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So Britain looks like it's going to leave the EU

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+rei+    34681

there's a difference between unelected beaurocrats in your own country making laws?

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17 hours ago, rei said:

there's a difference between unelected beaurocrats in your own country making laws?

less resources needed, smaller area of effect, more likely to directly affect them or their constitutes, can be held accountable more readily 

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SSJ Grumpig    5620

you need a severe history lesson if you think any of those things are results of domestic unelected beaurocrats beside their direct influence on the people (constituents = voters btw)

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+Sophocles    3079

Alrihgt @NB96, let's go

On 24-6-2016 at 9:06 PM, NB96 said:

 In November 2014 it was reported that according to the EU’s own auditors, £5.5 billion of the EU budget in that year had been misspent because of controls on spending that were deemed to be only “partially effective”. In 2016 it was reported that for the 21st year in succession the EU auditors had refused to give an clean bill of health - signing off without serious reservations - on EU accounts. The auditors said that payments worth billions of pounds were “irregular and possibly illegal”. No serious organisation could get away with having auditors refusing to give it an unqualified ‘clean bill’ of health for 21 years.

Arguing about this when we both (I presume) don't have extensive history chops might be a little pointless when you look at the division between UK historians regarding this, but I disagree at least in part. Both the EU and NATO played an important role. A military alliance in itself is not durable without economic and political reasons to sustain it, something the European Community and the single market have facilitated.

Shortly after the NATO treaty was signed in 1949 there were serious concerns among US diplomats surrounding the peace in Western Europe and they feared the Marshall Plan would result in nothing but industrial development that would lead to another war. These concerns have been well documented for us to see. One example :

"I repeat what I said in a cable a few days ago. We have lost Germany politically and therefore it really does not matter except that history will prove why there was World War III. No gesture can we make to draw Germany westward so why do we spend money on Germany. Thank God I will be out of it soon… " - From the US governor in West-Germany, 1949

The fear of losing Germany politically to a resurgence of nationalism and popular frustration was why the English, French and Americans united their military zones to form the BRD in the first. It was the French president Shuman, his idea of a European Peace Project and the European Community that pulled West-Germany back to the West and democratic ideals, not NATO.

Personally I think NATO is becoming more and more of a dated instrument. The tensions with Russia can't keep rising, the solution will have to be a diplomatic one. The EU's response to the annexation of the Crim was economic sanctions. NATO answered with massive military exercises in Poland. When you look back at how close we came to mutual destruction during the Cold War and think that's a good idea?

Finally, while the 2004&2007 expansions of the EU are often critiscised, we don't know what Europe would look like today if it hadn't happened. The promise of being able to join the EU after Eastern Europe threw off communism and dictatorial regimes was a major carrot for those countries to develop into democracies and free market economies - think freedom of press, the right to a fair trial, and other European values. Those were all conditions they had to meet to join the EU.

What we're seeing now in Hungary and (recently) in Poland are attacks on the freedom of speech and the press by the ruling parties because member states are hesitant to give the EU institutions more power to punish those offenses. What Eastern Europe would look like today without the EU we'll never know, but it'd be undoubtedly worse off.

 

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 A couple of months ago, David Cameron said he could see himself leading the Brexit campaign if his renegotiation was unsuccessful.

I mean, no argument here. Both Remain and Leave campaigns have been incredibly insincere and deceiving in the lead up to the referendum. See also: Johnson being equally close and split about what he supported before deciding and nearly equating the EU with Nazy Germany, Osborne threatening with an emergency austerity budget after a vote to leave and going back on it, leave backers reneging on major campaign promises...

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he majority of our laws are now made in Brussels Our membership of the EU means that the majority of our laws – around two-thirds and growing - are now already made in Brussels, by unelected bureaucrats and others that we cannot vote for, vote against or hold to account, enforced by the unelected European Court of Justice. How is that democratic? In an article in the Guardian in May 2013 Nick Clegg said that: "Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in the UK begins in Brussels". In February 2014, prior to the European elections, the EU Parliament wrote to journalists asking them to explain to their readers that the “majority” of laws that affect their lives are made in Brussels. According to a recent study by Business for Britain published in March 2015, some 64.7% of UK laws, almost two-thirds, are now made in Brussels, enforced by the unelected European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights

Estimates range from 13 to 65%, it's probably somwhere in the middle.

The number of laws is not a useful metric to decide anything on. 50 2-sentence ammendments about the quality of lightbulbs, chicken feed, etc, are going to be less impactful than 1 20-page education bill. I don't know how to access those numbers but what I'm more interested in is:

- how much of that legislation is related to the single market - managing the single market  is an extremely large responsibility of the EU. If the UK wants continued access to the single market it would also still require to pass these laws, but this time without much influence over it.

- what are the non-single market domains, and how big of a deal is it?

- How much of this legislation was submitted because of British demands?

I still don't understand what the British term 'unelected Brussels bureaucrats' means. All legislation has to be approved by the European Parliament, whose members were elected, and the European Council, which is made up of governments that were also elected. Of course bureaucrats are involved in the legislative process, that's the same as nearly any state. UK civil servants also support and advise politicians in Britain, it's the job of parliament and the government to make the decisions and approve them.

And yeah who knew that the majority of EU laws affect the citizens of EU member states. Is that even a good or a bad thing? The reason the Parliament asked that of the Press, by the way, is because every national press pays far too little attention to the Parliament and EU institutions. If they actually did report what was going on in there it would probably increase public awareness and result in far more democratic control. After all, if almost nobody in your electorate actually knows what you voted for and there's never much pushback, representing them becomes a lot more difficult.

 

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• The EU is anti-democratic The EU is not undemocratic, it’s anti-democratic. British voters can throw out the British government if enough of them want that, but we cannot throw out the ‘rulers’ of the EU at the ballot box. In Britain, voters elect all their MPs – 100% – who sit in the House of Commons. If we want to get rid of them or thegovernment, we can do so peacefully through the ballot box. That’s not the case in the EU where at present Britain has just 3.6% of the members of the EU Commission, just 8.2% of the votes in the Council of Ministers and only 9.7% of European MEPs in the European Parliament. How exactly is that democratic? How can British voters, through the ballot box, vote to throw out the EU Commission, Council or EU Parliament?

Come on, that's a non-argument. Should Scotland be able to throw out the UK government? Should Manchester be able to? Should my city block be able to vote out city council? That comparison isn't entirely fair of course, because Scotland's part of a federal state so it has far less power within the UK.

If every member state of a confederation of 28 states could shoot down its government at any moment, nothing would get done. The UK has democratic representation in the EP with a number of seats relative to its population. That's democratic.

Is there a certain democratic deficit in the EU? Yes. I think more power should be given to the directly elected Parliament, it should have more control over the commission and the European Council should be more transparent, not the closed-door meeting it is now. But national governments don't want to cede power to that supra-national organ and that's their right within the Union.

The UK itself has its own democratic deficit with the FPTP system. The US wrestles with it too, and every western countries has its own problems. There is no perfect democracy because democracy itself is flawed.

I can respect the demand for sovereignity from the Leave Camp even though I disagree with it. Calling the EU anti-democratic is a step too far.

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Since 1992, Brussels has lost no fewer than 8 referendums. It only accepted the outcomes of 2 (Denmark 2000, Sweden 2003), ignored 3 (France & Holland 2005, Greece 2015), and made countries vote again to ‘get it right’ in the 3 others (Denmark 1992, Ireland 2001 & 2008). Is that democratic? If it ignores the rejection by Holland in its 2016 referendum of the EU-Ukraine deal that would be the 4th time it has ignored a referendum and the 9th it’s lost.

Adressed this in the alt-right thread: (disregard some bits because I'm replying to a video)

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2:25-3:00 – The EU ignores referendums or makes them repeat until they get what they want.

This is where things got a little too disgusting for me. They way he rapidly goes over this point to declare the EU not un- but anti-democratic is either a sign of absolute ignorance or wilful deceit.

He briefly shows a list of referenda where propositions regarding the EU were denied.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Let’s go down the list.

“Made to Vote again.”

Denmark refused the Maastricht treaty. Ireland refused the Nice treaty and later the Lisbon treaty. In all three of these cases, the member states came together to see what the reasons for the no vote were, and either rewrote part of the treaty or gave the relevant countries exceptions to the treaty, before the Danish or Irish government agreed to hold a new referendum, after which it passed.

You can critique that process but pretending that these treaties were forced on the population are counter to the facts. Their concerns with the piece of legislation were heard and acted on.

“Ignored – Eu constitution”

Debatable. There is no EU constitution. After two referenda shot it down and it became clear there was not enough democratic support in the Union, the idea of a constitution was put in the freezer for 5 years. Eventually, parts of it were integrated in the treaty of Lisbon. Not the EU’s proudest moment, but Lisbon was far less ambitious than the EU constitution and was ratified by all the parliaments of member states (and in Ireland, by referendum)

“Ignored - Greek Bail Out”

This was a poorly designed referendum, purely started by Tsipras in the hopes to get political pressure on the institutions that would bail out Greece. What was offered to the public was the budget proposal by the ECB, the Comission and the IMF, in which there would be big spending cuts, in exchange for another bailout package. Then the question if they agreed to that or not.

The alternative to not accepting the package was to leave the Eurozone. Polls indicated that the Greeks did not want that either. Ultimately, the decision was with the Greek government and they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. I lean towards the center left and I disagree with what was forced onto Greece – I would prefer to pay a fraction more taxes to avoid the social dramas that are taking place because of the Greek budget cuts. The EU was not undemocratic in this instance, though – were debtors supposed to give Greece money because a Greek referendum said so? If anyone was, it was the Greek government which didn’t follow the result of the referendum.

(Sources for this - wikipedia it)

TL;DR in only two cases you could actually talk about some degree of foul play because parts of what the referendum voted down were enacted 5 years later. In Denmark and Ireland's case, the concerns of the winning camp were adressed and the next referendum saw overwhelming approval.

When you say the EU lost 'no less' than 8 referenda since 1992 you also sidestep that it's won far more than it's lost.

(Not even going to address the nazi/fascist remarks, seriously, there's still a lot of British who are proud of their colonial past)

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It gets worse. In November 2011 the EU staged a ‘soft political coup’ and with the help of financiers, removed two democratically elected heads of government

This was another thing in Myth's video. Can you explain to me in what way Berlusconi losing his parliamentary majority is the EU's fault? He was not exactly popular among Italians either at that point. I have no clue what this is referring to. Daniel Hannan has been anti-EU since the 90s, I take his version of events with a grain of salt.

Re Greece: Eurozone member states, the ECB and the IMF - 'The Trojka' - offered (and continue to offer) Greece a bail-out at extremely favorable interest rates (far better than anything they can get on the markets) in exchange for economic and financial reform. At any point Greece can choose to loan on the markets instead, leave the eurozone and devalue the drachme to pay off their debts, or simply default. German tanks will not roll across the border if they choose that, but it's obviously far less attractive than taking the Trojka's money.

Papandreou resigned because he lost support from his parliament over how he handled negotiations with the Trojka. I'll concede there was outside political pressure because of Greece's financial state, but it was still greek parliament that pulled the plug.

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Britain has little influence in the EU EUsupporters say we have influence and have a ‘leading voice’ in the EU which we will lose if we leave. Really?

See previous post.

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 In November 2014 it was reported that according to the EU’s own auditors, £5.5 billion of the EU budget in that year had been misspent because of controls on spending that were deemed to be only “partially effective”. In 2016 it was reported that for the 21st year in succession the EU auditors had refused to give an clean bill of health - signing off without serious reservations - on EU accounts. The auditors said that payments worth billions of pounds were “irregular and possibly illegal”. No serious organisation could get away with having auditors refusing to give it an unqualified ‘clean bill’ of health for 21 years.

Actual 2014 FAQ from the European Court of Auditors. With statements such as "The efforts of the Commission of improving the management of EU funds are paying off" , "Only .2% of the EU budget is lost to fraud" and "EU accounts present a true and fair view." This is a distorted news story, the auditors actually have signed off on the budget every year since 2007. (2014 source) HOWEVER they have an adverse opinion on the regularity and legality because of errors - if there's more than 2% errors it's considered 'irregular' . Errors that are also made by member states because they control part of the expenditure by the EU. Is there a comparison with irregulaties within national budgets somewhere? I for one would like to see it.

Meanwhile the UK (and most national governments) is is no stranger to expense and budget scandals. I agree there is a problem, but whenever there is a problem of this magnitude in a member state it is seen as something that needs fixing, whereas if it's the EU it's considered a fundamental problem with the Union. There have been real efforts to prevent this misuse of taxpayer money and the Auditors' reports confirm that it's been declining.

Re: Finance The number I've seen the most has been 8m pounds which translates to 10m euros, but the number has differed depending on where you read it and I'm not an accountant so I won't argue about that. The UK is the second biggest economy in the EU so I think it makes sense that they are the 2nd-3rd (depending on whose numbers you consult France is a little bigger or a little smaller) biggest net contributor to the Union. However, when you look at the contribution per capita or compared to GDP there are at least 9 countries that pay more.

Re: Terrorism The EU didn't stop terror attacks, I agree. But it could have and it should. The EU has no jurisdiction regarding national securities and information services of member states so it had no way to prevent terror attacks. But time and time again security experts point out that there's a gaping flaw in European security because national information bureaus refuse or fail to exchange information. In the case of Brussels, for instance, one of the terrorists was extradited to Amsterdam after being arrested in Turkey, the Netherlands didn't inform Belgian security until several weeks after, at which point he'd gone into hiding. Every time these attacks happen, national leaders swear that now they'll exchange information and then nothing happens because perceived national interests become too important.

Of course, being part of a political and economic union makes cooperation on this front a lot easier. So far it's still not happened but it could happen it should.

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(whether we want them or not, including those with criminal convictions) but once here can then also receive many of the same benefits as UK citizens. 

That's not true. rights and obligations regarding freedom of movement very clearly specify that someone can be denied entry on grounds of "public policy, public security or public health." While it also specifies that a criminal record is not an automatic reason for expulsion, legal experts have repeatedly pointed out to the leave campaign that denying serious criminals (eg murderers, sex offenders) would never be overturned by a european court. Since 2010 6000 EU citizens have been denied entry to the UK.

Once they are in another member state, EU migrants need to be able to provide for themselves if they want to stay for more than three months, they do not qualify for unemployment or healthcare benefits until they've worked and contributed for five uninterrupted years to their host country - and EU nationals in the UK are less likely to claim out-of-work benefits. They get the same working benefits as everyone else, and I don't see why I shouldn't get the same benefits if I move to the UK and contribute to its economy, same as a Brit working in mine.

Freedom of movement in its inception was aimed to avoid war - if brothers lived on opposite sides of borders, they would never try to take up arms again. Living among eachother as opposed to next to eachother will bring europeans closer together, more than they've ever been in centuries of bloodshed. But freedom of movement also allows for companies to expans their recruiting pool, fill in talent gaps (eg 10% of NHS workers are EU nationals) and there are plenty of studies to show that EU migrants either have no negative effect on wages and housing prices or a positive effect.

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+Sophocles    3079

I will concede that it's a lot easier to knock down these points one by one than to write them in the first place so props for actually posting that and trying to raise the level of the debate.

I'd like to write a pro-EU wall of text that isn't just a bunch of replies but offers arguments of its own. I might do that next week, tho it feels a bit pointless doing it after the referendum + it's not going to be a joy to read cause english isn't my first language sooooooo yeah it's not going to be pretty. 

 

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+Sophocles    3079
17 hours ago, welcometointernet said:

less resources needed, smaller area of effect, more likely to directly affect them or their constitutes, can be held accountable more readily 

Those are the upsides, but there's probably a reason the world doesn't consist of a blanket of tiny city states. Cooperation and throwing your weight and influence together serves to magnify your influence and can actually fulfill your interests better than if everyone tries to solve their problem on their own.

E.g. Multinationals in europe minimize the amount of taxes they pay by cherry-picking the best rates for them from among member states. Sometimes they even play countries against eachother to bargain a lower rate. (For an example, google 'Luxleaks') The single market enables that behaviour because no matter where they're active, they still have access to the entire market. There's some estimates that the amount of taxes the EU as a whole misses out on is 3x their development budgets put together. Some of the financial contructions that come out of these deals are just straight up illegal.

Some countries like Luxembourg definitly need advantageous taxes or no industry would settle there but if there was a deal that would stop the race to the bottom we're seeing now and allow for some more transparency, everyone as a whole would be better off. That's something the EU can achieve.

 

On 30-6-2016 at 1:00 PM, rei said:

there's a difference between unelected beaurocrats in your own country making laws?

Who are these unelected bureaucrats making laws in the EU or the UK?

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