Reform and enlargement: Europe’s next struggle…

The first stage of the Brexit process, the ‘withdrawal’ is nearing its completion with a vote in the EU parliament on the withdrawal package now done. Barnier and the Commission throughout the process have presented a unified message with little breakdown in communication between them and the EU capitals. It may look to EU federalists like a stepping stone on the process of sovereign status for the Brussels institutions but upon closer inspection this notion is easily dispelled. The Brexit …

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Jane Morrice launches her #euni19 campaign: pizza and spaghetti, and fish and chips #VoteJane2Remain

Life-long Europhile Jane Morrice launched her colourful campaign this morning. She wants to press for a People’s Vote on any deal with a clear option to indicate a desire to remain in the EU, and for any deal to include special recognition of Northern Ireland, essential she says, due to its unique frontier and people’s right to EU citizenship.

The Brexit Border in 4 key slides

Recently I decided that what is needed right now are some slides that attempt to put the Brexit border issue as simply as possible. This is a pared-back and simplified overview of complex matters, but it’s my attempt to provide an outline of what border controls could mean for different types of border with the EU after Brexit. It is the second draft of a work in progress and any corrections, comments and suggestions are welcome. Slide 1 shows the different …

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Interesting point on the EEA

This is apparently old news, but does the UK Government need to give notice of leaving the European Economic Area or not? Until five minutes ago (HT the roads fans on SABRE), I would have said no.  Then I read the preamble of the agreement of the EEA, specifically the contracting parties. The contracting parties are not the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The contracting parties are the EU, the members of the EU in their own right, Norway, Iceland …

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The Camino; the origins of the EU idea?

It seems far-fetched, risible even, yet some experts claim the Camino de Santiago de Compostella is the origin of the European Union project. The argument goes that the pilgrims of the Middle-Ages who tramped across the many Pilgrim Ways that coalesce in the City of Santiago, north-west Spain, brought tolerance of differences and a focus on a common goal; a road that eventually led to the idea of a united Europe. Pilgrim’s objectives were spiritual, religious and off course selfish. …

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Sinn Fein has abandoned the idea of Irish Independence for the EU

The recent blog post of Free Church of Scotland Minister Rev David Robertson ( @theweeflea ) on his conversion from being a Pro SNP Scottish Independence supporter to a person who would now vote “No” in any second Scottish Independence referendum has triggered some fierce debate.  I could not help but see the parallel between the SNP and Sinn Fein. The SNP has exchanged the idea of Scottish Independence for the fantasy of the progressive EU How easily the above …

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EU Referendum and the count process

We are now just a few days away from polling day and I thought it would be useful to put up some information about the count process in Northern Ireland for the EU referendum. Unlike other referenda that have been held in the past, Northern Ireland will count through the night and in 8 different centres across the province. You can see the estimated declaration times for the rest of the UK here, but I have compiled the Northern Ireland …

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The EU does not guarantee workers rights

I must take umbrage with various politicians on the Remain side arguing that leaving the EU threatens workers rights. We currently see trade union strikes in France & Belgium over EU deregulation where train drivers are due to lose rest periods and undermine working conditions. Last night on BBC The View we saw Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson cite a loss of workers rights if we left the EU as a reason to vote Remain, yet her colleague Mary Lou …

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Soapbox: Brexit isn’t about cutting ourselves off from the world….

Sammy Morrison is a TUV Press Officer and an assistant to Jim Allister. Here he challenges Ferdinand Mount’s cautionary tale about the motivations of Brexiteers, and argues that Brexit could liberate the UK to fulfil its potential in the world in Europe – and beyond. Ferdinand Mount cannot hide his contempt for those campaigning for Brexit telling us that it is “tempting to regard ‘Brexosis’ as a mental disorder”. He repeats David Cameron’s warning that Brexit could lead to World …

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SUN/Lucid Talk Poll shows majority voting to stay in the EU

A poll for The SUN conducted by Lucid Talk online with 2,886 responses (balanced by gender, age, area of residence and community background) shows a majority at this stage voting to stay within the European Union. (The poll has a margin of error of 3.9%) The headline figures show that if a vote were held today 55% would vote to stay within the EU, 29.4% would vote to leave and more than 14% are undecided. Breaking those figures down the poll …

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#Brexit Northern Ireland

The debate on EU membership in Northern Ireland has recently kicked off.  On Saturday Northern Ireland born Labour MP Kate Hoey laid out the Vote Leave & Labour Leave case from leaving the EU at the TUV conference at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick (UKIP`s Paul Nuttall addressed their conference in 2012 on the same issue). Irish Foreign Minister @CharlieFlanagan recently addressed Queens University Belfast on implications for Northern Ireland of Brexit.  Both Labours Kate Hoey MP & UKIP`s David McNarry …

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EU Referendum: Is this a chance to break Nationalist malaise?

It was one of the main developments that people took away from the General Election and that was the decline in the Nationalist vote. It is true that no matter how much Sinn Fein and the SDLP attempt to kid themselves to the contrary, Unionism has it seems stemmed the tide of apathy and now it is Nationalist politicians who are now feeling the pinch of a shrinking voter base. Is there an issue that Nationalists could possibly attach themselves …

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Sinn Fein discombobulated over the European Union

Sinn Fein continues their schizophrenic approach to the EU: Michelle O`Neill has stated that The European Fisheries Fund has made a significant contribution to our commercial fishing and coastal communities… She failed to mention that the UK  has almost 70 per cent of Europe’s fishing grounds but only 13 per cent percent of its fishing quota. The Common Fisheries Policy opened up the UK’s fish to all EU member states. Now we must import fish species such as cod, haddock and …

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Speaking of the Armenians

Addressing a group of German army officers at his Obersalzberg home in August 1939, Adolf Hitler assured them that their upcoming razing of the Polish nation-state was an act that they could get away with, since global attention to such events had tended to be fickle: [O]ur war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the …

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D Day and Europe’s Long Peace

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of D Day. I am always humbled to hear the stories of those men who went ashore that day. They speak of the horror, not of any glory of war, but what that generation was forced to achieve and did so was truly heroic. The first big commemoration I remember was the 40th when I remember the BBC announcer being corrected that all were in their 60s now (some were 58 or 59). Now all …

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70% of laws made by EU claims European Free Alliance (SNP & Plaid)

In the first Nigel Farage vs Nick Clegg debates the Deputy Prime Minister claimed only 7% of our laws were made in the EU. In the second debate Farage countered this and Clegg changed his assertion was about ‘Primary laws’. However in 2003 Nick Clegg said “Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in the UK begins in Brussels.” Now the European Free Alliance which includes the SNP & Plaid Cymru have released a video for the 2014 elections …

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Opinion: Time for UK wide Unionism

Elections are coming and two recent polls have Sinn Fein inline to win 3 European seats in the Republic and 1 in Northern Ireland.  I highly doubt the recent debacle & arrest of Gerry Adams over the abduction, torture and murder of Jean McConville will seriously affect Sinn Fein`s electoral prospects.  Where then does this leave Unionists?  We can count on Sinn Fein press releases talking about being the only party with MEP`s across the whole of Ireland, the only party advancing an …

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“2013 *can* be the year in which Ireland exits its Programme”

No forgone conclusion then from the Taoiseach speaking at the LSE in London yesterday, who is clearly trying to make the most of his government’s billing as poster child for austerity. We are implementing a very challenging budgetary adjustment of about 20% of GDP over the period from 2008 to 2015, with most of this already achieved. We remain on track to fall to below the 3% of GDP-target by 2015. This new stability and confidence has been hard-won. But it …

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