A request for help from the Australian Monarchist League

Visitors to our 2017 rally may remember the speech by Philip Benwell MBE of the Australian Monarchists League. Mr Benwell has asked for CIB’s support regarding his organisation’s You Tube channel. He writes:-

The Australian Monarchist League has a new YouTube channel which can be accessed here.

You can view some of our new videos by clicking on ‘Playlists’ and then ‘Videos’

However, we need to apply for a shortened URL but need at least 100 subscribers to be able to do this.

We therefore urge those that are able to subscribe to our YouTube channel to do so and thus enable us to make application.

 

Thanking you

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Philip Benwell

National Chair

 

EU finally comes clean on future UK-EU military objectives, but risks remain

By David Banks. This piece first appeared on the Veterans for Britain website and is reproduced with permission.

In a speech in Berlin today, Michel Barnier (the EU’s Brexit negotiator) for the first time explicitly spells out some interpretations over future UK-EU military relations under Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the new EU policy ambition in this field.  The text can be found here.

Some of these comments are welcome. In particular, in saying “Any voluntary participation of the United Kingdom in European defence will confer rights and obligations in proportion to the level of this participation,” Mr Barnier is indicating that UK participation on an ad hoc basis in missions can generate corresponding engagement at the political level. Clarity is needed on this point, but it does seem that the approach is heading towards a flexible structure rather than seeking to tie the UK down in fixed EU treaty obligations.

Again, Mr Barnier acknowledges that there are several existing models of cooperation and not just the Norway one, a model which is tied into membership of the Single Market. That requirement appears to have been dropped by the Commission. More widely, this may even be the first admission that a special FTA deal is achievable, since several such models do already exist lying between WTO Status and EEA membership.

However, there are also clear remaining issues. While UK membership of the European Defence Agency is ruled out, some sort of structured affiliation is not. Yet the EDA is core to future EU defence integration and formal UK adhesion beyond observer status carries budgetary obligations and political risks.

Also, the EU recognises the UK will continue to play a bilateral and multilateral role, especially through NATO. But PESCO has identified non-NATO multilaterals as targets to come increasingly under the PESCO banner. We also note the cheeky attempt to appropriate the St Mâlo agreement at the very end. The EU has wide eyes and a big appetite in agreements that are not part of the menu.

Tellingly, Barnier is tacitly admitting, in saying that “The British have never wanted to turn the Union into a military power”, that the EU now seeks to do just that.

Major-General Julian Thompson, chairman of Veterans for Britain, said:

“M. Barnier offers a backhanded compliment to the importance of the UK to European Defence – a term which of course is not the same thing as the EU’s precocious military appetite.

“It is not in the UK’s interest to institutionally weld itself to this ‘Security ERM’. Post Brexit, the UK should cooperate in missions and projects of clear joint interest. It is a positive sign that the Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator recognises this prospect.”

Colonel Richard Kemp also of Veterans for Britain said:

“EU defence integration clearly remains a threat to NATO, and to UK multilateralism inside Europe but outside the EU. EU ambitions are extensive and dangerous.”

Referring to the outrageous opening inference of the Brexit vote as a betrayal of the fight against terror, Col Kemp added:

“This is an insult to the electorate of the first order. But then, the European Commission has never understood either democracy or adverse votes.

“The EU has brought a lot of its terror-related problems on itself. In contrast, the UK has been the most capable in defence and security and has been the bulwark of anti-terrorism in Europe.”

Photo by DVIDSHUB

The Brexit vote – how we got there

This interesting speech about David Cameron was given by Sir Ivan Rogers, the former UK permanent Representative to the EU. at Hertford College, Oxford, on 25th November.

It is a long article, some 18 pages long, and even though the author is anything but an ardent Brexiteer, it is written in a dispassionate style. He claims that David Cameron believed that the best place for the UK was within an EU that would cement our “exceptionalism” into law and describes the trials and tribulations which the then Prime Minister faced in his renegotiations and the events leading up to them.

The speech brings back memories of those fascinating days leading up to the moment when the starting gun on the referendum vote was fired in February last year. It explains the steps that led to Camoern’s momentous decision and is well worth a read.

The divorce Bill to the electorate

This letter, written by CIB Committee member Michael McGough, appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 22nd November 2017.

SIR – I hope that the Prime Minister and her team will be able to justify any “divorce bill” paid to the EU.

Sums must not be plucked from the air, but fully justified and audited. Most of the information upon which to calculate this payment is readily available. Our share of EU assets must be fully accounted for at our exit.

This is not an auction, but an orderly departure. We will pay what is due, but no more.

Michael McGough

The latest Futurus briefing paper – the financial settlement with the EU

CIB Committee member Anthony Scholefield has published his latest briefing paper entitled The financial settlement with the EU. This is a most timely contribution to the very topical debate about the Brexit divorce settlement.

The paper takes as its starting point an earlier analysis by Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) whose report was highlighted on this website a few months ago.

This august body assessed our assets and liabilities to the EU, concluding that the rumoured exit fee demanded by the EU was far higher than could be justified.

The Futurus paper goes further and states that actually, the EU owes us a refund. The gist of the argument is  that the UK should not be liable for any “authorised spending not yet incurred” by the EU, which amounts in total to £28 billion. It also raises the issue of the development of  the “intellectual property”  of the EU, such as the cost of constructing databases, building up regulatory systems, and so on. These are not included in the calculations but the  UK contributed a great deal to these matters and will probably now have to build its own systems. It can legitimately claim to be recompensed for the asset which is not recognised in the EU accounts.

At a time when discussion of the final exit settlement is reaching a critical stage, this short and readable analysis is a useful contribution to the debate.

UK avoids military merger this time, but risks remain

Our colleagues in Veterans for Britain have produced a briefing paper on the ongoing risks of being sucked into EU military integration. You can access this briefing paper by clicking on this link.

VfB has summarised last week’s decision not to sign up to PESCO as follows:-

The UK dramatically halted its blanket consent to EU military schemes at the EU Council meeting of 13 November 2017 by refusing to enter the ‘PESCO’ military union agreement.

Where does that leave the ongoing risk to the UK from entanglement in EU schemes? Our paper  describes the continuing problem. In fact, the risk has not receded.

The PESCO agreement itself is designed to attract and engulf unwitting non-EU countries.

Background: PESCO, or Permanent Structured Cooperation, means participants agree to coordinate all defence decision-making and impose a single rigid structure on their militaries under collective EU authority. Besides the UK, only Ireland, Portugal, Malta and Denmark chose not to enter this merger project.

We would recommend that anyone wishing to be involved in campaigning to maintain our military independence should keep a close watch for new posts on the Veterans for Britain website, as they have considerable expertise in this critical area and thus know what the points at issue really are. We in CIB offer them our full support.