The biggest danger from a Brussels perspective is not that Greece will leave the European project and fall even deeper into penury, but that it will recover outside the eurozone.
By UKIP MEP Patrick O'Flynn (Express)
• In the eyes of the Brussels elite the government of Greece has just committed an unpardonable sin.
It has decided to put the thorny question of whether Greece should submit to the latest demands from its creditors for a ratcheting-up of austerity to a referendum.
This is democracy in the original sense, appropriately enough as pioneered in Athens around the 5th century BC.
It does not consist of electing a group of politicians every few years and leaving them to take the big decisions.
Rather it consists of asking the citizens to decide on a profound issue about the future direction of public policy.
So no wonder European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker is leading the howls of outrage, saying he feels “betrayed” by the government of Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras.
Mr Juncker is well-schooled in the pro-elite, anti-democratic methods recommended by the founding father of the EU Jean Monnet.
The message is clear: it simply isn’t the case that the EU would be a good thing if only we could achieve a few reforms.
By Roger Helmer, MEP
• I recently wrote a piece for my newsletter (not yet published) noting that most people involved in the EU debate, including our Prime Minister, seem to make the implicit assumption that if only we could reform the EU, if only we could renegotiate our terms, there is some remaining bed-rock of benefit, some crumb of comfort, some kernel of competitiveness, that will make our EU membership worthwhile, and justify an “IN” vote. I have argued to the contrary that I see no benefit at all beyond what could be achieved by a free trade deal, and that therefore we should be Better Off Out.
So I was struck by a remarkable essay by Roger Bootle in The Telegraph of Monday June 29th (the 160th anniversary edition, as it happens), in which he argues the case that far from offering benefits, the EU has exercised a damaging and malign influence on the economies of member-states. Admittedly, he too uses the phrase “without reform, the EU will go on being a poor economic performer”. But it is clear from his analysis that little or nothing would be left of the EU if the problems he points to were corrected. It’s a superb piece, and I strongly recommend it – especially to anyone who will be campaigning on the “OUT” side in the referendum. Indeed, I also commend it to those who plan to support the “IN” side – it may well change their minds.
He points out that “after an initial burst of success, the EU has done relatively badly economically”. Not only against emerging markets, but also compared with mature economies like the USA, Canada and Australia, and with non-EU European countries like Norway and Switzerland.
By UKIP Leader Nigel Farage, for The Mail On Sunday
• The events of Friday proved what many of us had feared for so long. We face one of the biggest threats to our way of life and our civilisation that we have ever seen.
Our approach to this issue and our behaviour needs to change right now.
I was considering going to Kenya this summer as a keen deep-sea angler but have taken the view that it is just not safe. I suspect tens of thousands of other British citizens will now be reviewing their travel plans for the summer as well.
Decisions such as this are easy. But what is more worrying is the threat which in some cases is already on our shores and, if we are not careful, will be added to by the human tide that is coming across the Mediterranean.
I have been arguing for some months in the European Parliament that the EU’s Common Asylum Policy is a terrible mistake. It sets the terms for who qualifies so broadly that it says to anyone in Africa: ‘If you come, you can stay.’
The gap between the Northern and Southern countries of the EU grows ever wider.
By Nigel Farage, MEP (Express)
• I’ve been at the EU summit over the past few days and I don’t sense any congeniality left whatsoever.
There were three main things on the agenda.
Greece was the first and was debated endlessly. In fact, Eurozone countries are coming back on Saturday to talk again. [Update: Greek PM Tsipras calls snap referendum to seal eurozone fate]
Frankly, none of them know what to do. There are now signs that Germany’s patience is running out and whilst it is always difficult and sometimes dangerous to make predictions, there can be little doubt that Greece is nearer to leaving the Euro now than at any other point.
Public opinion in Greece has ran straight into Eurozone rules and compromises are becoming more and more difficult.
There is no united view in response to Greece but if the country does leave the Euro, the European Commission and Germany will comfort themselves that they’ve got firewalls in place.
My experience in markets says that if Greece does go, then people will begin to look at Italy, which has deep imbalances with the Northern EU economies.
UKIP condemns move by Conservative MEPs to have all UK jobs advertised across the EU
• UKIP MEPs Jane Collins and Tim Aker said today: "UKIP is appalled that Conservative MEPs are supporting legislation which would make it compulsory for all British jobs, apprenticeships and training programmes to appear on a European Commission website aimed at workers across the EU.
"The website, called EURES, tells anyone in the EU who wants to work in the UK that there are 850 Eurocrat advisers available to them 'to provide information, advice and recruitment/placement (job-matching) services' in Britain.
"The amendment which Cameron's Conservatives have tabled says that any job, apprenticeship or training programme advertised in the UK be put into this EURES system.
Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP and deputy leader, says heavy-weight "Change or Go" report challenges Cameron's claim that being in the EU is good for the UK
• UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall today welcomed the publication by a group of business leaders and economic analysts of "Change or Go," a 1,000 page assessment of Britain's place in the EU: "This report challenges the many myths David Cameron and his allies are using to try to frighten the British people into staying in the EU."
"UKIP welcomes this list of demands for changes Cameron ought to make, but clearly is not making, in his negotiation with the EU. The report concludes that unless the Prime Minister can achieve a fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with Brussels, the country’s households and businesses will be better off if the UK opts to leave the EU."
The Prime Minister is likely only to secure very minor changes such as on benefits rules, which have been pre-agreed with other European leaders as a crumb off the table - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP
By Nigel Farage, MEP
• The next big European Council meeting comes on Thursday next week when the Prime Minister will make his first big formal attempt to put forward his so-called reform agenda to other European premiers.
I’ll be over there in Brussels myself but I’m not expecting much and here's why.
There are three major factors of particular significance that mean the Cameron agenda is going nowhere fast.
The first is the continuing disaster unfolding in Greece.
With great human suffering continuing as the country remains locked inside the Euro, we have the spectacle of the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras at loggerheads with the IMF, with neither side looking as if they are going to back down.
Frankly the situation looks as if it will be impossible to resolve and I am certain that Grexit is now on the horizon.
• Tonight, William Dartmouth, UKIP MEP for the South West and Gibraltar and trade spokesman, persuaded the coordinators of the International Trade Committee to agree to an extraordinary sitting of the committee on June 29 to deal with TTIP, the controversial US-EU trade agreement.
Dartmouth said: "The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a matter of huge public interest and even greater concern. It is utterly wrong for the parties in the European Parliament to supress debate. We need to have debate, we need to understand what is going on. UKIP is leading the fight in the European Parliament to make sure this happens."
Last week, at a plenary sitting in Strasbourg the parliament was thrown into turmoil when Martin Schulz, the German socialist MEP who is president of the parliament, cancelled the vote because many of the parliament's centre-left MEPs were defying EU policy and threatening to come out against TTIP.
"Whilst Cameron and Obama may wish to do the bidding of the big corporates, we are beginning to hear voices of alarm about sovereignty and the great modern battle of corporatism versus capitalism being raised."
- UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP
FARAGE FOR BREITBART
• In over 16 years as an MEP, I’ve never seen such a vast amount of emails, correspondence, even members of the public phoning my office in Strasbourg as I have recently over the issue of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Partly this is because e-mail wasn’t anywhere near as popular 16 years ago, but the reality is that this is the first big crack in the European Union’s corporatist agenda.
It marks really the first time that I have seen large numbers of people questioning the EU’s mantra that big is good and that business, jobs and prosperity flow from all the actions of the Union.
For years I’ve wondered: just how can the Left support all of this corporatist stuff? Why are trades unions and the TUC saying nothing?
...and leave British cattle free to belch
• UKIP Agricultural Spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP says British farmers, who had the wind up over proposed EU caps on methane emissions, will be relieved that national Governments have rejected the limits.
EU proposals to put stringent limits for certain air pollutants in each EU member state, including the methane gas produced by microbes in the stomachs of cattle and sheep during digestion of grass, were refreshingly rejected today.
Approval of the caps, under the National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive, would have resulted in double regulation due to existing commitments relating to EU’s 2030 climate and energy package.
British livestock farmers were worried that the caps would have a massive impact on them.
Stuart Agnew UKIP MEP for the East of England, said today: “After much hot air I welcome the news that these caps have finally been abandoned.
"I will now wait patiently for my inevitable invitation for a meeting (without coffee)," writes Roger Helmer.
• Roger Helmer MEP, Head of UKIP Delegation in the European Parliament wrote the following letter to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, concerning Vice President Ildikó Gall-Pelcz's disregard for parliamentary rules on Wednesday, June 10th.
Dear President Schulz,
Yesterday at around 17:30 in the Hemicycle, the EFDD Group invoked Rule 191 to call for a suspension of the sitting, as it was entitled to do. The objective was to draw attention to our concerns over the delay in debating TTIP, which as you know is of great interest to millions across the EU.
Vice President Ildikó Gall-Pelcz, who was chairing the Session, failed to put the issue to an immediate vote, as she was required to do under Rule 191. She deliberately prevaricated for around ten minutes, calling two speakers against the motion. She then suspended the session for thirty minutes, without taking a vote.
I approached her immediately after the suspension and I asked her if she knew that she was in breach of the rules. She replied “Yes”
European Parliament Vice-President defies rules to frustrate legitimate democratic protest by UKIP MEPs over TTIP vote delay
• UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall today lambasted Vice-President Gall-Pelcz, calling what happened last night under her watch "a disgrace and an outrage."
"Under Rule 191 the EFDD group requested a vote to suspend the sitting and that vote, under the rules, should have been taken immediately," Mr Nuttall told the Chamber this morning.
"Instead the Vice-President took it upon herself to suspend the sitting for 30 minutes so that you guys could come down and vote.
"This highlights one of the reasons why many people perceive this place to be a Mickey Mouse chamber. You either have a rule book, or you don't. You either stick by it, or you rip it up and then we make it up as we go along, just as happened last night.
"UKIP are appalled that both the British Conservatives and Labour in the European Parliament have today voted for the European Commission to interfere in British laws on funding for political parties." - UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall
• Paul Nuttall, MEP for the North West and deputy leader, today said: "UKIP does not support interference by the European Commission in any aspect of funding for British political parties. UKIP supports the laws which are already in place in Britain which prohibit foreign funding of political parties."
"We do not want to establish a precedent for the European Commission to interfere in any way with the laws the British parliament makes on funding, and we are appalled to find that both the British Conservative and Labour MEPs voted in favour of establishing this precedent."
"The Commission must keep its nose out of British politics. What needs to be questioned instead is the vast funding the Commission makes to organisations in Britain such as the BBC, which between 2007 and 2013 received €30.2m (approximately £22m) from the Commission, and the funding given by the Commission to such pro-EU groups such as the CBI."
Nigel Farage says: "Cowardly EU is running scared of millions of people who oppose the global corporatism of TTIP"
As the European Parliament cancels both the debate and vote on TTIP, UKIP trade spokesman William Dartmouth, says: "British Conservatives clubbed together with EU establishment to stop debate on TTIP."
• Today Nigel Farage, MEP and leader of UKIP, said: "In my 17 years as an MEP I've never received so much communication from the public on a proposed piece of legislation. The TTIP has concerned millions of people across the European Union. They have bombarded their MEPs with phone calls, letters and emails and in response to this the EU is now running scared."
"They've got the wind up, particularly the left, who have been supporting TTIP from the start and finally have been exposed as backing large scale global corporatism."
"The parliament suspended today not just the vote, but equally the debate on this issue which I think was cowardly in the extreme. It is interesting to note that for the first time ever actions in the European Parliament are now being heavily debated in Washington, too. Perhaps we need a redefinition of what a free trade deal is."
William Dartmouth, UKIP MEP for the South West and Gibraltar and spokesman on trade, said: "Today the establishment, particularly the British Conservatives, clubbed together to stop the debate happening. The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a matter of huge public interest and even greater concern. It is utterly wrong for the parties in the European Parliament, led by the Conservatives, to supress debate. We need to have debate, we need to understand what is going on."
• UKIP is fighting in the European Parliament to stop the EU grabbing the power to shut down any company which defies its demands on reaching female quotas on non-executive boards.
Yesterday (08.06.2015) in Strasbourg UKIP MEP Louise Bours led an attack against this legislation. She said it would "demean women and insult the women who have made it to the top of their professions on merit."
Bours, MEP for the North West, was opposing a resolution in the European Parliament urging the European Council to pass legislation on balanced representation of men and women on company boards.
Among other things, the legislation would allow sanctions such as the dissolution of a company if the non-executive board does not reach an arbitrary quota target imposed by the EU.
Labour MEPs voted for this resolution.
...which is 'beeting' British sugar refining jobs out of existence
• Responding to the Tate and Lyle criticism of EU trade policy, UKIP agriculture spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP said today in Strasbourg:
“The stance of British sugar refiner Tate and Lyle shows that the EU regime of external tariffs and internal regulations is destroying British jobs and industry.
“The sugar cane importing company is lumbered by prohibitive tariffs for the importation of sugar cane from outside the EU. This pushes up the price of sugar for the consumer and makes the manufacture of cane sugar uncompetitive.
“It is the EU’s tariff and hyper-regulation regime which is strangling cane sugar refining in the UK.
“Tate and Lyle is currently prevented, by the EU commission, from importing its raw materials in the quantities it needs. That is one of the reasons it has had to close 5 out of 6 production plants and lay off workers. The EU is clearly tying the hands of the sugar cane refining industry behind its back.
Multinational corporations love regulation because they’re big enough to cope with the costs, while the regulatory thicket acts as a major barrier to small companies, start-ups and new businesses — Roger Helmer MEP, Head of UKIP delegation in the European Parliament
• I wrote recently about the high volume of mail which we MEPs are receiving from concerned citizens about TTIP (the proposed Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership), and I expressed the view that their concerns were premature, because we don’t yet know what the Treaty – if it is ever agreed – will say. Most commentators believe it will be years, not months, before we have a final text, and that will be the time to decide whether the benefits outweigh any disadvantages, and whether to vote for or against.
But I recognise that the concerns expressed are genuine, and I am struck by the way that most specific concerns relate straight back to the broader worries that many people feel about the EU as a whole. The anti-TTIP campaign may be motivated by protectionism and anti-Americanism, but it has some genuine points — the NHS, ISDS, the dangers of empowering large multinational corporations, and the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. Let’s think them through.
ECJ judgement granting the Commission new powers over confidentiality of trade documents is simply facilitating shady back room deals between unelected bureaucrats and transnational corporate fat cats - UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP
• The European Court of Justice yesterday (04/06/2015) ruled in favour of the Commission's right to protect the confidentiality of trade documents, including important documents on TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) such as offers by the EU on tariffs, services, investment and procurement .
UKIP MEP and Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall said, "The Commission last November promised to make all of the negotiating texts publicly available, for them to go back on this promise so quickly stinks of dishonesty. It is clear the last thing that the Commission want is this information to be made public as TTIP simply isn't in our national interest.
"UKIP was the only major UK party to oppose TTIP in a Committee vote on Wednesday and this move simply justifies that decision further.
• UKIP MEP Roger Helmer hammered a ruling by the European Court of Justice today banning Britain from cutting VAT on energy-saving materials.
The infringement judgement from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg said Britain was breaching the EU's VAT Directive by applying a reduction across board in the rate of VAT applied to energy-saving materials for housing. The ECJ judges who have final decision on the application of EU law said such a reduction should only apply to social housing.
UKIP Energy spokesman, Roger Helmer MEP responded:
“This is simply ridiculous beyond belief. While the EU claims it wants to reduce energy consumption, this judgement shows what the EU ‘really really wants’ is to increase its take from the VAT system from which it takes a portion of every transaction. In addition, this decision demonstrates that it’s the EU rather than the British Government which has final say over the rate and scope of the VAT system.
UKIP Scotland Leader David Coburn responds to Nicola Sturgeon: "We came into the EU as one United Kingdom, we came into the EU together, so we will leave together".
• Today, at a European Policy Centre event Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, stated that the Scottish government would be pushing for a double lock mechanism for the EU referendum, whereby a Scottish majority would be required for Scotland to leave.
David Coburn UKIP MEP for Scotland, who spoke at the event, said, "This is just havers of nonsense. Typical SNP gerrymandering of the democratic process, last time they excluded Scots working abroad and serving in the forces, now they want to include any EU national living in Scotland.
"We came into the EU as one United Kingdom, we came into the EU together, so we will leave together. The Scottish people clearly decided that they wanted to remain as part of the United Kingdom so any talk of this double lock mechanism makes a mockery of the Scottish people's decision. We respected the result, now they must too."