* Posts by pip2

13 posts • joined 22 Aug 2016

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt


EU accounts have always been audited, Commission independence is a safeguard

The accounts of the EU, and its predecessors, have always been audited. By the independent European Court of Auditors. The oldest report available online is for 1977. In 1977, errors were found. And put right.

The accounts of the EU have been 'signed off' every year since 2007. The Court audits the European Commission's accounting service, and all other recipients of EU funding.

Why does only the European Commission have the "power of initiation"? To formally start the process of making or changing EU law? Because it is a safeguard. To make sure that what is proposed is within the terms and spirit of the treaties. And generally in the interests of all the member countries as a whole.

There is plenty of discussion first. After a proposal, it can be changed by government ministers. The Council of the EU. And in most cases, changed by the directly elected European Parliament. For most things, both houses have to agree.

For most things, at least 16 out of 28 countries need to be in favour. Representing 65% of the total population. Sometimes a higher threshold is needed, or unanimous. In most cases a majority of the European Parliament is needed as well.

Please see "How the European Union works" by EU Publications Office.

Brit MPs chide UK.gov: You're acting like EU data adequacy prep is easy


Re: I've changed my mind

"We wouldn't do to anybody, what the UK is doing to itself right now".

I am not sure who in the EU said that. But I heard it somewhere.


Re: Ha

May I encourage you to have a look at 'Your Europe - residence rights' on europa.eu.

And 'More seriously misleading reporting on EU migration and benefits' in the European Commission Representation to the UK's 'Euromyths blog'.


Re: Ha

Please see the debates in the European Parliament "State of play in negotiations with UK". The EP's impact reports. The Commission's Notice to Stakeholders documents.

And while you are at it, how about a look at the Balance of Competences Review? Produced by the UK government in 2014-15. The largest study ever done in Europe of how a country is affected by its EU membership. The result was overwhelmingly, what is the problem.


Re: "will leave us alone..we can be as insular and xenephobic as we always apparently wanted to be."

At the rally in London in March last year, I stood next to people who had come in from France that morning. I heard of someone who had flown in from Greece to protest that he didn't get a vote.

In Staines on Thames, flying a Euro flag in the town centre, I met a young man who said his father was so confused by the conflicting campaigns in 2016 he didn't vote.

That father may now have a view.


Re: re: Post Brexit rules in the EU

Not at all, British people in the governance of the 7 institutions and 33 agencies are valued.

"Our hearts are still open to you", said Donald Tusk.

Leo Schulte-Nordholt, an administrator in the Council of the EU, has emailed me saying, "We are here, waiting, and full of hope".


Article 50.

The dishonour of turning our backs on our neighbours. It is all appalling.

We should be supporting our neighbours. Upholding the EU values of respect for human dignity, democracy, solidarity, human rights and the rule of law.

Time to think again!

UK fintech firm reaches for Ireland Brexit escape hatch


Re: Benefits of the Euro

The textbook I referred to earlier says, "Opinion has been mixed on the benefits and costs of the euro. It is probably safe to say that no one chapter in the history of European integration was approached with so much trepidation, and yet has also had so much global impact and (thanks to the economic downturn of 2007-10) caused so much public consternation and so many political headaches."

The adoption of the euro is described as a "gamble" by John McCormick. Nowhere does McCormick go so far as to describe the euro as a "folly". Instead, he wrote, "Never before has a group of sovereign states with a long history of independence combined their currencies on a similar scale, and the risks were significantly greater than those involved in completing the single market. Furthermore, the key preparatory decisions were taken by national leaders with little or no regard for public opinion, which was often hostile to the idea, and uncertain about the implications."

The book goes on to list four of the downsides of the Euro and may I recommend buying the book because I have found it useful. "States have different economic cycles, and separate currencies allow them to devalue, borrow, adjust interest rates and take other measures... Such flexibility is no longer available to eurozone states. In short, the members of the eurozone must rise or fall together".

As for the points about Greece. I have been told by someone with an OBE for services to Save the Children fund who loves Greece and has been there every year for the past 40 years, Greece has been helped by the EU. McCormick writes that Greece "had been borrowing heavily since switching to the euro, had been hiding its true financial situation, and found itself weak and exposed". I added above the reason I have heard why Greece had been "borrowing heavily" and is it fair to say that isn't so much the fault of the euro itself?

At the end of the chapter, McCormick does not judge the euro, simply asking, "Would the adoption of the euro prove to be a disruptive step too far, or one of the most far-sighted and creative decisions ever taken by Europe's leaders?" The single market is described as a success, "it has helped create new wealth and opportunity, has brought down many of the economic barriers that have for decades divided Europeans, and has paved the way for the creation of trans-European economic ties that have reduced national differences and promoted the idea of Europe as a powerful new actor on the world stage."


Benefits of the Euro

"1. Monetary stability. The devaluations and revaluations of national currencies that were a feature in the 1970s and 80s were initially replaced with greater stability, removing the planning problems that came with changes in the value of currencies.

2. There is greater convenience for travellers. Instead of having to change currencies when crossing borders, travellers now use the same currency wherever they go in the eurozone. This has the added psychological benefit of making them more aware of being part of the common enterprise of integration, and makes foreign visitors more aware of the EU; they may not always understand the latter, but they cannot ignore the effect of the euro in their pocket.

3. There is greater price transparency, allowing consumers to more easily compare prices across borders.

4. There are fewer bureaucratic barriers to the transfer of large sums of money across borders, saving transaction costs.

5. The euro is now a world-class currency in the same league as the US dollar and the Japanese yen, providing the eurozone with a political tool that allows it to have greater international influence."

From "Understanding the European Union" by John McCormick. Of course the Euro brings its own problems but it is for a good reason: "the understanding that few barriers to the single market were as fundamental as the existence of multiple currencies with fluctuating exchange rates".

When Greece adopted the Euro, suddenly politicians could borrow money much more cheaply, so they bought votes with, for instance, Europe's most generous pension scheme. When that hit the buffers as it surely would, those politicans then left the mess to the opposition. Of course perhaps that should have been anticipated more by the designers of the Euro, but is it fair to say that's not really their fault? More the fault of capricious politicians in Greece?

Now that Alex Tsprias has made "excellent" progress towards making Greece a well-run country, Greece is continuing to be helped by the EU, and Greece is just beginning to improve...

Making us pay tax will DESTROY EUROPE, roars Apple's Tim Cook


How it was reported in the Irish Times on Mon 29 Aug

Here is a snippet.


Headline: "Apple faces tax demand as EU to rule Ireland deal was 'illegal'."

Subheading: "Windfall will not be used for schools or health but will pay down debt. Commission set to make decision as early as tomorrow or Wednesday"

Body: "The Revenue Commissioners will be required to raise a tax assessment on Apple in the coming months when the EU rules that the technology giant's tax arrangements in Ireland were illegal under state aid rules, as is expected in the coming days.

The Apple tax bill, expected to amount to hundreds of millions of euro, is not likely to be transferred to the State immediately, however.

Instead, it will be held in an escrow account pending appeals of the EU's decision by Apple and the Irish Government. Ministers will continue to insist Ireland did not offer Apple a special deal.

Even if the appeals are ultimately lost and the cash reverts to the Irish State, it will not be used for budget spending or investment, according to the sources who have been briefed on the issue.

Instead, it will be treated as a windfall gain and the Government will be requred to use it to pay down the national debt.

'At no point will we have extra billions to spend on schools and hospitals', one Minister said.

The European Commission is expected to make public in the coming days, a ruling that Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland consitituted illegal state aid."


My response to this is:

1. It is reassuring to me to see that the EU is strong enough to take on Apple, albeit indirectly by challenging Ireland's arrangement with it. In 2015 Apple reported the biggest annual profit in history with net income of $53.4bn; an enormous profit greater that made by ExxonMobil in 2008.

2. The Irish Times seems to offer good quality journalism.

3. I get the impression from this, and from the rest of the paper, Ireland seems a much better run country than Blighty. I don't know Ireland very much and I can't comment on whether there was a special deal. It seems to me hard to imagine a UK minister saying 'At no point will we have extra billions to spend on schools and hospitals',

Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?


Why is free movement so important to the EU? Here is why. Firstly, here is a link to the European Parliament debate on 28 June.


Manfred Weber said, "There can be no such thing as first and second class citizens" of EU member countries. The reason that is so important is because it is all to do with the experience of what happened in Germany in the 1930s. The first step was the idea that some people were "worth" more than other people, simply because of who they were.

Now read any one of the many books what happened next: identification, isolation, internment, concentration.... you know the rest. A stain on the soul of humanity that can never be erased. Need I go on? I need not go into the details here.

The vital point is this. The first step is the one that enables all the others.

That is why it is a vital principle for the EU, that there can be no such thing, and can never ever be any such thing, as anything that might allow that first step, when it comes to people who are citizens of EU member countries.

All the other 27 members remember what it is like to be occupied. That is why they are determined to make the EU work, why it has worked up until now, why it is going to continue to work. I hope you will now understand why it can't be explained like this on the EU's own pages.


Albania is not in the EU

Here is what Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote in The New European on July 22-28, page 21:

"We enjoy none of the benefits that Britain has. We have only limited access to the EU's market in services, and no passport for financial services. Our banks cannot operate across Europe as British and British-based banks currently can. We are outside the EU's customs union, meaning that we face costly red tape and rules of origin for exporting businesses, and tariffs on some of our best products.

"Crucially, as a country aspiring to EU membership, we have to align fully with the EU's rules in the areas covered but have little or no say or votes over these rules when they are made.

"To achieve the current stage [of EU relations] has taken six years. When I heard Boris Johnson, now Foreign Secretary, say during the campaign that this will all be resolved within two years, I found this almost as comical as his collegue Mr Gove."


"A brake on unskilled immigration and easier skilled migration" is out of the question, if you wish to be part of European free trade. There is no two-tier Europe. There is no other Europe.

There is no such thing (and can never ever be such a thing) as first and second class citizens of EU member countries. There is a very good reason for that. As soon as you start to say, this man is somehow better than this other man... then you are looking straight at the nightmare of facism.

Preventing the horror of nationalism is what the whole European project is about. That is why I support Britain as it is now, as a full member of the EU; and Britain's future, as a full member of the EU; and the EU itself; and continued British leadership in Europe.


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