a bitter melon


BBC -- Germany rules out informal negotiations

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said there can be no talks on Brexit before the UK formally begins the process of leaving the EU. While accepting the UK needed time, she added it should not be a "long time".

ECB -- Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU: some reflections (2009)

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty explicitly makes provision for the voluntary secession of a Member State from the EU. Specifically, the exit clause provides that a Member State wishing to withdraw from the EU must inform the European Council of its intention; the Council is to produce guidelines on the basis of which a withdrawal agreement is to be negotiated with that Member State; and the Council, acting by a qualified majority and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, will conclude the agreement on behalf of the EU. The withdrawing Member State would cease to be bound by the treaties either from the date provided for in the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after notification of its intention to withdraw. A former Member State seeking to rejoin the EU would have to follow the same admission procedure as any new candidate country.

Project Fear was the relentless and ultimately ludicrous parade of Cassandras, “experts” all, warning that Britain, after more than a millennium of sovereign existence, and now with the world’s fifth-largest economy, would endure myriad calamities were it to end its 23-year membership in the E.U. Remain advocates rarely even feigned enthusiasm for the ramshackle, sclerotic E.U. Instead, they implausibly promised that if Brexit were rejected, Britain — although it would then be without the leverage of the threat to leave — would nevertheless somehow negotiate substantially better membership terms than Cameron managed when Brexit was an option.

Washington Post -- Brexit: Britain’s welcome revival of nationhood

Voters chose the optimism of Brexit. Sixty years after Britain’s humiliation in the Suez debacle, Britain has a spring in its step, confident that it will flourish when Brussels no longer controls 60 to 70 percent of the British government’s actions. Britain was last conquered by an invading army in 1066. In 2016, it repelled an attempted conquest by the E.U.’s nomenklatura .

Politico -- Norway to Britain: Don’t leave, you’ll hate it (June 15, 2016)

The cost to Norway of not having a seat at the table is becoming more apparent as regional instability increases. Although it is a member of NATO like Britain, foreign and defense ministers meet far more often in an EU context than as part of NATO. That means Norway is “experiencing in a concrete way [what it means] not to be at the table when the EU is making decisions on policies towards our biggest neighbor, Russia,” said Helgesen.

Telegraph -- Brexit was Juncker's fault and he must go, says Czech foreign minister

The EU chief, who has repeatedly called for “more Europe” to fix the continent's mounting crises, was a “negative symbol” of the kind of federalism that British voters rejected, said Lubomír Zaorálek, the Czech foreign minister.

Dollars and Sense -- Brexit: The Day We Entered the Eye of the Maelstrom

In effect, Brexit is a green flag for separatisms of all stripe. That has adverse implications for the euro, which is already under the threat of Grexit. Consequently, sterling’s weakness stands to be accompanied by a weakening of the euro, providing an additional currency channel for spreading Brexit’s shockwaves into the global economy.

LSE Center for Economic Performance -- Life after Brexit: What are the UK’s options outside the European Union?

The Norwegian model – joining the European Economic Area

The European Economic Area (EEA) was established in 1994 to give European countries that are not part of the EU a way to become members of the Single Market. The EEA comprises all members of the EU together with three non-EU countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Members of the EEA are part of the European Single Market and there is free movement of goods, services, people and capital within the EEA. Since EEA members are part of the Single Market, they must implement EU rules concerning the Single Market, including legislation regarding employment, consumer protection, environmental and competition policy. EEA membership does not oblige countries to participate in monetary union, the EU’s common foreign and security policy or the EU’s justice and home affairs policies. EEA members also do not participate in the CAP. While there is free trade within the EEA, EEA members are not part of the EU’s customs union, which means that they can set their own external tariff and conduct their own trade negotiations with countries outside the EU. EEA members effectively pay a fee to be part of the Single Market

The Swiss model – bilateral treaties

Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA. Instead, it has negotiated a series of bilateral treaties governing its relations with the EU.

Re-joining the European Free Trade Association

Following the Norwegian or Swiss models would allow the UK to remain economically integrated with the rest of Europe and to participate in at least some parts of the Single Market. But a vote in favour of Brexit could lead the UK to seek a more decisive break with the EU. When the UK opted out of joining the EEC in 1957, it founded EFTA as an alternative. EFTA is a free trade area covering all non-agricultural goods. EFTA also has free trade agreements with the EU and numerous other countries. Re-joining EFTA would guarantee UK goods tariff-free access to the EU and ensure the UK did not impose tariffs on goods imported from the EU. But it would not provide for free movement of people or free trade in services between the UK and the EU.

World Trade Organization – the fallback option?

Suppose the UK leaves the EU without putting in place any of the alternative arrangements discussed above. Then the country’s trade with both the EU and almost all the rest of the world would be governed by the WTO. As of 2015, the WTO has 161 members comprising all major economies and most minor ones. Under WTO rules, each member must grant the same ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) market access, including charging the same tariffs, to all other WTO members. The only exceptions to this principle are that countries can choose to enter into free trade agreements such as the EU or EFTA and can give preferential market access to developing countries.

Independent -- Brexit will not be 'an amicable divorce', says Jean Claude Juncker

Britain’s severance from the European Union is “not an amicable divorce” and the government should begin negotiating exit terms “immediately” rather than waiting for David Cameron to leave office, EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has said.

BBC -- UK vote on EU: Juncker's one-word Brexit answer to BBC

When BBC's Katya Adler asked European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, whether the UK's vote to leave the EU was "the beginning of the end of the European Union", she received a short answer.

The Guardian -- David Cameron resigns after UK votes to leave European Union

“I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the EU. I made clear the referendum was about this, and this alone, not the future of any single politician, including myself.

“But the British people made a different decision to take a different path. As such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,” Cameron said.

BBC -- Boris Johnson: 'There is no need for haste'

Boris Johnson, a key figure in the Leave campaign, has said there is "no need for haste" after the UK voted to exit the European Union. Mr Johnson also sought to reassure those who voted Remain saying: "We cannot turn our backs on Europe. We are part of Europe."

Say yes 2 Europe -- How a Churchill quote was “stitched up” to support Brexit

Dead people can’t sue or answer back. Maybe that’s why supporters of Brexit thought they could get away with fabricating a quote by Winston Churchill to support Britain leaving the European Union.

[...] in 1963, just two years before he died, Churchill wrote:

“The future of Europe if Britain were to be excluded is black indeed.”

Independent -- Nigel Farage backtracks on Leave campaign's '£350m for the NHS' pledge hours after result

Nigel Farage has disowned a pledge to spend £350 million of European Union cash on the NHS after Brexit.

The Ukip leader was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme whether he would guarantee that the money pledged for the health service during the campaign would now be spent on it.

Speaking on the morning of the referendum result he however said he had never made any such pledge.

New Statesman -- The evidence Nigel Farage said money sent to the EU should go to the NHS

It looks like the Independent has unearthed a video of Nigel Farage on television before the vote, and – strange thing – he tells Hilary Benn that the money currently being sent to Europe should be spent on, er, "schools, hospitals and the NHS".

Daily Express -- Nigel Farage dismisses racism claims over Ukip's new EU referendum poster

The Ukip leader this morning unveiled a new poster outside the EU’s offices in Westminster, with an image of migrants entering Europe last year emblazoned with the slogan ‘Breaking Point’ and the message ‘The EU has failed us’.

“If you believe, as I’ve always believed, that we should open our hearts to genuine refugees that’s one thing.

“But frankly, as you can see from this picture, most of the people coming are young males.


The Atlantic -- David Frum: Why Britain Left

Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned. It seems improbable that Jeremy Corbyn, the hapless old radical who bumbled into the leadership of the Labour Party, can long outlast him. In the opening hour of trading on Friday morning, 120 billion pounds of stock market value evaporated. EU nationals working in the United Kingdom must wonder how long they can stay, and so must British retirees now enjoying the sun of Spain, Italy, and southern France. Will London’s overheated property market come off the boil? What’s the future of the vast industry that finances and insures the commerce of the European continent?

The force that turned Britain away from the European Union was the greatest mass migration since perhaps the Anglo-Saxon invasion. 630,000 foreign nationals settled in Britain in the single year 2015. Britain’s population has grown from 57 million in 1990 to 65 million in 2015, despite a native birth rate that’s now below replacement. On Britain’s present course, the population would top 70 million within another decade, half of that growth immigration-driven.

Is it possible that leaders and elites had it all wrong? If they’re to save the open global economy, maybe they need to protect their populations better against globalization’s most unwelcome consequences—of which mass migration is the very least welcome of them all?

Andrew Lodder on Facebook

  1. Nigel Farage went on the tele and retracted the (false) claim that we send £350 million per week to the EU that would now be re-directed to the NHS and said Vote Leave should never have made that commitment to voters in the first place. Yesterday, this commitment was on the side of Vote Leave busses across the country. Exit polling indicates additional funding for the NHS was regarded as a reason for leaving by nearly 80% of leave voters.
  2. Daniel Hannan MEP retracted the (false) claim that leaving the EU will lead to drastically reduced immigration into Britain. Exit polling indicates this was the second most cited reason voters gave for leaving the EU. Would have been nice if Vote Leave had bothered to be honest with voters about both of these matters before today.
  3. S&P, the only rating agency still giving the UK a AAA credit rating, confirms it has placed that rating under review for downgrade. It appears a downgrade is much more likely than not. Borrowing costs to fund Britain’s large deficit are set to increase markedly.
  4. Sterling collapsed to its lowest level against the USD in three decades, the biggest single day drop in the history of the currency. It is the third biggest single day drop in any currency ever. It is currently $1.36, down an incredible 13 cents against the dollar in less than 24 hours from a high of $1.49 yesterday.
  5. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely”. Scots will likely vote on dismembering the United Kingdom in the next few years, which will fuel uncertainty and economic turmoil.
  6. Sinn Fein and various others in Northern Ireland call for a border poll on reunification.
  7. Spain calls for co-sovereignty over Gibraltar.
  8. More than £1.5 trillion in wealth was wiped out across global markets in just a few hours this morning, the single greatest wealth destroying event in stock market history. That's 187 years’ worth of British contributions to the EU. Seems worth it to get that money back from Brussels though.
  9. The FTSE 100 (largely multinationals) fell more than 8% and the FTSE 250 (which reflects mostly British firms rather than multinationals) fell more than 12%. Both steadied after Mark Carney declared that the Bank of England would not hesitate to intervene to instil stability, the same sort of intervention that Mario Draghi had to make to save the Euro during the Greek crisis and that the G7 had to make to save the global economy after the collapse of Lehman. Brexit is an event that ranks alongside those crises in terms of effects on global markets.
  10. Ultimately, the FTSE 100 finished down 3% and the FTSE 250 down 7%. Hundreds of billions of pounds has been wiped off people’s ISAs and pension funds. Banks in particular have been hammered.
  11. David Cameron resigned without mapping out any plan for implementing the results of the referendum. Boris Johnson is odds on favourite to be our next Prime Minister. In October.
  12. Labour MPs have moved for a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn which will be considered by the party on Monday.
  13. The presidents of the European Council, Commission and Parliament told us to invoke Article 50 and leave as soon as possible and the settlement negotiated by David Cameron earlier this year is now void.
  14. Nigel Farage claimed that independence was achieved "without a single bullet being fired", just one week after Jo Cox was murdered on the street in broad daylight. With a gun.
  15. Numerous reports of immigrants, and native Britons who happen to be brown, being told to “go back home” in the street and on the Tube, the vote to leave apparently having been taken by some as an indication that most of the country now thinks this sort of thing is acceptable, rather than profoundly un-British and utterly awful.

Posted on Twitter by a Leaver: