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Old 10-29-2015, 05:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Tau'ri View Post
Well, we did have that affair with China...

(But seriously, fuck the "special relationship". It never existed. What ever came of it? Afghanistan and Iraq wars, GCHQ bending over for the NSA, massively costly defence projects like the F-35... no trade deals, not even diplomatic assistance in the Falklands War, the Suez crisis.)
There was a significant amount of logistical support for the British military during the Falklands campaign.

The F35 project exceeds the capabilities of any homegrown British fighter. Granted, the British could have went to the EU instead, but Fifth-Generation fighter development projects are likely to incur extreme expenses in any case.
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:12 AM   #22
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Well, we did have that affair with China...

(But seriously, fuck the "special relationship". It never existed. What ever came of it? Afghanistan and Iraq wars, GCHQ bending over for the NSA, massively costly defence projects like the F-35... no trade deals, not even diplomatic assistance in the Falklands War, the Suez crisis.)
The Tizard mission can be included there.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tizard_Mission

All you have to see if the American government's failure to support the UK in it's dispute with Argentina.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:22 AM   #23
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So things are beginning to develop, with it looking increasingly likely that Cameron's negotiations will be over sooner rather than later. This means we might have a vote as early as summer 2016.

https://next.ft.com/content/801e6408...b-87b8d15baec2

Quote:

UK benefit reform demands appeal to rest of EU


Britain’s contentious push to curb EU migrant benefits is gaining political traction in Europe, with expectations of a February deal rising and countries such as France and Germany considering whether to introduce their own variants of the reforms David Cameron seeks.

At least five countries in the bloc are looking at taking advantage of Mr Cameron’s initiative in a sign that Britain’s EU negotiation is nearing its climax with the most hotly-debated elements — including a waiting time to access certain benefits — gaining wider appeal.

This suggests Mr Cameron is on course to secure a package of concessions on migration at a February 18 summit, including benefit restrictions and possibly an “emergency brake” to limit numbers during surges. This will allow him to call the EU membership referendum for June or July.

Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands see the British reforms as potentially offering new policy opportunities, in the face of pressure from populist and Eurosceptic opposition parties. “We will find it impossible to resist,” said one senior official from one of the countries, who is involved in the UK negotiations.

Even with the political will to find a deal for Mr Cameron, negotiations remain hard. Almost all EU leaders have rejected his original plan for a four-year ban on migrant workers accessing benefits; diplomats are scrambling to find an alternative compliant with the EU’s non-discrimination principles.

Negotiators are working on welfare measures that are potentially pan-European, rather than specifically tailored for Britain. The use beyond one country is encouraging for London but does carry the risk that Poland and other EU exporters of workers may become even warier. “It makes it even more important that the deal is proportionate,” said one eurozone official, noting that eastern European countries would not allow nakedly discriminatory measures.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, raised the idea of revisiting the “definition of a worker” in talks with Mr Cameron, according to two officials familiar with the conversation.

Under existing EU law workers are broadly defined, with no earnings threshold or residency requirement, and EU migrant workers are equally entitled to in-work benefits. Changing this could effectively reduce access to in-work benefits in the UK and Germany.

Germany, which has seen a rise in jobless or part-time claimants who recently arrived from other EU countries, has particular concerns about access to its so-called Hartz IV benefits. In December a Federal Services Court ruling also found jobless migrants are entitled to some social benefits after six months.

Citing Mr Cameron’s proposals, Thomas de Maiziére, German interior minister, said there was “possibly more to do” in restricting social payments. The centre-left SPD, Ms Merkel’s coalition partner, is sympathetic to these concerns; Olaf Scholz, a party vice-chairman, has backed barring EU migrants from social benefits for a year.

Paris, meanwhile, is also considering applying a version of the reforms, as ministers weigh how to neutralise the threat of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front, which has held Mr Cameron up as a role model for their Eurosceptic, anti-immigration agenda in Brussels.

François Hollande, the French president, expects Ms Le Pen to attack any deal with Mr Cameron which would give British migrants in France a better deal than French expats receive in the UK. Two diplomats familiar with the Elysée’s thinking said they saw little choice but to implement a variant on the Cameron reforms more broadly.

The Netherlands and Austria have long wanted to tighten migrant access to social assistance and curb so-called “benefit tourism”. Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s foreign minister, told the FT his country had “used its national scope of action to the maximum extent possible” and yet still saw people “migrate to our labour market, but soon thereafter they become jobless and stay in our very attractive social system”.

In a statement that Mr Cameron would interpret as strong support, Mr Kurz added that while reforms to existing EU legislation must be a first step, “if treaty change is also needed in order to make the EU fit for the 21st century and closer to its citizens, then I am of the opinion we should not shy away from going this way”.

Denmark has long sought to tighten access to out-of-work benefits for migrants, as well as end child benefit payments for migrants whose children are overseas, another item on Britain’s wishlist. Copenhagen has established a three-month waiting time for out-of-work benefits and would consider extending that period if the British package expanded the options under EU law.

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Danish premier, last month made clear the British package should benefit all EU members and he is facing pressure from the anti-immigration opposition Danish People’s party to take advantage of the UK reforms in full.

On Sunday a new poll of UK voters reported in the Mail on the Sunday gave the “Out” side a six percentage point lead. Former chancellor Lord Lawson, president of Conservatives for Britain, a Eurosceptic group, said the campaign to leave the EU would be led by a Tory cabinet minister.
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Old 01-19-2016, 03:04 AM   #24
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Taure, I had to laugh reading that piece. The list got longer and longer, did you realise while reading what it lead to? You want to curb benefit tourism, we want to, France, Austria the Netherlands, [... insert every wealthy western European country], TL;DR: Kick those dirty Eastern Europeans out already, and we all can keep the systems we currently have XD
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:00 AM   #25
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The centre for European reform has published a paper outlining British options in the event of an exit. Link.

The basic summary is that if we vote to leave we're just going to end up rejoining immediately under much worse terms than we currently have.

Absolute insanity.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:59 AM   #26
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The centre for European reform has published a paper outlining British options in the event of an exit. Link.

The basic summary is that if we vote to leave we're just going to end up rejoining immediately under much worse terms than we currently have.

Absolute insanity.
Well but look at the bright side no more Polish plumbers
but seriously it seems British people demonize inter EU migration too much. I remember some data showing that they are overall net positive and most of EE nationalities being at bottom % of welfare claimants.


ps interesting map of inter/outer EU migration attitudes https://imgur.com/g1dxDqZ
more interesting data who is claiming benefits http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06955.pdf

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Old 01-19-2016, 01:01 PM   #27
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The thing about benefits is that the EU rule is that job-seekers are entitled to claim unemployment benefits from day 1, but access to full benefits does not happen until you are classified as a worker. Obviously this very general rule applies unevenly across the EU and the UK is hit particularly hard by it.

Most of the EU have contribution-based unemployment benefit systems, meaning that the amount you can claim is proportional to the amount you have contributed. In the UK (and I believe Germany) this is not the case: UK unemployment benefit is available to everyone looking for a job, for as long as they can document actual searches for a job (i.e. applications sent). This means that any EU migrant to the UK can claim benefits from the moment they step on British soil, which is not the case in practice for most EU states (where they will be legally entitled to claim unemployment benefits but have no contributions built up to claim from).

This is made even worse by the way the UK health system is structured. The NHS being free to all at the point of access means there's no health insurance system like in most of Europe. In most EU states, to gain access to the health care you would have to be covered by either private or public insurance, and access to the public insurance generally would not happen until you gained full access to that state's full benefit system.

To make matters even worse, anyone in the UK on unemployment benefit can also claim free dental treatment and free pharmaceutical prescriptions, which most of the UK population don't even get.

So with all those factors in mind, it's not unreasonable that the UK seeks to limit benefits, as the UK system is structured such that the state is liable to pay out far more to EU migrants than other EU states.

That said, while such reform is justified in principle, I don't think it should be that high a priority in practice. Like you say, studies have shown that EU migrants are net contributors to the UK public finances.

Anyway, I had a nice day of procrastination today talking about the EU instead of studying EU law XD

Two highlights which might stimulate discussion here:

The problems I have with the EU, despite planning to vote to remain:
Quote:
I think there are a good number of reasons to feel negative about the EU.

For example, the European Court of Justice often makes capricious decisions based on political rather than legal considerations, which makes EU law unpredictable and often the expansion of EU powers is declared by the judiciary rather than occurring through any kind of democratic mechanism.

Entitlement to benefits in other EU member states, for example, was never agreed by treaty. In fact, legislation even tried to restrict any such entitlement, in the form of article 24(2) of the Citizenship Directive (2004/38/EC), which stated:

"the host Member State shall not be obliged to confer entitlement to social assistance during the first three months of residence... nor... to grant maintenance aid for studies"

Nonetheless, in the case of Vatsouras, the ECJ decided that EU citizens had the right to claim job-seeker's allowance from the moment they arrive in their host country. They gave no legal reasoning for this decision, merely declaring that job-seeking benefits do not count as social assistance.

And that was how entitlement to benefits was born. Not by any democratic process, not even by an agreement between the governments of member states. By judicial decree.
This is just one example of how the EU's institutional framework and law-making process is screwed up. The "democratic deficit" at the heart of the EU is well-discussed.

And there are plenty of other reasons to feel nervous about the EU, especially from the British perspective, the foremost among them being how much the rest of the EU is resisting capital markets union, the one area of the single market most likely to benefit the UK. Under the principle of the four freedoms and parallel development, free movement of capital and services have equal legal priority to the free movement of workers and free movement of goods. And yet you won't see any media coverage of Germany and France refusing to integrate capital markets and the service sector. France has the CAP, Germany has the single market for their manufactured goods, but Britain does not have a single market for its financial services. It's unequal and unfair. But no one ever calls France and Germany out on it. They get to hold onto their reputations as being pro-integration and Britain is still said to be holding Europe back.

Another reason to be negative about the EU: the very real risk of Eurozone states trying to use EU rules to disadvantage non-EZ states. For example, last year the ECB attempted to create a new rule saying that Euro clearing houses had to be located within the Eurozone, which, if it had come into force, would have forced a large amount of financial business to move out of London and into the EZ. This is a clear violation of the principle of the single market in favour of the Eurozone nations, but, though the ECJ did block it, they did not deliver a comprehensive judgement saying it was fundamentally against the principle of the single market. Rather they relied on a technicality that meant it was not within the ECB's powers to pass such a rule. This is worrying: the attempt shows a clear desire on the part of the EZ states to move business out of London and into the EZ, and there's no strong barrier to prevent such rules from being passed, in violation of the single market, if they were created by a competent body (such as by the ordinary legislative procedure).

So there's plenty of reasons for Britain to be negative about the EU. Notice I said nothing about immigration. Personally I have no problem with the free movement of workers and intra-EU migration. I think there's no sound economic or social argument against it. But even without immigration arguments, there's plenty wrong with the EU.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that the UK is more prosperous within the EU than without. We just have to stay part of the club and try to reform it from within.
Why continentals who say "I wish Britain would just leave" are silly:

Quote:
-For all that federalists like to talk about the UK holding back integration, there are several areas of integration where the UK is leading the pack in calling for further integration (namely, service sector and capital markets integration, which legally has equal priority as free movement of workers). An EU without the UK would have much less of a drive to integrate in this area.

- The UK is an important voice for the principle of governance by consent and the rights of self-determination. The EU would lose something if it lost this voice. Eurocrats have a tendency to want to bypass the people of Europe. I'm all for European integration (I'm a long-term federalist) but it must be by consent and it's going to take a long time for the people of Europe to develop a European identity such that a Frenchman cares as much about a German as he does a fellow Frenchman. This is, in my opinion, a prerequisite of a stable and fair federal Europe. Without this level of consent then all you have is one group of nations imposing their will on other nations, which is no different to Europe's centuries of conquest.

- The UK is a large, advanced and diversified economy with Europe's second-strongest military and a seat on the UN Security Council, without which the EU would have less global economic and diplomatic clout (though still considerable, it would be less).

- The UK provides a diversity of opinion about the purpose of the EU within the EU. The idea that Europe should be moving towards a federal state is by no means the "natural" view, and it's both right and good that there should be different views expressed about what the EU should be for. The UK has a tendency to advocate the "single market first" position, which is an important counterbalance to the French "political union" position. After all, while the EU's founders had the motive of economic union leading to some kind of greater political union (though federalism is not stated), they saw fit to formulate the EU as primarily an economic union. It's completely legitimate therefore that there should be a voice within the EU for the EU prioritising economic integration and perfecting the single market (which is still far from complete) before making any further attempts at increased political union.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:50 AM   #28
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I want to say that I'm alternating between funny and sad on the Brexit negotiations in Bruxelles. Arguing till five in the morning, lol. I suppose if it went down without drama, no one could claim they did everything they possibly could, but c'mon.

At least we know there'll be a result, because I'm pretty sure they already could have agreed, if they wanted to.

At any rate, what's the latest polling say?
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:09 AM   #29
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There's significant variation depending on methodology. Phone polls still put "stay" significantly ahead but other polls report "leave" as having taken the lead. In the general election the phone polls proved slightly more accurate but there's still massive uncertainty.

As for Cameron's "renegotiation", common consensus in the UK is that it's so feeble as to be meaningless. "Stay" numbers immediately fell in the polls after the draft agreement was released.
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:31 PM   #30
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Well, to no one's surprise, there's an agreement. Emergency break for 7 years, indexed child benefits (both for new arrivals), the ability to stall Eurozone laws, and the assurance that no, you do not need to be part of an ever closer union.

Of course, this will do nothing to solve the original point of decreasing immigration numbers. Then again, that was clear from the start, because the problem there is xenophobia, and how would you address that in laws without being xenophobic?

The emergency break will have virtually no effect, because people come to Britain to work (not for benefits), and they actually do work (instead of getting benefits), so this is a lulzy solution to a non-existing problem.

Glad you could fix that, I guess
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:57 PM   #31
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By the way, Sesc, this is a nice collation of all the polls on the referendum: https://ig.ft.com/sites/brexit-polling/

Not sure if you can see it though. So here's a screenshot:

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Old 02-20-2016, 10:48 AM   #32
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Well, to no one's surprise, there's an agreement. Emergency break for 7 years, indexed child benefits (both for new arrivals), the ability to stall Eurozone laws, and the assurance that no, you do not need to be part of an ever closer union.

Of course, this will do nothing to solve the original point of decreasing immigration numbers. Then again, that was clear from the start, because the problem there is xenophobia, and how would you address that in laws without being xenophobic?

The emergency break will have virtually no effect, because people come to Britain to work (not for benefits), and they actually do work (instead of getting benefits), so this is a lulzy solution to a non-existing problem.

Glad you could fix that, I guess
It has the desired effect. Cameron is seen as having done something, so he can get the eurosceptics off his back, and since he did indeed negotiate terms he doesn't have to call a referendum while still fulfilling his campaign promises.

The system worked.
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Old 02-20-2016, 11:15 AM   #33
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Er, are you saying he isn't calling the referendum which he called for Thursday, June 23rd?
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:51 PM   #34
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Interesting to see the impact this referendum will have on the Scots, Welsh and NI elections. Seems like a real kick in the balls for the scots and welsh conservatives, who have been trying desperately to position themselves in the political mainstream. Their vote may well be split.
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Old 02-23-2016, 01:12 PM   #35
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Saw this news just now and figured this was the proper thread for it:

Civil servants banned from helping EU out campaigners

Quote:
Michael Gove and other ministers campaigning for Britain's exit will also be unable to use official briefings to prepare campaign speeches.

But civil servants will be allowed to help ministers arguing for Britain to "remain in a reformed EU", No 10 said.
UKIP described the move as a "total stitch-up".

The rule change was announced by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.
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Old 02-23-2016, 03:47 PM   #36
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It's a fairly standard example of the rule that government officials are not allowed to use governmental resources for matters outside their capacity as members of the the government. Brexit is not government policy therefore anyone campaigning for it is doing so in their personal capacity.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:39 PM   #37
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It's a fairly standard example of the rule that government officials are not allowed to use governmental resources for matters outside their capacity as members of the the government. Brexit is not government policy therefore anyone campaigning for it is doing so in their personal capacity.
It's the equivalent of the Hatch Act here, which prohibits civil servants from engaging in politics in their capacity as government officials.

On topic, I've heard a lot in the past couple of days about Sterling tanking in the currency markets as Brexit advocacy increases from high profile people like Boris Johnson, etc. Do you think this gives voters pause, or are they not concerned with esoteric things like currency exchange markets?
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Old 02-23-2016, 08:49 PM   #38
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If this was about facts and reason, there wouldn't be a referendum to begin with. English people feel disturbed in their English Englishness, and therefore they'd rather not.

I wonder how it will go down if England has a clear vote for leaving, and Britain stays because votes in NI and especially Scotland. Perhaps, this time, England demands independence.
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Old 02-24-2016, 06:19 AM   #39
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On topic, I've heard a lot in the past couple of days about Sterling tanking in the currency markets as Brexit advocacy increases from high profile people like Boris Johnson, etc. Do you think this gives voters pause, or are they not concerned with esoteric things like currency exchange markets?
I doubt it will change much. Currency is extremely responsive to uncertainty - the same thing happened before the Scottish referendum. The fall of the pound is not so much a judgment on Brexit itself as much as it's an expression of unpredictability.

Further, the fall in the pound will be cheered by a decent number of people. For those who want to "rebalance" the UK economy and increase exports of manufactured goods, a lower pound is a good thing.

Quote:
If this was about facts and reason, there wouldn't be a referendum to begin with. English people feel disturbed in their English Englishness, and therefore they'd rather not.
I dunno, I think there's one good argument for Brexit, which is this: the UK is never going to join the Euro. It's not politically possible, but more importantly (because politics can change quickly), it's not economically possible. I'm not sure if the EU has really fully thought through the long term implications of this. I imagine there's a dominant body of thought that has always assumed that eventually, the UK would join. But I don't think it's ever going to happen. Not unless the UK economy radically transforms in the next few decades away from a "home ownership" economy to a "renting" economy. Everyone seems to forget that the UK was originally supposed to join the Euro, but the attempt caused an economic crash and a recession. The opt-out wasn't planned, it was a recognition of economic reality.

This surely means that eventually, as the Eurozone integrates closer and closer and becomes more and more like a federal state, there is going to come a point where the EU has been hollowed out and the EZ is the real body through which European affairs are run. At that point the UK will be essentially "out" already.

Therefore, since in the long run the UK has no viable future in the European Union, it makes a certain amount of sense to start the work now in trying to come up with an alternative strategy for Britain's geopolitical and trade position.
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:45 PM   #40
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The thing about benefits is that the EU rule is that job-seekers are entitled to claim unemployment benefits from day 1, but access to full benefits does not happen until you are classified as a worker. Obviously this very general rule applies unevenly across the EU and the UK is hit particularly hard by it.

Most of the EU have contribution-based unemployment benefit systems, meaning that the amount you can claim is proportional to the amount you have contributed. In the UK (and I believe Germany) this is not the case: UK unemployment benefit is available to everyone looking for a job, for as long as they can document actual searches for a job (i.e. applications sent). This means that any EU migrant to the UK can claim benefits from the moment they step on British soil, which is not the case in practice for most EU states (where they will be legally entitled to claim unemployment benefits but have no contributions built up to claim from).

This is made even worse by the way the UK health system is structured. The NHS being free to all at the point of access means there's no health insurance system like in most of Europe. In most EU states, to gain access to the health care you would have to be covered by either private or public insurance, and access to the public insurance generally would not happen until you gained full access to that state's full benefit system.
I pay for the NHS as an international student, so that's not quite right.

In relation to EU migrants getting benefits, I don't believe that that's actually a problem in the UK, but if it was, surely you could just have a seperate law for migrants mandating they put in first to get later like the remainder of the EU does? British benefits for British citizens, EU benefits for EU citizens and all that?
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Taure is more than enough woman for me.
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Mind giving a description of your gran, in particular without her bifocals and dentures?

This may sound odd, but goddamn, does she sound familiar.
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