Gransnet forums

News & politics

A pivotal moment for the EU?

(57 Posts)
Urmstongran Fri 24-Jul-20 21:52:17

Well Remainers.

“Did you know what you voted for back in 2016?

Brexiteers will be all too familiar with that question. But what would Remain voters make of the big decisions taken in Brussels this past week?

Four long nights of talks saw EU leaders strike a deal on the bloc's next seven-year budget, worth just over one trillion pounds (€1.1 trillion).

They also agreed a scheme of €750 billion (£680 billion) in grants and loans to counter the impact of the pandemic across the 27-member bloc, the biggest joint borrowing scheme in the EU’s history.

MEPs put their summer holiday plans on hold to comb over the fine print yesterday, many of whom fumed that it didn’t go far enough.

European Council president Charles Michel said it was “a pivotal moment” for the EU, while Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said it was “historic”.

Ex-Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, now an MEP, called it the biggest “leap forward” for the EU since the creation of the euro and the single market.

It is clear now that the ‘pesky’ Brits are no longer around, Eurocrats are daring to dream once more of deeper European integration.

Gone are the days when Eurosceptic-lite countries, such as the Netherlands, could hide behind the UK when trying to vote down policies they didn’t like.

Seasoned Brussels watchers might say this is old news. Yet the spectre of inevitably more Europe was dismissed as Faragist fantasy back in 2016.

EU leaders say these exceptional times call for exceptional measures. They believe that a series of EU taxes will help foot the bill.

But much of the blueprint to reboot Europe’s economy from the coronavirus pandemic bears an uncanny resemblance to von der Leyen’s own ‘manifesto’ published before she took office last year – and very little resemblance to the election pledges of the EU heads of state and government.

In fact, many of these ideas have been kicking around for years. Either in the bowels of the Berlaymont, the Commission’s headquarters, or in the policy papers of well-funded EU think tanks with links to Europe’s biggest political parties.

The wish list includes EU digital taxes, green taxes, and even a possible financial transaction tax – once branded by George Osborne as “a big tax on pensioners” in the pages of this very newspaper.

A "single rulebook" for corporate taxes is also on von der Leyen's agenda.

All this might send shivers up the spines of even the most ardent Remainers.

Just ask Tony Blair.

In his first two terms as prime minister, he regularly clashed with the then-Commission president Romano Prodi. The Italian wanted Britain to surrender its veto and grant the EU more tax-raising powers.

Fast forward two decades: the band line-up has changed, yet everyone is still singing very much from the same hymn sheet.

To their credit, Brussels realises that they have their work cut out to get voters on board.

A 2017 paper for the Commission, entitled ‘the Future of Europe’, said having the EU do more risks is “alienating parts of society which feel that the EU lacks legitimacy.”

Eurocrats are organising a conference of the same name that starts this year “to give Europeans a greater say on what the European Union does and how it works for them.”

Verhofstadt, a sworn federalist, is widely tipped to chair the event after having missed out on a top EU job last year.

“Even if you agree that Brexit was a complete gamble, it certainly looks like a pretty good bet now,” one conservative European Parliament aide told me after the new EU budget was agreed earlier this week.

Beleaguered Remain campaigners, take note. The EU you want to rejoin is likely to look quite different indeed in a few years’ time.

Is that what you voted for in 2016?”

Apologies for the C&P.
It’s behind a paywall in the DT.

varian Fri 24-Jul-20 22:13:39

Is that the brexit supporting Torygraph?

Dinahmo Fri 24-Jul-20 22:21:15

I see - all you Brexiteers had the gift of foresight. Somehow I doubt it, having heard hundreds of comments from Brexiteers about money for the NHS, control immigration, sovereignity, taking back control etc etc. Many of them not knowing what the last two items meant.

Our membership of the EU was demeaned by Farage and his cohorts. It is likely that the K will fall apart - not because of perceived machinations on the part of the EU but by the actions of our own parliament and people.

PS please see the link in my post about the ticking clock and see how much money Brexit has cost us.

MerylStreep Fri 24-Jul-20 22:32:08

When the article says loans to counter the pandemic I see nice little earner for the German banks I hope those poorer countries negotiated a good deal and won't be shafted as the Greeks were.

maddyone Fri 24-Jul-20 23:51:17

Interesting times.

NotSpaghetti Sat 25-Jul-20 01:34:40

Have you read Ursula von der Leyen's manifesto?
I suggest you do - lots of really positive things in it that I'd be happy to support.

Obviously nothing is perfect but mostly to my liking - a Green Deal to move quickly to carbon neutral, digital connectivity, tax regime for companies which are entirely digital, shared support for migration, lifting children out of poverty, greater transparency and stronger democracy/democratic processes.

It's only 24 pages so go and take a look.

I think the article cited above is scaremongering personally.

I would like to read the actual agreement though - I haven't read that yet.

MerylStreep Sat 25-Jul-20 12:54:22

What do you think of Van der Leyens plan to cut emissions by 50% by 2030 when her own country is planning to open a new coal fired power station and will reliant on coal (for power) for the next 20 years.

Furret Sat 25-Jul-20 13:53:15

The Daily Telegraph.

paddyanne Sat 25-Jul-20 14:18:49

Meryl streep not to worry England has CHINA building nuclear power stations..thats the same CHINA that they and America are shaking warlike fists at over Huawei !! Couldn't make it up ...sadly in Toryland you dont have to make up the ridiculous and the downright lies..they are there for all to see

NotSpaghetti Sat 25-Jul-20 15:09:09

MerylStreep - I take it she will try to make that more difficult.

That's what I think about it.

MaizieD Sat 25-Jul-20 16:03:29

A rather different take from the Guardian of course. No paywall so I'll just link to it.

I thought this bit was interesting:

The European Union is a global heavyweight in trade and climate. But in political terms, it is puny. For all the Brexit conspiracy theories of a “United States of Europe”, the EU has no federal government. Brussels is not the continent’s capital, but home to its bureaucracy. The club’s power lies with member states that zealously guard their interests and scrupulously defend their sovereignty. They often recoil from shared burdens and a collective will.

The EU is not hiding plans of integration, it just has none of any note. Over the last three decades, the appetite for greater political and fiscal union has been shrinking, not growing.

EllanVannin Sat 25-Jul-20 16:11:58

The sprouts are rebelling grin Brussels will make things as difficult as they possibly can.

NotSpaghetti Sat 25-Jul-20 16:34:54

Sorry Ellan, I'm not sure what you mean here?
Who are the sprouts and what are they rebelling about?

Why do you assume Brussels will make something or other difficult? What or why?

Sorry if this is stupid but I just don't understand.

varian Sat 25-Jul-20 18:19:49

The EU has shown conclusively in its response to the global pandemic, that we are much better together than apart.

And perhaps as a consequence, support for EU membership has grown in all 27 EU countries - exactly the opposite of the brexit liars' claims that if we left there would be a domino effect.

The people in the other 27 EU nations have looked at the sad state that the UK is in and said "no thanks". They appreciate their EU membership more than ever.

biba70 Sat 25-Jul-20 18:25:28

Yes, indeed.

maddyone Sat 25-Jul-20 18:26:48

Do the people of the EU look at the UK and say ‘no thanks’ ? We know what the leaders say, but do we know what the people say? I’m not sure we do, though am willing to be persuaded by concrete evidence.

biba70 Sat 25-Jul-20 19:05:22

Pharmaceuticals industry
'Major' breakthrough in Covid-19 drug makes UK professors millionaires

Synairgen’s share price rises 540% on morning of news of successful drugs trial

varian Sat 25-Jul-20 19:11:06

Good. Let's hope we can get a vaccine that works ASAP.

maddyone Sat 25-Jul-20 19:50:16

Agree with varian on this thread too. There’s hopeful news from Oxford and Imperial College, London. Also China is trialling a hopeful looking vaccine. I believe 28 countries are actually in trials with a vaccine, and many more projects are ongoing. I think Oxford, Imperial College, and China are front runners at the moment, but also possibilities in America are in development. There’s also a breakthrough in treatment as mentioned by biba.
I don’t care how much money these scientists make, I’m just thankful that these people are working so hard to develop treatments and vaccines. If they make money along the way, good for them.

lemongrove Sat 25-Jul-20 19:59:48


The sprouts are rebelling grin Brussels will make things as difficult as they possibly can.

But wait a minute😱does this mean no sprouts at Christmas, will they withhold shipments ?😁

Dinahmo Sat 25-Jul-20 20:21:55


Do the people of the EU look at the UK and say ‘no thanks’ ? We know what the leaders say, but do we know what the people say? I’m not sure we do, though am willing to be persuaded by concrete evidence.

The people we meet at the local bar every Friday think we're mad for leaving. They think Johnson is a joke. They think that we've never really understood the reason for the EU and that it is about more than just trade. They are all retired so of an age with most GNers. Like us, they are incomers to a rural area. They are reasonably knowledgeable about events in the UK and they feel sorry for us.

biba70 Sun 26-Jul-20 13:12:34

He is going down - and unfortunately taking us down with him. Borrowing much more money to destroy the country than (even) Labour would have to rebuild it. And the whole world knows it (I think he knows it too by now)

Have you seen the ratings recenty? Starmer right up there and Johnson down and down.

biba70 Sun 26-Jul-20 13:18:27

Polling still looking good.
Starmer net approval +22, Johnson -8
In seats we lost since 2005: Starmer +13 Johnson +2
Towns Starmer +9 Johnson -6
65+ Starmer +11 Johnson +9

Sparkling Sun 26-Jul-20 21:47:09

Goodness, the country voted overwhelmingly recently just so we could get Brexit done and yet those few with blinkers on do not recognise that.

MaizieD Sun 26-Jul-20 22:43:18


Goodness, the country voted overwhelmingly recently just so we could get Brexit done and yet those few with blinkers on do not recognise that.

I rather think that the blinkers belong to the people who think that 43% of the vote is 'overwhelming'.