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British EU Referendum Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Taure, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Neither. They just will be the ones seeing any financial benefit from their industries, rather than the Scots. The one thing Scotland thought it had was North Sea oil, but that prediction seems to have been overblown.

    Scotland, as it stands today, would not be financially viable as a standalone state.
     
  2. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    This is not without historical context. In 2005 Tony Blair agreed to sacrifice 20% of the UK rebate in exchange for CAP reform. That reform never occurred. The UK does not therefore anticipate that the EU will negotiate in good faith - when the EU says that if we come to a fair separation agreement they will be happy to consider a fair FTA the UK government simply does not believe them.
     
  3. blab

    blab Second Year

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    The EU enlargement of 2004 brought a lot of new relatively poor states into the EU.
    Therefore the richer states had to pay a lot more in the EU budget, and they didn't get more benefits => their net contributions rose.
    The UK's rebate essentially means that it gets 66% of their net contribution back, so their additional burden was disproportionally light.
    This had an effect on the relative size of the rebate to the disadvantage Britain had due to not getting much use out of CAP, making the rebate look much, much better.
    It also meant that that it would get overtaken as a net contributor by a couple nations, especially France.
    This was perceived as unfair and not intended originally by those nations, especially France.

    So in 2005 the EU had a big scuffle about the budget and the rebate came under fire, especially by France.
    In the end Britain agreed to reduce the rebate by about 20% from 2007 until 2013 for a total amount of 10 billion €.

    This meant that while Britain's net contribution would still rise more slowly than the other richer states, like France, by the end of 2013 France would still have a slightly better deal than the Brits instead of the other way around, and that was what was important after all.
    (I am not sure how it ended up looking in retrospect, financial crisis and all.)

    Meanwhile Tony Blair was also EU president and his agenda was to reform the CAP. He failed, because of resistance by CAP beneficiaries, like France. During negotiation he also tied any concession on the rebate to reforming the CAP, but he didn't manage to make it happen.


    So yeah, Britain gave up those 20% for 7 years and all they got some agreement review EU spending, subject to all veto powers, etc, that nobody expected to amount to anything.
    Pretty shitty deal.

    But depicting the reduction of the rebate as a trade for a CAP reform is false.
     
  4. The Iron Rose

    The Iron Rose Order Member

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    Looks like brexit is happening next week, on the 29th.
     
  5. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Not so much. On the 29th they announce their desire to begin negotiating how the negotiations will happen. It just puts a 2 year timetable on the issue.
     
  6. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    As far as I'm aware, that's a two year countdown, not a target. If article 50 gets triggered, we're out of the EU. It's just a matter of time.
     
  7. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Someone more versed in divorce proceedings can probably come up with a better analogy, but to my understanding, May triggering it is essentially the equivalent of someone going to live elsewhere while the divorce is being handled. Technically married, but working out everything to make sure they won't be soon.

    Except instead of 'just' a home, children, pets, accounts, and other assorted things, this involves agreements on basically every aspect of government?
     
  8. calutron

    calutron Unspeakable

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  9. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The UK was warned this would happen, and they chose to ignore that warning.
     
  10. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    It's actually a legally grey area as to whether article 50 can be rescinded or not - that is, whether it's an inevitable deadline or whether you can change you mind. There's nothing in article 50 itself to determine this. It would be down to the ECJ to decide.

    RE: Goldman Sachs: they've had a significant base in Frankfurt for years now, they're just scaling up what was already there rather than doing some kind of wholescale shift of operations. Their London operations will remain significant, they're just moving a few hundred staff over.

    Going back a bit:

    I feel like this is something of an overly legal interpretation of the way the EU functions at the highest level.

    Legally speaking, you're correct. There was no legally enforceable promise on behalf of the EU to reform the CAP, and there isn't even any EU law mechanism to make such a promise short of a treaty change.

    Similarly, there was no legal mechanism under EU law to change the UK rebate against the UK's will.

    What you're failing to include in your analysis is the extent to which the EU remains essentially governed by quid pro quo agreements between member states. While the EU Commission likes to think of itself as a federal government it remains fundamentally subservient to the European Council made up of the member states.

    No, of course a quid pro quo agreement to vote in certain ways and make certain efforts towards reform is not legally enforceable under EU law. But that doesn't change the fact that failing to follow through on such an agreement undermines future trust in similar agreements. Tony Blair's failure to reform the CAP during his presidency of the Council (a position which I feel I should remind you was at the time largely administrative and carried no real power) was of course a result of his failure to persuade the other member states to vote along with him. That fact is not exclusive with the fact that those member states had made non-enforceable political agreements to reform the CAP and then failed to follow through with them. Meanwhile, the UK did follow through it its agreement to willingly consent to a change in the rebate that negatively affected UK interests.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  11. blab

    blab Second Year

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    ...
    In my effort to provide context I seem to have failed to make my main point clear.
    So:
    This did not happen.
    Or if it did, it failed to make its way to the German press.
    But I don't get the impression Blair thought he managed to secure anything by googling December 2005 UK articles on that topic, either.

    Frankly, it also seems like such an exceptionally unlikely feat, to get such quid pro quo agreements in Blair's situation.

    So yeah, I remain convinced that Blair simply shelved the structural reform and negotiated for a fair budget from the UK's perspective (read: relatively small budget) which is what he said he would do.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/dec/02/uk.topstories3
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/dec/17/eu.world
     
  12. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Prediction time?

    Reading stuff like this, I think there is a decent likelihood for the following course:

    Britain: We want X.
    EU: Dream on.
    Britain: If we don't get X, no deal is fine as well.
    EU: I'll call that bluff.
    Britain: ... what bluff?

    Two years later: The EU has agreements with Fiji and El Salvador, but not Britain.

    The result crucially depends on bluffs actually being bluffs, as long as bluffs are considered bluffs. If you're playing chicken, but one side does not actually mind jumping over the bridge, and the other doesn't (and cannot, realistically) consider this, what you end up with is a train wreck.

    One more reason to have friendly talks in good faith instead of negotiating in a game of brinkmanship, but as we figured out, that's quite impossible.


    Edit: If you want to cry (or laugh): A survey about what the people think.

    And even leaving aside items that don't go together due to politics, what about those that don't go together using simple reason? People want free trade and customs checks. People want clean water and no pesticide regulations. At its core, this only shows why we usually ask people to elect other people to govern, instead of asking people questions to govern, because the answers make no fucking sense.

    I mean, in a way, it's obvious -- who doesn't like "clean beaches", "no extra mobile charges abroad" and other nice stuff? But there is zero awareness of trade-offs, no consideration at all where this magical regulation needs to come from in order to simply work -- some place that is not your own capital. And that's kinda shocking. What else can you conclude but that a lot of people voted to leave something they didn't understand?

    And in the end, that might be the fairest reason of them all. The only problem is, life isn't simpler afterwards.
     
  13. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Agreed, but with both sides saying "we want X".

    EU: We want 60bn euros and won't discuss anything else until you give it to us.

    UK: We're not going to give you 60 bn euros unless you give us a trade deal in exchange for it.

    EU: We refuse to discuss trade until you commit to the 60bn.

    It seems to be a really easy way for negotiations to fail to even get started.

    The one compromise position I can see is that the UK commits in principle to paying the EU some "exit bill" but does not release the money until a trade deal is agreed.
     
  14. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Granted, though I would hope that our hardliners will be kept in check more than I expect this to be the case on the British side.

    However, that bill and the trade agreement are different things. Realistically, of course the two issues will get tangled up, but that is quite unfortunate; it would be in everyone's interest to get that out of the way first.

    From everything I understand, it's rather like the US debt ceiling -- simply the price tag on stuff everyone has agreed upon a long time ago, like pensions for MEPs and civil servants or commitments to EU projects. Settling that is only fair, and it's not a concession nor a token of goodwill. If May has any sense, she discusses the sum, and not the existence.

    I mean, you don't order lunch in a restaurant and then consider it some great gesture not to leave without paying, either.
     
  15. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    This is the EU... I hesitate to say propaganda, so let's just say rhetoric.

    Legally speaking, the EU doesn't really have a leg to stand on with respect to the "exit bill". UK commitments to the EU are all premised on being a member. The whole purpose of article 50 is to terminate all obligations and benefits of membership of the EU. The only exceptions to that termination are those that are specifically negotiated.

    The idea that the UK should have obligations to the EU after exit is as baseless as the UK arguing, for example, that it should have continuing benefits after exit (such as continued financial passporting). Just as the UK loses all benefits on exit unless the EU agrees otherwise, so too does the UK lose all obligations.

    The UK agreeing to an ongoing obligation that it doesn't have to is a gesture of goodwill, just as the EU agreeing to an ongoing benefit would be.

    A lot of people have compared the idea of the UK refusing to pay an exit bill as a sovereign default. These people have been reading the wrong news sources. The UK's commitments to the EU budget are not financial instruments issued by the UK which give rise to contractual obligations to pay. The EU is not the UK's creditor. The concept of default has no place in the discussion. No one holding a UK gilt is going to think the UK is less likely to pay its creditors because it has left the EU and as such as stopped paying into the EU budget.

    Yes, there were things agreed to before exit due to budgets being determined in advance. That doesn't really change anything - it's just another obligation, just like freedom of movement or the jurisdiction of the ECJ. Budget agreements were not a contract between governments, they were the determination of the conditions of membership. The whole point of exit is that the UK is no longer a member. If the EU wanted to keep UK budget contributions and thus avoid having to scale back currently planned projects, it should have given Cameron more in his attempt to placate the British public via negotiation of reform. The EU doesn't get to pretend that the UK is still part of the EU where it benefits them, but accept that we've left where it doesn't. The proposition on the table was exit, and under any plain understanding of exit, UK budget contributions would end.

    From an enforcement perspective, the only law that makes budget contributions obligatory is EU law - the very law that will cease to apply to the UK on exit. There will therefore, after exit, be no legal basis to demand payment. The UK will essentially become like any other non-member state. The EU asking the UK to pay budget contributions after exit would be no different to asking the US to do so.

    And if the EU were mad enough to take it to the International Court of Justice, they would face severe problems. Firstly I very much doubt they would win the case. The existence of article 50 shows that it is part of the EU treaties that members can leave and thus terminate obligations and benefits. Secondly the ECJ has several times announced the EU to be a new legal order separate from international law, which immediately puts into doubt whether the ICJ can even rule on it. The ECJ is the arbiter of EU law, not the ICJ, yet the ECJ would no longer have jurisdiction over the UK. Thirdly, any ruling of the ICJ is enforced by the UN security council, on which the UK has a permanent seat and veto. So it would be a pointless exercise even if the EU did win.

    Anyway, the point is that a) there's no legal basis for continuing obligations, b) what is fair is what was agreed in the treaties, and c) in any case, fairness is surely marked by reciprocity, in which case both obligations and benefits end. Obligations continuing but benefits ceasing would not be fair.

    Of course, this is all subject to political negotiation. As mentioned above, excpetions can be negotiated. But by no means is it the natural, legal, or more just position that the exit bill comes first. It's self-interest.

    The analogy is not leaving without paying after eating. The analogy is ordering a week in advance and cancelling your order days before you had planned to eat. There's now one fewer dish at the table, and one fewer person paying. It would not really be just to ask that person to still pay for the dish when they're not going to eat it. The remaining friends have a choice: remove that dish from the order and have a smaller meal, or still order it and cough up more cash themselves.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Heir

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    I'm sorry, but what? No legal standing? This isn't sovereign law, this is public international law. There's no code of law and precedents, just agreements and commitments. A new commitment/agreement does not in any way imply in erasure of previous ones. That's not how real life work anywhere.

    Article 50 is not tabula rasa on relations with the EU. It does not erasure the past choices made.

    Hiring, policies, regulations, etc; all those had and will still have a cost. They will keep spending, and the UK agreed to that spending.

    EU law is international law. It's not internal law. You don't cease to apply it in the way leaving a sovereign nation low would on secession. EU law is merely bureaucratic procedure. Its strength relies on the freaking agreement by the UK and depends on it.
     
  17. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    1. EU law is not governed by general public international law. I would not expect you to know this as I doubt Brazilian legal education includes an EU law module, but the ECJ has been repeatedly very clear that the EU is separate from general public international law. This was first established in the case of Van Gend en Loos and has been repeated many times since:

    EU law does have a code of law and precedents.

    2. Following from the above, budget commitments to the EU are not an intergovernmental treaty, nor are they contractually binding agreements that exist outside of EU law. The EU is a supranational entity, not an intergovernmental one. The budget and each member's contribution is set by the Commission, a federal agency, and confirmed by the EU Parliament, a supranational democratic body, as well as the European Council (which represents the member states). All of the above is premised on membership. Budget agreements are not agreements that exist separately from the EU treaties. The EU budget is determined in accordance with those treaties, and those treaties also contain a provision to unilaterally withdraw from them.

    3. Article 50 is exactly a tabula rasa on relations with the EU:

     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  18. Invictus

    Invictus Heir

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    Fair enough. Since you didn't explain the legal rationale, just what you quoted as fact, I assumed business as usual. Thanks for the explanation.
     
  19. nath1607

    nath1607 Groundskeeper

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    [​IMG]

    An incredibly sad picture. The EU referendum was announced near the beginning of '16.
     
  20. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Notice that still only around 30% thought it was important on the day of the referendum.

    Since then, the rest of Britain has been waking up to it. It's like Trump supporters saying 'fuck the Federal Government!' and only now realising how much they depend on it.