How do Robinson and McGuinness explain their anti- EU stances to Brazilian and other would be overseas investors?

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The Financial Times (£)  have another report warning of possible dire consequences if the UK voted to leave the EU in a 2017 referendum,  not least for Ireland north and south.

An UK exit from the EU would produce huge complications to cross border trade – you can just imagine trying to put in place bilateral arrangements,” said Steve Aitken, chief executive of the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses don’t recognise the national boundaries that politicians do and are extremely integrated nowadays,” he said.

Terrorists also do not recognise borders. Ireland’s justice minister and his counterpart in the Northern Ireland executive have warned London about the danger of opting out of key EU counter terrorism measures such as the European arrest warrant.

Concerns about the possible reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic, if the UK exited the EU, have also been expressed.

This might be just a tad alarmist. Non- EU Norway seems to manage continuing easy relations with EU members, their neighbours Denmark Sweden and Finland. I see our leaders FMDFM are escaping  the fallout from the flags protest in Brazil.  No doubt we all wish them luck in their avowed aim  to trump business from a fast growing economy which is currently outstripping the UK’s.

How do they explain the  respective  nationalist anti- EU stances of both  the DUP and SF  and the threat uncertainly over EU membership  could pose to Northern Ireland as a platform for Brazilian investment in Europe? Just another one of the little  games we play – pay no attention?  David Cameron just might create the opportunity of having their bluff called.

Does anyone know what their previous  jaunts to India and China have actually delivered?

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  • JH

    Have to say, as a startup founder based in Belfast, Brazil is a key market for us.

    Why? Because they’re a growing market and will be for the foreseeable future with a population that speaks an extremely common language used in several other key markets, making translating our product a worthwhile investment.

    We already have a few tacit customers in India but it’s another key market. Not so much China at the minute as we’re a tech company and can’t afford to duplicate our infrastructure in China to get around their privacy legislation.

    If it were up to me I’d have the two of them out there all the time. Heck it might give them, particularly Peter Robinson, a bit of perspective on his sabre rattling back home.

    I don’t see that they’re particularly anti-EU. I don’t know the DUP’s position on the EU but I doubt they have a particularly strong one given that they only stand in NI and therefore the EU doesn’t really come within their brief in any real way. I understand that SF are Eurosceptic but they’re well bedded into EU structures and I don’t see them as anti-EU, just at odds with the direction the EU is currently going. That’s a fairly common viewpoint.

  • 6crealist

    Careful Brian: you wouldn’t want to be known as a dissident journalist, would you?

  • SDLP supporter

    JH, good luck with your start-up. Founding and running a small business in the internationally tradeable goods and services sector is one of the hardest things to do, and completely undervalued here.

    I do think you are being a bit naive about both DUP and Sinn Fein, however. Both are aligned in their world outlook with UKIP. DUP in particular is not just Eurosceptic, but Europhobic and in the South Sinn Fein have been firmly on the ‘No’ side in all ten referendums. That doesn’t stop them both from putting out their bowls for EU money but they have no commitment whatever to the ideal of an ever closer union. All they want to do is to take, take, take and put nothing back in.

    This is a major opportunity for SDLP because friends I have in Europe scratch their heads in bewilderment when they see NI return two Europhobe MEPs (Anderson, Dodds) and someone who is, at best, Eurosceptic (Nicholson).

  • iluvni

    This, from an sdlp which was 100% in support of the Euro….and, incredibly, given the chance, would have NI join it tomorrow…

  • JH

    With respect SDLP Supporter, I don’t think I’m being naive I just don’t think it’s fair to reduce all views on Europe to integrationist or UKIP.

    I mean with Sinn Féin in particular their position on immigration seems far out of line with UKIP’s. That alone would give them with a very different ‘world outlook’ than UKIP. You’re right, they tend to take a ‘No’ stance on EU referenda, but again this could be an objection to the direction of Europe rather than just Europhobia.

    If the Euro makes it out of the current crisis, which it looks like it now will, then I suspect further integration is a foregone conclusion. But in relation to Brian’s post I’m just saying that apart from the DUP’s one MEP they have practically no powers or briefs on Europe so it shouldn’t really affect their ability to promote business abroad.

  • BarneyT

    Surely SF are consistent in their EU stance? Why would they fight to be extracted from the British Union to enter and remain in a European Union?

    In England there is opposition to the EU and it is as common in the left as it is the right, but for very different reasons.

    The left and by implication SF have the same motivation of self determinism. The EU presently forces you down a right of centre christian democratic path. There is little room for national self interest or self determination within the EU.

    The EU presently can make demands of a government with regard to competition and how they handle their national assets. On that one point alone, I would reject the EU, as I believe any national assets and derived revenues should be used to build schools, infrastructure, hospitals etc.. before they are financially intrumentised for trading and to ensure just a few large pockets are very well lined.

    This is a noble aspiration and it tends to fall into the realm of socialism….which SF claim to be?

  • SDLP supporter

    You don’t have to be a full-out integrationist to be pro-Europe. I’m just a person who favours an ever-closer Union. I’ve never heard Sinn Fein articulate a position on immigration, either to the North or the South and I’d be very surprised if they were in favour of uncontrolled immigration. It’s a hall-mark of a sovereign state that it should be able to regulate to at least a degree who comes into their territory, who accesses welfare benefits, etc, and I think you will find that when the current UK government does something to regulate after 2014, particularly in respect of Bulgaria and Romania, that Labour will tacitly agree.

    Barney T, it doesn’t make sense to equate Ireland’s former forcible incorporation within the British Empire and its current situation within the EU. The defining characteristics of all EU members is that there must be democracy (however dodgy that concept is in places like Hungary and Bulgaria).Every substantive step in the European project has had to be ratified by referendum.

    One of the greatest boons of EU membership is that, for the first time in centuries, it has enabled the South to emerge from the UK’s shadow. One of the absurdities in the position of those who are want an exit from the Euro is that they ignore the fact that, if Ireland were to leave it, it would have to rejoin the sterling area.

    Barney T, I think you are also wrong to say that opposition to Europe is as common on the left as on the right. British Labour (and Irish Labour) both started off as anti-Europe but are now firmly pro-Europe and, while there is a strong Eurosceptic wing in the British Conservatives (hankering after the old days of Empire), there probably is still a majority of more sensible Conservatives who realise that leaving the EU would be a disaster.

    The EU has a lot wrong within it: it spends too much in its bureaucracy, cosseting the farming lobby and the like, but it’s the only supra-national body with the reach to take on the worst excesses of bankster capitalism (see last week’s move on bankers’ pay) and, as a social democrat, I believe that the strengthening of workers’ rights would not have happened without the EU.

  • newgal

    with regard to the actual question at the heart of this piece – maybe the two men in question won’t do so at all – for maybe they won’t be asked – for maybe the position of the DUP and SF on our membership of the EU is not that high up the list of priorities of potential Brazilian investors.

    And even if they are asked; maybe they will just point out that Northern Ireland is not a sovereign indenpendent country, but only a devolved Assembly within the UK and that it will be the UK people as a whole – all 60+ million of them who will make that constitutional decision as a free choice in a referendum.

    And that will probably be enough for said potential investors.

  • BarneyT

    I suppose I would qualify that. Opposition to the EU on the left is more to do with seeking the freedom to assert a leftest political agenda. Quite clearly the ROI was forced to sell off state assets, but I can see this fitting in quite nicely with the Fine Gael party policy. I can also see that the EU was trying to protect an investment, however trying to influence the management of state assets (sell to the highest bidder) is overstepping the mark. That for me is sensitive intrusion, but I cant see anyone standing up and doing a Chavez (a Chavez…but with results)

    The right wing objection to europe is very different if not unsavourable, and whilst I suggest that anti-EU sentiment exists on the right and left, it is for very different reasons….hankering after past glories etc..racism..

    I however welcome the more humanist measures that the UK or Ireland perhaps could not (or would not) have installed alone. Human rights for example. Thats the baby one might throw out with the bathwater if you cut a lone furrow. However that surely if for the nations people to demand and also secure.

  • Jackie

    The dire warnings about the UK leaving the EU, made by those who said the UK must join the euro or suffer, remind me of the warnings about masturbation leading to blindness.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree with SDLP Supporter on the EU and I can confirm that I absolutely would have us join the single currency in the morning if I could, the idea is perfectly sound even if there have been wobbles lately.