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.

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
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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.

 

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Brexit and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in preventing the Prime Minister from invoking Article 50 to leave to EU. Its ruling is wrong. Jurisdiction was passed to the People, who have primary authority, by Parliament.

25th January 2017
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One must now wonder whether in his memoirs Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court will say, of the unintended consequences of the Court’s Brexit decision, “Of course, the People had made a valid decision to leave the EU but at the time it seemed the right thing to send it back to Parliament.”

 

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Robert Oulds
Its also bad law. The ECA 1972 was amended when the Lisbon Treaty was put through Parliament to incorporate Article 50, it was cle... Read More
Thursday, 26 January 2017 22:49
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Independence or incoherence? Why the Scottish government is misleading Scots

Scotland’s former First Minister Alex Salmond and (then) Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2007, at the launch of Choosing Scotland’s Future – a White Paper on a possible independence referendum. Picture by The Scottish Government.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has commented on several occasions in recent weeks on the subject of a second Scottish independence referendum. She first warned that she was not “bluffing” about calling another referendum, should the United Kingdom also leave the European single market. She then ruled out holding such a vote in 2017, effectively holding the threat of it over the British government as it moves ahead with Brexit.

There’s nothing wrong with many in Scotland, as in other European regions like Catalonia, wishing for independence. Indeed, notions of sovereignty, identity, and more representative democracy were all integral to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU). Where such movements lose coherence, however, is in their insistence on remaining in the EU.

Why?

Many, many laws pertaining to the UK, including Scotland, originate in Brussels. Though the exact proportion of British laws stemming from the EU is hotly contested, it is likely quite large, with some estimates ranging up to 62%. What is more important, however, is how significant some of the EU’s competencies are. An “independent” Scotland within the EU would face the same quotas on its fisheries, abide by the same agricultural policy, honour the same trade deals signed devised in Brussels, and have absolutely no control over its borders. Its government also intends to continue using the British pound as its currency. In this sense, the stated intention of being “in the driving seat of [Scotland’s] own destiny and to shape [its] own future” loses its meaning. Without full control over essential areas like borders and monetary policy, a nation is not independent.

Moreover, the EU has always made clear that to secede from a member state is to secede from the Union. As such, Scotland deciding to leave the UK in order to retain its EU membership is not only impossible, but dangerously misleading to Scots.

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Asking Parliament to Vote on Article 50 TEU for the Third Time?

The very purpose of the referendum was to establish a decision-making procedure for leaving the EU. This procedure was implemented by the June referendum.

5th December 2016
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In R (Miller) v. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin) (3rd November 2016), the Divisional Court determined that the government may not trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) without legislation being passed by Parliament. Article 50 states:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. … 3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period. 

The claimants were members of the public described by the Divisional Court as “parties … whose interests are potentially affected in different ways” (para. 7 of judgment in Miller). The essential reason for the conclusion of the Divisional Court that legislation is needed was that triggering Article 50 TEU will inevitably have the effect of changing domestic law because those elements of EU law which Parliament has made part of domestic law by the enactment of the European Communities Act 1972 will in due course cease automatically to have effect. The judgment seems open to criticisms on a number of grounds, chiefly the following: (i) it fails to adequately take into account the relationship between the UK legal system and the international legal system, understood here to include the European Union legal system, and the doctrine of dualism that applies to the incorporation of the EU Treaties into EU law; (ii) relatedly, its fails to adequately take into account the manner of incorporation of the EU Treaties into UK law by a method of reference or incorporation, and in particular, by reference to the entire body of EU law; (iii) the distinction drawn between categories of rights under EU law does not establish that some rights protected by UK law will be set aside in  way contrary to the European Communities Act 1972, and (iv) and the judgment does not fully consider any constitutional effects of the European Union Referendum Act 2015.Parliament will need to vote on how to replace EU law in UK law when Brexit actually happens. The Miller judgment requires that Parliament votes to being the process of Brexit too. At a political level, the Miller judgment is very significant in that the House of Lords may well vote against triggering Brexit, and it would take one year for the House of Commons to be able to bypass the House of Lords under the Parliament Acts 1911-1949.

 

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Rather than trying to stop Brexit, elites should focus on making it a success

Article 50 will be triggered, and the UK will leave the EU

28th November 2016

The Royal Courts of Justice (London) where October’s High Court ruling that only Parliament can trigger Brexit was delivered.

The latest twist in the Brexit tale is the legal limbo hanging over who can trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, signalling the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. Following a lawsuit filed in the summer, the High Court ruled on October 13 that the British government cannot trigger Article 50 without Parliament’s permission. This decision was immediately appealed by the government, who are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s final word in December.

Rule of law is one of the foundations upon which Britain’s success over the centuries was built, and must be respected. However, I, like many people, was surprised by the message the High Court’s ruling was sending –that Parliament supersedes the will of the people, not the other way around. After all, isn’t Parliament supposed to reflect the will of citizens? Don’t all MPs, from the lowliest backbencher, to the prime minister, work for us?

In any case, I am not terribly worried about this court battle. If the triggering of Article 50 does end up going to Parliament, there will be enormous pressure on MPs to vote in line with their constituents, leading to a crushing majority in favour of leaving the European Union (EU). It is true that most MPs, across all parties, favoured remaining in the EU prior to June’s referendum, but not aligning with their electorate on this subject could very likely cost them their jobs next election. This threat is especially true for Labour MPs, many of whom saw constituents in northern “safe” seats reject the party’s advice advice by voting to leave the EU.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has been, and continues to be an outspoken opponent of the UK’s departure from the EU.

Where there is greater cause for concern, however, is in the growing pushback by elites opposed to Brexit. The following three examples are among the most publicized, but by no means the only instances of such pushback:

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