Europe plots emergency rationing of British oil
Eben Black, Chief Political
BRITAIN'S oil reserves could be taken over by
the European Union in times of international energy shortage under draft
legislation being drawn up in Brussels.
According to leaked EU documents, Britain's
oil-producing status could be exploited for the benefit of Europe as a
whole. It means that instead of being able to sell British oil on the
open market, firms such as BP, one of the world's leading fuel
retailers, would be required to divert supplies into a central pool to
help countries such as Greece and Portugal if they are experiencing
As the only oil-producing nation within the EU,
Britain is seen as the potential saviour of Europe if there is another
fuel crisis similar to that in the 1970s, when petrol prices quadrupled
overnight after the Opec nations, led by Saudi Arabia, increased the
price of crude oil.
The legislation proposed by the European commission
says that reserves held by member states must be brought into the
"community framework" and should in an emergency be
distributed throughout the European Union to ensure that supplies are
The draft says that there should be "a plan
which will enable petroleum stocks to be communitarised within a short
space of time".
The plan calls on member states to "maintain
minimum stocks of crude oil and of petroleum products so that where
necessary oil reserves may be released in the event of a price
Last night Tony Blair was under pressure to fight
the European proposals, which are likely to be discussed further before
the general election, expected to be on June 7.
Francis Maude, the shadow foreign secretary,
accused the EU of attempting a "smash and grab raid" against
Britain's assets. He said: "This measure is a naked power grab to
utilise Britain's oil reserves and sends a powerful signal that the EU's
ambitions to transform itself into a superstate are alive and well.
"Tony Blair and Robin Cook don't want to talk
about the superstate agenda. In private they are content to go along
with it. Why else would they say nothing when the EU believes that tax
cuts are not fully compatible with European law?"
He added: "The EU has an important role to
play, but harmonising Britain's oil reserves is not one of them."
The Sunday Times
Brussels puts everything up for sale
Nick Cohen Monday 2nd April 2001
As the World Trade Organisation meets in Geneva, Nick Cohen reveals
sell off schools, hospitals and other "services" to the
Europe is a mighty cause of mystification in British politics, as well
the great divide. Conservatives on the pro-European side of the argument
regarded with unwarranted indulgence by right-thinking people. For the
millions whose lives were ruined by the 1979-82 recession, the
transformation of Geoffrey Howe from monetarist fanatic to grave
remains a wonder of the age. Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine have
acquired the gravitas to join him. They are no longer the ministers who
wrecked the hospitals and the mines, but cool voices of moderation who
be listened to with attention, even respect.
The greatest beneficiary of amnesia is Leon Brittan. When Jack Straw and
Widdecombe were juvenile delinquents, he was assaulting and battering
liberties and delivering short, sharp shocks from the Home Office, while
stonewalling and eventual resignation in the Westland affair were a
scandal at the time. All that is forgotten, and he appears now on the
regularly as the weather forecast to warn that his party's opposition to
Europe is an act of unprecedented extremism. To listen to him, you can
believe that Thatcherism never happened and the Tories' lurch to the
was last Saturday night's stagger, rather than a generational shift.
Ignored, too, are other elements of the Conservative tradition and,
the tradition of the higher reaches of European bureaucracy. For
the preferred exit strategy of both was to dive for the revolving door.
the 1990s, Geoffrey (now Lord) Howe, Norman (now Lord) Tebbit and John
Lord) Wakeham and many others went from high office to companies that
their expertise and their efforts in government.
In Brussels, the reputation of the European Commission was shredded by
Bangemann affair . The German commissioner for industry and
telecommunications, Martin Bangemann, retired in 1999 and accepted a job
running Telefonica, the Spanish telecommunications giant, at
speed on a reported salary of £630,000. Pauline Green, the Labour
the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, spoke for her comrades
she said she was horrified at "this sleaze-soaked
Leon (now Lord) Brittan was a colleague of Bangemann's on the
was responsible for trade, which, ever since Seattle, has been the most
violently contested area of policy between north and south and left and
right. Brittan, needless to say, was a "liberaliser" who
wanted to weaken
the ability of governments, elected or otherwise, to control
As we go to press, the next round of the World Trade Organisation's
creating a future where multinationals can profit with a minimum of
accountability is beginning in Geneva. If the critics are even
the negotiations for the General Agreement on Trade in Services (Gats)
not be more serious. They may well render fruitless what attempts there
in the third world to foster native industries and to protect the
environment. There is at least a reasonable chance that Gats will
the privatisation of European schools, hospitals and social services.
Brittan will not be in Geneva, but his influence will be felt. When he
retired from the Commission in 1999, directorships were his for the
He became a vice-chairman of UBS Warburg, the City investment bank, and
consultant to the fantastically expensive City law firm, Herbert Smith.
have an interest in seeing Gats triumph. Unrestricted global markets in
banking, insurance and corporate law services will make a fortune for
A few weeks ago, Brittan became the chairman of the Lotis (Liberalisation
Trade in Services) Group of International Financial Services, London
cumbersome title is usually abbreviated to IFSL). His appointment was
accompanied by the sound of doors whizzing on their hinges. When Brittan
EU trade commissioner, Andrew Buxton (who founded Lotis), the then
of Barclays Bank, lobbied him to "liberalise" trade. In 1998,
Brittan said he was "delighted" with the proposals from Buxton
and others to
create a European Services Forum of 40 chief executive officers to
the EU into pushing Gats as far as it could go.
Brittan retired and, he told me, was asked by Buxton to take on the IFSL
chairmanship. The lobbied is now the lobbyist and Brittan calls on his
unresisting successor Pascal Lamy, himself a former banker, to remove
restraints on capital.
When I spoke to His Lordship, he said that comparisons with Bangemann
"absurd" on two counts. His work at IFSL representing the City
"I don't get a penny piece," he said. (Brittan's altruism is
profitless, we should add in fairness; Herbert Smith and UBS Warburg
that he doesn't starve while he lobbies to get Gats ratified.) His
objection was confused, but telling. In both Brussels and the City, he
supported the liberalisation of services. How can there be a conflict of
interest when he believes that the imperatives of his private and
careers are in harmony, when there is no conflict between the corporate
the public interests?
You can't question his sincerity. You remain, however, free to hear some
There is a liberal-leftish fantasy that the EU is a social-democratic
that will save us from American capitalism. The illusion can be
only by forgetting the enormous advantages of the single currency to
corporations, and by passing over the fact that European-based
multinationals are just as keen on Gats as their American counterparts.
Agreement may be good for them and good for the City, and it would be
foolish to pretend that their advantages will not generate wealth that
trickle down, however feebly. But the price that is being demanded is
The WTO has expanded the definition of "services" with the
rapacity of an
imperial lexicographer to cover just about everything. Health,
energy, food supply are no longer the basics of life in the WTO's
dictionary. They are "services"; mere fripperies on a par with
and hairdressers. Once a country agrees to liberalise any
"service", it will
have made an irrevocable commitment. In a few years, every voter in
may, for example, deplore the ability of US companies to take over
hospitals under WTO rules, but there will be nothing they or their
representatives will be able to do about it. There is no doubt that
multi-nationals are driving the current push in Geneva to open up
and public sectors irreversibly and guarantee that, in the words of the
WTO's statement of principle, democratic regulation can be allowed only
it is the "least trade restrictive" and "not more
burdensome" than is
"Without the enormous pressure generated by the American financial
sector," explained David Hartridge, a WTO official, "there
would have been
no services agreement." American finance is clear that it has the
European health services in mind when it talks of removing constraints
commerce. Dean O'Hare, president of one of the world's biggest insurance
companies, who has led the lobbying in Washington, told Congress:
believe we can make much progress in the negotiations to allow the
opportunity for US businesses to expand into foreign healthcare
Last year, it seemed evident that Europe was willing to give up public
services in return for a free hand for its multinationals in the third
world. Pascal Lamy said he believed that health and education were
liberalisation", while the European Commission dismissed concerns
would prevent representative governments regulating by saying:
"Gats is not
something which exists between governments. It is first and foremost an
instrument for the benefit of business."
The parallels do not end there. Corporations in the European Services
have just as large a say in the formulation of European policy as big
business has in the policies of the American Democrat and Republican
politicians whom it bribes with campaign donations.
Documents unearthed by Corporate Europe Observatory show that the Forum
enjoys extraordinary access in Brussels. EU trade policy is determined
the Commission's "133 Committee", which meets every Wednesday.
are not open to the press or public or elected members of the European
Parliament. When non-governmental organisations asked for details of the
EU's position on allowing conglomerates to privatise health and
they were told the information was a "trade secret". When
in Denmark asked their government to explain what was going on, they
told that elected ministers couldn't get access to Commission documents
The European Services Forum, however, is a respected participant in the
Committee's meetings. On 20 June last year, for instance, it was invited
give its views on the international mobility of "key business
Although the citizens of the Union are not allowed to know what is being
done in their name, the EU is being very free with their money: the
Directorate gave the European Services Forum a grant of 49,290 euros
(£30,000) in November to meet the cost of a conference on Gats.
As protests about Gats have grown, a kinder note is being heard in
Washington and Brussels. Mike Moore, the head of the WTO, has denounced
criticism as "astounding lies", promising that Gats will not
public services and the right to regulate"; and Lamy has echoed
theory, they are correct - the Gats process leaves it up to governments
decide which sectors should be deregulated . Only with their consent is
sector consigned to perpetual liberalisation.
For all that, there is a strong element of casuistry in the
Few doubt that third world governments will find that a condition of IMF
World Bank loans will be that they allow their banks to be taken over by
north . They will be in no position to resist. Brittan said how he and
City colleagues were identifying countries that were resisting Gats and
persuading the EU to whip them into line. Their work had the full
of new Labour, he added, and links with the Bank of England and
Our government, like other European governments, remains strong enough
refuse to sign up to the privatisation of the health service and
And, indeed, ministers say that while they welcome Gats, public services
will be exempt.
But new Labour's warm relationship with a former Tory opponent, as much
its record of privatising hospitals and allowing American corporations
take NHS patients, shows that it is more than willing to go further than
Thatcher dared. Richard Caborn, the trade minister, is already diluting
promise to spare public services by saying that it only covered services
in competition with private operators. Private hospitals and schools
compete for custom in Britain.
Labour politicians complained of "sleaze" when Bangemann did
his runner. But
he was just one greedy man stuffing his pockets. What is being
in Geneva, without reference to any electorate, is the systematic and
unchallengeable destruction of publicly owned and accountable services.
© The Author © New Statesman Ltd. 2000.
COOK `PROUD' TO COMMIT TO EUROPEAN ENLARGEMENT TREATY
By Andrew Woodcock, Political Correspondent, PA News
Robin Cook will tomorrow join other EU foreign ministers in Nice to sign
Treaty on enlargement of the union thrashed out in the French city last
On the eve of the event, Mr Cook said he was "proud" to be
finalised Treaty document, which he said represented "a good deal
and a good deal for Europe".
And he accused Tory shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude - who has
that he would not sign the Treaty - of failing to explain how his party
renegotiate the Nice deal without blocking enlargement.
Mr Cook said: "I am proud to be going to Nice to put Britain's
the Nice Treaty. It represents a good deal for Britain and a good deal
"This good deal was possible only because this Government looks on
an opportunity, not a threat, and can therefore get results.
"I doubt Francis Maude can say he is equally proud that he put his
on the Maastricht Treaty. He daren't, because he knows his party
"On Europe, the Tory Party is putting its own ideological
the real interests of Britain.
"They say they would refuse to ratify the Nice Treaty, even though
mean blocking enlargement. They say they would renegotiate Nice, but
to say what they would demand or how they would achieve it.
"Most crucially, they are silent on the question of what they would
their renegotiation failed. They are silent because they know there is
one option the Tory Party would be willing to accept - withdrawal from
The Nice Treaty is designed to simplify the accession to the EU of up to
aspirant members from eastern Europe and the Mediterranean by
the Union's structures.
It involves removal of individual states' vetoes on a range of issues,
maintains them on sensitive issues such as tax and social security.
terms, Britain gains extra voting powers in the European Council of
Critics have claimed that the Treaty represents a step on the way to a
TRAWLERS IN PORT PROTEST OVER COD PRESERVATION
By Gordon Darroch, PA News
Fishermen were today being urged to tie up their trawlers in protest
against North Sea cod preservation measures amid claims that other
species were being put in danger.
More than 70 skippers in Peterhead have called their vessels into
harbour to protect haddock off the west coast of Scotland, which they
say are being "slaughtered" by fishermen who have been banned
from fishing large areas of the North Sea.
They have called on other crews to follow their lead to prevent stocks
of haddock from being wiped out as trawlers scrap over those fishing
grounds which remain on-limits.
John Buchan, who chaired a meeting yesterday at the Royal National
Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen in Peterhead, claimed skippers in
Shetland and Yorkshire were poised to join his group's action, which
also aims to press the Government for financial help.
He claimed that the Scottish fishing industry was weeks away from
collapse if haddock stocks continued to fall, putting thousands of jobs
More than 40,000 square miles of water have been closed until April 30
under emergency EU powers to help revive cod stocks, after fishermen
were only able to catch 60% of their quota in 1999.
Mr Buchan called on the Government to provide short-term financial
assistance to British fishermen during the ban period in order to
safeguard the future of the fishing fleet.
He said: "In real terms, two thirds of the fishing grounds
available to North-east fishermen are probably closed, which has pushed
the whole fleet west into the grounds which are open.
"As a result, there has been large scale slaughter of the haddock
stock, which is our future.
"We are not talking about years from now - we are talking about
weeks. We are faced with a situation where we can no longer tolerate
going out to sea."
The skipper added that about 90% of the haddock catch had been undersize
fish which were then thrown back dead into the sea, meaning that fewer
fish were surviving long enough to breed.
Prices for haddock have also plummeted in recent weeks to £10 for an
eight-stone box, compared to the £40 needed to break even, Mr Buchan
He said: "The fish are not there to catch, we are doing irreparable
damage to the stocks and at the end of the day, there's no market for
"The Government has been warned repeatedly that if they introduced
these measures to conserve the cod, this would happen and the nightmare
scenario has arrived.
"Fishermen for years and years have told the various bodies that
have been controlling us that the blunt tool of quotas doesn't work, and
what we predicted has come home to roost."
The fishermen are expected to meet again early next week to discuss the
next steps in their campaign.
European army and political union were planned
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
The Daily Telegraph - 15 February 2001
THE idea of a pan-European economic and political union with its own
force was conceived by SS officers according to documents released today
the Public Record Office in Kew.
Maj Gen Ellersiek and Brig Mueller, Hitler's chief of staff during the
Battle of the Bulge, came up with the idea as a means of keeping Nazism
alive following the expected Allied victory in the Second World War.
By March 1946, Ellersiek was in charge of an underground political party
called Organisation Suddeutschland. It believed in the establishment of
fully-armed United Europe, Ellersiek told a British intelligence
masquerading as a Foreign Office representative.
"What was important was that Britain should realise that if Europe
survive, we should all think 'as Europeans'," the ex-SS man was
saying. The party's manifesto called for "a pan-Europe as a balance
Russia and the USA". Although the European nations would remain
"independent", finance and defence matters would be decided
"The good which was in Nazism still lives in the German
said. His party offered "a new revolution for Germany which will
pattern for Europe". This revolution is to be the work of the new
German prototype of the future rulers of Europe . . . which has emerged
purified from Nazism and the trials of war."
The British official noted that German generals seemed likely to be in
charge. "Germany must lead this New Europe with the cooperation of
he quoted Ellersiek as saying, adding his own view that: "So little
Britain is mentioned that it is evident she is to be the junior
The proposed European force has echoes of the current attempts to form
European Rapid Reaction Force, controlled by Gen Rainer Schuwirth of
Germany. Gen Sir Charles Guthrie, Britain's Chief of the Defence Staff,
implicitly criticised the Germans for not backing their promised
contributions with cash, leaving much of the manpower and equipment to
provided by the UK.
EU force may rent Ukraine planes
Daily Telegraph London 14/02/01
THE European Union is looking at the Ukraine's arsenal, left over
the Soviet era, to allow its Rapid Reaction Force to operate
Javier Solana, the EU's security supremo,
and Chris Patten, the
external affairs commissioner, met Leonid
Kuchma, the Ukrainian
president, yesterday to discuss closer ties with
nation of : 50 million.
Topics included the use of its fleet of 76 Ilyushin
and 40 Antonov
An EU official said before the meeting: "We are very
what the Ukrainians have to offer and we are looking at it
The lack of airlift capability was the most glaring
gap in the EU
force's structure to emerge last November when participants were
what they could contribute.
There was also a deficiency in
precision weapons, satellite
intelligence and defence against missiles and anti-aircraft fire.
The Ukraine leases its transport planes, mostly
inherited from the
Soviet air force, to earn hard currency.
EU states already use them for'
humanitarian operations, usually
through commercial agencies.
None of the EU's military forces have long-range transport
although they have smaller C-130s for short-haul duties.
Several have ordered the new Airbus A400m military transport, but
is at least four years away. By using Ukrainian
equipment, the EU
could bring forward the date of operations without American help.
Nato officials do not object to the idea. One said: "The
be happy if it does not have to deal with any more calls from
asking for planes."
TOUGH BUT HUMANE
European Commissioner acts on migration
The European Commission is set to propose common EU standards for
with illegal immigrants * covering decisions on expulsion, detention and
deportation in a package of immigration measures aimed at being
Commissioner Antonio Vitorino announced the move in advance of the
Socialist and Social Democrat Round Table on 'Migration and Cultural
Identity' on Friday and Saturday in Zaragoza, Spain.
Writing in the current issue of the European Socialist and Social
newsletter 'The Round Table', Mr Vitorino describes zero immigration
policies as 'definitely no longer feasible' and points to Europe's need
the workforce provided by migrants.
He says: 'A key element is the fight against illegal immigration,
trafficking of human beings and economic exploitation of migrants.
ensure this goal, information campaigns in countries of origin and
are being developed and further co-operation is expected on visa policy
false documents, ensuring more effective controls of the Union's present
future external borders.'
Since last year when the Commission produced discussion papers on asylum
immigration, EU migration policy has focused on four key elements:
partnership with countries from which people travel to the EU; creation
common European asylum system; fair treatment of third country
and management of migration flows.
Says Mr Vitorino: 'It is now clear that an integrated approach must be
promoted so that migrants and local communities can easily adapt to one
another. Cultural differences exist and must be respected * but
values are always in the first line * for example, respect for human
and the democratic system.'
Integration programmes at local and national level, he writes, are
to fight 'social exclusion, xenophobia and racism, which deeply affect
migrant communities'. Such programmes cover language courses and
information on a country's social and political structures or ensure
established migrants hold the same rights as national citizens.
Commission has already proposed a draft directive on family
Readmission agreements, Mr Vitorino adds, are the best way of ensuring
voluntary return of people refused admission or no longer entitled to
in the EU. Talks are now in hand with Russia, Morocco, Pakistan
He continues: 'There is also the intention to establish common standards
expulsion decisions, detention and deportation, which should be both
efficient and humane and the Commission will soon bring forward
'Immigration is nowadays the main factor in demographic growth in the
and has undoubtedly a role to play in its economic and social future. We
no longer ignore this fact and the Commission can ensure that the
support will be given in order that an indubitable area freedom of
and justice can be achieved.'
Mr Vitorino is to deliver a keynote address to the Zaragoza Round Table
15h30 on 16 February in the Congress Palace.
For more information including the Zaragoza programme or the full text
Vitorino's article in 'The Round Table', please contact Tony Robinson on
Belgian mobile +32-475-257410
B R I T I S H W E I G H T S & M E A S U
R ES ASSOCIATION
PRESS RELEASE 12 February 2001
"THE GREAT METRIC RIP-OFF" BWMA today releases an Internet
report on the
Great Metric Rip-Off - the scandal of "product downsizing" .
The findings of the report demonstrate that metric
conversion is the primary cause of "downsizing", the size
packaged foods - without customers being made aware - during conversion
from imperial to metric. Initially companies delete imperial units from
product packaging and replace them with metric equivalents. Later, after
references to imperial units have been removed, the physical quantity is
decreased, BUT THE PRICE REMAINS THE SAME. Metric reduction goes beyond
trimming off of one or two grams to prevent odd numbers (eg reducing
to 450g). Research shows that companies use metric to make size
of up to 10% or 15% with no comparable decreases in price. For instance,
for the same price: Milk containers - reduced from 2 pints to 1 litre
(equivalent to only 1 pints) Sliced meats - reduced by 12% on conversion
from 4 ounces to 100 grams Sweets - switched from pricing per lb
100 grams, a reduction of 12%. Tinned foods - reduced by 9% from 1 lb to
415 grams It is estimated that THE TOTAL COST TO CONSUMERS OF METRIC
DOWNSIZING IS ABOUT 3 BILLION p.a. The cost to consumers of metric cans
baked beans alone is estimated to be at least 20 million per year. A key
motivation for companies adopting metric is that it gives them an unfair
competitive advantage over firms using traditional imperial units. Using
metric means that firms can sell smaller quantities at the same price as
imperial while making no OBVIOUS change to the size of the outward
packaging. The result is to give metric firms a price advantage over
imperial firms, while the consumer loses out. Astonishingly, CONSUMER
GROUPS ARE INDIFFERENT to the Great Metric Rip-Off. The National
of Consumer Groups actually supports metric conversion, as does the
Consumers in Europe Group, which calls for "rapid transition to
full use of
the metric system". The government, with true Orwellian
metrication is "for consumer protection", and "to avoid
confusion." In the
absence of any opposition to metric conversion by consumer groups, BWMA
calls on consumers to respond to the Great Metric Rip-Off by joining the
Great Metric Boycott - buying only foods from companies that include
lb/oz/pint equivalents. For further information CONTACT: Mr Vivian
BWMA Director, 45 Montgomery Street, Edinburgh EH7 5JX (Tel. & FAX:
556 6080), Or e-mail Research Officer John Gardner:
www.footrule.org Press release
by David Delaney, BWMA Hon Public Relations Officer, Mortimers Cross
Leominster, HR6 9PE, Tel: 01568 708 820, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Specter of Europe
February 11, 2001
By ROGER COHEN
BERLIN, Feb. 10 A little phrase from Rudolf Scharping, the German
defense minister, recently caused American military commanders to
shudder: "As the European Union develops its security and defense
policy and becomes an independent actor, we must determine our
security policy with Russia, our biggest neighbor."
The specter of Europe and particularly its central power,
Germany adopting a more independent stance from NATO and paying
close heed to Russia is chilling for the United States, and hard to
reconcile with the Atlantic alliance that has preserved Europe's
stability and advanced American interests for more than a
The alliance is not about to fall apart: too much is at stake for
that, not least the peace of mind of the many Europeans who still
believe this continent is inherently unstable unless America is
present. But as Mr. Scharping's words suggest, something
fundamental has shifted in the transatlantic relationship.
The 15-member European Union, long a mere trade bloc ultimately
protected by American power, has begun to develop into a grouping
with its own serious military and strategic ambitions. Where
exactly such ambitions are directed remains uncertain, but this
much seems clear: the scope of Europe's quest for an altered
balance of power in its post- cold war ties with Washington is not
yet fully appreciated by the Bush administration.
Addressing the allies for the first time last week in Munich,
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld did not use the words
"European Union" once.
It was this omission as much as Mr. Rumsfeld's stark warning
the Europeans to avoid "actions that could reduce NATO's
effectiveness by confusing duplication or by perturbing the
transatlantic link" that was noted in European capitals.
"It appeared that the European Union was not yet on Mr.
radar screen," said Wolfgang Ischinger, a senior official in the
German Foreign Ministry. "Of course, it was not a factor the last
time he was in office. But the fact is the development of the
Union's defense identity is an accelerating process that it would
be a mistake to oppose."
Already, the European Union has set up a military planning staff,
established a so-called political and security committee and is
readying a 60,000-member rapid reaction force. At the same time,
most of the Union is less than a year away from the fast-forward to
a European identity likely to occur when the euro becomes the
currency on the streets of Barcelona, Brussels and Berlin. The euro
was always a political project; its politics involve forging a
united Europe as a counterweight to American dominance.
How the Europeans finesse their challenge to American superpower
assumptions has yet to be defined. France, for example, wants
Europe's new military arm to be "independent" from NATO, or at
least equipped to be so; Britain rejects such ideas as
destabilizing Gallic dreams. But Europe has clearly decided to
create the embryo of an army because it has determined that this is
in its interest, because it believes that this is the only way to
convince skeptical electorates of the need to increase defense
spending, and because it views the development as an essential
complement to economic and political integration.
It wants to be treated as a bloc and as an equal within the
alliance, so ending the relationship of a single superpower to a
bunch of far smaller allies. For Joschka Fischer, the German
foreign minister, such European integration amounts to a
"historical process" and, as such, is unstoppable even
The parallels are obvious to another development portrayed as
unstoppable and inevitable by President Bush: the American
construction and deployment of a system of national missile defense
of which Europeans remain suspicious.
As these two projects Europe's rapid reaction force,
missile shield confront each other, a profound change in
transatlantic relations seems clear. At other times of post-war
tensions, like the resistance in Germany, Italy, Britain and
elsewhere to the deployment of new medium-range missiles in the
early 1980's, the arguments centered on a European reaction to an
American- directed policy.
This time, however, both Europe and the United States are pushing
ideas they perceive to be in their inviolable interests. Neither is
ready to budge. Each will have to accommodate the other. In this
sense, the European Union has become an "actor"
underfunded but still a body that acts as well as reacts.
Across the broad range of European-American differences from
subsidies for the new Airbus "Superjumbo" aircraft to what
diplomats now call the "social conflicts" over issues like gun
control, the death penalty and the use of genetically modified food
this growing European coherence weighs heavily.
The issues may prove especially intractable because, as Mr.
Ischinger noted, "We now have a different thinking about power and
Europeans have just traded in a lot of their national sovereignty
for the euro and so view the world very much in multilateral terms.
The United States remains fiercely attached to its sovereignty; the
new administration wants to bolster national defense as it
questions automatic recourse to multilateralism.
As at any time of strategic flux, there seem to be real dangers of
misunderstanding. "Increased European capabilities are a political
imperative for both sides of the Atlantic," said Gen. Wesley K.
Clark, the former NATO commander in Europe who retired recently.
"But the evolution of European capabilities should not distance the
European Union from NATO. Europe must not become a middle ground
between NATO on the one hand and Russia on the other."
A lot of thinking has already gone into ensuring this does not
happen. NATO and the European Union are going to meet at
ambassadorial level six times a year and at ministerial level at
least once a year to ensure that, to use Mr. Rumsfeld's phrase,
Europe's new defense plans do not end up "injecting
into the alliance. These meetings will involve bizarre overlapping
11 of NATO's 19 members are also members of the European Union
but reflect a determination to avoid misunderstandings. Still, many
American questions remain.
What missions exactly is the new European force to serve? When, if
ever, would Europe want to act militarily without the United
States? Will scarce resources not be diverted from NATO? Is
duplication not inevitable?
American officials also ask whether it would not be better to
increase defense spending a mere 1.4 percent of gross national
product in Germany compared to about 3.5 percent in the United
States rather than paying for new institutions. And they wonder
why Congress should approve funding for NATO if Europe has its own
"The danger is that the Europeans will set up the European
as a competitor and alternative to NATO," said one American
military expert. "Then they say to the Russians, `Don't worry, work
with us, we know the United States is too forceful.' At that point,
different geography and different interests become impossible to
contain within NATO."
The Europeans dismiss such concerns. They point to the fact that
the United States most recently in the Balkans has
called on Europe to become more capable of projecting force and
acting coherently. They recall the Kosovo war, where the European
contribution was compromised by the continent's technological
arrears. They say a strong alliance for the 21st century must be a
At present, there are only about 50 centralized European military
planning staff compared to more than eight times that at NATO
military headquarters. Britain, backed by Germany, argues for
planning to remain essentially under NATO's control.
But France wants Europe to have a large and independent military
planning staff. Meanwhile, Turkey an alliance member angered at
being excluded from the nascent European forces has balked at
allowing NATO to plan for the Europeans.
In the end, however, it seems clear that Europe needs America
for the practical military reason that only America has the
airlift, reconnaissance and intelligence equipment to make a
mission feasible, and for the strategic reason that in a Europe
where America is no longer a power, German power becomes
And Mr. Bush may find that he needs the Europeans for his national
missile defense system for the practical reason that a deep
transatlantic rift would be very costly in trade and other areas,
and strategically to preserve alliances.
For now, the Europeans seem ready to adopt a wait-and-see approach
to Mr. Bush's idea. Their resistance is real and their concerns
serious: what if, for example, China increases its missile force,
exports missiles and thus goads India into following suit?
Mr. Bush's plan now seems to be part of a general military
reassessment that could involve large unilateral cuts in the
American nuclear arsenal. As such, it is certain to be more
palatable to the Europeans.
"On missile defense, we have decided on a soft approach
with pressing questions," said Mr. Ischinger. "But the
must understand that no real military threats are perceived by most
Germans and there is no way we can sell a larger defense budget
unless we push forward the creation of a European force."
Such "understanding" still has to be reached in
"Weaken NATO and we weaken Europe, which weakens all of us,"
Rumsfeld said in Munich, at the gathering where Mr. Scharping
alarmed Americans with his glimpse of other defense options. The
fact is that a stronger, more united, less vulnerable Europe, with
no enemy at its door, no longer sees its interests in such
One senior NATO official likened the adjustments now needed in the
alliance as a result of Europe's growing cohesion and ambitions to
"brain surgery important, essential, doable, but if it goes
wrong, a disaster."
Better Off Out of the EU?
8/02/01 New Mori Poll
Lord Pearson of Rannoch
The new Mori poll finds:
50% would vote to leave the European Union if they
could be assured that our free trade with the EU would continue even if
13% were "don't knows" and
only 37% would vote to stay in.
(37% say they would vote to leave now anyway and
a further 13% say they would vote to leave
if they could be assured about our free trade.).
60% would vote to leave the EU if the UK was forced to give up the pound
stay in the EU.
10% were "don't knows", and
only 30% would vote to stay in the EU.
(37% say they would vote to leave now anyway and a
further 23% say they would vote to leave
if the UK was forced to give up the pound.)
84% felt that politicians have not given out enough information to let
public decide whether the UK should remain in the EU or not.
7% were "don't knows" and only 9% felt that our politicians
have given out enough
information to let the people decide this vital question.
NB on Question 1:
Both Frits Bolkestein, EU Commissioner for the EU Internal Market, and
Commissioner Neil Kinnock agreed on the Today Programme on 1st February
that our free trade with the EU would indeed continue if we left.
Mr Kinnock confirmed:
"there certainly wouldn't be any retaliation by our
Lord Pearson of Rannoch said:
"One of the biggest misconceptions in the debate about 'Europe' is
businessmen think we need to stay in the EU to keep our free trade with
When they appreciate that they could keep their free trade with the
Single Market and
yet not suffer any of the red tape and corruption from Brussels, of
they want to leave the EU.
Even Mexico has just signed a free trade
agreement with the EU, which also has FTAs with Switzerland, Norway and
several other countries. But the EU trades in surplus with us, and
therefore needs our free trade much more than the trade of those other
countries. In fact we are by far the EU's most important trading
The finding that 84% feel they haven't been given enough facts to let
decide whether we should stay in or get out of the EU is not surprising,
because there hasn't been any national debate about it. All our leading
politicians and the media have been pretending for 20 years that
of the EU is vital to the national interest. The British people rightly
not believe them and so it's high time we had a full and fair
MORI conducted interviews with a nationally representative sample of:
2092 adults aged 15+ across 193 sample points
in Great Britain, between the 1st and 5th February 2001.
Contact: Lord Pearson of
Rannoch: c/o Global Britain
Matt Beesley: 0207 - 222 0232
(for detailed analysis of poll see: www.mori.com
Fears over moves to extend powers of military police
Special report: policing crime
Martin Bright, home affairs correspondent
Sunday February 4, 2001
The Ministry of Defence police force is to be transformed into a rapid
response squad ready to intervene in strikes and protests across the
under the new Armed Forces Bill. The sweeping powers of arrest and
investigation contained in the Bill have raised concerns about the
of a national force of paramilitary riot police.
The move comes after MoD police were forced to refuse Home Office
for help during last year's fuel protests. The Chief Constable of the
told Ministers that his officers could not be used to aid fuel convoys
pickets at oil refineries under existing legislation.
Defence Minister John Spellar has informed senior MoD police officers
he supports moves to give them similar powers to other police officers.
campaigners are worried that police officers working for the military
not subject to the same controls as local forces. The MoD police force
the tenth largest in the country with 3,700 officers. They are not
but are employed by the MoD rather than the Home Office and answerable
special MoD committee rather than the local police authority.
The legislation will also extend MoD police powers to allow them to
investigate crimes that take place away from the perimeters of military
installations. At present police working at military bases are not
to intervene in the wider community. The new powers would allow the
be used as back-up in large demonstrations or protests. They would also
able to intervene on their own initiative to save life or injury.
MoD police spokesman Mervyn Dadd said the public should welcome the new
powers. He said: 'No one could complain about the intervention at the
extremes of an emergency in a life-threatening situation. Surely that
only be of benefit to the community.'
Senior officers in the MoD have argued that constraints allowing MoD
to operate only 'in the vicinity' of military bases puts officers
between bases in police vehicles in an impossible situation if they are
flagged down by the public or witness a serious crime.
Former Lieutenant-Colonel Nigel Wylde, who was arrested two years ago by
MoD police on official secrets charges, said he was 'horrified' that
powers were being extended. 'This is a national police force controlled
the MoD that reports to a police committee staffed by employees of the
There is no independent control of this force,' he said. Wylde, who is
leading the campaign against the new Bill, was acquitted last November
is now taking the MoD police to the Police Complaints Authority.
Members of the House of Commons defence committee have also voiced
about the new powers. Conservative MP Robert Key told The Observer :
are clear civil liberties issues involved in extending the jurisdiction
the MoD police.' "
Questionable Distribution of Lottery Funds?
SUNDAY TIMES 04 Feb 2001
MAYBE, just maybe, it could be you - but it helps if your MP runs the
government. Tony Blair and John Prescott's constituencies have enjoyed
of the biggest rises in lottery funding since Labour came to power.
A Sunday Times analysis of lottery grants has revealed that seats held
some members of the cabinet have received over 10 times more money since
1997 election than they did in the period when they were in opposition.
Marginal seats have also had windfalls.
But many shadow cabinet members have witnessed funding being squeezed in
their constituencies. The Tories said this weekend that it was a
Although more money has been distributed under Labour than when the
were in power, the average percentage rise across the country's 659
constituencies is 36%.
Blair's constituency, however, has had a jackpot increase of more than
1,000%. And Prescott's constituents had a 3,300% rise. The shadow
average is 3.9% - well below the inflation rate.
Official figures published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
show that before the last election Blair's Sedgefield constituency in Co
Durham received just under £550,000. However, since May 1, 1997, that
has risen to more than £6.5m.
The biggest single beneficiary in Sedgefield has been the local council,
which was awarded more than £1m in October 1998 towards the cost of a
leisure centre extension.
Prescott's Hull East constituency has been even luckier. Before Labour
into office it had received £565,000. Since he took over as deputy
minister, the constituency has got more than £19m. Much of that money
been ploughed into The Deep, a visitor attraction based on the marine
Prescott's constituency is among the top 10 in terms of the percentage
increase in funding it has received over the past four years. The
constituency that tops the list - with a rise of nearly 12,000% - is
South, home to Paul Boateng, the Home Office minister, and the Wembley
Other cabinet ministers whose voters have done well include Mo Mowlam,
of the Cabinet Office (a 1,343% increase), Paul Murphy, the Welsh
(1,648%) and John Reid, the new Northern Ireland secretary (1,274%).
Chris Smith, the culture secretary who oversees the lottery, has seen a
comparatively modest 74% increase in Islington South and Finsbury.
The biggest loser is Stephen Byers, the trade and industry secretary,
Tyneside North constituency has seen funding fall by 66%.
Clare Short, the minister for international development, may have seen a
drop in aid in her Birmingham Ladywood constituency but the seat has
received £62.9m since May, 1997, almost nine times as much as William
Hague's constituency in Richmond, Yorkshire.
One of the Tory frontbenchers to suffer the most is Peter Ainsworth, the
shadow culture secretary. His constituency, East Surrey, has seen
funding slashed from nearly £4m under John Major's government to less
"This is an interesting and sinister coincidence which requires
inquiry," said Ainsworth, who is particularly critical of the New
Opportunities Fund set up for environment, health and education
"It has been very poor in making grants from the huge amount of
has. I suspect that we can look forward to a pre-election splurge in
which ministers will find satisfactory."
The Sunday Times analysis also reveals that 16 out of Labour's 20 most
marginal seats have gained a greater proportion of lottery funding under
current government. Thirteen of these seats, which require a swing of
than 2,000 votes to change hands, have received rises above the national
In Northampton South, which could fall to the Tories with a swing of
1.3%, funding has increased from £2.6m to nearly £14m.
"I'm delighted that the funds have come to Northampton," said
the Conservative parliamentary candidate. "But it is difficult to
as anything other than a sinister Labour ploy to buy votes. It won't
The Northampton vote is not for sale."
Additional reporting: Gregor Watts, Will Iredale, Emily Milich, Rachel
Dobson, Adam Nathan and Senay Boztas
ONE LAW FOR THEM, ANOTHER FOR US
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 17:25:12 EST
While Sunderland city council is prosecuting greengrocer Steve Thoburn
the criminal charge of selling a pound of bananas, the city council of
Portsmouth openly admits it is committing multiple criminal offences
the same European Union metrication directives. But it says it will
continue to defy the law, apparently with the Government's blessing. The
difference is that Mr Thoburn's alleged offence is to continue selling
non-metric measures, because that is what his customers prefer. That of
Portsmouth is to erect pedestrian signs in metres and kilometres, even
though this is in clear breach of the Traffic Signs and General
Regulations 1994. These implement a Brussels directive which states
as an exception to the EU's general metrication policy, Britain's road
signs must remain in miles and yards. In recent months, when the law has
been pointed out to local authorities all over Britain, they have
to comply by changing illegally metric traffic and pedestrian
to imperial measures. Such law-abiding councils have included Essex,
Cambridgeshire, East and West Sussex, Durham, Harlow, Chelmsford, Leeds
many others. Only last week Transport for London corrected a "180
sign on East India Dock Road back to "200 yards". The one
been Portsmouth. Although last year it was confirmed to the city
by Julie Ferebee of the Traffic Signs Policy Branch of the Department of
the Environment, Transport and the Regions that signs erected throughout
the centre of the city in metres and kilometres were illegal, the
merely responded that it did not "have the funds" to remove or
them. On January 22, Barry Smith, Portsmouth's director of corporate
services, agreed in a letter to Jeffrey Titford MEP, leader of the UK
Independence Party, that "the signs do not comply with the
I have to tell you that it is not our intention to remove them".
Titford raised Portsmouth's refusal to obey the law with the DETR, the
minister, Lord Whitty, replied that it was the responsibility of local
councils "to satisfy themselves that any signs they place or permit
appropriate statutory cover". Even though the regulations did not
the inclusion of metric distances" on pedestrian signs, he would
prepared to intervene where "there was a significant safety or
management issue of national importance". Thus no one disputes that
Portsmouth council is in breach of the law, far more blatantly than
anything charged against Mr Thoburn and his pound of bananas. But the
Government merely says it is up to the council whether it chooses to
with the law or not. We may imagine a court's reaction if a greengrocer
copied Portsmouth in explaining that he was not prepared to obey the law
because he did not "have the funds" to buy metric scales. In
ways does the rule of law in modern Britain subtly disintegrate.
It was hard to know whether to laugh or cry last week at a bizarre
of items broadcast by Radio Four's Today programme, in a deliberate bid
counter complaints that, as the EU moves towards full political
studiously suppresses any reference to the increasingly respectable case
that Britain should consider withdrawal. Listening to the way Today
approached this distasteful subject over three days was rather like
watching a maiden aunt being forced to leaf through the contents of a
pornographic magazine. At least the programme-makers must have
relieved when they commissioned a poll that it only showed a third of
British people wanting to pull out of the EU, when recent polls by Mori
others have shown the figure more like 50 percent (indeed the European
Commision's own Eurobarometer poll currently shows the percentage of the
British people who think belonging to the EU "a good thing" is
percent). As Today curled its lip and announced that it was now
investigate what it would be like if Britain were to choose
withdraw to "the fringes of Europe", nothing made what
followed more unreal
than the way almost all the alleged Euro-sceptics they chose to
like Bill Cash MP or Edward Macmillan-Scott MEP, leader of the Tories in
the European Parliament, were only too eager to proclaim how they wanted
Britain to stay in. So worrying was it that any trace of all this awful
heresy might seem persuasive to the listeners, that, for each "sceptic",
least two or three passionate Europhiles like Robin Cook or Chris Patten
then had to be wheeled on, to immunise the poison. Contributions
sceptics like Lord Shore and Christopher Gill MP were recorded in
then sanitised down to just a couple of anodyne sentences, omitting any
mention of withdrawal (Gill's main point, for instance, that he is the
one of 659 MPs prepared to speak out loud for a view held by up to half
British people, was carefully edited out). Only in the very last of nine
ten items was one contributor, Nigel Farage MEP, finally allowed to
the unspeakable, when he was given less than a minute to argue for
withdrawing to nothing more than a trading arrangement like Norway. So
shocking was this that he was immediately he was submerged in five
of scornful verbiage from Neil Kinnock, Commissioner Frits Bolkestein
Mr Macmillan-Scott. Then the celebrated chef Raymond Blanc, was allowed
round the whole thing off by claiming that, because the British are
becoming more attracted to French cookery, then European union must be a
good thing (presumably tax harmonisation and all). At least one
point to emerge from all this froth was the unequivocal admission by
Commissioners Kinnock and Bolkestein that, if Britain was to leave the
this would have no effect whatever on our continued trade with the
continent. This gave two very large fingers to that incessant parrot cry
Robin Cook and his fellow propagandists that somehow this would cost us
million jobs. But the awful thing is that the BBC will now trot out this
sad effort as proof of how even-handed they are (and to be fair to the
presenter Ed Stourton, at least he tried to do his best with such
unpromising material); when all it really showed was that their grasp of
this is issue is so limited and one-sided they are not even aware how
laughably distorted their view of it has become.
The Validity of Polls
It's all in the question.
Richard North 1 February 2001
In the ICM poll on attitudes to the EU, published today, 53 percent of
those interviewed wished to stay in the EU (compared with 48% last year)
while 30 percent wanted to leave (compared with 34% last year).
Given that more people appear now to be in favour of the EU - and fewer
wish to leave - this would appear to show that sentiment is moving
the euro-sceptics (or realists, as some would prefer to be
called. However, appearances can be - and often are - deceptive.
The key thing about poll results is that - as every reputable pollster
agree - the answers depend entirely on what questions are asked, how
are asked and the context in which they are asked.
For instance, on the vexed question of withdrawal from the EU, there was
Gallup survey in 1996, when 37 percent of respondents expressed a desire
pull out of the EU. But when the same question - in the same
survey - was
asked in the context of the future of the EU, only 19 percent said they
favoured "complete British withdrawal from the union".
Then there was another Gallup survey, this one for the Daily Telegraph
March 2000. This found that 39 percent of respondents were
"anti" the EU.
But 21 percent favoured a free trade area in Europe while only 18
favoured "complete withdrawal".
And therein lies the difficulty in framing - and interpreting - polls.
fact is that people, in being confronted with "complete
faced with the fear of the unknown, something uncertain and possibly
dangerous. Most people will, as a result, opt for safety - the
The problem is that they are going for something which is actually not
offer. The only way the UK could achieve what they want is by
withdrawal. Thus, if the respondents are serious in their answers,
actually do want withdrawal.
Now, if the question was framed to reduce the fear factor, responses
well be different. If, say, they were asked: "would you
from the EU and then negotiation of a free trade agreement", the
response would probably be much higher. It is the emphasis on the
complete - without the qualification - which throws the standard
(note by Idris. In fact the Democratic Party asked this question (ie
then continue trading with the eU) about a year ago and 61% replied that
they would leave on this basis - 70% of those who expressed an opinion)
That apart, polls are notoriously variable - as are the questions asked,
all poll results must be taken with a pinch of salt - especially the
question on withdrawal. Polls on this aspect are all over the
place - see
1995 (AMUE) 29 percent of Britons want to leave the EU 1995 (Gallup) 37
percent 1996 (AMUE) 38 percent 1996 (Gallup) 43 percent 1998 (BSEA) Nov
percent 1999 (Mori) June 37 percent (41 for staying in) 1999 (Mori)
Oct 51 percent 2000 (ICM) Jan (BBC) 34 percent 2000
(Mori) Sep (Sun) 46
percent (all expressing an opinion - 52%) 2001 (ICM) Jan (BBC) 30
percent (all expressing an opinion - 36%)
The problem is that answers tend to be heavily influenced by current
and whether the EU is in the news at the time the poll is conducted.
in 1996 when the EU beef ban was on the front pages, anti-EU sentiment
increased, as evidenced by the 1996 Gallup poll which showed 43 percent
favour of withdrawal.
Perhaps a better indication of sentiment is the standard question
by the EU's own polling organisation, Eurobarometer - do you think the
is a good or bad thing? Below are illustrations of some results
different pollsters using this question.
1995 (Gallup) EU good 39% EU bad 25% 28% no opinion 1996 (Gallup)
good 35% EU bad 33% 19% no opinion 2000 (Eurobarometer) EU good
bad 24% 51% no opinion
And the latest Eurobarometer poll shows that - of those who have an
(or answer neither good nor bad) - opinion is evenly divided.
Here, another dynamic comes into play. Many different surveys have
indicated that opinion on the EU is led by party affiliation.
their views to be swayed by their party allegiance. Thus, more
voters are pro-EU, not because they are actually pro-EU but because
party is in favour of the EU. On this basis, the "pro"
vote is heavily
biased, while the "withdrawal" vote almost certainly reflects
as there is no major party which favours withdrawal,
From this, it is clear that, given political leadership, the
response would probably increase and many middle-of-the-road responses
would be converted into "withdrawal". If any major party
gave a clear
lead, the percentage of people wishing to leave the EU would undoubtedly
However, whatever the differences in polls and the answers given, two
things are absolutely certain. The EU by no means commands the
support of the majority of the British peoples, and sentiment against
EU is hardening. All we need is for the politicians to reflect
EU POLICE FORCE COULD BE REPRESSIVE MONSTER SAYS
DAILY TELEGRAPH Thursday February 1st World News p17
By AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD IN BRUSSELS
THE European Union is creating a "repressive federal system"
enforcement arm could become a "monster", according to a
Recent moves to build a common European judicial area are laying the
foundations for an EU justice department backed by a federal police with
ambitions to tackle "eurocrimes", concluded the study by a
"Police and justice cooperation is in full mutation. It is no
simple co-operation between sovereign states,'' said the report,
And Justice In The European Union". It was produced by the European
Parliament's studies directorate but does not reflect the view of the
"Progressively, we're seeing the emergence of an embryonic federal
of repression: the creation of a federal police, Europol, a federal
prosecutor, embodied in Eurojust, and a concept of federal crimes, or
A European Commission spokesman said there was no question of creating a
federal system. "We're not going to have some kind of
Euro-FBI," he said.
"Eurojust and Europol can only be used for major crimes when it is
that there is a cross-border aspect that can't be solved by countries
The report claimed that the European Police Office, Europol, was
intrusive powers without being subjected to proper oversight by any
democratic body. "The lack of control could transform Europol into
monster," he said.
Europol began as a clearing house for information on drug trafficing,
can now demand crime data from member states, initiate investigations,
participate in joint police raids.
Its agents have immunity from prosecution.
Article by John Laughland printed on
pages 58 & 59 of
the Mail on Sunday, 21/1/2001
It is not every week that a German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor
called as a witness in the trial of a terrorist accused of murder.
Fischer was in court in Frankfurt last week to testify on behalf of his
friend Hans-Joachim Klien. Klein, who was arrested after
living under an
assumed name for 20 years, is on trial for his part in a Red Army
attack on an OPEC meeting in Vienna in 1975, during which three people
As students in Frankfurt in the 70's, Klein and Fisher - wearing motor
cycle helmets and carrying batons - took part in the fighting during
various protests. Fischer lead a gang called PUTZ - the
for Terror and Destruction.
Photographs from 1973 show Fischer beating a policeman to the ground
baseball bat and then stamping on him. One policeman who was
killed in 1976 when a petrol bomb blew up in his car, accuses Fischer of
Nowadays, Fischer is considered by the Euro-cognoscenti as "one of
most original thinkers", a man committed to a federal
Europe. This is why
he has been invited by former British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd,
address the German-British Forum on Wednesday.
But what is remarkable is that Fischer is not alone in being a 70's
left-wing radical who has transformed himself into a passionate
"pro-European". On the contrary, many of
those who were so virulent -
and in some cases violent - in their opposition to the old EEC are now
among those who most earnestly seek a united Europe.
Why should this be ?
The answer lies in the left-wing beliefs these people have never truly
given up: the desire to wield power and dictate people's
lives with no
democratic restraint. Suddenly, they have discovered
the society they
once sought to create by revolution can easily be achieved through the
The leading pro-European in the British government is a former
Peter Mandelson joined the Young Communist League in the 70's and took
in Soviet organised events, such as a visit to Cuba.
These days he tries to play down his Communist militancy, but it was
serious enough for MI5 to open a file one him.
The other leading pro-Europeans in the British government are Tony Blair
and Robin Cook. Both belonged to the Campaign for
This meant that Blair supported "the unilateral abandonment by
nuclear weapons and nuclear bases". These men did not
belong to cuddly
old Labour Party which believed in social justice and workers
rights. Instead, the came from the extreme edge of the
which campaigned for the free West to disarm in front of the dictatorial
The activities of CND were an integral part of the peace movement which
was, in reality, controlled by Moscow.
All today's great "pro-Europeans" made their choices when it
during the Cold War - and they opted not to defend the democratic West.
When you look at other European nations, a similar picture
Germany, both Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Interior Minster Otto
were lawyers for members of the Baader-Meinhof gang, which carried out
bombings for its East German paymasters.
Schroeder even wrote letters to East Germany's communist dictators in
to wish them luck in forthcoming "elections". Meanwhile, in
Parliament", Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the leader of the May 1968 student
rebellion in Paris, is a leading advocate of European integration (and
old friend of Joschka Fischer).
All these men are now ardent "pro-Europeans" (sic)
In France and Italy, the picture is similar. The
also enthusiastic supporters of a federal Europe, were brought to power
none other than Romano Prodi, current "President" of the
Commission" (sic). He was the architect of the
compromise between the
Social Democrats and Communists which won them power in 1996 and
to control the government.
In France - were the pro-European government includes communists - Prime
Minister Lionel Jospin is accused of being a former Trotskyite.
In Britain and elsewhere, many of these extreme left wingers were
until the mid 80's that the European Community was a capitalist
such they opposed it, as did the Soviet Union.
Blair's personal election pamphlet in 1983 vowed that Labour "will
negotiate a withdrawal from the EEC which has drained our natural
and destroyed jobs"
Cook said in 1974 that the "Tories have handed control of Britain
In 1984 he said Britain should withdraw from the EEC.
Those people who now say we should abandon our national currency and
up control of our economy were saying 15 years ago that we should leave
As if by command, this all changed in the mid 80's. Mickhail
came to power in Moscow in 1986 and ended the Soviet Union's hostility
the "European Union". Jacques Delors was appointed
President of the
"European Commission" and turned Brussels from a forum for
milk quotas into an exciting New Left project to lead Europe to a
Serious old Lefties looked to the "EU" as a substitute for the
The "EU" offered plenty for admirers of communism.
Whereas there had been
commissars, now there were commissioners; where had power had once been
vested in "Soviets", or councils, now there was the
where there had been a Central Committee, now there was the
In the "EU", the Left realised, there was the chance for
administrators, like themselves, to run the lives of ordinary people.
The "EU" began to dedicate itself to the task of eradicating
Internationalism was always the Left's core value.
Nationalism was not
only seen by the New Left as common and vulgar - it also represented an
obstacle to their vision of a managerially run
society. The nation,
after all, is the indispensable framework for democracy, and free
have a nasty habit of voting for the "wrong people".
When the Left began to understand that the "EU" could be used
instrument for doing away with nations and establishing the reign of
powerful and unaccountable planners, they realised Brussels was no
the enemy, but a potential vehicle for their deepest internationalist
The Right in Britain is insufferably complacent. It
reforms in the 80's continue to set the agenda. What no one on the Right
seems to have grasped is that the Left was reconciled to the free market
long ago, especially to global capitalism, which it regards as a
While the Right rests on its laurels, the Left continues with its
traditional programme of dismantling democracy and establishing elitist
control over all our lives.
Its commitment to dissolving European nations into one centrally
structure is only part of an old, and frankly communist, dream
In his article John Laughland has confined himself to solid evidence of
communists setting up the "EU" and who intend our enslavement
He has not mentioned the massive infiltration and subversion of our
service, national institutions, strategically vital major companies or
the high command of our armed forces. But many readers will
the news this week that the notrious "EU" toady Moffat, who
British Steel, now called Corus, is about to cut 6000 jobs, closing
Llanwern and Redcar - and effectively handing yet another national
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING CONFUSES EMU DEBATE
THE TIMES, 7 TH SEPTEMBER 1999
If the UK joins the Single Currency now,
it will suffer similar fate to Germany, not France
The political season has scarcely started but already Tony Blairs
machine is running at full throttle to persuade the British people of
benefits or at least the inevitability of joining European
Yesterday a pretty bland restatement by Robin Cook, the Foreign
Secretary, of the
Governments existing policy of "prepare and decide" on the
produced the following fevered headlines, reflecting the guidance
by the Downing Street spin machine: "Cook speech signals end of the
Times); "Cabinet swings behind the euro" (The Guardian).
"Cook steps up
fight to persuade British to support joining euro" (Financial
Whether or not this "inevitability" campaign succeeds in
illusion that Britain has no choice but to join EMU if it wants to
remain in the European
Union will be largely a matter of political tactics. Discussion of these
tactics can be left for the political commentaries in the front section
of The Times.
But the battle over EMU is producing all kinds of economic illusions and
The lack of understanding about these practical economic issues among
Britains politicians, businessmen and voters threatens to confuse
completely the EMU
Yesterdays speech by Mr Cook, for example, contained at least three
errors of economic analysts which suggested a disturbingly shallow
understanding among the Foreign Office mandarins of the economic
they to adopt.
Mr Cooks first mis-statement about Britains dependence on exports to the
rest of Europe seems innocent enough, but is actually much more serious
first appears: "We send a great majority of our exports to other
members of the
European Union" said the Foreign Secretary, implying that this is a
argument for adopting the euro and abandoning the pound. The fact is
only a little over half of Britains exports of goods go to EU countries
per cent in 1998 to be precise) while the best available estimates of
exports (which, of course, are growing much more rapidly than exports of
suggest that the proportion of total goods and services exports going to
amounts to 43 per cent. More importantly, there is no reason why
trading links with other European countries should be considered
decisive or even very
significant in the debate on whether to join the single currency. The
statistic that really matters in this context is not the proportion of
going to euroland, but the proportion of Britains total output that is
by such exports. If this proportion were very high, then there would be
no point in
trying to run and independent monetary policy in Britain since the
British output and the level of employment would be largely determined
monetary policy of our trading partners in Europe: this amounts to a
argument for joining EMU for small countries such as Ireland and even
which can gain little in the way of genuine freedom of manoeuvre by
their own currencies.
But the great bulk of the demand for British goods and services is
within Britain, an independent monetary policy can work and an
currency can confer major economic advantages. As it happens, the
of Britains GDP comprised by exports of goods and services to the EU is
cent, leaving 81 per cent of Britains GDP unexposed to fluctuations
the euro and the pound. But even this big figure understates Britains
to manage its own economic affairs. A more accurate measure of Britains
economic exposure to the euro is the value added within Britain to the
export to Europe. Components imported from Europe comprise much of the
value of the
goods we export. The value added within Britain is therefore much
than the gross value of exports to Europe: it probably amounts to less
per cent of GDP. The upshot is that up to 90 per cent of the demand for
goods and services is independent of fluctuations between the euro and
pound. [Global Britains emphasis]. So Britain easily satisfies the
conditions to benefit at least in principle, from keeping an independent
The Foreign Secretarys second economic error was to declare that the
issuance of international debt denominated in euros since last January
great vote of confidence in the single currency from financial markets.
is exactly the opposite. Companies from around the world flocked to
euros in the first half of this year because they expected the euro to
weaken, which it duly did. Far from creating a new "source of
for European companies" this build-up of foreign borrowing in euros
draining savings out of euroland to support investment in the rest of
I am not suggesting that this was in any way an unhealthy process. On
contrary, euroland has unambiguously benefited from the weakness of the
and the flow of European savings to the rest of the world. This is
euroland, unlike Britain and America, is suffering from severe cyclical
unemployment and the main cause of this unemployment is an excess of
domestic savings in Europe, relative to investment demand. The surest
solution to such a classic Keynesian problem is to devalue the currency
savings to more prosperous parts of the world economy, such as American
where there is excess demand for investment and where new investments
expected to achieve higher returns. This is exactly what has been
in the nine months since the launch of the euro and the economic
indeed becoming apparent in euroland.
As Mr Cook noted in his speech yesterday. France is now creating new
faster than any other country in the world apart from the US. But this
to do with the euro at least not in the sense understood by Mr
Cook or any other
politician or economist that I have ever talked to outside France. The
economic success of France may be astonishing to many politicians and
whether they belong to the pro-euro or the anti-euro camp, but it should
come as no great surprise to regular readers of this column.
I have argued for years that the EMU project would work primarily to the
benefit of France and the disadvantage of Germany, in defiance of all
wisdom. This would happen because EMU would lock Germany into a
permanently overvalued exchange rate against France, which happens to be
far its biggest trading partner. The exchange misalignment within the
currency zone, expressed in a gap of 30 per cent between the average
cost of an hour
of manufacturing labour in Germany and France, would offer France a
permanent competitive advantage that was too great to be counteracted by
amount of German work ethic, corporate restructuring, educational rigour
engineering skill. The upshot would be a continuing haemorrhage of
investment out of Germany into France (and other relatively low-cost EMU
This would result in unexpected prosperity for France, along with a
other low-cost EMU countries, offset by a long period of high
de-industrialization in Germany, somewhat analogous to the divergence
between the economic fortunes of the American "Sunbelt" and
"Rustbelt" in the 1970s
But for Britain to join EMU at anything like the present exchange rate
between the euro and the pound would probably be to suffer a fate much
that of Germany than of France.
This brings me to Mr Cooks third and most obvious error. He said that
"borrowers and mortgage payers in the rest of Europe benefit from
rates that are half the level of Britains". This statement
misrepresents the reason for the gulf between British and European
rates: Europe is only just emerging from recession, while Britains
economy is near full employment.
This cyclical divergence completely explains the difference between
short term interest rate of 5 per cent and eurolands 2.5 per cent. The
evidence for this comes from bond markets in which long-term interest
show British interest rates falling well below those in Europe, after
euroland finally recovers from recession from 2003 onwards. In the US,
where unemployment is even lower than in Britain, interest rates are
5.25 per cent. Does Mr Cook believe that America should join the single