In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. (anonymous, often misattributed to Eric Blair aka George Orwell)
The truth is usually more complex and subtle than the simplistic soundbyte beloved of politicians and media headline writers. Fake news is not necessarily the problem; misinformation can be spread because the basic assumptions are incorrect, the background has not been thoroughly investigated or it is just speculation masquerading as fact.
The following are a couple of quite significant examples. However, please don’t take my word and incomplete knowledge of these subjects for granted. A much better source is Eureferendum.com and the original source documents.
Control of EU Immigration Requires Leaving the Single Market – NOT TRUE
How often have we heard or read this, but it is not actually correct. The Single Market (aka European Economic Area), created by the European Union (EU) and to which the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) also belong has free movement of goods, persons, services and capital as basic principles (set by the EU). The conditions of access of members of EFTA to the single market are set out in the Agreement on the European Economic Area which also includes free movement as a basic principle.
However, the EEA Agreement also includes an opt-out which can be applied unilaterally by members of EFTA (see Chapter 4, Safeguard Provisions, Article 112), but obviously not by Members States of the EU. It states:
- If serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties of a sectorial or regional nature liable to persist are arising, a Contracting Party may unilaterally take appropriate measures under the conditions and procedures laid down in Article 113.
- Such safeguard measures shall be restricted with regard to their scope and duration to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation. Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Agreement.
This opt-out is intended to be temporary (until a permanent solution is implemented), but nevertheless can be invoked and maintained in the absence of that permanent solution. It has been used already by Liechtenstein to control immigration and Iceland to control capital flows in the wake of the financial crisis.
The EU negotiators are already setting terms for the EU-UK negotiations – NOT TRUE
How often has the media reported that this or that person, with an appropriate grand EU-related title, is already laying down tough terms for us? In reality, at the moment there are no negotiators as such – just political nominations by various posturing organisations within the EU set-up and their self-important leaders or other politicians. The small print of the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 states:
- Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
- A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states:
- Without prejudice to the specific provisions laid down in Article 207, agreements between the Union and third countries or international organisations shall be negotiated and concluded in accordance with the following procedure.
- The Council shall authorise the opening of negotiations, adopt negotiating directives, authorise the signing of agreements and conclude them.
- The Commission, or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy where the agreement envisaged relates exclusively or principally to the common foreign and security policy, shall submit recommendations to the Council, which shall adopt a decision authorising the opening of negotiations and, depending on the subject of the agreement envisaged, nominating the Union negotiator or the head of the Union’s negotiating team.
- The Council may address directives to the negotiator and designate a special committee in consultation with which the negotiations must be conducted.
- The Council, on a proposal by the negotiator, shall adopt a decision authorising the signing of the agreement and, if necessary, its provisional application before entry into force.
Clearly negotiations are with the Council (of the European Union) who nominates a negotiator and, at the time of writing, they haven’t done so, officially at least.
To sum up, all is not what is reported or stated to be true facts and because they are repeated so often, if not vehemently, it is easy to be taken in.