It’s Gotten So Bad in Europe, Even Eurocrats Begin to Worry

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“Demands for further escape referendums.”

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

You know that things are bad when even the firmest believers begin questioning their faith. That’s what’s starting to happen in Europe, where the EU faces a dizzying constellation of threats and challenges and even the staunchest of eurocrats are beginning to express doubts.

Many people have lost trust in “entire institutions, whether national or European,” laments European Parliament Chief Martin Schulz. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine, he warned over a possible “implosion of the EU” due to the blossoming Euroskeptic movements in member states.

The main reason for Schulz’s gloomy disposition is the Dutch referendum vote last week against an EU-Ukraine trade agreement. It was the third referendum in a row that has gone against the EU’s interests, following Greece’s rejection last summer of the Troika’s latest plan and Denmark’s decision earlier this year not to seek closer security cooperation with Brussels.

In time-honored fashion, the EU’s response was to carry on regardless, announcing that it will shortly propose granting visa-free travel to Ukrainians despite the outcome of the Dutch referendum. In January, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that if the Dutch voted NO, it could spark a “big constitutional crisis”; now, it’s as if it never happened.

“It may look as if we’re ignoring the Dutch voters, but we have to keep our word to Ukraine, which has met the conditions (for visa-free travel),” a Commission source said. It’s a risky strategy:

Large ranks of Dutch people are already deeply frustrated with the EU and their numbers are growing as fears about high immigration, slow growth and economic insecurity have risen. This is the second time in a decade that Brussels has ridden roughshod over the wishes of a majority of Dutch voters, who will have the perfect opportunity to express their dissatisfaction in national elections next year.

By ignoring the concerns of Dutch voters, the Commission has done itself no favors in the next European referendum, which is the most important of all.

On June, 23, the people of Britain will be granted the choice whether to stay in the EU or go its own way. If they follow in the footsteps of the Greeks, Danes, and Dutch before them, and vote against the EU’s interests, things could begin to unravel. As Schulz warned: “If the British leave the EU, there will be [other] demands for further escape referendums.”

It would certainly be the biggest political threat the European project had ever faced. The economic consequences could also be huge. In its latest outlook the IMF warns that a British exit “could do severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships.” The referendum has already created uncertainty for investors and a vote to exit would only heighten this, the Fund says.

One group of investors that is particularly concerned: big international banks. According to Chris Bates, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance, who has advised several banks on their Brexit plans, it is they who “have the most to lose.”

In the last two decades, the U.K. has established itself as the leading European hub for derivatives and foreign-exchange trading, particularly in euros. Around half of the country’s £6.9 trillion ($9.8 trillion) in banking assets are held by non-British institutions, according to Fitch Ratings. They include Goldman Sachs, arguably the most influential financial institution in Europe, which is leading the charge against Brexit by donating around $700,000 to a group lobbying for the UK to remain in the EU.

Goldman is helping to fund Project Fear, the massive PR campaign aimed at sowing and watering the seeds of dread about the potential consequences of a British exit from the EU. Yet the project doesn’t appear to be achieving its objective. If anything, it is fueling support for Brexit, as recent polls have shown.

The one thing about fear is that it’s hard to sustain for any great length of time, especially if the doom-and-gloom consequences foretold do not materialise. As the eurosceptic MEP Daniel Hannan puts it, “there comes a time when threats become so overblown that they serve to irk rather than to frighten.”

Unless the EU can find something with which to energize voters and make them feel good about being part of the most ambitious political project of the last 50 years — rather than just fretting about the potentially dire consequences of not being part of it — Brussels risks losing its grip, not only over the UK but over Europe as a whole. But how do you make people feel good about a project that appears to be unraveling?

Greece, for example, is no less bankrupt now than it was last summer, as last week’s leak of a private conversation between two IMF economists served to remind us. Many of the intractable economic problems facing Spain and Portugal, including out-of-control public debt, have not gone away; they have merely been put on hold until majority governments emerge that are more amenable to the Troika way of doing things.

As if that were not enough, France, the one European country that still knows how to party like it was 1789, or at least 1968, has taken to the streets en masse in protest against the government’s new labor reforms, all of which portends a rather hot summer in the Eurozone’s second biggest economy.

Meanwhile, in Italy the government and central bank are working day and night to find a rug big enough to hide the staggering pile of bad debt that has formed on the banks’ books. At last count Italian non-performing loans (NPLs) were estimated to be worth €360 billion, which is 18% of total loans and equal to one-sixth of Italian GDP. To try to address — or at least temporarily mask — the problem, the government has created a bail-out fund with a €5 billion backstop, in which larger, stronger banks are supposed to support smaller, weaker banks. Time will tell whether this contains or spreads the problem.

The “populist” governments of Poland and Hungary are digging their heels in on just about everything Brussels tries to throw at them, from immigration policy to media laws. Germany’s government, Europe’s ring master, has enough on its plate trying to placate voters’ fears about immigration while striving to put a leash on an out-of-control ECB.

One fears it’s already too late, especially with Europe’s biggest banks, from Deutsche to Santander, to HSBC and Credit Suisse, looking more and more unsteady. All the while, the clock keeps ticking down to June 23. On that day, fear may well be the deciding emotion in a vote that could change the world. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.

Project Fear is in full bloom. In the event of a wrong answer in the Brexit vote, all manner of biblical disasters will befall the British. National income will shrink. Millions of jobs will vanish. The City of London’s core industry, financial engineering, will migrate across the channel. The currency will collapse. House prices will plummet. European firms will stop selling products to Brits. The US government will impose massive tariffs on British imports. Even Britain’s dismal climate will get worse. And now the Bank of England weighed in. Read…  Brexit Meltdown at the Bank of England

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  38 comments for “It’s Gotten So Bad in Europe, Even Eurocrats Begin to Worry

  1. Keith
    April 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    This was a popular banner in a week of anti-austerity protests in Spain a couple of years back:

    “Unconditional bailouts for bankers and austerity for the people”

    Western politicians, this sort of thing really doesn’t help gain popular support .

    Why are the people turning against us?

    We have seen how the current globalisation works.

    In the good times, prior to 2008, all we hear about are the “wealth creators”. How the “wealth creators” are responsible for the boom and how they deserve to keep their rewards.

    In the bad times, after 2008, the easy profits have gone and so have the “wealth creators”. It is up to national tax payers and national institutions (Governments and Central Banks) to sort out the mess.

    The profits are privatised and the losses are socialised.

    Unconditional bailouts for bankers and austerity for the people.

    A globalist elite lining their pockets at everyone else’s expense.

    What is there not to like?

    Probably too late to venture out of your ivory towers now.

    Get the doors welded shut for your own protection.

    • April 14, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      I think there was only a 30pc turnout for the Dutch referendum; hardly the stuff of mass, populist uprising. You almost have to admire the Eurocrats for deciding that a non-binding, minority turnout of the 64th most populated county in the world is probably not a good reason to about turn and issue a cold shoulder to a desperate sovereign power, invaded and assaulted by a violent, corrupt aggressor – that same country which is effectively picking a proxy fight against Europe. After all this rich, democratic superstate of 500m was largely founded to foster peace, free trade and security whilst butted up against the threats behind the iron curtain.

      • April 14, 2016 at 5:49 pm

        Here’s a superb perspective on that vote, written BEFORE the vote, by a Dutch columnist, in Wolf Street English. It explains why the turnout would be low (it was boycotted by the yes-vote in order to keep turnout low, hoping to invalidate the no-vote at least in people’s minds):

        The shenanigans and political wrangling that went into this are quite something.

        • nhz
          April 15, 2016 at 3:47 am

          there also was some twisted fun after the referendum, e.g. from pro-EU media figures who were angry because they felt they had been duped into supporting the NO vote, because they believed their own lies that the YES camp would win and decided to vote YES (increasing the turnout instead of strategically not-voting, like some other EU supporters did).

          IMHO it is a miracle that so many NO voters decided to vote anyway, after the disaster with the previous EU referendum where a strong NO vote was completely ignored. If the EU ignores this NO vote again (and it definitely looks like that) it’s time to ditch the new Dutch referendum option for good because everyone will realize it is totally fake.

          Admittedly, some things were stupid like spending 40 million euros of tax money on dozens of private campaigns for both YES and NO vote, including such things as handing out free stroopwafels in support of the YES vote, and printing politically incorrect toilet paper in support of the NO vote. But I have no doubt this was a deliberate decision by Dutch politicians, hoping to confuse the public so they would not vote.

      • annette
        April 15, 2016 at 8:00 am

        You’ve drank the Putin is BAD Kool Aid.

      • peter forsyth
        April 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

        Londoner. The people have never voted for the EU dictatorship, it has been thrust upon them by powerful people who will never take no for an answer knowing full well that British politicians who act as their lapdogs will be at their beck and call. America turned Europe into barrier against communism enslaving its populations into a fascist dictatorship without them actually knowing what was being played out on the stage of which they are a part.

      • d'Cynic
        April 15, 2016 at 11:56 am

        The Netherlands is the only country that allowed the referendum on this issue, but you probably already know it. For every other country, the enlightened elites made the decision. It certainly is waste of money because they routinely ignore referendum outcomes that are unfavourable. I still think referendums are a good idea if they take a cue from Switzerland.
        On the bright side, anything that makes Martin Schultz worried makes my day.

      • tabarnick
        April 16, 2016 at 10:32 pm

        The Netherlands is the 8th of 28 countries in the EU by population, and its economy is the 6th. A huge majority of Dutch voted on an issue, and the predictable reply from Europe and its supporters is: “whatever gave you peasants the idea that you had any say on the issues of your society? This is democracy! As we understand it, it means: we rule, you bow gratefully to the superior judgement of your betters”

        Putin is clearly the latest of a long line of dictators du jour that the global elite wants invaded, toppled and eliminated at whatever cost. Saddam was to go and Iraq was to turn into a garden. The country is a flaming wreck mostly ruled by Iran-aligned theocrats. Gaddafi was bombed so Libya could join the enlightened West. The country is torn into civil war and fanatic extremists feast on the bloody corpse. Let’s topple Bashar al-Assad and all will be candy and roses. We can see the results of this marvelous social engineering experiment every day on the evening news. Ukraine is only the latest in line of those fiascos. A coup we were meant to cheer, to replace a corrupt oligarch with another corrupt oligarch, resulting in another country crashing down in chaos, a government “bombing its own population”, a civil war generating thousands of dead, refugees by the hundreds of thousands, economy in free fall. Believe you me, if Russia wanted to asssault and invade Ukraine, they would have been in Kiev in 72 hours, top.

        • d
          April 17, 2016 at 1:18 am

          “Believe you me, if Russia wanted to asssault and invade Ukraine, they would have been in Kiev in 72 hours, top.”

          Putin dosent want all of Ukraine, YET.

          To many liability’s in the center and west of it (Chernobyl Etc).

          He has the bits he wanted, for now, and a weakened state as a buffer zone, just like DPRK Ukraine will be a thorn in the side of the west, for generations, Russia will keep, it that way.

        • Keith
          April 17, 2016 at 4:53 am

          The supposedly Left newspaper in the UK (The Guardean) was supporting the fascist coup in Ukraine.

          The Western narrative was so ridiculous I started watching RT and found a coherent version of events.

          I also discovered a week of anti-austerity protests in Spain that were not mentioned at all by UK media.

          But the RT coverage of all the wars started to get a bit depressing and to save my sanity I stopped watching.

          I went back recently and the war coverage is greatly reduced, they were probably losing viewers.

          The reality out there is so bad no one can face it.

        • tabarnick
          April 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

          Dear d,

          “Putin dosent want all of Ukraine, YET”

          I don’t see any innocent party in the Ukraine descent into Hell. I am sure Russians were quite happy to seize the opportunity they were handed to return Crimea into Russia proper.

          But whatever you imagine Putin wants, as detected by your super-human intercontinental mind-reading powers, is irrelevant. What should matter is what actual Crimeans want. If they are now imprisoned in Russia against their will then yes Russia has to be condemned for a despicable land-grab. But all I have read reported by journalists who actually went there and asked them is that an overwhelming majority is glad to be back in Russia.

          It just goes to show how deluded and boneheaded Ukrainian politicians and their supporters were. Ukraine was not an homogeneous nation-state. Once you have overthrown a possibly corrupt but still democratically elected government in a violent and anti-russian revolution, it is too late to cry about legal niceties. You have opened the door for the other side to say: hasta la vista, Kiev!

        • d
          April 17, 2016 at 10:41 pm

          “you imagine Putin wants, as detected by your super-human intercontinental mind-reading powers,”

          Russia wants what it has wanted since Catherine the great TOTAL PLANETARY DOMINATION via continuous expansion. But whatever means available.

          “The collapse of the Soviet union was the biggest disaster in global history” (word’s to that effect) Vladimir Putin as President of the Russian federation.

          Putin is reestablishing the greater soviet Borders, and destabilizing the Buffer-zones, that were part of the USSR. O bummers weakness enabled this.

          Nobody has to be Clairvoyant to ascertain this. Professionals with better sources of information better than mine, come to the same deductions supported by Facts.

          The invasion and seizure of Crimea along with the Orchestrated referendum of return to Russia are straight out of Stalin’s 1944-47 Absorption of Eastern Europe. BY FORCE. Play book. Putin regards Stalin, as a GOD.

          China and Russia use the same Illegal tactics of population change by Immigration in the lands they are seizing hence the Injected Russian populations in the Baltic’s and the eastern Buffer states.1919 USSR collapsed and withdrew, it left it fifth columns, and excuse populations behind, it has done this before.

          A Tactic they Taught to the Muslim States which they used in Judea Samaria and the Israeli Jordan valley. After they ethnically cleansed them AT GUN POINT in 1948. Muslims now claim that the Illegal Immigrant Jordanian population is Historically Indigenous even though none of them were there prior to 1917 and the vast majority of them were not their prior to 1949.

          “What should matter is what actual Crimeans want.”

          BS what should matter is what non “Ethnic Russia”, Crimean’s, want, and they want Russia GONE.

          Crimean Tartar family’s Exiled by Stalin, and others are still being prevented by Moscow. From returning to their ancestral lands as they will swing the population balance. Further against Russia.

          Putin has stolen the Crimea. Moscow will keep it. With an Iron fist.

          Those are facts on the ground.

          Tying to claim the Ethnic majority of Crimea Actually wants this, is a hypocritical lie.

          Under International law the Majority of the Ethnically Russian population in the Ukraine is there Illegally. As they were transported in post 1917.

        • tabarnick
          April 18, 2016 at 8:01 am

          Gosh if you say it in ALL-CAPS then it must be true.

          Putin never said that USSR’s collapse was the biggest disaster in global history, but for Russians it was a disaster all right. It was a true collapse into liberal shock doctrine chaos, with the economy collapsing, oligarchs tearing parts of it as personal fiefs, and duking it out with mafya bosses, murders of politicans and journalists in the streets, life expectancy regressing and human misery everywhere. You cannot understand Putin’s popularity without understanding the trauma that was Russians’ exposure to “democracy” and “market economy”.

          Of course if you ask the same US military community clairvoyants who issue reports after reports about the Cuban threat and the Libyan threat and the Panamean threat, along with visions of the US military being greeted as liberators with flowers in Baghdad, you will also find apocalyptic reports about RUSSIA’S PLANS for TOTAL PLANETARY DOMINATION!!!

          Populations have moved throughout history. The Tatars were originally from Mongolia and Kazakhstan and when they invaded Crimea in the 13th century it already had a sizeable portion of Kiev Rus. In 1917, at the time of the revolution Tatars were already only a third of the population of Crimea, and Crimea was a big part of the russian culture. Pushkin in exile lived there, Tolstoy wrote the Sevastopol Sketches about about his Crimean ex[erience, Chekhov lived in Yalta and wrote Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard there. Nabokov’s family was from there too.

          We can push your logic of ethnic cleansing further. If we don’t ship all Europeans and Africans out of America, at least all elections should be carried out solely among the Iroquois and Sioux and Quechuas and Innus. That should keep us entertained before we pursue your program to its logical conclusion, mankind retreating to its origin, everyone back where we belong in Africa.

        • d
          April 18, 2016 at 8:41 am

          “Putin never said that USSR’s collapse was the biggest disaster in global history,”

          He said words to that effect I will seek them in due course.

          The only Russians harmed by the fall of the soviet, long term were the Communist masters who did not morph into the FSB mafia state Russia has become.

          “Of course if you ask the same US military community clairvoyants ”

          Why would you ask or believe them, they are simply the flip side of the Ridiculous Russians and Chinese anti west BS that you seem to subscribe to. The administrations of Russia china and Iran need western enemies to justify their aggressive dictatorial behaviors

          Iranians, Chinese, Russians, Americans, all are a big problem, the Americans are Just like, Assad the best of a VERY bad lot.

          The Russian administration should not have Crimea or any of the Ukraine.

          From memory the Russian Authors you mentioned, like several others in History were effectively EXILED to Ukraine.

          If you want to play ethnic reversals one of the first would be to send all Iranians and Persians east of the Gulf an all Arabs back to the Saudi Peninsular.

          Only they Jordanians In Judea Samaria and The Israeli Jordan valley in that group are government installed illegal immigrant populations.
          Unlike various Russian and Chinese populations outside their national borders .

          Non native Americans were also not government installed.

          There is a big difference between allowing people to move pre 1600 and moving them on to land that others clearly habitate and work, with the deliberate intention of stealing an existing civilized country with a working modern/ current standard administration. Post mid 1800’s which Russia In eastern Europe, china and the Arabs have repeatedly done.

        • C.collins
          April 19, 2016 at 11:01 pm

          Good stuff! I love it! Exact a mundo!

      • Gerry W
        April 17, 2016 at 6:01 pm

        I feel you go a little over the top in describing theUSA and NATO as corrupt aggressors,but you are probably correct, in fact you are correct they are violent and fixing a proxy war which will destroy Europe as they did in Syria.

    • Arne Jorgensen
      April 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Citation from the above: Project Fear is in full bloom. In the event of a wrong answer in the Brexit vote, all manner of biblical disasters will befall the British. National income will shrink. Millions of jobs will vanish. The City of London’s core industry, financial engineering, will migrate across the channel. The currency will collapse. House prices will plummet. European firms will stop selling products to Brits. The US government will impose massive tariffs on British imports. Even Britain’s dismal climate will get worse.
      – Well – you must be scared now – hopefully – the EU-wolfs think.
      The above terrible scenary is an exact copy of what was told us Danes before the referendum about joining the EURO and before that – The Mastrict treaty – or more or less all earlier passed referendums we the Danes have went trough. Every time the EU-apparatus warned us, that hell would break out if we voted – no. And the outcome – well – Denmark was better of every time afterwards – every time we voted – no – Our economy was better and healtier, our wellfaresystem survived in an exccelent manner, and to day we are among the very few EU-memberstates that until the migranthell broke lose, have been doing far better than the majority of EURO-nations that followed suit of bare fear of the consequences of standing up against the mighty EU-bureaucrats. To the British – say no – SAY NO – lout and clear to the ugly bunch of the spiderweb of EU-finance-mafia and corrupted EU-politicians in Brussels and Strasburg. — A much slimmer and less bureaucratic – less comanding EU is needed, if EU is to survive at all. That is a fact. Suvereinity back to the nations – that is the only chance left for the EU-monster, which to day are so overloaded and overregulated, that its cabability to make any move nessasary is completely out of question as its legs underneath, are completely smashed under the weight of the collosseus. From me to the brave British people – stand up against the EU – vote a loud and clear NO – and you will be rewarded with a much helthtier and freeér Britain. And we Danes will follow you out of the EU-menance – all the best to you over there on the other side of the Northsea.

  2. nhz
    April 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    The Dutch voted NO despite a MASSIVE campaign of government and the news media for a YES vote. According to EU politicians the NO vote means nothing, because “all other 27 EU countries were in favor of the agreement” – except that NONE of those countries allowed their citizens to vote ;-(

    The Dutch government is now biding time until after the Brexit referendum; maybe after that the current government will be sacrificed for the higher EU good. I guess most people who voted NO don’t have high hopes anyway that the very undemocratic EU will listen to them, they have been ignored before and even after the referendum Eurocrats were quick to point out that everything will continue according to plan, with or without the Dtuch. Votes in Europe only count if they support the bureaucrats, otherwise they are simply ignored.

    Let’s hope this is the start of the unraveling of the failed EU experiment, an experiment that was great for the elite, large corporations and undemocratic bureaucrats as long as it lasted. Can’t wait to see the big banks suffer, including those in the Netherlands which – unknown to many – is one of the biggest tax heavens internationally for multinationals. The only real downside of a European unraveling I see is that the US – which directly caused almost all the major problems facing Europe today – will profit at least in the short run. But in the long run their current policy of treating Europe like an occupied territory might fail, trying to manipulate a few dozen very different countries in the same direction may prove too difficult even for the manipulators in Washington DC.

  3. Yoshua
    April 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    The European Banana Union was a great idea. It was hatched by the U.S despite resistance from European’s who hated the idea.

    It was supposed to bring peace and prosperity to a war torn continent. The only fault with the idea was that they forgot that it was supposed to be made up by the people of Europe who have long memory, hate one another and blame each other for their own problems.

    We are not adults, we can’t even decide what language to speak in the parliament. We do not understand each another… and certainly we do not trust one another.

    So the only thing left to do now is to blame the American’s for creating this mess. Thanks for nothing !

    And now over to cheese and red vine.

    • nhz
      April 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Do you really believe the US conceived the idea of a European Union for the benefit of its peoples? And next you are going to convince us that the US is striving for world peace and prosperity for all?

      The US elites (and some of the EU elites) had certain plans before the war and much of that continued in the concepts for a European Union. It has nothing to do with peace, it’s all about money and power.

      Europe is occupied since WWII. Almost all our politicians are puppets that dance to the tune of their overseas masters.

  4. nick kelly
    April 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I’ll spare comment on the comments and just ask M. Quijones a question.
    No doubt Project Fear is overdone and stupid but what are the advantages of Brexit ?
    Shouldn’t such a fundamental change be sold on its merits?

    • Don Quijones
      April 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      The two biggest advantages, Nick, would be a return to self-governance and self-determination. Put simply, it would mean having the power (albeit naturally constrained by outside forces) to decide one’s own future.

      It’s about people having the ability to choose those who represent them in government as well as replace them if they no longer deem them fit for service. It’s about the governed being able to hold the governing to account. Democracy may not be a perfect system, but it’s just about the only one that allows the citizens of a nation some modicum of influence over the way they’re governed while limiting the privileges and power of the governors.

      Granted, many national governments — the UK included — are not doing a great job at ensuring that, but as long as there are democratic traditions and structures in place, there’s the possibility of renewal.

      That quite simply is not the case in the EU today, and arguably never will be (despite what Varoufakis might think). The democratic deficit is already far too big, and is growing by the day. No one has quite put it as succinctly as Jean Claude Juncker, the (unelected) president of the European Commission:

      Il ne peut y avoir de choix démocratique contre les traités européens (There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties)

      It amazes me how few Europeans had bothered, at least until recently, to ask themselves what Europe might look like if fiscal and political union were ever consummated. I mean, how do you make 28 quite different countries work together in perfect unison in order to make the EU a strong, powerful force on the global scene — or as Barroso put it, to turn it into the first ever “non-imperial empire”?

      The answer is through complete concentration and consolidation of power and the subordination of all the nations and the people within them to that power. And that is something that I believe should scare us all. It’s quite telling to hear the parallels drawn between the European Union and the Soviet Union by people who lived (and in some cases suffered terribly) under the Soviet system, including Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Bukovsky and Gorbachev himself, who said the following:

      “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

      But it’s not just about politics. By just about any measure the euro has been an unmitigated disaster. Compare Finland’s economic performance over the last five years to Sweden’s, or France’s to the UK’s. Look at Spain’s unemployment rate, Portugal’s debt levels, Greece’s… well, Greece’s everything.

      Whether the likes of Spain, Portugal or Greece would have been better off on their own, is perhaps open to debate, but one thing that’s pretty clear is that many of the countries that chose not to join the euro do not regret it.

      In fact, arguably the only thing keeping the eurozone from being completely destroyed by its own internal contradictions (at least for now) are the extreme monetary experiments being conducted by Europe’s most powerful institution, the ECB — experiments which one day we will probably all end up living to regret.

      So, Nick, if you ask me what the possible merits of Brexit could be, here’s a rather makeshift list:

      — The ability of the UK to forge its own destiny as a SOVEREIGN nation unconstrained by the interferance and meddling of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. If Iceland — a country with less than 1% of the UK’s population — can stand on its own two feet and forge trade agreements with other countries around the world while happily rejecting Brussels’ advances, why can’t the UK?

      — The ability of the people of the UK to have some degree of control over the people who govern them. That is quite simply not possible as part of the EU.

      — To regain control over the country’s borders (a basic prerequisite for any sovereign nation state). It’s up to the people and the government they elect to decide what kind of border controls to enforce.

      — To avoid having TTIP and TiSA foisted upon it, which would impose even further constraints on the country’s self-governing powers.

      — To save the more than nine billion pounds a year it spends on financial transfers to Brussels, an amount that is almost certain to go up in time as Brussels’ budget inexorably grows.

      — Big is not always beautiful. In fact, it can sometimes make you slow, inefficient and unresponsive. For example, it takes the EU forever to negotiate trade deals with some of the world’s most important economies, since it has to try to placate the interests and concerns of the governments of 28 quite different economies. For example, it still has no trade agreements in place with China, Japan, Brazil or India.

      By contrast, on its own the UK will be able to negotiate purely in its own interests. Granted, it may not have the bargaining clout of the EU, but the UK is long accustomed to punching far above its weight on the global scene.

      — Lastly, if the UK votes for Brexit it might actually serve as an inspiration to other EU countries. If enough pressure is exerted from enough member states, the EU might actually have little choice but to take a big step back and that I believe would be good for everyone, not just the Brits.

      • d
        April 15, 2016 at 7:41 am

        “But it’s not just about politics. By just about any measure the euro has been an unmitigated disaster.”

        This when viewed in context of everything else you write says

        A You dont know what you are talking about or

        B You are presenting to an agenda.

        “The Waring Peoples and states of Mainland Europe, will never unite, without force.”

        “Currency Union, without Fiscal Union, is an untenable insanity.”

        Unless the people who brought it Currency Union, before Fiscal Union, knew both of the above.

        Which they most defiantly did.

        Some financial and social turmoil, along the path to fiscal union which will by default, Federate Europe.

        Will be much cheaper that the Methods Tried by france. Which catastrophically failed many times, before the worst of all attempts in 1870. leading to the events of 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945.

        Europe has been reuniting since club med 1, AKA the western roman empire, disintegrated.

        The current problem being North and East are socioeconomically not ready to become 1 with club med. Which includes france and greece.

        They could and probably should become 2 economic entity’s in the EU with their own currency’s.

        England is an Island. like Iceland and Greenland, it will never be completely united by currency, or law, with the EU until all planetary laws are 1.

        • Don Quijones
          April 15, 2016 at 11:07 am

          “Some financial and social turmoil…”

          I love the way you put that, d. It’s such a small price for such a cherished goal, n’est-ce pas? Maybe you should get a job in Brussels :-]

          You say that Europe has been constantly reuniting since the Roman Empire, Part I. By the very same logic, it has also been constantly disintegrating since then, often with very ugly consequences for the people of Europe. There’s a simple reason for that: most of the time most nation states don’t want to be forced together, especially at the barrel of a gun.

          This time around guns MAY not be needed; instead the EU has the bloodless threat of bankruns and economic collapse with which to discipline the restless peoples of Europe. As we saw in Greece, it works a treat.

          But I have a question for you, d: why do you so fervently believe that artificially engineering a United Europe will actually work, with or without fiscal union? What is this faith based on?

          If history has taught us anything, it is that federations of nations are damn hard to achieve and a hell of a lot harder to maintain. Even in the most successful example to date, the United States of America, the constituent parts — despite being far more homogenous than EU states will ever be — needed to go through one of the bloodiest civil wars of recorded history before truly uniting. And those states did not have the added baggage of thousands of years of national history behind them.

          Finally, you accuse me of not understanding the role of the currency union in the grand scheme of things — i.e. as a springboard to fiscal and eventually political union. If you’ll excuse my French, that’s just plain bull. I’ve been writing on this subject for some time now and I’ve mentioned the euro’s Trojan Horse role in a number of articles. Here’s one from June last year:

          Now, YOU (and the euro’s architects) might measure the euro’s success in terms of how effectively it’s destroyed the autonomy and sovereignty of its member states, and it’s doing a fine job of that; call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to measure it in terms of the economic impact it’s having on each Member State and the eurozone as a whole. The results are a lot less flattering.

        • d
          April 16, 2016 at 1:00 am

          “But I have a question for you, d: why do you so fervently believe that artificially engineering a United Europe will actually work, with or without fiscal union? What is this faith based on?”

          It wont work without fiscal union.

          The European national governments are simply a huge duplication, in a very small place. A business would not survive with than many HUGE administration units, in such a small place. Neither will Europe, united or divided. The Tax base can not support it at the current levels.

          Humanity will unite, at least into several large blocks, with common global, accounting, tax, commercial and labour rules, or destroy itself and the planet.

          Humanity. Particularly the french in Europe, and their good friend’s in Tehran. Now have the ability to destroy this planet, very quickly. The Rainbow warrior incident, proved, france is still a, terrorist warmonger state, even as a member of NATO

          “We really need to find another planet to live on, as we are swiftly destroying this one” Unknown arms dealer.

          ” I’ve been writing on this subject for some time now and I’ve mentioned the euro’s Trojan Horse role in a number of articles. Here’s one from June last year: ”

          You left it out of this article. And your work, this post in particular. Is becoming more and more Populist/leftist. To the point of becoming, ridiculous, leftist, populist propaganda.

          A Healthy function left, is a necessary component, of a healthy functioning Democracy. Currently the left exploits the major flaw in our Democracy for personal gain. The Ability to buy the Street Mob, and so the Election with untenable handouts, and promise of more untenable handouts.

          An excellent example of the end result of this is, greece. Which has only, Radical left, Far left, Left, and some few Radical Rightist Politicians, when objectively judged by global standards. It has not had a true rightist Government since the post WW II Democracy. Hence the Mess it is in.

          “YOU (and the euro’s architects) might measure the euro’s success in terms of how effectively it’s destroyed the autonomy and sovereignty of its member states, and it’s doing a fine job of that; call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to measure it in terms of the economic impact it’s having on each Member State and the eurozone as a whole. The results are a lot less flattering.”:

          I dont Measure it as Successful. Or even agree with what is being done/Attempted. I just understand the why, and the Objective. Which you chose to leave out

          The Populist left swing In club Med Based on FREE FREE FREE, TAX THE RICH, We dont want to pay what we owe Populism, and the Nationalist rise in france, raise many problems.

          This makes it look more and more like a split in at least the Eur will become necessary. Club med, greece and france in one. North and East in the other. As the expansion was to fast and Ejecting those that should not have been admitted, is decried by the left as “German Bullying”.

          Further the Greek people want their cake (Remain in the EUR) and to eat it (Germany pays all their bills) as well. Which is not going to happen.

          The Consequences of Admitting Greece to the Eur with or without the Knowledge of the extent of the greek fraudulent accounting, are far from over.

          The World Economy and Particularly china, are simply not helping greece or Europe out here.

          “And those states did not have the added baggage of thousands of years of national history behind them. ”

          Not so,

          The roots of the US war of Secession, classified as civil war, as the Secessionist lost. Came from England. The Northeastern federalist were inherently regicide puritan Religious Maniacs. That’s why they left England first.

          The southern states were mainly Royalists.

          These two group clashed previously in 1770’s over tactics where the southerners insisted the northerners tactic were wrong, as the colony’s did not have the manpower or Discipline to stand volleys with the red coats.

          They were ultimately proved correct in the way they confounded Cornwallis at every turn. So enabling Washingtons superiority and ultimate victory, in the North. For which they did not get credit, from the Northeastern Puritans.

          The flaws in the US system is that the State administrations are to large, and have to much power for the modern Environment. Before we even think of the, disasters, duplication, and empire building, in US Law enforcement .

          Compounded by the Duopoly, that allows the US to become Almost An Oligarchy. As no matter who wins the corporates still own Congress.

          The US had and still has plenty of European Baggage, it has simply Morphed into 50 State Baggage.

          Other side of the Border, Quebec Separatist Maniacs, Same Historical Euro BS.

          “needed to go through one of the bloodiest civil wars of recorded history before truly uniting.”

          Recorded Western History. More heads were taken at Sekigaharar than combatants were killed in the filed at Gettysburg. The deaths of non Samurai at Sekigahara were not even recorded.

          Before you even look at china, the global poster child of repeated Historical civil war carnage. Which gave the west among other things the black death which developed in unburied mass human remains, in han china, in another of then massive Han china, civil wars

          Also the US is not truly united, it is simply still in a federal Union.

          The war tribes of Europe. Need to move beyond their racist arrogant nationalism/tribalism, especial the Mediterranean and Parisian French, who have been starting and loosing major wars in Europe and beyond for over 1100 years.

          There is ultimately no difference between the regional warlord, the regional robber Barron, who became a lord sworn to a bigger robber Baron (King) and the modern regional (State) government. They are all extortionists.

          In the Modern world. Europe has to many Gangs of Extortionist, called governments. It is medium and long term untenable. There must be consolidation, to align with modern transportation and communication Technology levels. Simple.

          Federating Europe, if done properly (Highly Doubtful) could resolve Basque, Catalan, Breton,The Belgian, and various other regional conflicts, Peacefully, and Sanely.

      • Paul M
        April 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        I’ll forward this succinct analysis to my MP as a most cogent reason why Canada should reject the sovereignty-crushing TTP and TiSA.

        • Don Quijones
          April 16, 2016 at 9:43 am

          A message for d:

          You accuse me of being a ridiculous, populist leftist on the basis of an article that is completely bereft of leftist ideas, arguments or perspectives. In fact, I challenge you to show me one sentence from the article above that could be construed as leftist in pursuasion.

          As you probably well know, almost all so-called “leftists” in Europe are either fully or largely behind the European Project. Indeed, the European social democrats are arguably the biggest bulwark of European federalism. Meanwhile, the biggest opponents of European federalism are right-wing nationalists (whom you affectionately describe as “racist, arrogant” tribalists).

          Tbh, I don’t count myself as either of those. So please, if you’re going to tar someone with a brush, at least choose the right one.

          Finally, in your last comment you say that Greece has not had a “truly right-wing government” since the Second World War, when it suffered a particularly brutal German occupation. This is an absolutely bewildering claim to make, given that between 1967 and 1974 the country was governed by a CIA-supported Military Junta (AKA “the Regime of the Generals” or “the Dictatorship”), which could hardly be accused of leftist tendencies.

          Anyway, would love to keep chatting but I have loads of things to do, including writing a new article and preparing a dinner with friends tonight. Have a great weekend.

    • Morsage
      April 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

      “what are the advantages of Brexit ?”

      ONE BIG POLITICAL UPHEAVAL – in which the anti austerity movement might ‘go viral’ and become a real force for change

      • d
        April 24, 2016 at 12:18 am

        The Anti Austerity movement.


        Is going to hurt the people at the bottom far more than Austerity ever will in the long run.

        France destroyed itself with its republican revolution and England did similar with mass immigration particularly from the Indian sub continent.

        The NHS and associated services are dying as there are more takers than givers, the majority of the TAKERS are immigrants and their descendants.

        More taxes on wealth and corporates to fund more FREE FREE FREE, is not the answer.

        I have no debts and cash on hand.

        IT WORKS.

  5. Nicko
    April 14, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    EU countries who want to exit would be slitting their own throats. Most EU countries have negative population growth, stagnant industry, woefully underfunded social security systems…. EU needs more trade, more immigrants, more everything, not more barriers.

    • nhz
      April 15, 2016 at 4:02 am

      EU may need more immigrants who are willing to work, but most of those we are getting here in Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia etc. are coming for the free homes, free income for live, free sex and all kinds of other benefits (of course their expectations are a bit distorted …).

      In Netherlands from the previous load of immigrants that were granted asylum, 85% are still on social security after 10 years and only 15% work (or maybe have their own money). Difficult to argue that this helps with underfunded social security, and I’m not even talking about the HUGE social problems these people are causing.

      Netherlands has always been an immigration country (e.g. 16/17th century), and most of the time this wasn’t smooth sailing but it worked. The big difference is that in previous times, the immigrants had nothing, no expectations, and were willing to work and to adapt. Many of the current immigrants have sky-high entitlements and no willingness to work or adapt at all, they are immigrating for very different reasons than all those who came in the past. Thanks to the US bombing the sh** out of the middle and far east, and the disastrous open doors immigration policies of the EU elite and their US masters.

      Next week Mama Merkel and some other cronies are getting a Freedom Award in my city for her immigration policy, from a US inspired would-be university. Many people are very angry about this but don’t dare to speak out, resistance against immigration policies of the Jewish-American elite is not tolerated.

      As to more trade, I think history clearly shows that the EU doesn’t produce more trade at all. It produces more shuffling of easy money among multinationals and fake statistics, which usually isn’t productive at all.

      • Keith
        April 15, 2016 at 4:20 am

        Good comment.

        From what I hear most nations are like the UK was five or so years ago.

        I remember when no one dared mention immigration openly as you never knew where the PC thought police might be lurking.

        Then UKIP came along and it became so popular the immigration question began to be discussed openly.

        How did the establishment deal with UKIP?

        Stage 1 – Full UK media coverage trying to discredit UKIP.
        This only made it more popular.

        Stage 2 – No UK media coverage, it is like Nigel Farage and UKIP don’t exist. I only hear about them from foreign sites.
        This does seem to have worked, they are fading from memory.

        • nhz
          April 15, 2016 at 7:05 am

          In Netherlands discrediting and ignoring no longer seems to work, although it still isn’t reflected in parliament and government policy.

          The anti-EU, anti-immigration party PVV (Mr. Wilders) is now the biggest party in the polls and when EU and the MSM continue on the current track they might get a majority of the votes at the 2017 elections. At the local level – around new immigrant centers etc. – immigration policy is fiercely debated and opposed, totally contrary to the open doors policy of government and MSM.

          I’m not in favor of the PVV and similar parties in EU countries around it, they are too xenophobic for my liking and mostly protest parties that only deal with the immigration subject. But it is dangerous to ignore the signs. We have to make it clear to migrants that they are welcome on the condition that they participate and adapt, that there cannot be a free lunch forever like they were promised by much of the internet. And although we could use people with talent who are willing to work (I think most of them don’t come to Netherlands or Scandinavia, but chose other destinations …), it would be much better if they return to their home country as soon as possible so they can build up their own societies again.

    • d
      April 15, 2016 at 8:03 am

      EU like the US does not need more Immigrants.

      It needs to return the unskilled uneducated herds of muslim and other African illegal immigrant colonists who are milking them, and replace some of them, with Immigrants, it may need.

      Even in nations with declining populations, importing masses of unskilled alien religious colonists. Who bring no real wealth, make no attempt to integrate, pay tax, or gain work skills outside their own black economy enclaves, beyond milking the social support systems.

      Solves nothing.

      As they simply compete with the indigenous unskilled unemployed, for the same low paying jobs, Further reducing upward wage pressures, and exacerbating, not resolving economic problems, further overloading all social services and support systems.

      Quality Immigrants are positive for the EU and US. Unskilled mass colonist influxes. Incompatible with the existing majority religious, and ethnic groupings, are not positive for anybody.

      In a robot factory world, mass unskilled colonists population movements. Are only good for the colonizer nations, exporting them, with various agendas.

      • nhz
        April 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm

        Quality immigrants … that’s a daydream in Europe, never going to happen. In my country if you are an extremely well educated person from outside EU, with skills in high demand, and you speak English or maybe even Dutch, and you have no problem integrating in Dutch society, your chances of getting residence permit is close to zero because all the red tape from the bureaucrats (this also applies to non-EU people who try to come here through marriage with a Dutch resident – except if they marry Dutch citizens with Turkish or Moroccan background, because then suddenly anything goes).

        If you are an uneducated freeloader from some backward country, with very hostile ideas towards European society, and not the slightest intention to ever start working here or integrate in society etc. there are dozens of professionals ready to help you into the Netherlands – at the cost of the taxpayer – and provide free everything for life.

        I see them every day in my city: busy all the time with booze, girls and drugs, shopping for expensive clothes or the latest gadgets, having the time of their life while we have to work our asses off to fund their pleasures. And it isn’t just the free-everything, is also drives up the cost of housing and many other things for the natives. This is Merkels plan to destroy Europe; I’m sure she will be rewarded handsomely for it by the US with a top job at the UN, IMF or Worldbank.

        • Jonathan
          April 15, 2016 at 10:42 pm

          You are never going to get quality immigrants by mass importing them from countries that breeds like rabbits despite their clear inability to even properly raise their young.

          But this is against liberals and their righteous idea that being poor automatically absolves individuals of any sort of personal responsibility and is a guaranteed ticket to welfare, as long as said liberals don’t actually pay the bill out of their own pocket.

  6. John Doyle
    April 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Serves them right for setting up a neo-liberal economic system, all based on false beliefs about macroeconomics. Now the poorer economies are loaded up with debts they cannot wipe and cannot devalue away from and the less well off citizens facing continual bad news, cuts etc, will all be up for another 1789 “party” soon.
    Directors of the Troika, Schauble etc all need jail time.

  7. robt
    April 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

    In Kanada, we have something called the ‘non-binding referendum’, where the government doesn’t even pretend that they won’t do what they want to regardless of the wishes of the people.

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