

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

Is a Transitional Deal Good for Brexit?

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With the Brexit negotiations in full flow, Britain is looking for a way to make the transition away from the European Union run as smoothly as possible while ensuring that Brexit happens unimpeded. There are two possible exits. The first is a clean cut that will come into effect on 29th March 2019. The second option is to negotiate a transition deal that will allow Britain to disengage with the EU over a designated period of time. Here on The Bruges Group we have examined how trade can successfully continue outside of the Single Market. It is just a case of how we get there. In this article we look at the advantages and disadvantages of a transitional deal.

 

For a Transitional Deal

A big concern amongst some leave voters is that Britain is heading towards a cliff edge scenario where no agreement or deal is reached. Many political and business commentators believe that this would leave Britain in a precarious position as all EU laws and regulations would suddenly cease. It is estimated that over 700 treaties have to be renegotiated, ranging from the airline industry to Britain’s nuclear agreement (Euratom), with the EU. With less than two years till the Article 50 deadline there is a strong argument that it isn’t feasible to negotiate every deal in time. This could leave many UK businesses in difficult positions, as they have to suddenly change from one set of regulations to another.

British trade minister and prominent leave advocate Liam Fox has pushed for a transitional deal. The Irish Times reported that Fox told Andrew Marr that a deal of around two years was necessary to give businesses the chance to adapt. He is quoted as saying: “I want to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019. Now once we have done that, once we have fulfilled our promise to the British people, we can look to see what we are going to do in terms of making that a smooth transition… whether that’s 23 [months], whether that’s 25 [months]." The trade minister reassured leave voters by stating that the transition period would have a limited time scale.

 

Against a Transitional Deal

There are valid fears that a transitional deal could be used by remainers to keep Britain locked into many EU regulations including the Single Market and Customs Union. Business Insider predicts that a transitional deal could be based on the EEA model which would allow free movement of citizens and require Britain to remain under the European Court of Justice. With Britain replicating the EEA model, remainers in the government could use it as a base to push for a permanent EEA status.

The British Government recognises that the British public voted for a clean cut. FXCM notes that May has clearly laid out the terms of Brexit: “Let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.”

A transition deal could also hinder Britain’s ability to make trade deals with nations outside of the EU. If Britain cannot negotiate trade agreements during the transition, due to EU regulations, businesses in the UK would face even longer uncertainly. For Brexit to be successful. Britain must be able to trade globally without EU interference.

 

 

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Brexit will fail if it does not develop a clear vision for the future

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Barely one year after the Brexit referendum, and under four months since the triggering of Article 50, the Financial Times has published a “democratic case for stopping Brexit”, adding to a crescendo in overt calls to upend the exit process. How did we get here? The whole point of the EU referendum, just like the Scottish referendum before it, was to bury a longstanding and contentious political issue. In both cases, this has not been so.

 

In the case of Scotland, it is clear that the opportunism of the nationalists was to blame for reviving the independence issue. Similarly, in the case of Brexit, it is tempting to point the finger at the “Remoaners” who never really accepted the result of the referendum, protesting against the democratic outcome from the get-go. Their scheming has not been particularly covert, with the entire frame of the “hard” vs. “soft” Brexit debate geared towards eventually thwarting the outcome of the vote.

 

Yet, the blame primarily lies with the pro-Brexit camp. It is no secret that prominent figures in the Leave campaign had no clear plan for victory, themselves appearing flabbergasted by the result. The present situation is the logical continuation of this reckless incompetence.

 

Beyond hazy generalities, there is little to believe in with Brexit as it stands. As a result, people will increasingly become disillusioned. If a bad deal is eventually struck and it goes to parliament for approval, either a general election or second referendum could become a legitimate vehicle through which to upend the entire Brexit process. With May’s government barely clinging to a majority, it doesn’t require too much imagination to see how persistent Remainers could eventually get their way.

 

What is needed, if Brexit is to stop haemorrhaging legitimacy, is an ambitious plan. A favourite example of prominent Brexiteers revolves around the promise of the Anglosphere, so why not start there?

 

Together, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand constitute an Anglosphere of over 450 million people. This is more than the population of the EU 27 (without the UK). On top of this, these people are more prosperous than their EU counterparts, and have been for a long time.

 

Their GDP per capita is significantly higher than the EU average. In fact, in most cases it is even above that of the eurozone’s main economic success story: Germany. Growth rates have been higher too. While such aggregate figures are not the be all and end all of prosperity for the average citizen, they are certainly indicative.

 

Globally, the EU has been losing in relative economic importance at breakneck speed. The Western European edge of the Eurasian landmass –represented by the core 15 EU Member States– once dominated the global economy, controlling over a third of global GDP at the end of the 1960s. This was well above the US share of just over one quarter. Asia and Oceania stood at around 15% at the time.

 

Fast forward to 2011 and the EU15 share had tumbled to around a quarter of global GDP, having been overtaken by Asia and Oceania (driven primarily by China), as well as by the USA, whose share remained constant. Europe’s downwards trajectory has only accelerated as the eurocrisis has worn on.

 

The standard excuse offered up by sclerotic EU bureaucrats is that this march towards oblivion constitutes a natural “rebalancing” process as Asia, particularly China, regained its economic standing in the global economy. This naturally squeezed Europe’s share of global income.

 

But what is never addressed is why the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand were all able to hold onto their relative shares of global wealth compared to the EU. In other words, why were they able to grow faster? Why are they more prosperous? It is obvious that the dramatic rise of China had to displace other economic players in relative terms, but why has this decline fallen squarely on the EU’s shoulders, and not on those of the Anglosphere as well?

 

The “rebalancing” rationalisations for Europe’s terminal decline are most often offered up by those working for institutions obsessed with “relaunching” Europe, “fresh starts”, “no more business as usual”, “delivering European renewal”, “acting now” or otherwise declaring it “time to act”, cooking up plans to make the EU “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world”, etc. etc. Yet, these are the same people who shrug at the total and unique failure of Europe’s economy to hold its own in the world. You couldn’t make it up!

 

The EU has achieved unparalleled economic integration compared to any other regional bloc. And Britain was able to be a part of this union with such diverse nations for decades. Why, then, would some scheme for the Anglosphere be so far-fetched? Why would free movement of workers, for example, among countries with such similar needs and concerns –not to mention entwined intelligence services– be so unthinkable? And if it is not, where is the action?

 

As regards the limitations on Britain’s right to negotiate alternate trade deals while it remains within the EU, Britain must be careful to observe the letter of the law but certainly not its spirit, which is designed to thwart any successful secession. What is needed is a concrete plan that could be signed as soon as Britain is officially out of the EU, to be confidently presented to the public as a vision of the future after Brexit.

 

Without this, Brexit will surely suffer the same fate as the Remain campaign. Repeating generalities about executing the will of the people is as uninspiring as hypothesising over the future marginal economic costs of leaving the Union. These are not winning arguments. Leave won the campaign because it developed enthusing stances revolving around sovereignty: “take back control”. What does it offer now?

This article is by Daniel Matthews-Ferrero

 

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Nobel Laureates - Britain leading the world

Remoaners should not doubt our abilities as a nation

10th November 2016
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Remain campaigners spent much time saying that we British must stay in the EU, as if we are not clever enough to exist without the help of the EU bureaucrats.
 
They seem to have forgotten that it was British engineers and entrepreneurs that developed the Industrial revolution that gave power to the world first with steam and then electricity.
 
Engineers such as Watt, Faraday and Brunel started the tradition. From 1812 the London Stock Exchange enabled industrialists to raise the money to build and develop inventions that would benefit the population.
 
By the later part of the eighteenth century most homes in cities and large towns had access to pure water, and because of the work of Joseph Bazalgette sewage systems were built to further protect the population of London (3 million) from disease and infection.
Our inventiveness has contributed to safety regimes in many industries, Davy lamp was one of the first. Radar has provided security in peace and war in the air or on the sea. The theories of mathematicians from John Napier to George Boole have been vital support to scientists and engineers.
 
Travel has been safer and faster since roads were paved by MacAdam. The jet engine and internal combustion engines, the compression engine was patented in the UK two years before Diesel in Germany.
 
The British contribution to improvements in healthcare specifically anesthetics, inoculations and vaccines have helped to ease the suffering and prolong life. This work is continuing with DNA and the Genome project.
 
In 1901 The Nobel Institute inaugurated a way to recognise outstanding work in science medicine and literature around the world by awarding Prizes each year. To count up the number of prizes won gives an indication of education and abilities of the inhabitants of the countries of the world. According to the Nobel website Britain scores well compared with other countries. Our first Nobel laureate was Randal Cremer who won the Peace Prize in 1903. In 1904 we won the Prizes for both Chemistry and Physics, Ramsay and Rayleigh respectively. The most recent being for Physics, Economics and Chemistry in 2016, in 2013 for work with the Hadron Collider at CERN, Medicine in 2012 and in 2015 Economic Sciences. Through the Twentieth Century our population, of now 64 million, has earned 80 Nobel Prizes. Germany has won 72. Present population 80 million whilst USA has the poorest record of 257 from a population of 316 million.
 
Despite this historic and ongoing success Remoaners still do not have faith in this country’s capabilities.
 
A major part of the argument put forward by proponents of the EU is about trade, which somehow ignores the fact that Great Britain has existed as a unique entity for one thousand years, and it became the most successful nation in the world and the power house of industry for the whole world. Although, there are, of course, some facts regarding out activities in the world during that period that we would like to forget they are eclipsed by the immense sacrifices that the people of Britain and its, then, empire made in fighting tyranny across the globe. Including two ruinous world wars; the endeavours, of which, resulted in our financial demise.
 
For some reason, in Great Britain achievement and especially industrial achievement are a type of conversation to be avoided, and very few people are actually aware that we have accounted for very much internationally. Indeed, if you were to stop an average British person on the streets and ask them to name the ten top British inventions, or discoveries of world wide significance, you may get a radar from some of them and even the jet engine from slightly less. But,  you are more likely to get the Beetles, or Manchester United from most ! Having lived in two countries in the present EU, including Germany, I am aware that they are proud of their industrial heritage  and delight to recount it for you.
 
All the above has resulted in a lack of belief in our own abilities, and a belief reinforced by the Stay In the EU supporters who insinuate that Great Britain could not survive on its own. So I have set about finding out just what Great Britain has given to the world, and you would be surprised . I admit when you come to sports that there were always people who kicked something or hit objects with a stick, but it is the nation that recognises this as a sport and lays down the rules for it, that truly turns kicking the odd stone, into the game of football, or hitting stones with sticks to becoming the game of golf etc.. Indeed, a Japanese survey into which nation had contributed the most worldwide adaptable inventions concluded that the British were responsible for 40% of all of them.
 
World’s top three nations for Nobel Laureates:

America            270 Laureates    Population         324,464,680      = 1 per 1.2 million
United Kingdom 109 Laureates    Population         64,542,000        = 1 per 0.59 million
Germany           76 Laureate       Populatio           82,506,000        = 1 per 1.085 million

 
As you can see the American population is c. 5 times greater than the UK.
 
Why then do the Remoaners doubt our abilities as a nation?
 
So just what were these gifts to the world that Great Britain invented. The list below is not exhaustive but it probably includes all the major inventions and discoveries: -
 
Steam engines.
Railways.
Industrial revolution.
Flying shuttle.
Iron ships.
Screw propeller.
Worldwide cable networks.
First radio signals sent/received from these shores.
First public radio broadcasting service.
World’s first radio factory.
The jet engine.
Radar.
Antibiotics.
Vaccination.
Splitting the atom.
The (not so attractive socially, but nevertheless the atom bomb was invented by America, Canada and Great Britain, in partnership).
The world’s first commercial nuclear power station.
Television.
The English language.
Darwin.
Newton.
Military tank.
Electronic programmable computer.
Mechanical programmable computer.
The internet.
Consistent winner of world land speed and water speed records.
Many of the world’s racing cars, including Mercedes are engineered here.
Currently building the Sabre engine (space/air) engine.
Carbon fibre.
Graphene.
The G-nome.
Structure of DNA.
Threshing machine.
Iron Bridge.
Percussion ignition (firearms).
Electromagnetic induction (The electric motor/dynamo).
Steel.
Jump jet.
Hovercraft.
Postal system.
Bolean algebra.
The light switch.
Electric light bulb.
Cats eyes.
DNA profiling.
World’s first SMS message.
Power loom.
Rugby (forerunner to American football).
Modern golf.
Modern tennis.
Modern football.
Sewing machine.
Cricket.
Self-winding watch.
Electric vacuum cleaner.
Thermos flask.
Lawnmower.
Float glass.
Electric telegraph.
Pneumatic tyre.
Fax.
Hypodermic syringe.
Reflecting telescope.
Disc brakes.
Steam turbine.
Marine chronometer.
Modern torpedo.
Glider (First heavier than air machine).
Seed drill.
Modern Cement.
Stainless steel.
The principle of the electric transformer.
Waterproof material.
Photography.
Tin can.
Smallpox vaccine.
Hydraulic press.
First purpose built fighter aircraft.
Diagnostic ultrasound.
Rubber band.
Electric clock.
Electro plating.
Stun grenade.
Corkscrew.
Anaesthetic.
Hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.
Blood circulation.
Electromagnet.
The proton (discovery).
Valve (radio).
Submarine.
Adjustable spanner (wrench).
Modern crane.
Two stroke engine.
Compression ignition (the system used for diesel engines).
Toaster.
Chobham armour.
TarMacadam (road surfaces).
Asdic.
Carbon arc lighting (this preceded the electric light bulb).
Bailey Bridge.
Vulcanisation.
Ophthalmoscope.
Davy lamp.
 
 
Research by Vernon J Yarker

 

 

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