Will Europe make war on exiteers?

From the Daily Mail:

Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault today presented a proposal for closer EU integration based on three key areas – internal and external security, the migrant crisis, and economic cooperation.

But the plans have been described as an ‘ultimatum’ in Poland, with claims it would mean countries transfer their armies, economic systems and border controls to the EU.

Foreign ministers of France and Germany are said to have drawn up a blueprint for a ‘European superstate’ as leaders Francois Hollande (left) and Angela Merkel (centre) met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (right) tonight for crisis talks after the Brexit vote.

The plans have been ‘leaked’ to a Polish television channel and the country’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski, pictured, is said to be ‘outraged’.

…In their statement Monday, the three leaders said that the EU is a success and that the bloc is indispensable in securing ‘the economic and social progress for our people, and to assert Europe’s role in the world.’

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi acknowledged that the EU can only advance if it is supported by its people.

This is probably a beat up by the The Daily Heil as it’s known. Let’s hope so because Europe needs a better plan than transferring the state’s monopoly on violence to itself just as restive populations mull an exit.

To say the least.

Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. There is certainly an incentive to make life as awful for the UK as possible as a warning to anyone else looking to exit.

    Sort of what we do with asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Is.

    • Except that the EU can’t stick the British on an island as they are already on one.

      • casewithscience


        Have you experienced their weather? It already is one. Give me sunny Nauru any day.

        😉 – yes the tongue is in cheek

  2. I can see the Germans playing hardball with the British, if mostly to makes sure others don’t go down the same path to keenly. I reckon they will demand some fairly serious concessions for the British to remain in the EEA and for the banking sector to have European access.

    • “I reckon they will demand some fairly serious concessions for the British to remain in the EEA and for the banking sector to have European access.”

      Like free movement of people. Which was the major reason for Brexit.

      If the EU/Germans drop that demand then every country in the EU will want the same deal.

      • EU will grandstand and make threats, but what can they really do? Politicians in Europe are not elected to punish the UK. They are elected to represent their constituents, and their constituents don’t want to lose access to the UK markets. Companies based in Europe will lobby against a trade war.

        The biggest problem for the UK is not a punitive response from the EU but simply the sheer time it will take to enact replacement legislation. I’ve seen an estimate from a law firm that it will take 10 years to replicate the legislation.

      • “They are elected to represent their constituents, and their constituents don’t want to lose access to the UK markets. ”

        Interesting point, but are EU consumers really going to riot if there is say a modest tariff on UK goods and services? Surely there are all sorts of ways the EU could hurt UK exporters without annoying their own citizens too much?

      • “EU will grandstand and make threats, but what can they really do?”

        Not allow access to the common market without free migration?

        I don’t doubt that EU companies want access to the UK market and will lobby for that (just as UK companies lobbied for Remain). The problem is that allowing the UK free access to the EU market without free migration will mean that every single EU country will want the same thing.

        That will be the end of the EU and I doubt that Europe will be willing to trade easy access to the UK markets for the breakdown of the EU.

        Edit: And let’s not forget that what is the UK today may well be just Wales and England or just England in a few years.

      • Any treaty that occurs because of an invocation of Article 50 of Treaty of Lisbon requires the sign off of a majority of parliament of the nations of the EU. Last time I looked they were elected officials.

      • Norway isn’t in the EU and has access to the common market. As does Iceland and Switzerland. But yes I agree they will drag it out so as not to encourage the Dutch or whoever else is next to [ ]XIT.

      • “Norway isn’t in the EU and has access to the common market. As does Iceland and Switzerland.”


        However, in fact, Norway and Switzerland have far higher levels of EU immigration than the UK as a proportion of their populations. These countries do operate under slightly different legal arrangements to the UK when it comes to EU migration. In practice, though, they are fully integrated into the EU’s free movement rules, and the EU has repeatedly made it clear that free movement of people is the price that must be paid for access to the single market.

      • There is conflation of the concepts of ‘freedom of movement’ and ‘freedom to gain paid employment’ in say Switzerland which i think the latter is not correct.

        Britain may retain one right (movement) while having the other right (employment) limited in some way.

  3. adelaide_economist

    I’m getting a bad feeling about this. I’m not sure the creation of a Euro super-army (under German control, like the EU itself) and stripping countries of all economic and migration control is the way to a peaceful future. It’s making Brexit look like an incredibly good idea and the two new UK aircraft carriers seem remarkably prescient.

    • A German or French lead army is exactly what Europe needs to face Russia (like 1812 or 1941). The most amazing thing about the Grand Armee of 1812 was it was very diverse in its nationalities.

      • As per wikpedia:

        “The Russian invasion of France, known in France as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in Russia as the French Campaign, began on 24. June 1812. when Russian army crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Napoleon’s Grande Armée.
        Tsar Alexander I of Russia hoped to compel Napoleon to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace.”

        The French victory over the Russian army in 1812 was a significant blow to Tsar Alexander I of Russia’s ambitions of European dominance.

        The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the Soviet Union and co-belligerent Poland and other Allies against the European Axis powers and Finland, which encompassed Northern, Southern and Central and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945.
        It has been known as the Western Front the Western Campaign or the European Campaign in the former Soviet Union and in modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Great Patriotic War.

        The Western Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for Soviet Union’s defeat. It resulted in the destruction of the Soviet Union, the partition of Soviet Union for nearly half a century and the rise of the Europe as a military and industrial superpower.


    • macrofishMEMBER

      What does this have to do with anything? Nato is a whole other beat to EU and the big bear next door will continue to keep NATO in the spot light.

      • adelaide_economist

        Not sure if you are referring to my comment – the ‘European army’ referred to in the article – and which has been discussed on and off for years – is quite a separate command structure to NATO. They aren’t one and the same hence the relevance.

    • AE: jingoism and bigotry are not the exclusive trait of some nations. In fact, it seems to be cropping up more within the anglosphere than anywhere else. The next dictatorial megalomaniac is more likely to be an Englishman known for its peculiar hairstyle. Orwell was right after all.

      • “In fact, it seems to be cropping up more within the anglosphere than anywhere else.”

        Nope. Greece, Hungary, France, Russia, Switzerland. And let’s not forget the countries that are unapologetically anti foreigner and always have been (China, Japan, Korea, and a lot of South East Asia).

        The term ‘xenophobia’ is bandied about too much in the Anglosphere, and is now being frequently applied to those who simply want to reduce the (very high) rate of immigration.

  4. There is no truth in the rumor that Germany has told Scotland it can join the EU if it changes its name to Scottish-Prussia.

    It is not true because they will need a decade or so of lending money to Scotland after they join the EU before they will be demanding that concession as a debt reparation alternative – along with title to the remaining oil in the North Sea.


  5. You would think the EU would make the transition as painless as possible, in case some years down the track they decide to return. After all the UK is one of the largest contributors and they don’t want to turn more of the UK population against the EU, some other nations would also turn..

    • I’d welcome some gorgeous Germans instead of the ones we’re getting now, many of whom are very non-gorgeous – some would even say peasant-like, and mostly male.

  6. Some of this stuff gets fed by Russian agents provocateurs. Treat it with caution if it originates with RT or Pravda as this one seems to.

  7. Boris may be right! And Brits with any knowledge of 20th Century history (which probably excludes most under 30yo), know that United-Europe projects, are overtaken by the leaders’ ambitions.

  8. Wouldn’t be surprised if the same people that championed Brexit are driving these unsubstantiated assertions. Not very different from the illusions they sold the British people asking them to vote to leave:

    First, a referendum reduces complexity to absurd simplicity. The tangle of international cooperation and shared sovereignty represented by Britain’s membership of the EU was traduced into a series of mendacious claims and promises. The British people were told there would be no economic price to pay for leaving, and no losses for all those sectors of its society that have benefited from Europe. Voters were promised an advantageous trade deal with Europe (Britain’s biggest market), lower immigration, and more money for the National Health Service and other cherished public goods and services. Above all, Britain, it was said, would regain its “mojo,” the creative vitality needed to take the world by storm.

    A British Tragedy in One Act

    Sure MB can provide some in depth analysis on Brexit instead of these sensational empty headlines..
    Looks like Italy might be the next shoe to drop..

    Consider this: Italy’s government is considering pumping as much as $45 billion into its banking system after the Brexit vote. Shares of the biggest Italian banks have fallen more than 20 percent since the results of the vote were announced. And Italian banks are considered particularly vulnerable because they hold hundreds of billions of euros in bad loans. If Brexit forces a material economic slowdown across the Continent, Italy’s banks — without a rescue plan — could significantly suffer.

    Brexit’ Doesn’t Mean Game Over, but It May Be Just the First Domino

  9. EU referendum: Plans for EU army ‘kept secret’ until after Brexit vote (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/eu-referendum-plans-eu-army-kept-secret-until-after-brexit-vote-1562327)

    As German Lieberstein raises it ugly head again! Remarkable comment this morning, a lot of my European friend are very against Brexit (as opposed to my euphoria) – commenting that most people shouldn’t be allowed to vote…

    I would be willing to fight, and need be, die – to uphold my and my children’s freedom. When I hear things like that, and see the insipid creep of National Socialism across Europe under a different guise. I know in my heart of hearts, we will war again. Maybe not in a decade or two, but soon enough.

    Germans just don’t get us. They just don’t understand.

    • Yep, take a look at European Oil imports, Russia and West Africa. With Nigeria joining a long lineof failed states Russia has them by the short hairs. Only increase can come from Middle East.


      Gas is the same and with the big Dutch fields shut down because of earthquakes Russia has the whip hand.


      And that is before the US starts supressing Chinese oil use. Eagle Ford has already failed and other US oil shale fields will follow by 2020.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      So the European Union will become the resurrected Holy Roman Empire, except it’s not holy, it’s not Roman, and it’s not an empire 😛

    • A European army, believe it or not, despite the Russia “aggression” rhetoric would be just as much about getting out from under NATO (the USA’s) thumb than protecting from any Eastern threat. Everyone seems to have missed that this countervailing point is potentially equally as strong a reason to have a standing EU army.

      It would mean they can kick out the American influence from Europe and pursue security and economic arrangements with Russia, and formed USSR countries freely, which would eventually tie to the New Silk Road. It would mean Europe (Germany) along with Russia and China would be the great economic powers of the globe able to influence trade all across the Eurasia. This would relegate the USA’s influence, where a big part of their economic power is due to their control of the seas. If the vast bulk of global trade become land based this shrinks US influence. Of course for pragmatic reasons you can’t just kick the USA to the curb when you don’t have an army and Russia is your neighbor, not because of their imaginary “aggressive” stance right now, but because what their stance could be under anyone who isn’t Putin.

      People aren’t reading deep enough into this desire for a EU army. It certainly isn’t something the USA would support. In this scenario the Russia bashing by the EU proponents of this is just convenient cover. Taking one out of the US playbook actually.

  10. PantoneMEMBER

    Secede what little sovereignty you have left, I’m sure that will be a compelling argument for those who are thinking of leaving.

  11. This really is taking on the dimensions of high farce. On the one hand you’ve got Brexiteers suggesting their ‘plan’ is to have all the benefits of the EU without any of the costs… like that’s going to happen.

    And on the other side, you’ve apparently got Europhiles deciding now is a good moment to push the project envelope a bit further.

    The Brexiteers know that the EU cant afford more bad PR and yet neither can it afford NOT to make it hard for Britain in a new deal. The EU knows that the Brexiteers have no actual plan and if they were a smaller country or the EU was in a stronger place, they could make it seriously uncomfortable for them.

    Neither side gains by moving quickly, on the other hand neither can drag it out especially the Brexiteers, who if they are seen to renege or backslide on their Leave promises, will be crucified in the media and the court of public opinion.

    And even if/when Article 50 begins, no one has any clue how it will play out and in all likelihood, the wrangling will go on for years at many levels.

    Has there ever been a scenario like this in geopolitics??

  12. -Lance the Brexit boil quickly.
    -Cancel the debt of the periphery countries.
    -Announce a European New Deal – and build build build. Get people employed and busy.

    Any more nonsense about immigration, security etc and I am certain this ship is going to the bottom of the ocean.

  13. It’s about who will be making the rules: China & Russia 1500 million people, Europe 700 million people, US 140 million full time employed. OR we could all just agree to get on together and support humanity.

  14. The EU is a great idea as a trade bloc, but ceding control of your legal and political systems to a supranational bureaucracy seems like a bad idea. From a BBC fact check article at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35891716

    “Under EU rules, citizens of other EU countries can only be deported or denied entry on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health.

    Holding a criminal conviction isn’t enough. The person must pose a threat to the interests of society. And the threshold goes up after five and ten years of residence in the UK.

    EU law also gives additional rights of entry and residence to the family members of EU citizens even if they’re from elsewhere.

    That means it’s more difficult for Britain to deport or bar entry to criminals who are from the EU or related to EU citizens.”

    Australia can and does deport recidivist crims, but the UK can’t do that to EU crims under the EU rules, and it’s developments like that that have pissed off the pommy punters to the point where they’ve decided they’ve had enough. I don’t blame them.

    • “I don’t blame them.”

      Nor do I but I will be genuinely surprised if the EU is willing to grant EU-like benefits in trade and finance without EU-downsides like free migration.

      • I’m not sure of the details but Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are all in the common market but not the EU. Doesn’t England want some kind of Norway type deal?

      • Merkel is speaking at the moment – “Free access to the single market to whichever country accepts the 4 freedoms of people, goods, services and capital”.

        From my comment above…there’s no deal with Norway and Switzerland that excludes free migration but includes market access.


        However, in fact, Norway and Switzerland have far higher levels of EU immigration than the UK as a proportion of their populations. These countries do operate under slightly different legal arrangements to the UK when it comes to EU migration. In practice, though, they are fully integrated into the EU’s free movement rules, and the EU has repeatedly made it clear that free movement of people is the price that must be paid for access to the single market.

      • A bit more – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/28/world/europe/boris-johnson-brexit.html

        And the vision he sketched out — of a Britain that is still in a trading bloc with Europe — seemed at best difficult to achieve, since the price of membership in the single market has always been the two things the Leave movement explicitly campaigned against: free movement of European citizens across borders and contributions to the bloc’s operating budget.

        The few countries that have been given access to the European free-trade zone without joining the European Union — notably, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland — all contribute to the bloc’s budget and accept its bedrock principle of free movement of workers, the very issues that angered so many of the Britons who voted to leave.

  15. The EU primarily came into being as a result of the defence and agricultural security that it sought after the WW2, and secondarily it saw a need for its member countries to become a trading power to face up to the other two Big Blocs of the day – the USA and, to a lesser degree, the USSR. By clubbing together the EU gave its members the quasi monopolistic bulk to demand certain trading privileges that each country on its own would have been able to negotiate. Further, it gave each member within the union a stable price to charge each other for like commodities. Internal competition would effectively be removed. But the world has changed since it was formed and the ideals of a large union have foundered on the rocks of nationalism. The ‘united’ countries were too different in culture and governance.
    By leaving the EU, the UK has freed itself of 2 big impediments (1) The reciprocal trade barriers that the larger EU has negotiated with other trading partners – there is no need for a ‘free trade’ deal if trade is truly free – and (2) the internal inefficiencies that sought to set the price of internally produced goods – subsidies of one sort or another. Released of those bonds the UK is a Free Agent; and a small agent, that can, and will, nimbly trade with whomever wants their goods and services, and whoever will provide them in return based solely on market price and volume. If Germany, say, imposed tariffs on its car exports to the UK, so be it. Britain then either makes them themselves, or buys substitutes from whoever wants to offer them, e.g. China or Korea or even the USA!
    Perhaps the EU might recognise the benefits of freedom, too, and realise that free trade isn’t what it negotiated in an Agreement, but is an action born of necessity. If that frees-up world trade, all of us will be the better for it.

  16. Whilst we ponder….

    What is Wrong with Corruption?

    I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. …

    Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow . . .

    – Abraham Lincoln

    quoted in Jack London’s The Iron Heel

    The first sign of corruption in a society … is that the end justifies the means.

    – Georges Bernanos,

    “Why Freedom?” The Last Essays of Georges Bernanos (1888-1948)


    • Skippy you made an interesting point – those countries that are most stable are also least corrupt. Studies prove this over and over. Hence you would say that any party espousing stability would be pushing for an anti corruption drive. This is exactly what a very smart President did on China when he was handballed a rupturing region to deal with.

  17. I tend to read Irish papers rather than UK ones as they are more objective on EU issues (and you’ll always lose money if you follow the Daily Mail or the Telegraph). If you read non UK papers you’ll get a more objective and accurate idea of what’s afoot. Basically it’s worse than the UK realises.

    First, Europe always makes its be steps towards integration when there’s a crisis. There’s a deep suspicion that the Farage/Tory/Johnson agenda is not to remove the UK from Europe but to split the EU. So expect the decisive acts to come from Brussels and to be fast and brutal.

    Second, Brussels appears to have have been preparing for Brexit.for a number of years and there are again disturbing sign Brexit may be more brutal than either the UK or Australia appreciate,. The UK’s presidency in 2016 has been suspended, the UK’s MEPS have been asked to leave, the UK’s commissioner has “resigned” and now the suitability of UK judges in the European Court of Justice is being questioned. Slowly in the background the supports keeping the UK in the EU are being dismantled by Brussels, not London. But you’d have to read an Irish paper to realise this all going on.

    Third, It’s Article 7, not 50 Australia needs to be alert to. if activated this means immediate ejection for the UK from the Single Market, including EU financial markets. Basically if Boris (presumably) doesn’t activate Article 50, the EU will activate will activate Sect 7. Realistically the time line for this is after the US presidential election when Boris’ great mate Donald Trump fails to become POTUS, but before Christmas.

    Fourth, US secretary of state has been in Rome and has expressed the US’ view that if the UK has to be treated punitively to keep the EU together, so be it. As the Chinese say, kill the chicken to scare the monkey.

    The movement to a single army is realistic (and strongly supported by the US) and yes, a single tax base (though not necessarily same tax rates) and banking system are all in the offing which should further strengthen the Euro.. None of this should come as a surprise to you.

    But the UK is in a truly dreadful position, it will be exiting by Christmas by either the slow road (Article 50) or the fast road (Article 7). There will be no free trade treaty for at least ten year when it goes …no wonder they’re queuing for Irish passports in London.

    • Interesting perspective Louis. What are your thoughts on the EU’s reaction if a pro-Remain coalition won a UK election this year and refused to pass legislation to activate Article 50?

      • An election would come to late and would only be he;ld by teh conservatives if they taught they’d win. To secure the UK’s palce in the EU a second referendum would have to be called, but this just plays into the Brexiters hands who have always claimed that the EU is the Fourth Reich/Hotel California, so there’s no guarantee it would be passed.

        I think the only way it would pass with certainty would be to included UK expats in the EU (especially Spain) and EU citizens resident long term in the UK in the referendum. , , but current political disintegration says that the next nine weeks will be taken up by infighting, teh UK seems destined to use the opportunity to lose the opportunity. My concern is they will run out of time to engineer this outcome. . .

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      “Brexit may be more brutal than either the UK or Australia appreciate,”

      Could be a great leg up for Australian and New Zealand dairy farmers if Article 7 is enacted,…they got pretty hammered when the UK joined the common market back in 73.

    • Interesting points. I wonder why the EU will let Britain go not only without a fight but with a push out the door, when they refused to let Greece go?

      • Any country including Greece can leave at any time by activating Article 50. Greece never proposed to do so. The EU couldn’t have stopped them if they had.

      • In short, its the least worst option (from their perspective).

        It diffres from Greece, in that Greek people wanted to stay and had been sold short by their own politicians. Again it was Article 7 that was the concern, but the EU’s frustration was aimed squarely at the Greek political class not the people. Wolgang Schaube’s offer to Greece was breathtakingly generous…. if they voluntarily left the Euro, structured their debt via the Paris club and their economy was stabilized then re-entered the Euro later which at least a 50% debt write off. the EU always said that Greek debt restructuring must occur outside the Euro.not from within.

        Just to get an idea what the mood was like the European President is refusing to speak in English (because we all know how many languages the English speak) except to say why are you here? The sight of Farage haranguing, goading and sneering at the EU parliament would only confirm to them that the aim is to create further turmoil within the EU with the aim of splitting it.

  18. BTW …before you all started quoting Nigel Farage and the Daily Mail just remember this..these are apologist’s for the follwing:

    Italian’s being beaten up on the streets of London for meerly inquiring who they voted for?
    Poles and Romanian having letters shoved into homes telling them they are vermin, verbally haranging them in the street.
    I could go on, but it very ugly in London at the moment….but google the last European leader to use vermin in Europe …not good. .

    • Blah, talk about hyperbole. It’s just misdirected anger.

      People are justifiably angry. But they shouldn’t be angry at the poor Italians/poles/whatever for comment my mom we. They should be fcking angry at the government that permitted this.

      Exactly the same in Australia. Don’t blame the corrupt Chinese money launderers who steal our houses. Blame the government that permits and encourages this.

    • It’s a bit of a steam vent.

      Just try and imagine what you would be doing if you were an alcoholic, prone to violence person – ie you were exposed to violence from a young age – and you had no means of making a decent living; struggled to put food on the table and are drip fed pictures 24/7 of ‘successful’ people with everything? You might just lash out; or be waiting for that opportunity.

      By creating inequal societies and policies, unfortunately there are ramifications. As Seneca says, every man one day must sit down to a meal of consequences.

  19. The British voted to leave, not just because of immigration, but also because Remain didn’t sell their message correctly. They stood on a soapbox and called “Brexiters” racist, uneducated and of lower class. They are saying the same thing in defeat. This is the reason they lost.

    • Have you read Sam Huntington’s clash of civilisations? He was labelled rascist for his theory, yet rather than rascist, he may just have been half correct?

    • “This is the reason they lost.”

      Well that and the fact that the Leavers lied about both the immigration and financial implications of leaving.

  20. proofreadersMEMBER

    HnH – has Gerard Minack put out any commentary post the Brexit vote and if so, are you able to reproduce it on MB?

  21. The first strike was S&P/Moodys/Fitch dropping the credit rating and increasing funding costs.