Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
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.
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.

Bruges Group Blog

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

Escaping the Sublunary World of the EU


If anything the hysterical clamouring of EU supporting re-moaners (now relabelled Re-Joiners) has increased since January 1. Those of us who had hoped that democratic realism might have inoculated the afflicted should not be surprised. The fanaticism of EU acolytes and collaborators is religious in its intensity and belief. Indeed, there is a parallel between the EU and the Inquisition that should serve as a warning to all who value freedom.

Publicly hung upside down naked before being burned to death on 17 February 1600, Giordano Bruno had been condemned for heresy. He was charged with many offences, but the one that most infuriated the inquisitors was his support of heliocentrism. The idea that the earth revolved around the sun challenged the primacy of religion. Thirty three years later, Bruno's contemporary, Galileo Galilei was brought before inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani charged with the heresy of espousing heliocentrism. Despite being threatened with torture (the inquisition had many methods including waterboarding) Galileo denied heresy and defended himself. Possibly because he had influential friends he escaped the fire, but was imprisoned for the rest of his life. Publication of any of his works were forbidden. It took over 350 years for a Pope to admit that the Church had "Erred in condemning Galileo for asserting that the Earth revolves around the Sun". A better judgment was delivered by Bruno. He told the Inquisition after it pronounced his death sentence. "Perhaps you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it"

The first part of the Inquisition's sentence in the case of Galileo is illuminating. "Namely having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture." Bringing that up to date: "Namely of having held the opinions that the EU is not the centre of the world, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to the opinion of the EU Commission." This is not far-fetched. The EU and its devotees do believe they are the centre of the world. That they have a sacred duty to create a 'European' Empire, a fortress Europe that will protect its citizens from the outside. Viz: Michel Barnier speaking after concluding the FTA: "It is a failure for the EU. As for the United Kingdom, it will find itself alone in the global competition against the United States and China, which are continental states, against Russia and others." It is as if the EU is in a Time Warp. Seized by fear that the hoards are at the gates of Vienna, unable to accept that the European subcontinent, is an Eurasian Peninsula. Eurasia, the world's largest land mass and home to 70% of humanity.

The EU's blind adherence to dogma is made ridiculous by fact. They face an irreversible decline in population and economic position.

In 1960 the EU (figures comprise members of the Common Market plus all present members of the EU) made up 13% of the World's population. In 2020 it was seven percent and by 2100 it is predicted to be four. In 1960 the EU's countries accounted for more than a third of the world's GDP. In 2020 it was 22.4% by 2100 it is forecast to be 9.9%. The UK is the only European country predicted to improve its ranking of the world's largest economies by 2100.

Stefan Lehne was a director of the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU. He held a number of posts at the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs. Currently, he researches the post–Lisbon Treaty development of the EU's foreign policy, as a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels. In November 2020 he wrote: "The EU's confident self-image as a role model and vanguard of a renewed rules-based international order has been replaced by a defensive attitude, lower ambitions, and a more narrow regional focus." .... "Attitudes toward migration and asylum are increasingly marked by a fortress Europe mindset..." "Trade and other economic policies, which used to be engines of progressive liberalisation, are now being recast to protect the EU from potential harmful influences from China and other rising foreign powers. European elites worry that the EU might be left behind by economic and technological progress and become a rule follower rather than a rule maker. And in political terms, there is a widespread sense of vulnerability and loneliness: "

This changing attitude has been long in the making. Years ago, supporters of the EEC claimed that they were 'Reuniting' Europe. Although large areas have at one time or another been subjugated by tyrants it has never been united. Historically ridiculous, the notion was risible and dropped. Perhaps before some one added to the hilarity by positing that Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun were benevolent far sighted campaigners seeking the Reunification of Eurasia.

Revisionism is an essential element in the development of EU doctrine. According to Michael Heseltine, the SNP did not really lose the independence referendum. "Of course they didn't. They immediately said 'we nearly won – we must have another go'. "And I take very much the same view about British self-interest. Our self-interest is to be at the heart of Europe. It has been that way for a thousand years." Heseltine is to be congratulated. It is indeed rare that an educated man and self avowed democrat manages to display both his disdain for democracy and ignorance of history in a few sentences.

On 25 February 1570, Pope Pius V issued 'Regnans in Excelsis,' a papal bull that excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I of England for heresy. In 1588, Pope Sixtus V, renewed the bull. Despite being a moderate in religious matters and seeking a middle way, Elizabeth was subject to numerous Catholic plots to kill her. The result was an irrevocable breach with the Catholic Church, which meant England's exclusion from Europe. England's success was built on that exclusion. Since the end of the sixteenth century, England and then Great Britain's involvement in Europe was limited. Limited to defending Protestants and protecting the weak from tyranny. Unlike Continental powers, with the exception of Gibraltar, no territorial spoils were claimed. Indeed, blood and treasure have been expended for centuries resulting in the impoverishment of the country. But for Edward Heath, we might have fully recovered rather than enduring 47 years of poor growth and spending money to support an anti democratic dream.

Just as Elizabeth sought compromise and was rejected, so it is with those who sought compromise with the EU. Compromise and religious zeal are mutually exclusive. The current Pope claims that protecting faith is more important than other people's freedoms. A view shared by the EU in respect of Democracy.

Exiting the EU on WTO terms would have provided the clean break that Elizabeth's excommunication gave us, and the same impetus to succeed. Instead, we have an FTA that gives us most, but not all of our freedom. It leaves the door sufficiently ajar for the EU and its zealots to dream and scheme of prising it open. There is a short clause on page 405. It enables either party unilaterally to terminate the agreement subject to 12 months' notice. Sensibly, that notice should be given in two years and our complete separation achieved in three.

The Pro EU media are revelling in what they claim are the 'Enormous' problems facing us now. We drive to France, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg every year to visit friends. Looking at the regulations I fail to find any change. Insofar as trade is concerned, I really do not understand the fuss.

The FTA is with the EU, population 446 million. We have happily traded on WTO terms with most of the rest of the world - population 7.3 Billion, including the USA our biggest trading partner. It is, of course, the EU gospel that anything to do with Brexit is stupid. Those who voted for it. Those who will administer it - all stupid. Unsurprisingly, those who believe the EU is the centre of the world also believe that businesses who can understand import export regulation in respect of, for example, the USA, China, India, Australia and Japan will be totally incapable of applying that to trading with the EU. There is so much information available from the Government as well as other organisations, that a trader would be dim indeed not to exploit the opportunities. Although now retired, I can report that my last experience of importing from the Far East involved supplying the Customs agent with my EORI and VAT number. A description of the goods and shipping documents. The process was seamless and took less time than going to the post office to post orders.

In the myopic 'One World EU' view there is also the 'fact' that the EU holds all the cards and will punish us for transgression. When asked to comment, the BBC's economics correspondent, Faisal Islam, sagely explained that; "If because of better Science and regulation we approved a drug faster than the EU we could face sanctions." Was an example of why we had to leave ever better explained? The fact that the UK has led the world in vaccine approval and leads Europe in implementation is a result of BREXIT. In Heseltine mode, Jean-Claude Juncker sees it differently. telling Luxembourg's Télécran magazine the bloc had "reacted very weakly". But he added that "the EU was hamstrung by the fact member states retain control of health policy." The cure for failure in the EU is more EU and to that end, according to Juncker he acts as an unofficial adviser to Mrs von der Leyen, and compared himself the former Pope Benedict XVI. "She likes it a lot, and it gives us the opportunity to exchange ideas from time to time, which is very useful for both of us. I'm von der Leyen's Ratzinger."

The FTA is not perfect. Its biggest defect is that it exists at all. Those who now wail about the omission of Financial Services are the ones who ignored the EU's refusal to complete the Single Market in Services. That was because France and Germany coveted London's position. Over twenty years ago, I lived in Luxembourg. One day, a friend told me they'd had a directive from the head office of the French Bank he worked for. It ordered an all out effort aimed at making Paris Europe's leading Financial Centre. Hilariously it opined that the task was easy because French was the World's language. The task, apparently would take no more than five years and then, New York's days were numbered too. I remember that lunch as one of the jolliest laughter filled ones of my life.

I have no doubt that Britain will boom free of the EU. I hope that others will follow our lead and choose a democratic future. I leave the last word to French author Anne-Elisabeth Moutet. Who recently explained: "But for the first time since this all started I've become so angry with the EU (and with my own country's leaders) that my heart now supports the Brexiteers. After one too many TV debates when, just because I tried to explain the Leavers' motivations, I got talked down by assorted representatives of the European establishment, each more dismissive and self-satisfied than the other, the current omnishambles of the EU's health policy power grab was the last straw."

She concluded "The UK needs the EU like a fish needs a bicycle."


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Tel: 020 7287 4414
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