What Europeans Talk about when They Talk about Brexit

I am tempted to call this long piece on a boring subject the best I have read in 2019, but you know I think that might remain true by the end of the year.  Here is an excerpt from the Belgium section:

I was in Brussels recently, taking my son to watch Anderlecht play, when I heard some English people in a café asking the waiter why no one liked the English. They were nice people asking a genuine question, but often it’s the wrong people who ask the right questions. The waiter replied, politely and in perfect English: ‘We can read your newspapers and watch your television; we hear what your politicians and your journalists say about us.’ That summed it up: all this time we Brits thought we were talking to ourselves, and we were, but everyone else was listening in. Belgians are not surprised by Brexit: it’s just the coagulation as policy of what’s been flowing as attitude for decades.

Or Denmark:

The leftish Information provides the most useful articles. One has a headline in English, though anchored in the land of Elsinore: ‘To Be or Not to Be, That Is Not the Question’. The real ‘question’ doesn’t concern the merits of Leave or Remain, but the complexities of a twin crisis, in both the UK and the EU. Another piece, published shortly after the referendum, describes the division of a nation into Leavers and Remainers as afgrundsdyb. Meaning ‘abyssal’, the term, I am told, hints at the unfathomable as well as the unbridgeable, while evoking something that is certainly dangerous to approach.

I enjoyed this line:

Croatia has more experience than most of entering and exiting alliances.

From the Germany section:

‘Brexit shows that the Brussels bureaucracy, that alleged monster that employs no more civil servants than a central German city administration, has done a great job. The extent of interconnectedness at all levels has to be renegotiated: supply chains, industry standards, food and pharmaceutical standards, security architectures, rural and air transport structures, fishing rights, research collaborations, student exchanges, a vast frictionlessness system is now in jeopardy’ (Gustav Seibt, Süddeutsche Zeitung).

This I had not known:

…in Norway the conservative right is overwhelmingly in favour of joining the EU.

And finally:

Being a Brit in Sweden can be embarrassing just now. We’re one of the Swedes’ favourite peoples, admired for our history and culture, and loved for Engelskt humor. Shocked they may be; but a diet of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers means that Swedes are not altogether surprised.

The authors are numerous, the whole piece was published in The London Review of Books, definitely recommended.  I would note that “what group X really thinks of Y” remains an under-exploited genre in journalism, and elsewhere, and it is one of the best ways of learning about a topic.


Now that the EU court has ruled that withdrawal can be cancelled, the obvious thing is a second ballot on Brexit, with three options scored by Ranked Pairs:

1) Cancel Brexit and remain in the EU under current conditions.
2) Take the May-negotiated deal.
3) Undertake "hard" Brexit, without a deal, complete with a specific prohibition on remaining in or returning to the customs union.

And then the UK can live with whatever of the now well-defined options it chooses to take.

Except that guarantees a win for (1) by splitting the leave vote into (2) or (3). That is called a rigged outcome.

Didn't notice the "ranked pairs" part of the comment?

The UK electorate voted to leave and that is what it should do. The fact that UK politicians have made a mess of the negotiations whilst the EU negotiators have sought to punish defectors does not change this!

By that logic, it was undemocratic for the UK to have had another election in 2017, having already had one in 2015. They voted for a Tory government, so they should get a Tory government.

I think you are a little muddled. One was a referendum, the other a general election; a way to either remove the existing government or re-elect it.

It all begs the question. It is about nationality and the ability to govern their own country. It is not about trade it is about power. Does England cede all power to unelected elites in Brussels OR do they remain a country? THAT "is the question".

No, they voted to eliminate all the costs of EU membership, but to keep all the benefits.

Who argued that Brexit was great because thee UK would export less and have less freedom in traveling out of the UK, plus bear all the costs of subsidizing businesses undercut by globalization, with the EU putting all its protectionism into screwing the smaller UK?

It was a free lunch campaign, like Trump's promise to bring back coal, provide better and cheaper health care to more people than obamacare by repeal and replace.

"bear all the costs of subsidizing businesses undercut by globalization"

I believe the UK consumer to a significant extent already does this through the EU tariff regime and other forms of regulatory protectionism.

There are more German and French taxpayers than UK taxpayer paying those subsidies.

The analogy is how much Texas pays to subsidize California relative to California subsidies to Texas, UK == Texas, California == Germany, New York (city) == France.

"There are more German and French taxpayers than UK taxpayer paying those subsidies"

As individual consumers bear the costs this is irrelevant.

Well obviously no one votes for disadvantages. But you're wrong if you think voters weren't aware of tradeoffs and downsides (although freedom to work in Europe is one, freedom to travel in Europe is not).

They simply regarded these as less important than preventing EU sovereignty creep and putting powers back in the hands of their representatives (whether those representatives wouldn't rather not have less power or not) and the decreased European migration that would keep Britain a country of a British people, not a European mass.

The "Free Lunch" is the idea that Britain gives up no sovereignty, no national identity, nothing much at all and that EU membership is only positive (a "free lunch").

The rhetoric of "No one voted to make themselves poorer" is ridiculous and hollow, unable to understand that most voters are not simply motivated by promises of free cash.

Free cash, maybe not. But does every Leave voter realize the economic hit that's coming? Would that have affected their vote if they had?

I have no doubt that many Leavers would be happy to bear the cost, but many others would not.

If we have learned anything in economics it is that free trade will make a country richer. The EU approach of "managed" trade is a loser for consumers in the EU. So the UK might lose out in the initial stages of recalibration but overall will be much better.

Fine, they should leave. Should they "Leave" with the May deal or "Leave" hard?

You forgot the most likely option (4) do nothing but scream at each other for a few more years, until one day it doesn't matter any more, i.e. when the political landscape has shifted, people have forgotten about Brexit and moved on.

I.e., "the proles are stupid." What has that elitist attitude achieved thus far?

It's at least achieved getting pretty close to the truth.

Eventually it gets you Robespierre, which rather proves the thesis, but did no one, proles included, any favors.

The Belgians living in their shattered glass house (which doubles as a metaphor for the EU as well) really aren't in a position to be dissing the Brits.

Read the article. The point is that they do not want a glass (house?) prison, to begin with.

Read the name on the byline, then reevaluate how much this meets values of "Belgians" dissing the Brits.

Would the US countenance belonging to a highly centralised, opaque, intensely undemocratic institution? I doubt it. Wait to Italy goes bust and let us see how the EU holds together then!

If you think the EU is "highly centralised", I really don't know what to tell you...

Also, given how the US congress and many US state legislatures are (not) elected, I don't think an American is in any position to be accusing the EU of being undemocractic.

No please tell me.

As for the US it is an open democracy which Brussels clearly is not.

Yes, please tell me about how democratic the US is:

2016 — 97% of House members seeking re-election won
2014 — 95%
2012 — 90%
2010 — 85%
2008 — 94%
2006 — 94%
2004 — 98%
2002 — 96%
2000 — 98%

What does that have to do with democracy? Are voters required to kick out incumbents or its not democracy? What number would make this democratic and why?

Wrong institution. What's undemocratic in the U.S. is when our black-robed masters, for example, incorporate the practices of tired old Europe as the basis for interpreting the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

Don't you or your pals in the EU bureaucracy have more regulations to issue to prevent unscrupulous firms from making outrageous claims like drinking water can help to prevent dehydration?

Yes, everybody knows that the great evil of the EU, which UK voters rebelled against, is consumer protection legislation.

“consumer protection legislation”

Yes like banning Dyson hoovers to protect German producers.

I think you mean producer interest legislation?

'Yes like banning Dyson hoovers to protect German producers. '

Except that didn't happen, of course. As noted by none other than the famously left wing and pro-EU Telegraph - 'It is not often that this column speaks kindly of the EU, but I’m afraid all that hyper-ventilating about how Brussels is trying to save the planet by “banning” our vacuum cleaners misses the point of a rather interesting story. As one tabloid front page screamed: “Now kettles face EU ban: Brussels meddlers in new assault on our way of life.” In fact, there is no “ban” on powerful vacuums, kettles, hair dryers or anything else. What Brussels is doing, under its Ecodesign Directive 2009/125, is to encourage manufacturers to develop appliances that require less electricity to produce a much more efficient performance. We had technical experts last week trying to explain this, even on the BBC’s You and Yours programme, but their common sense was drowned out by the wave of hysteria over “Brussels meddlers”.

There is not even a ban on appliances that use more power than necessary. Since the directive refers only to “domestic” use, it is still possible, as with light bulbs, to buy vacuum cleaners above the new power limit, so long as these are for “commercial or industrial” use. Sir James Dyson tells us that he could make a machine just as effective as the 2,000 to 3,000 watt models being “banned”, using only 700 watts. ' https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/11078007/For-once-the-EU-is-right-and-its-not-banning-vacuum-cleaners.html

But it is true that Dyson did lose when trying to argue that energy efficiency labels were not being used correctly - 'The European Court of Justice has ruled against Dyson in the company’s row over EU vacuum cleaner energy efficiency labels.

The British engineering group had claimed that its rival Bosch-Siemens had misled shoppers by exaggerating how efficient its vacuums are. It wanted its German rival to state that its tests were conducted in laboratory conditions which do not reflect real-life use.

Dyson, best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, had argued that the energy labels were inaccurate because they did not reflect how the pores of a dust bag become clogged with use and so need more power to maintain the same suction.

Dyson appealed the case to the European Union’s top court after a Belgian court said that EU energy labelling laws do not allow extra information to be printed on the labels, which grade products on efficiency.' https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/company-news/dyson-defeated-over-eu-energy-efficiency-labels-for-vacuum-cleaners/ar-BBL3eLz (also from the Telegraph originally).

The energy efficiency tests were structured to favour German manufacters over competitors. The court ruling suggest as much.

'The energy efficiency tests were structured to favour German manufacters over competitors. '

And yet, nothing was banned at all, which is what you actually claimed. Almost as if you assume commenters here only read something like the Daily Mail, or will accept anything that someone states as fact without bothering to check.

This web site makes interesting reading, particularly in terms of that split between certain parts of the British press and reality when it comes to the EU - https://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euromyths-a-z-index/

Given the EU is modeled on the US, the question is whether Texas "countenance belonging to a highly centralised, opaque, intensely undemocratic institution" given California voters have as much control over the House as Germany does in the EU Parliament.

Remember, the US is 50 almost soveign states just as the EU is 28 almost soveign states.

Brexit is a non-violent "civil war", basically because England hasn't fired shots at Europe. Yet. But, who knows what happens when hotheads in Engand, or perhaps, more likely Northern Ireland, takes violent action over trade and travel restrictions imposed by the EU to match the London restrictions?

The EU does not have the same constitutional structure as the US federal government at all.

Comparing it to the US government is useful though. Both have had mission creep and have grown much larger than they were supposed to. Comparing it to the federal government should be a warning.

The Spain section is rather poor, as if the spaniards only talk about Gibraltar. Dissapointing

The following was written by Ashley Fox MEP - this is how a key position was filled earlier this year; even by EU Commission standards it was worthy of investigation and condemnation... unfortunately, neither changed anything.

A few months ago the European Ombusdman released a report condemning the promotion of the EU's Secretary General, Martin Selmayr. Mr Selmayr, the former Chief of Staff to EU Commission President, Jean-Claude Junker, was promoted to the top job in the European Union's Civil Service on 21st February this year. The process lasted barely a few minutes and, in the words of the Ombudsman, failed to follow "the relevant rules correctly either in letter or in spirit."

For any appointment to be seen to break the rules is bad enough but for that appointment to have been to such a senior position is unforgivable.

So what happened on 21st February? To read the full report see - https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/recommendation/en/102651 but what follows is an abridged version of a sorry tale.

The role of Deputy Secretary General to the Commission was advertised. Mr Selmayr applied. The day before the interview the other candidate mysteriously pulled out. As the only remaining candidate Mr Selmayr was appointed.

Later that day the then Secretary General, Mr Italianer, announced his retirement.

Having just been promoted to Deputy, Mr Selmayr was immediately proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker to the Secretary General for the position. Incidentally this was a role that he couldn't have been proposed for had he not just become the Deputy.

Following Mr Juncker's nomination, his former Chief of Staff was duly appointed by the Commission. The European Parliament condemned the entire affair and complaints were lodged with the Ombudsman who began an investigation.

Their verdict is damning and pointed to several "issues of concern":
1) Conflict of interests in the recruitment for the Deputy General position,
2) Breaking of the Rules of Procedure on the composition of the Appointments Committee,
3) Holding a selection process for the Deputy position whose sole purpose was to ensure eligibility for the Secretary-General position rather than fill the Deputy vacancy,
4) Ensuring that the retirement of Mr Italianer was kept secret, artificially creating a situation of urgency to fill the post of Secretary-General,
5) Furthermore, the Commission reacted to valid concerns in an "evasive, defensive and legalistic manner".

In the face of this damning report the EU Commission must stop protesting its innocence and admit that it bent its own rules.

Leaving aside the source - the LRB is hardly objective - those submissions are interesting for the most part because they remind us of how much trouble many (most?) EU countries are in themselves.
There is no extreme right party in the UK, all the surveys show the UK is the least racist European country, while the far right grows and grows across the rest of Europe.
But those guys don't propose leaving the EU. Phew! So that's all right then...

I think the message from this article is actually the opposite of what Tyler thinks it is (maybe he is being Staussian). It is that continental people are generally bigots who dislike people whose opinions differ from their own.

"There is no extreme right party in the UK"??? What do you think UKIP is?

UKIP is not an extreme right party in any sense, although it has made a view sizeable strategy bulnders recently.

'UKIP is not an extreme right party in any sense'

Well, compared to BNP, sure. Strange how the rise of UKIP seems to have been mirrored by the decline of BNP.

You haven't answered the question. What in UKIP's policy statements suggests it is an "extreme right wing" party? I attach a link to its manifesto.

Well, maybe this guy's opinion does not have any weight with you - 'Farage criticised a decision by the current leader, Gerard Batten, to appoint far-right activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser.

He said: ‘Under my leadership of Ukip, the party banned former members of the BNP and EDL from joining.

‘Many accusations of racism and extremism were thrown at us, but I strongly maintain they were untrue.

‘Under Gerard Batten’s leadership, however, the party’s direction has changed fundamentally.' https://metro.co.uk/2018/12/04/nigel-farage-announces-leaving-ukip-8209178/

But then, what would somebody like Farage know about UKIP and its current direction? He just quit the party after all (again).

As I noted UKIP has made some significant recent mistakes, but it is also a spent force politically. Your claims that its rise was ate the expense of BNP is absurd. BNP has never had any tangable political support in the UK (other than perhaps in one or two London boroughs). The rise of UKIP came at the expense of both Labour and the Cons (not BNP) and initially under Firage's leadership was a free market party who wished to exert some control over immigration. It gardually moved away from these principles and, in fact, uplifted much left centralist social and economic polciy.

English centrists, of course - at least according to themselves, at least those who didn't decide to leave UKIP and join the clearly left wing and pro-EU Tories.

The sad thing is, there are commenters here who probably would take such obvious sarcasm at face value.

Pardon? Perhaps you could set out what in UKIP's policy statements constitutes "extreme right wing"?

Well, recognizing just how confused a relationship there is between Farage and UKIP, this recent Farage citation in front of a party that most Germans consider 'extreme right wing' (using the 'we will gun down women and children at the German border' standard for extremist political beliefs) certainly seems to be what most Americans consider 'dog whistling' - '“Once you are able to speak the unspeakable, people will begin to think the unthinkable and that is how you beat the establishment.” ' https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/nigel-farage-germany-right-wing-anti-immigrant-afd-berlin-hitler-finance-minister-granddaughter-a7937126.html

And of course, far, hard, extreme, are all definitions that can be argued about all day. Not that Steve Bannon, and his support, seems to care about such terms, as long as the parties he is trying to support are all on the same page.

You cite the SZ for Germany? Thank you but the EU is not frictionless and none of the agreements are and it starts when you try to live outside your home country. It continues with classifications of goods and exceptions. And this on top of nations laws... It's as frictionless as any dictatorial state can be.

‘We can read your newspapers and watch your television; we hear what your politicians and your journalists say about us.’

Rather, well, a few Belgian journalists may, then may be 'selective'.

(The meme of "Europe understands Britain rather better than the converse' tends to be quite favoured in Britain by the Quisling faction, as noted up thread to likely include LBR).

Whilst Europe goes through a slow and painful death, its educated / political elite stick their heads ever deeper in the sand, pretend all is fine with the European project and blame dissenters for questioing its virtue and for shaking the foundations.

You make assumptions that Belgians (or other Europeans) can not read Newspapers, and only rely on what their own media picks for them? Wrong. In contrast to the English, most Europeans do speak a second language, English being the most common, and actually can and do read the news directly from the source. I, an Austrian, scan several of them on a daily basis, and the anti European (not even EU, but Europe) sentiment in many of them is astounding. Now, if the readers would not agree with that sentiment, the papers would not survive... so what the newspapers write, obviously reflects the opinion of the people. So I too have to say.... I can read your newspapers, hear your politicians, and know what you think of me.... not as each individual, but the majority of the population. You do not like Europe or Europeans...... so go.

Sorry this is just not true.

In addition to reading the newspapers, I also have lived in Liverpool for two years...... when I moved there, it was straight after 18 years in Canada, and my knowledge of what goes on in the EU was limited. I remember being quite taken aback by what I encountered in anti European rhetoric, I had not expected it. Now, of course not everybody was like that, and I admit that negative sentiment is usually more likely to be voiced than the positive, so maybe it is a case of having heard the loud minority..... but it certainly felt and sounded like the majority at the time... and what I read in newspapers seems to confirm that in my opinion. I for one am sad to see Britain go, but I think it is better so, than to have a unwilling, potentially hostile partner. Sometimes divorces are the only way to save a friendship.

Sorry your anecdotal record of some people in Liverpool expressing negative views about Europe (its a diverse and large continent so was it a bit of Europe, some countries in Europe and all of Europe from Malta to Finland?) does not constitute a boiling pot of anti-European feeling in the UK, nor is there any substantive evidence to support your claim that there are wide ranging anti-European views being expressed in the UK press. It is nonsense. 40% of London’s population is non-Uk born. It has vast numbers of French, Germans, Poles, Italians, Swiss, Dutch and so on living there. The south of England is a melting pot and in a number of surveys the UK comes out as one of the least racist and most tolerant countries in Europe. Moreover, it does not have any extreme right wing movements which appear to be burgeoning in many parts of Europe. Never once have I heard any express a sense that they are being marginalised. Some may have taken the vote to leave Brexit personally. That’s up to them. However, once again I would think that the vast majority of those who expressed a wish to leave the EU were doing so not because they were anti-European but because they felt that there was a democratic deficit, they wished to either oppose the currently political hegemony or they wished to reassert their sense of nation. P.S. I m not British.

The comment written by the true natives is rather more interesting than that written by the likes of 'Paddy McGuinness' (chippy Irishman) or 'Christopher Prendergast' (overseas Englishman with an upper-middle class Anglo-Irish surname), 'Jeremy Harding' and so forth.

You learn things from the natives like "Erna Solberg, Norway’s conservative prime minister, along with most of the opposition, have so far decided that the EEA arrangement, which they negotiated and which they defend to the hilt as being in the best interests of Norway, is a terrible idea for Britain, although British membership of the EEA would be good for Norway according to almost every political and economic measure.". The British and Irish journalists here, by contrast are merely doing theatre to please or manipulate their audience.

You seem to think Europe would be more accurately represented by inbred aristos like the UK political class. You are wrong. There were a bunch of wars to sort that out on the continent.

And the non-sequitur of the thread goes to....

A non-sequitur even if you knew what the composition of the British political elite class was relative to Europe, which you don't. What do you think the front bench Labour cabinet looks like? Even on the Tory side - Theresa May, Damian Green, Sajid Javid or Michael Gove are "inbred" aristos? In what fucking world?

I'd gather you're from the "The UK is still ruled by 18th century aristocrats in powder wigs" of Left wing American unreality.

He's British, apparently.

But why expect someone who's British to know anything about the British political system, right?

But here are a couple of questions - how do the several Johnson siblings currently involved in Conservative politics stack up on your own 'aristo' meter? And are siblings 'inbred' by definition or not?

On what basis do you guess he's British?

You really do need to show that the Johnsons, Osbournes and Camerons are more prominent than political families on the continent. They're clearly less dynastic than the Bushes, the Clinton's and the Kennedys, but I have not enough knowledge of France, Ireland, Germany, Sweden to say.

Its pretty clear that in any case, the vast tendency of front rank politicians in Britain is to come from "ordinary" middle or upper middle class with some working class representation, as is the norm internationally. Contrary to some deluded fools who believe in a specially salient British class structure

'do you guess he's British'

Well, guess is not the term I would use, but he has said it several times over the years, at least in my memory. Might not be true, of course.

'You really do need to show that the Johnsons, Osbournes and Camerons'

No, I just was showing that Millian is (likely) not an example of 'Left wing American unreality.'

'Contrary to some deluded fools who believe in a specially salient British class structure'

Strange how just about everyone I personally know who actually believes in a British class structure are British - but it is certainly true that such people may be mistaken about their own country, of course.

It's more like what the LRB thinks of everything, which is to tax most people so hard that writers end up retrospectively on top of the economic pyramid.

Classic LRB recipe: 1. Moan, moan, moan about "neo-liberalism". Don't mention yet that your putative replacement is that thing they had in East Germany! Too soon! 2. Never use a perfectly good English language word like "very" or "Portuguese" when you can instead use "echt" or "Lusitanian". 3. Repeat exact same method for next topic, country, or maybe even book.


Spot on! The transformation of the LRB into the Nation is complete.

"a vast frictionless system is now in jeopardy"

Vast? Yes. Frictionless? Now that's amusing.

'Frictionless? Now that's amusing.'

I leave about 15 kilometers away from France. Shopping in France poses less problem than shopping in DC if one is a citizen of Virginia, at least in one area. There are not any EU/German/French equivalent to Virginia's ABC agent ensuring you are not exceeding the legal limit of alcohol you can carry into Virginia.

'Because the state ABC stores are the only legal places for selling hard liquor by the bottle, customers must travel across the state line to find a different price on hard liquor.

To limit that competition, Section 3VAC5-70-10 of the Virginia Administrative Code prohibits importing more than one gallon of alcoholic beverages from outside the state or from military posts with PX stores. Many Virginians working in Washington DC who plan to "stock up with cheap liquor for a party" have heard rumors of ABC agents staking out DC liquor stores, then tailing cars with Virginia plates back across the Potomac River to enforce the one-gallon import limit.' http://www.virginiaplaces.org/alcohol/abc.html

I fail to see how your bizarre anecdote disputes his claim?

“what group X really thinks of Y”

Love this topic too and is one of the first things I ask about when visiting a foreign country. But the press seems to avoid it. I guess they’re afraid of offending people? Or they think you’re trying to stir up trouble.

Also there seems to be this belief that there are no real major differences between two cultures and any perceived differences are actually just a product of biases, propagand, etc.

Trouble is, is that there is such a diversity of opinions you end up getting the report's opinion, not really anyone else's. I like surveys better.

Informed opinions are great. I'll take that over a survey which is quite boring. Useful, but boring.

The fake element of Tyler's post is the implication that there was some golden era pre-Brexit when the English weren't disliked on the continent, when in fact Europeans have hated one another since time immemorial.

This all sounds good, and very direct. I was worried for a bit that Tyler was suffering from some kind of literary PTSD, with that Glen Weyl stuff. Perhaps a good night's sleep set things right.

It's revealing that the only measure of EU success that SZ can muster is the difficulty of leaving, rather than anything that actually would improve Europeans' lives, like sustained GDP growth or reduced unemployment.

Funny, I thought a reduction in GDP growth was accepted early on. Intangibles in identity and culture were supposed to override that.

Anybody who wants top-level GDP growth wants free trade, and the EU is at its core a free trade system, including all the "regulations" which act to reduce non-tariff barriers.

Harmonising regulation to remove "non-tariff barriers" is *one* way to increase growth through complementary trade.

Of course, it's a way that leaves you with less diversity in products across the world, and the top world product not necessarily the winner in market competition or consumer preference, and in general the product mainly one that probably most closely aligns with incumbent companies who get to write the spec (German vacuum manufacturers and the like). That could be bad for long term growth and dynamism.

Anyone want to bet that the former effect is for sure more significant than the latter?

This is always an amusing question, because it places Libertarians two favoured mechanisms for growth (and just about everything) - increased free trade and maximising consumer choice (the market picking winners, not states and regulators with their corporate collusion) - directly at cross purposes.

That is, the EU is a system for maximizing market size, even though it decreases diversity in what were formerly its sub markets. Perhaps that will be good for growth and innovation, perhaps it will not.

‘Maximising market size, even though it decreases diversity”

New one to me. Please explain.

"German vacuum manufacturers" - A funecdote propagated by Dyson, who tried to bamboozle consumers into believing his "powerful" vacuum cleaners were a good thing (strong!) rather than a wasteful thing (literal meaning of power in physics: uses lots of energy). Dyson is a Brexiter who welcomed Brexit by adding his latest high-tech manufacturing capacity in ... Singapore?!!

Ahh I see no rent seeking on the part of German manufacturers, all a Dyson conspiracy. As for where Dyson chooses to manafucature and his views on Brexit, the two are distinct and seperate.

The EU is not a free trade system; it is a customs union which imposes high barriers to entry on those not within the union. As for EU regulation much of it has more to do with rent seeking or the pursuit of national interests rather than seeking a level playing field.

You are correct. The EU is explicitly anti-free trade. I can understand why socialists and statists in general like the idea of the EU but I could never understand why libertarians like Tyler support it.

"The EU is not a free trade system; it is a customs union which imposes high barriers to entry on those not within the union. "

Yes, indeed that is exactly the argument that the anti-Brexiters have been making.

Don't you get that being anti-free trade is a bad idea? The EU was set up to limit imports to protect domestic manufacturers. This is literally the prime purpose of the EU, no-one denies it. Yet we know this is entirely bad economics - free trade makes a country richer not poorer.

Despite the claptrap that Tyler quotes here, the Danes are ferociously opposed to immigration and were smart enough to see the euro as a policy disaster.

For the benefit of non-European readers, Denmark has many immigrants, both EU and non-EU nationals, and more continue to regularly arrive. The commenter above has confused rhetoric with reality.

Are you denying that open border immigration into the Scandinavian countries is not causing significant friction?

Correct; The reality is that Millian is trying to mislead you. The following is not rhetoric:

· Danish authorities have begun housing unwanted immigrants on an uninhabited island, i.e., a detention camp.
· A recent Danish law permits the government to seize the assets of incoming immigrants.
· Muslim immigrant toddlers are separated from their parents for 25 hours a week to learn "Danish values."
· Danish law designates certain Muslim areas as ghettos and permits stricter criminal law there.
· Danish landlords can deny applications to immigrants with a history of receiving pubic benefits, to encourage such immigrants to disperse.
· The Danish citizenship ceremony was recently amended to add a mandatory handshake, to exclude certain Muslim sects that refuse to do so.
· Danish think-tasks have been issuing disputes showing the much higher rate of violent crime among immigrants.
· The Danish immigration minister, of all people, recently said “If you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance to ordinary Danes. They are undesirable in Denmark, and they must feel it!”

For the benefit of non-eurozone readers, Denmark's currency has been pegged at a fixed rate to the euro since the beginning of the single currency, so it has adopted the euro as a policy.

"If I tell only a small portion of the story, maybe no one will ask about the rest."

The feeling I sense around Athens is one of displaced embarrassment – Fremdschämen.

Oops, my comment got cut off: that's another line from the article. TIL a new word, Fremdschamen, a sort of obverse of Schadenfreude.

brexit is britain's suicide by stupidity

Nope it is a sensible long-term strategy to free itself from the shackles of a highly centralised bureaucracy which is incapable of reform and increasingly seeking to deal with mounting problems by sticking its head in the sand whilst moving ever closer to a Federalist model. Junker this week praised the “revolution” of the euro claiming in had brought prosperity, unity and stability. In reality it has created huge friction between the south and the north and contributed to high levels of unemployment, low growth and poverty in the Med states. Youth unemployment in Greece is 40%. In southern Italy it may be as high as 60%. Italy has had no GDP growth since 1999. Portugal is little better. France’s debt to GDP is 100% whilst unemployment remains near permanently above 10%. Juncker should stop telling porkys.

The US system is more bottom-up and the EU system is more top-down. A top-down system expends more bottom-up wealth (eg not allowed to buy a desired product must buy an undesired product). UK citizens want to leave EU because EU cost too much in terms of bottom-up wealth. A bottom-up system expends more top-down wealth (eg advertisement and propaganda expenses). The list of wealth items is endless and the US, UK, and EU are more alike than different.

Norway is already a sort-of member of the EU; in order to belong to the Schengen passport-free zone they have to accept all directives from Brussels even though they have no representation there. If I lived there I would certainly prefer full membership to subjection-without-representation, even though non-subjection is probably preferable to either kind of subjection.

Theresa May's deal, if ratified, would be the same as Norway's deal plus a lock-in that prevents Britain from ever truly exiting without Brussels' permission.

I liked this part very much - "That summed it up: all this time we Brits thought we were talking to ourselves, and we were, but everyone else was listening in." Nobody in Britain really think about what other countries will think about them?

Already two years spend arguing about the Brexit and nothing from it. That tell nothingelse then that Britain is very weak, they don't have any plan and they still waiting for something or someone to do it for them. Men up, Britons! Either take the hard pill and take it like adult or say sorry and go back for negotiation.

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