David Cameron's renegotiation of Britain's EU membership terms will be worthless if certain conditions are not met, writes UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.
• It’s becoming clearer that Cameron knows he can’t achieve any significant outcome from his much vaunted “renegotiation” of our EU terms. The fact that he’s floated an earlier referendum date of 2016 (in an attempt to recover voters lost to UKIP) is evidence enough of that. There’s no time for a serious renegotiation.
So what’s his game plan? My feeling is that he’s digging himself a hole. Any concessions he comes back with (the old cliché: Neville Chamberlain waving the piece of paper: “It will be peace in our time”) will be nugatory, and will be ripped apart by the media. He speaks of Tory Cabinet Ministers being dragooned to vote “IN”. Not just “voting for the government line”. No. It’s simply taken for granted that the government will campaign for “IN”. Let’s hope that a few have the courage to resign rather than sell their birth right. But sound folk like Owen Paterson have already been summarily swept aside.
But there is another view. Even though the concessions will be trivial – acceptance of some curtailment of social security rights for new EU immigrants here, a couple of temporary opt-outs there – they may be talked up by sections of the media as a great breakthrough. Why? Because some sections of the media believe that UKIP’s success may leave the door open for a Labour (or Labour/SNP?) government, and they see a Labour government as a worse outcome than continued EU membership.
...take it from the Commission
"What remains to be seen is what sort of trickery Cameron can conjure up with his allies in Europe to deceive people long enough to drag him through the next election on a promise to deceive the British public and kick a referendum into the long grass." - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP
• Reports that the EU Commission will block any attempt to change Free Movement of People as part of David Cameron's renegotiation plans are unsurprising according to UKIP Leader Nigel Farage.
The Prime Minister has suggested he will ensure all EU migrants must have a job as a condition of entry into the UK, but sources in Brussels have disclosed that the Commission is likely to reject the proposals on the grounds that it goes against the fundamental principles of Free Movement of Labour.
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who has already aired concerns over the UK carving out its own rules over EU migrants, is meeting the Prime Minister tomorrow to discuss his renegotiation strategy. The UKIP Leader anticipates smoke and mirrors from Downing Street to disguise the fact that this proposal will be rejected in Brussels.
Nigel Farage said: "Germany is facing its own problems at the moment and would not want Britain to start turning away EU jobseekers, potentially redirecting them to seek work there. If Chancellor Merkel agreed that UK can close the door on EU jobseekers she would also have to recognise that a great many that were Britain bound would instead seek work in Germany as the continent's biggest economy, and that is a risk she is likely to be unwilling to take.
In Brussels, they call it “carbon leakage”. This is a polite euphemism for driving energy-intensive businesses off-shore, and it results directly from the eye-watering energy prices that are undermining European competitiveness,
writes UKIP's Energy Spokesman, Roger Helmer MEP
• It’s the holiday season. So a web-site called “Science2.0” has come up with a helpful list of twelve ways to respond to those infuriating climate change deniers that you’re likely to meet in the bar while on holiday. Not the top holiday problem on everyone’s list, but I guess they’re trying to help. Even though I’ve yet to meet anyone who denies that the climate changes.
There is all the usual tendentious stuff about junk science and tabloid slogans. They recycle the old “97% of scientists” myth that has been comprehensively rebutted. But they come up with one point that perhaps justifies a response. Author Will Grant suggests: Ask them this: “What’s worse, the majority of climate change scientists being wrong but we act anyway, or climate change deniers being wrong and we don’t?”
Well, Will, there is a powerful case that even if the IPCC is right, which looks increasingly unlikely, the actions which are proposed in response are futile, counter-productive and economically damaging.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Mike Hookem MEP
said, “With the heightened security situation around the world following a number of terrorist incidents this week, I am extremely worried about British personnel stationed at the Brunssum base
• Following recent attacks by Muslim extremists in Australia, Pakistan, Canada and the USA, UKIP’s defence spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP has today said he has ‘grave concerns’ about the safety of British troops based at NATO’s Brunssum command complex in the Netherlands.
Officials were alerted to a potential threat in September after an officer stationed at the base said he was anxious about the safety of his family, following reports of a jihadist surveillance operation taking place in the area of the base and around the living quarters. This has left military personnel and their families feeling intimidated and threatened.
According to reports, much of the threat seems to centre on a local mosque, which is located 100 yards from the base and is said to be radicalising local Muslims.
By UKIP Leader Nigel Farage, MEP
• It was a cautionary tale in Canterbury last night.
As Hillare Bellc put it, 'The stocks were sold; the press were squared: The Middle Class were quite prepared', but in the end it blew up in his face when a member of the audience asked Mr Brand a pretty simple question. 'If you want to change the world', he said 'stand for election!'
Brand, darling a of a million Twitter feeds was stumped. This hair-sprayed fop, who moments before coming on stage had his personal stylist - no license fee paid BBC worker was as good enough for him, oh no - had his personal stylist straighten his chest hair and precisely apply his lip salve with her fingertips, Mr Brand could not respond?
In fact almost nothing he said was relevant or apt. It was if he had stumbled across Mao's little red book and fed it through a booky-work word generator.
The Question Time production team must have been deeply disappointed.
But importantly the audience brought forward one of the key questions of our time. Why are we failing our children?
Government admits total defeat in its efforts to protect small businesses from Brussels' new demands on VAT
"For now these new VAT demands apply only to online services. The European Commission has plans to apply these demands to all services, perhaps as soon as 2016" - UKIP MEP Margot Parker MEP, UKIP skokesman for small business
• From January 1st all small business entrepreneurs who sell online across the EU will be forced to register for VAT.
The new regulations were designed to take more VAT from online giants such as Amazon but will now load new regulations and burdens onto small businesses.
Online microbusinesses which sell anything to EU customers will be forced to register for VAT even if their turnover is under the £81,000 threshold.
A spokesman for the UK Permanent Representation to the EU admitted today: "The UK argued strongly for cross-border threshold so that the smallest businesses would be outside the system, there was no support from other Member States or the Commission."
Government admits it is powerless to reverse the changes. In a briefing for MEPs, the spokesman said: "We have to be realistic here. We can't do anything without a proposal from the EU Commission and the unanimous agreement of all 28 member states." (See email attached).
"VAT is an EU tax - some of the revenue from VAT is regarded by the EU as part of its 'own resources' and goes directly to the EU rather than to the Member State – this explains why they are so keen on this harmonisation and so indifferent to the plight of small businesses," wrties UKIP MEP Margot Parker in a letter to constituents about VAT.
• We are aware of the problem with VAT MOSS and UKIP has delivered a Written Parliamentary Question to the EU Commission on this matter, we hope to have a reply before Christmas. We suspect in practice that where internet sales of the type caught by the new rules form a part of a small business the only solution, to avoid the need for their whole business to collect VAT, is to incorporate a separate company to conduct the VAT MOSS related internet business – far from ideal.
The EU Commission is the only body that can initiate new EU laws, begin repeal of or start any amendment to EU laws, or negotiate trade agreements. The EU Commissioners are not elected, but appointed. MPs and MEPs have no binding way to force the Commission to do anything it doesn't want to do. So, once an EU law passes there is nothing a voter or a MP or even a MEP can do to change it. EU Commissioners are required by Treaty to ignore national interest and to act only in the interests of the EU as a whole. In a normal democracy, if you don't like a law or a set of politicians, every 5 years or so everyone gets to vote for someone else who can change the law. This doesn't happen in the EU because the elected MEPs don't have those powers.
"There is a double illegitimacy in the commission imposition of boardroom quotas," writes UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson.
• The European commission must be one of the world's greatest forces for imposing policies that are not actually wanted. A long list would not be hard to compile, but gender quotas in the boardroom would have to be on anyone's.
We might we ask, 'who actually wants to see this happen?' The lazy assumption would be that this is a deeply held demand from female voters. That's often taken for granted in the way quotas are discussed, when the very opposite is true. I can tell you it's certainly not something that you hear on the doorsteps, and pollsters report the same finding in very emphatic numbers.
Across all social breakdowns, all regions of the country, all age categories, and among supporters of all the main parties, YouGov found that voters straightforwardly and comprehensively reject gender quotas. And yes, more women are opposed than not, by no small margin – 51 per cent against to only 30 per cent in favour. One of the few groups in which actual support for quotas could be found - admittedly overwhelmingly - are academic theorists of gender, the metropolitan media, and, of course, the 27,000 -strong bureaucracy of the European commission in Brussel.
"Nothing at all is being done to slim down the bloated EU bureaucracy, or to cut down on the money that is wasted year in, year out."
- UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott
• The UK Independence Party has reacted to news of a deal being reached on the European Union's budget for 2015, with spokesman Jonathan Arnott MEP describing the agreement as a 'classic EU fudge'.
The deal will allow the European Union to enter into commitments to pay 145.3 billion euros, with actual payments coming in at 141.2. The figures are a compromise between the European Council (which wanted little if any increase to the budget) and the European Parliament, which wanted to spend even more taxpayers' money on the European Union. Neither side has got what they wanted, but it seems that the taxpayer will be the big loser in this deal.
UKIP's EU Budget spokesman Jonathan Arnott MEP said "This is another classic EU fudge, and was entirely predictable. The full detail has yet to emerge, but it seems that some monies from fines normally returned to member states will now be going to the EU budget - so yet again we will effectively be paying more by the back door.
"In UKIP we take the view that climate mitigation on the Kyoto model is probably unnecessary, certainly ineffectual, and ruinously expensive"
- UKIP MEP Roger Helmer
• I recently attended an 'exchange of views' with the European commission on their negotiating position for the upcoming climate talks in Lima, ahead of next year's Paris conference, and I shared with them some unpopular views. Part of the package seems to be a proposal for an €8bn fund to help developing countries deal with 'the effects of climate change'. In UKIP we take the view that climate mitigation on the Kyoto model is probably unnecessary, certainly ineffectual, and ruinously expensive.
Unnecessary, because the science underpinning climate alarmism is highly speculative. There has been no global warming for nearly two decades. The computer models on which it is based have repeatedly failed to deliver on their predictions. Far from being settled, there is a lively scientific debate about the sensitivity of the climate system to atmospheric CO2. The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) favours a figure of three degrees centigrade per doubling of CO2. Many scientists, looking at recent temperature trends, believe that one degree centigrade would be nearer the mark. The IPCC figure depends on heroic estimates of positive feedback effects. But there is both positive and negative feedback, and many scientists suggest that the net balance may be negative.
“This whole process is the beginning of a slippery slope. Once there is a common corporation tax, adding common rates of VAT is but one step away and then we will see proposals for a common EU-wide income tax and the end of the fiscal decision making powers of EU nation states will be complete.”
- UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe, Financial Affairs spokesman.
• Commenting on this morning news that the German, French and Italian finance ministers have urged the European Commission to draw up EU-wide laws to curb corporate tax avoidance and prevent member states from offering lower taxes to attract investors, UKIP’s Financial Affairs Spokesman said:
“The UKIP economics team have long anticipated this morning’s request from the big three Eurozone states. Of course, after a sizable number of MEP’s voted for a censure motion against him last week, this request will be welcomed by Commission President Juncker like a drowning man grabbing a floatation device.
“In a backroom promise to the left wing and corporatist parties who voted to support Juncker against the censure motion, this arch-crafter of tax avoidance measures when he was President of Luxembourg, promised to look favourably on this centralising measure which will give the EU Commission even more power.
"In reality, and presently in EU law, corporate tax is a competence of the nation state not the unelected EU Commission. Yet here we see three countries wishing to give this power away from national parliaments to the bureaucrats of the EU.
...UKIP are proudly different
by Jim Carver MEP
• UKIP and other Eurosceptic MEPs propose a motion to hold the scandal-ridden head of the European Commission to account and lo and behold a big article appears in Daily Mirror attacking UKIP. Miracles never cease.
The headline of the article reads “Farage didn't turn up to his own no-confidence motion vote at the European Parliament.” The motion was initiated by the Eurosceptic 5 Star Movement from Italy with the assistance of UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe. The motion was simply never initiated by Nigel Farage.
The Labour affiliated newspaper is so desperate and so out of date that in its graphic on UK MEPs attendance, only 3 out of 10 people named are currently MEPs. All the LibDem MEPs named lost their seats in last election.
Of the 10 people named, only Paul Nuttall, Nigel Farage and Charles Tannock (Conservative) are still members of the European Parliament.
It claims that UKIP MEPs are low attendees but fails to state that Stuart Agnew, Tim Aker, and Patrick O’Flynn have a 100% voting record in this parliamentary term, while other UKIP MEPs such as Margot Parker, Bill Etheridge, Roger Helmer Jonathan Arnott, and Jim Carver all have voting records between 95-100 % signalling they were in the EP all that time. But of course, the Mirror was only looking for a cheap trick.
UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe says European Parliament has ignored Luxembourg multi-billion tax scandal to protect Juncker
• The Motion of Censure against the Juncker Commission was today defeated in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. 101 MEPs voted in favour, 461 against, while 88 abstained.
UKIP voted in favour of the motion, the Labour Party voted AGAINST, while Conservative MEPs abstained.
Steven Woolfe, UKIP MEP for the North West, said that "the European Parliament has voted to protect the scandal-soaked Commission president rather than to protect their own people whose national tax revenues have been bled by Juncker's big business tax avoidance schemes.
"During the debate, those of us who backed this motion of censure warned that the credibility of the new president of the commission has been ruined by the disclosures that he had permitted 240 of the biggest multinationals in the world to enter into aggressive corporate tax avoidance in the Grand Duchy while he was prime minister.
"It is disgraceful that the Labour Party supported Juncker's sweetheart deals for multinational corporations; and impaled on the EU fence, the Tories abstained - will this office-hungry party stand up for anything?
“UKIP promised at the beginning of this mandate to be ‘EU rebels with a cause’, to hold the Commission to account and this censure motion shows that we mean business." - UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe
• A motion of censure of the European Commission has today been submitted to the President of the European Parliament, in a move spearheaded by members of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) and other MEPs. The signatures of the required 76 members of the European Parliament were handed in to the office of President Schulz today. Forty-four signatures from the EFDD Group and 32 from non-attached members.
5-Star Movement MEP Marco Zanni said, “The LuxLeaks scandal shows that Commission President Juncker in his political life has always acted to enrich his country behind its European partners, in defiance of the Union and the Community spirit he hopes to represent.
“For this reason, the 5-Star Movement Europe decided to use one of the strongest powers of democratic control at the disposal of Parliament - the motion of censure - to demand the resignation of the Commission.”
"President Klaus made a keynote speech, and one of his points struck me very forcibly. Quoting Von Mises, he argued that communism, and centrally-planned economies in general, are incapable of delivering economic efficiency, for a very simple reason..."
by Roger Helmer MEP
• Last Wednesday in Brussels our EFDD group hosted not one but two political celebrities, in committee room 1E2.
At 11:00 a.m. we had the leader of the Italian Five Star Movement (the second largest delegation in our group). Beppe Grillo, former comedian, celebrity, and now leader of the insurgent 5 Star party, gave an impassioned speech. The main take-away message was simple: he wants Italy to have a referendum on membership of the €uro Currency Union, which has done such huge damage to Italy’s economy, and created record unemployment rates.
Of course there are many issues where UKIP and the Five Star Movement don’t see eye-to-eye, and we occasionally get questions about that. But the answer is simple: we both believe in democracy, and the democratic right of our respective countries to forge their own destinies. We agree that our freedom to choose should not be over-ridden by unaccountable foreign institutions in Brussels. And when we agree about something as fundamental as that, we can live and let live on other issues — and I hope, learn from each other.
Then at 1:30, we welcomed one of my political heroes, former Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the only EU Head of State who has been consistently sound on both the EU and climate issues. I had the privilege of chairing the session, and of introducing him. Alongside us on the panel were Nigel Farage; Czech MEP Petr Mach; Slovak MEP and economist Richard Sulik; and academic economist Professor Philipp Bagus, author of “The Tragedy of the Euro”.
LIVE stream: Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 12.30 - 2.00 pm, UK time
Europe 25 years after the fall of the iron curtain
Please excuse video quality - we relied on the Parliament's audiovisual services instead of having it filmed by our Group.
• EFDD group conference: Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 12.30-2.00 pm (UK time), European Parliament, Brussels.
Guest speakers include the former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav KLAUS, Slovak MEP Richard SULÍK, and economics professor and author, Philipp BAGUS.
The event is hosted by EFDD group co-president Nigel FARAGE MEP and Czech MEP Petr MACH.
The conference will be moderated by UKIP MEP Roger HELMER.
CLICK ON POSTER TO ENLARGE
The event is being live-streamed via Youtube from 12.30 pm to 2 pm, UK time (13:30-15:00 ECT)
UPDATE: Transcript of Vaclav Klaus' speech...
"The EU's budget will always be mismanaged; the system and procedures are so complex that they are open to large-scale abuse and fraud. Far better, surely, not to send money to Brussels in the first place... European government does not work, will not work and can never work."
by Jonathan Arnott MEP
• For the 19th year in a row, the EU's Court of Auditors has refused to give a clean bill of health to the EU's accounts for the year ending 31st December 2013. The EU's Court of Auditors registered an 'adverse opinion' about the legality and regularity of EU payments, blasting them as being "materially affected by error" - with almost €7 billion being paid out improperly.
With multinationals claiming small business relief, farms claiming buildings as grazing land and officials pocketing 5 times the going rate for their jobs, I wonder whether people realise just how bad the situation is in terms of mismanagement of the EU's funds - at a time when Britain is being asked to hand over an additional €2.1 billion to the European Union within weeks?
The official error rate is 4.7% for 2013 (with rural development and regional policy completely out of control at almost 7%), roughly holding steady after a huge increase the previous year. In actual fact, errors are higher - around 6.3% of the budget - but 1.6% had been rectified. At today's Budgetary Control Committee meeting in the European Parliament, I was handed a copy of a monster 319-page report. It was the Court of Auditors' annual report [pdf] on the financial year 2013.
So far I've picked out just a few of the most shocking pieces of information from that document. Bear in mind that these (and 14 further cases of fraud) have been found in a small sample of all EU projects:
This was the man who gave a 'cast iron guarantee' that he would give the people a say on the Lisbon Treaty if he were made Prime Minister. That promise was never fulfilled, writes UKIP Leader Nigel Farage in the Daily Express.
• Mr Cameron must really feel like everything is stacking up against him.
First there was the furore over a 'surprise' £1.7bn payment demanded by the European Union. Despite the Prime Minister fixing the audience with a determined stare and clenching his fists while proclaiming he would not be paying the sum on December 1st, the mood among the commentariat was that whatever the outcome, it was an open goal for UKIP.
Even if he tries to show grit by refusing to pay, the result would be mounting interest on an already outrageous sum of money, resulting potentially in an even bigger tab at the end of all the theatrics. Of course, if he does climb down and coughs up, this will also look like a failure. Perhaps he should have simply paid the fee, then used it as a weapon to attack the EU while trying to reassure voters that he can and will talk tough in Brussels. The problem, of course, with the latter option, is that he has already he has let down the British public time and again on the great EU problem.
This was the man who gave a 'cast iron guarantee' that he would give the people a say on the Lisbon Treaty if he were made Prime Minister. That promise was never fulfilled.
UKIP MEP Gerard Batten warns that tomorrow the Cameron government will oversee the silent surrender of another 44 UK powers to Brussels' control
• The European Union is very much in the news lately. The big issues are of course continued out-of-control immigration, and the EU’s demands for another £1.7 billion.
David Cameron is in panic mode as he promises of ‘curbs on migration’ and the ‘renegotiation of our relationship with the EU’ and a ‘return of powers’. All of this is complete pie-in-the-sky, which he cannot deliver, and about which he is not sincere in any case.
What is going unnoticed meanshile is that on 1st Novermber 2014 there will be another masssive transfer of powers to the European Union. Under the Lisbon Treaty it was agreed that numerous areas of policy will now be decided by a system of Qualified Majority Voting and Britain will lose its power to stop new laws in the European Council (Heads of Government).