Schengen’s flaws are challenging the EU project as never before

The EU has traditionally excelled at using crises for its own ends  – in other words, to further integration. The flawed €uro project, which set interest rates for the benefit of Germany but not the Medterranean nations, is a classic example. The tragic recessions in Greece, Spain and elsewhere have provided the impetus for another treaty designed to surrender fiscal sovereignty of the €urozone member states and thus move an EU inner core closer to becoming a federal superstate. Even though treaty plans currently seem to be dormant, they are still on the longer-term agenda.

The flood of refugees into Europe, however, is proving challenging, not only in and of itself but also as far as turning it into a beneficial crisis is concerned. Member states are unilaterally reimposing border controls – in other words, pushing back the integration process. There is provision under the Schengen agreement for a temporal reimposition of borders in the event of an emergency, so putting back border controls isn’t necessarily breaking the rules,  but the migrant crisis has struck deeper into the heart of the European project than anything else for many years.

You can now find articles disussing the possiblility of ending the Schengen agreement altogether. The writer of the article in the link, like others, says that the implications of such a move for the whole EU project would be immense.  He does go on to say, however, that it probably won’t happen

For such optimists, a report by Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, will not make happy reading.  Frontex officials warned a that ‘staggering’ number of European citizens had become jihadists and were taking advantage of lax border controls. The organisation also stated that it had no idea how many illegal immigrants had entered the EU.

So far, concerns over these issues – or indeed, the aftermath  of the Brussels bombings – have not shifted poblic opinion in the UK towards withdrawal.  While most of those for whom migration is an issue are firmly on-side already, one might have expected the desire to distance ourselves from terrorists on the Continent to have helped some wavering voters make their minds up.

What may help provide a more favourable backdrop for the debate is the growing disillusion with the whole European project elsewhere. It’s not just open borders and immigration. Today the Dutch are holding a referendum  on a proposed pact betwen the EU and Ukraine, which is viewed by both sides as a prelimiary move towards Ukrainian membership. Expansion fatigue has been a factor in many older EU countries for many years, but without further expansion on the horizon to encourage the masses that the EU is marching ever forward, the threat of stagnation – and indeed of implosion – of the EU increases. The referendum is non-binding, but a “no” vote will send another powerful signal  to Brussels that disillusion with le grand projet is not confined to the UK.

The debate in this country appears to have moved on from the days when we were told that a UK withdrawal could see the whole EU project undermined. This is a shame as it can be so easily countered. The EU is already showing signs of fracture and UK withdrawal could prove the best way to achieve a peaceful dismemberment, rather than the disorderly collapses that has brought to an end many multinational entities from the Roman Empire through to the Soviet Union.

In other words, if the UK votes to withdraw from the EU, to quote William Pitt, “England has saved herself by her exertions and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example”

The EU is a security catastrophe

The remarkable ease with which terrorists could travel within the EU’s borderless Schengen countries to kill 160 people in Paris and Brussels has alarmed everyone except the Euro-elite in Brussels. The Paris and Brussels bombers went from Syria to Holland to Belgium to France to Hungary before and after the Paris attacks and before the Brussels attacks. But Cameron agreed with his fellow EU leaders that discussing changes to the free movement of terrorists across national borders would be “inappropriate”!!

A former Tory leader Lord Howard rightly attacked the Government and the EU saying that the Schengen zone “makes Europe less safe” and a former head of MI6 and a former director of the CIA have said that Britain returning to a self governing nation state would not affect and might indeed enhance our security.

This chimes well with the late Sir Louis Le Bailly the former Director General of our Defence Intelligence Staff who recommended my 1997 anti EU book “Europe’s Full Circle – Corporate Elites and the new Fascism” to “all who cherish our heritage as a nation state”.

Sir Richard Dearlove the former Head of MI6 said in a magazine article that:
“the truth about Brexit from a national security perspective is that the cost to Britain would be low. Brexit would bring two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights – remember the difficulty of extraditing the extremist Abu Hamza of the Finsbury Park Mosque – and, more importantly, greater control over immigration from the European Union.”

Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden said that “with regards to these kinds of questions the (European) union is not a natural contributor to national security of each of the entity states and, in fact, in some ways [it] gets in the way of the state’s providing security for its own citizens.”

No limit to those who could enter EU
As soon as the EU destroyed the internal borders of the European Union – which it did 22 years ago in the Maastricht Treaty where “European citizens” were allowed to travel to any other EU state as a matter of right – then Europe was open to unlimited and effectively uncontrolled migration from all over the world – a situation which Jihadist Muslims have been able to exploit.

It was in our book Treason at Maastricht in 1994 that the late Norris McWhirter and I showed that the Treaties that British ministers had signed were an immigration disaster (it was Hurd who only half humorously said “We had better go away and read what we have signed”!).

Since Maastricht any EU citizen can go to any other EU State to live and work. Any National of any EU State can become an EU citizen and any State can make anyone in the world their national. So there was and is no limit to the number of the world’s peoples who could not be given free access to any EU country, with any one EU State creating “citizens” which all the others have to accept.

Given that several small EU States are in danger of becoming, with the aid of the European left, Muslim States – or critically Muslim influenced – within the next generation (Sweden and Belgium being the most obvious) the scope for a rogue State exploiting this grotesque “citizen creating” danger is very great indeed.

There is not a single reason for the United Kingdom to stay within the madhouse which is the EU but among the many critical reasons for leaving – constitutional, financial, economic, social, democratic – the most immediate is the critical danger of our uncontrolled borders made unenforceable by the idiocies of the European Union’s policies on “borderless” States and the creation of “European citizens”.

With our thanks to the Freenations website, where this piece first appeared (http://freenations.net/the-eu-is-a-security-catastrophe/), for permission to reprint the article.

Rodney Atkinson’s latest book “And into the Fire…..” is available from Amazon

EU Migration controls – UK Action Plan, including Brexit

The current unsustainable migration to the EU and the UK offers an opportunity to review policies and trial new ones, for win-win outcomes, using off-the-shelf solutions. The illegal immigration of Syrian refugees and north African and also Eastern and southern Europe migrations to the UK and northern Europe. People wish prosperity for all people everywhere, with no problem with prosperous tourists visiting from everywhere, people coming to study, maybe 1 year working visas with learning of new skills. However mass migration isn’t working for low income people, nor lowering crime and having people who pick and choose which laws to abide by are not ideal; it is better to reward people who do play by the immigration rules.

Solutions could include the following

  • Brexit, for EU immigration controls
  • OCV (Out of Country Voting) organised by the IOM (international Organisation of Migration) for Syrian refugees
  • Trade not Aid for immigration from the rest of the world
  • FTAs, Free Trade Agreements, also a consequence of Brexit
  1. Brexit, upgrading to a self-governing democracy

With the EU referendum coming up, Britain could lead by example, including for Commonwealth countries, by upgrading to a self-governing democracy. The current EU agreement, has led Britain to have a cumulative trade deficit of over £400bn, net contributions of over £130bn, not a win-win agreement. Also it is difficult to say to totalitarian régimes and badly run countries ‘ be like us’, since unfortunately the answer could be ‘ we are in many respects like you as a member of the EU’: virtual one party state, voting is meaningless – as people elected cannot make, amend or repeal many laws, media censorship of pro-democracy voices, media/banking and business cartels lobby for laws that help them and reduce competition, accounts would be unlikely to be signed off by independent auditors, as power is centralised – so is wealth, rich getting richer – the poor getting poorer, large tribes bullying smaller tribes, with the EAW people can be arrested on flimsy evidence.

Any wonder, as the centre of gravity of the world has been moved away from self-governing democracies to one-party state ideology, that other countries have followed suit?

The EU referendum offers an opportunity for the British people to shift the centre of gravity to self-governing democracies, with the UK upgrading to democracy. Options include:

  • EFTA/Single Market with Opt outs for immigration control and buying property efta.int
  • FTA (Free Trade Agreement) similar to what Canada has been negotiating for more than 6 years

Leading by example in the world, is a good help.

  1. OCV (Out of Country Voting) organised by the IOM (international Organisation of Migration) for Syrian refugees

The Syrian people stood up for having a say in how their country is being run, with a desire for democratic self-government – the Syrian regime disagreed and with violence, has tried to run the country, so leading to refugees. As the refugees have moved out of control of the government, to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and also inside Syria, an opportunity has arisen for voter registration and starting the democratic process.

An off-the-shelf solution using Out of Country Voting (OCV), organised by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), is fully trained to organise voter registration and voting – as they have done for many refugee groups, including Afghanistan and Iraq, with high voter turnout.

IOM link: https://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/activities/mepmm/op_support/esu_ocv_080107.pdf

Voter registration and elections can be organised easily, in 10 weeks, in some cases. What they need is:

  • Which locations – e.g. Lebanon. Jordan, Turkey, inside Syria, already known
  • Approximate Number of people, already available
  • Who will be on the ballot paper, already different groups

It costs around US$4 per person to organise, so even with 5 million refugees, it is US$20 million, much less than currently being spent on refugees in camps. Elections could be held every 6 months, as more refugees arrive, giving more legitimacy. Referendums could be held on what kind of system of government they might start with. As the new government takes form and legitimacy, it helps people in old regime in looking for a new future –  and once, one thing changes, other things can change.

The UK, and other countries, could offer current refugees 3 to 6 month training opportunities in the areas of: running a democracy, military training and business skills. Also with selected few coming to European countries for a short while for training. So helping building up the future leaders and processes in the country for a safe and prosperous population.

  1. Trade not Aid, for immigration from the rest of the world

The unsustainable immigration from all parts of the world to the UK and northern Europe, is not win-win, and is not solving the root causes of the problems. Here is another opportunity for changes in policy.

With the EU referendum, the UK could vote for self-government and run it’s own immigration policy. This could include:

  • New Eastern Europeans getting a 1 year working visa, after which they return, or stay longer if a points systems shows their skills are in demand
  • Other new EU citizens can come and work, unless their country unemployment rate is over 7%, in which case they get a 1 year working visa, or stay longer if a points system shows their skills are in demand
  • Or the UK unemployment rate is over 7%, in which case any new EU citizen can only get a 1 year visa, unless a points system shows their skills are in demand, for staying longer.

The rest of the world includes low income countries, which is taking longer for them to develop good government and prosperity for most of the population. What to do? What new ideas could help?

Looking at decolonialisation and which countries have prospered more than others, could offer a clue. Looking at:

Singapore – which split away from Malaysia, has become a small country and prosperous with fast rates of growth in incomes

Hong Kong/China – Hong Kong was a colony for longer, with a Governor appointed by Britain, around 40% of the legislature voted by the population, around 60% appointed by Britain, stability, free trade, honest government, and prosperous with fast rates of growth in incomes. Skills learnt used to start businesses in China and accelerate growth and prosperity for millions and millions.

In Africa, since the Second World War, over US$500 billion of aid has been given, with little to show for it. Aid is not the solution, in fact some charities say it is a cause of the problems, as it helps corrupt people stay in power, and put off reforms. It could have helped if decolonialsation had taken longer, i.e. developing leaders professionally, e.g. starting with local elections, then regional, then national, starting with a higher voting age e.g. 50+, a year later elections for 40+, a year later elections 30+ etc, with regular ongoing training. We are where we are – what lessons can we learn going forward?

What are fast track options that are realistic?

  • Re-colonisation: no way, no interest
  • Smaller countries: allow countries with multiple languages, to have referendums to become smaller self-governing countries. Some people say that Africa is full of EU-type countries, that are held back by being lumped together in artificial countries
  • Free trade zones: help with setting up free ports, to help with foreign investment and growth, with trade. This option still relies on the local government, who are open to corruption, so may have partial success http://www.britannica.com/topic/free-trade-zone
  • New micro-colonies, similar to HK, 50 to 99 year leases: organising referendums in coastal areas for areas to become a temporary colony of the UK again, similar legislature set up as HK had, encourage Foreign Direct Investment, integrity, develop supply chains, fast growth, using expat UK labour and also expat labour from host country. Only with referendum approval. Likely opposition from populations, and also business cartels and corrupt politicians, so maybe not much interest, though highest chance of success for growth. This option could help create jobs, slow the brain-drain of skilled people leaving and create wealth.
  1. FTAs, Free Trade Agreements, also a consequence of Brexit
  • FTAs: Free Trade Agreements can be negotiated by the UK, once free from the EU, so helping accelerate growth. Also selected 1 year working visas for countries, for people to learn skills and government integrity – instead of aid money.

These are some ideas, which are off-the-shelf, proven and are about prosperity for the many, with democracy – and win-wins for people in different countries. A good starting point is the UK upgrading to democracy with the EU referendum, with a ‘No thank you to the EU’ and ‘Yes please to self-government’ – and shifting the centre of gravity in the world to democracy and prosperity.

 

Photo by Rex Pe

Turkey, EU visa liberalisation and Schengen

The Government has told us that the liberalisation of visa restrictions on Turkey only appliues to the Schengen area. However, this post, from John Redwood’s blog, raises the issue of whether we are being lied to – again. 

I drew attention to the fact that the official minutes of the 7 March EU/Turkey Agreement made clear that all member states need to lift visa restrictions on Turkey by June this year. The UK government keeps saying this does not apply to the UK.  I suggested they have the minutes amended in that case.

Far from doing so, the minutes of the European Council held 17-18 March  reconfirmed the minutes of the 7 March “Following the decisions of the Heads of State of government of 7 March”  the European Council “calls for the full implementation of the EU-Turkey statement”.  So if we assume the UK is not actually going to lift visa restrictions we are left wondering why official statements of the Heads of State and government which we are asked to rely on in other contexts are wrong on this matter. We also need to remember how assurances that the UK would not have to bail out Euro countries were swept aside when it came to a new loan for Greece.

There can be no opt out for the UK when it comes to possible Turkish membership of the EU. There we are told clearly in the minutes of the Council meeting that ”the EU and Turkey reconfirmed their commitment to re energise the accession process” for Turkey to become a full member.

Visa liberalisation even if confined to the continent means many more people having easy access to the EU and possibly establishing citizenship and free movement rights to the UK  as well as the rest of the EU. Full membership of course brings complete freedom of movement. In view of the pressure on us already from the many people in the rest of the EU who want to work and live here, we do need to consider this Turkish issue more seriously. One of the failings of William Hague’s Referendum Act was it does not give the UK people a vote on new members joining the EU, though they can represent a big change to the EU and to our obligations as a result.

How Brexit could save the EU from itself

This article by Allister Heath first appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 14th March. while not addressing the issue of how we withdraw, it does draw attention to the basic failings of the EU project – the fact that the nations of Europe do not constitute a single people which, in the author’s view, dooms the EU to either totalitarianism or collapse.  A UK withdrawal, rather than being seen as a disaster for the EU may be of great benefit to the continent as a whole. 

It is those who love Europe, its diversity, its history and its humanity who should be the most enthusiastic about Brexit. A paradox? Not at all. The European Union, as currently constituted, has run out of road. It is doomed to fail, sooner or later, with catastrophic consequences for our part of the world, and the only way forward is for one major country to break ranks and show that there can be a better alternative consistent with Europe’s core enlightenment values.

It would be far better if we, rather than a more socialist or nationalistic country, were the first to break the mould: Britain would have the opportunity to show that free trade, an open, self-governing society and a liberal approach could ensure the peace and prosperity at the heart of the European dream. Others would soon join us. If we vote to stay, we will lose the moral authority to speak out, and other, less benign, inward-looking, illiberal approaches may triumph instead.

The eurozone is broken, and another, far greater economic crisis inevitable. The next trigger could be a fiscal meltdown in Italy, or another banking collapse, or a political implosion in Spain or France, or another global recession. Nobody can be sure what the proximate cause will be – but there will be one, and the fallout will be turmoil of a far greater magnitude than anything we saw in Greece. At the same time, the tensions fuelled by the migration crisis will grow relentlessly, especially if hundreds of thousands or even millions of people are settled across the continent over the next few years.

Many in the Remain camp agree that the eurozone requires drastic surgery, but their solution is naive. They believe that even more integration – a pan-eurozone welfare state, greater transfers between countries, central powers over fiscal policy – would help cancel out the currency’s inherent defects. I doubt that this would actually work in purely economic terms, but even if it did, it is delusional to believe that such a model can be politically sustainable.

Democracy, the term, is derived from the ancient Greek: it denotes a system whereby the people (dêmos) are in power or in which they rule (krátos). One cannot, by definition, have a genuine democracy in the absence of a people; and there is no such thing as a European demos. The French are a people; the Swiss are a people, even though they speak multiple languages; the Americans are a people, even though Democrats and Republicans hate each other. But while Europeans have much in common, they are not a people. Danes don’t know or care about Portuguese politics; the Spanish have no knowledge or interest in Lithuanian issues.

One could hold pan-European elections, of course, with voters picking multi-national slates of candidates; but, then, one could also ask every person on the planet to vote for a world president. Such initiatives would ape democratic procedures, but would be a sham. They would be Orwellian takedowns of genuine democracy, not extensions of it. There would be no relationship or understanding between ruler and citizen, zero genuine popular control, nil real accountability; coalitions of big countries would impose their will on smaller nations, and élites would run riot. We would be back to imperial politics, albeit in a modernised form.

Governments can forge cohesive cultures by using state schools, propaganda and government media; they can impose languages and a common, national identity where none existed before. There was plenty of such nation-building in the 19th and 20th centuries, with national cultures created from scratch. Yet to construct a new Euro demos today would be totalitarian: it would require, despicably, wiping out many of Europe’s cultural differences and rewriting history.

Given that there can be no meaningful Euro-democracy any time soon, the only other logical solution would be to ditch the very idea of rule of the people, embrace a radical fiscal and political centralisation of the eurozone, and entrust power to unelected bureaucrats.

Such a solution would have equally disastrous consequences. While retaining a few trivial trappings of democracy, a new, fully integrated eurozone would become a technocracy: a trans-national conglomerate run by officials. Some intellectuals privately argue that the nation state was merely a momentary aberration in humanity’s long history, and that representative democracy is failing.

But the public would rightly reject such nonsense: the real problem is that the people have too little, rather than too much, power. The next European treaty, which will represent another integrationist leap when it is eventually drawn up, will be an almost impossible sell.

We are therefore at an impasse. The EU faces a long-term economic, demographic and cultural implosion, and is staring down the abyss of illegitimacy. A small subset of European countries may be able to pull something off, and merge. I’m sceptical even of that, but it’s certainly one possibility. But we need a new model of European cooperation for those who realise that neither the status quo nor more integration is the answer.

That is where Brexit comes in. A British departure from the EU, if executed correctly, could save Europe from itself: it would create a plan B, a workable alternative for those countries that want to be part of an integrated Europe but are unhappy at the direction of travel.

Within a few years, Britain could be at the head of a network of at least six or seven self-governing but closely integrated countries; these would surely include Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, but others would join in too, including perhaps some non-euro nations such as Denmark and even the Netherlands, an increasingly anti-EU country. As to the eastern Europeans, membership of the EU was the way they redefined themselves as post-Soviet, with Nato membership the route to security.

But if Europe were to split into two, very different groups, a decentralised one led by the UK and another, increasingly integrated bloc controlled by Berlin and Paris, there would suddenly be more than one option. Some Eastern European nations would hopefully end up following Britain.

The UK’s new economic community could even be extended to other, non-EU states in the Mediterranean, such as Israel, or even further afield. Preaching and whining is no longer enough: Britain needs to lead by example, and show our neighbours that being good Europeans no longer requires being part of the EU.

Photo by Jon Ingram

The wrong lady

Such has been the frenzied level of debate about the merits of withdrawal from the EU this past week that all but the most arrdent political anoraks may well have been tempted to switch off.

It is important, however, that anyone aspiring to see our country regain its independence keeps abreast with the debate, even though there have been so many barbs traded in recent days that it is impossible to summarise every development on this one website.

Two particular issues need addressing. The first concerns the threat by some French ministers to scap the Le Touquet Treaty, which alllows the UK to implement border controls in France. It’s hardly surprising that the Mayor of Calais doesn’t like this arrangemement, as this has led to the creation of the so-called “jungle” on his doorstep. It’s also no surprise that an ambitious minister like Emmanuel Macron should jump on the bandwagon and threaten that France could (note the word “could”, not “would”)  pull out of the treaty if we withdrew from the EU.

The Le Touquet treaty was seen by both governments as the least bad way of addressing a situation which neither country really wanted. Its abolition wold be in no one’s interests. If the French were to allow refugees to pass unhindered to an independent UK, we could  repudiate the 1951 Convention on the Treatment of Refugees (and the 1967 Protocol), and also the European Convention on Human Rights, which would allow us to send them straight back on the next ferry or shuttle. 

M. Hollande and his government want us to stay in for domestic reasons as much as anything else. He is not a popular president and a UK withdrawal would encourage Marine le Pen’s Front National to exploit Hollande’s unpopularity and offer France an in/out referendum. Also, her party would be have been keen to exploit opposition to the Le Touquet Treaty, so it pays for Macron and co to claim this space first, even if all they intend to do is huff and puff. 

A more serious issue is the claim by Philip Hammond that he intended to “smoke out” the Leave campaign and show that no independence scenario on offer is economically viable. In many ways, it is good that he has raised this issue so early in the campaign, as it gives us time to tighten up our act.

Predictably, the EEA/EFTA route, or rather the use of Norway as template, was a prime target. As always, the BBC provided a willing Norwegian whinger, this time in the shape of Erna Solberg, Norway’s Prime Minister, who said she would like her country to be in the EU because it “lacks influence”.  The BBC, as always, spoke to the wrong woman. Solberg, like most of Norway’s political élite, is still wedded to the idea of EU membership, even though the majority of her coutrymen and women are not.  She is therefore prepared to lie, keen to avoid Brexit as it would finally kill off any chance of her country ever joining the EU. The BBC should have instead spoken to Helle Hagenau of the Norwegian nei til EU campaign (depicted above), who wold have pointed out that Norway DOES have influence in the framing of EEA legislation, even if it does not have a final vote.

You wil be able to hear Helle speak at our annual Rally on May 14th, but before then, you can read two helpful leaflets she and her team have written (See here and here). Furthermore, Anthony Scholefield has produced a detailed comparision of EEA membership and Norway’s relationship with the EU which features in our Referendum Review and which gives the lie to any sense that Norway has a worse deal by being out of the EU.

Norway has full representation on international bodies; it has to implement less than 1/3 of EU legislation – i.e., anything marked “EEA relevant”  and if it refuses to do so, it cannot be taken to court by the ECJ. Of course, using this option as a template for a newly-independent UK would require us to accept free movement of people. This isn’t popular with some “leave” supporters, but it’s still better than Cameron’s so-called “deal” as we could invoke Articles 112-113 of the EEA agreement unilaterally rather than having to ask permission for all the other countries and we could keep these articles in force for as long as we want.

Furthermore, advocates of the EEA/EFTA route only see it as a stepping stone. fully admitting that it isn’t ideal in the long term. When other supporters of “leave” say that we could do better than Norway, they are quite right, but reaching that point will take time. We need a safe route through the exit door first.  For anyone wishing to find out more about the most detailed exit plan written thus far, you are welcome to attend the launch of the Leave Alliance on Wednesday 16th March. The strategy to be unveiled will answer all the issues which the “remain” camp have raised and thus enable us to concentrate on attacking the dodgy deal which our dodgy Prime Minister is trying to sell us as a full revision of the country’s EU membership. It is nothing of the sort and the country needs to be made aware of this.