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  1. L’allargamento entusiastico dell’Unione ai paesi dell’Est dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino fu un errore. Lo sanno tutti, anche se diplomaticamente pochi lo ammettono. Gran parte delle nazioni dell’Europa orientale, uscite dal sistema sovietico, erano solo interessate ai vantaggi economici dell’Ue, con scarsissimo interesse per la costruzione di una Europa unita. Paesi come la Polonia e l’Ungheria sono oggi rette da regimi nazionalisti, che non osservano nemmeno gli standard normali delle democrazie europee. Soprattutto in Europa orientale è rampante la volontà di opporsi a qualsiasi redistribuzione per quote della massa di migranti, che dal Mediterraneo bussano alle porte dell’Europa.

    Bene, quindi, che lo shock della Brexit metta tutti davanti a un bivio.

    L’Europa a ventisette non può andare avanti. Non ha prospettive. Non produce risultati. Serve una scelta. Due velocità. Da una parte chi si accontenta di un’area economica associata. Dall’altro chi vuole procedere all’integrazione sempre più stretta. Non c’è nulla di utopistico nel decidere un programma concreto di una “unione stretta” che comprenda, per tappe programmate:
    1. Regole omogenee per fisco, banche, finanza e un ministro del Tesoro/Economia per l’eurozona ; 2.Intelligence anti-terrorismo comune; 3. Polizia anti-criminalità organizzata comune (tipo Fbi): 4.Esercito europeo; 5.Politica estera integrata; 6.Politica comune sull’immigrazione; 7. un Programma comunitario di forti investimenti per il rilancio dell’occupazione.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-27)
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  2. in strong contrast to the Scottish ‘Yes’ movement – Brexit was not fuelled by hope for a different future. On the contrary, many Leavers believed that withdrawing from the EU wouldn’t really change things one way or the other, but they still wanted to do it. I’ve long suspected that, on some unconscious level, things could be even stranger than this: the self-harm inflicted by Brexit could potentially be part of its appeal. It is now being reported that many Leave voters are aghast at what they’ve done, as if they never really intended for their actions to yield results.

    This taps into a much broader cultural and political malaise, that also appears to be driving the rise of Donald Trump in the US. Amongst people who have utterly given up on the future, political movements don’t need to promise any desirable and realistic change. If anything, they are more comforting and trustworthy if predicated on the notion that the future is beyond rescue, for that chimes more closely with people’s private experiences. The discovery of the ‘Case Deaton effect’ in the US (unexpected rising mortality rates amongst white working classes) is linked to rising alcohol and opiate abuse and to rising suicide rates. It has also been shown to correlate closely to geographic areas with the greatest support for Trump. I don’t know of any direct equivalent to this in the UK, but it seems clear that – beyond the rhetoric of ‘Great Britain’ and ‘democracy’ – Brexit was never really articulated as a viable policy, and only ever as a destructive urge, which some no doubt now feel guilty for giving way to.

    Thatcher and Reagan rode to power by promising a brighter future, which never quite materialised other than for a minority with access to elite education and capital assets. The contemporary populist promise to make Britain or American ‘great again’ is not made in the same way. It is not a pledge or a policy platform; it’s not to be measured in terms of results. When made by the likes of Boris Johnson, it’s not even clear if it’s meant seriously or not. It’s more an offer of a collective real-time halucination, that can be indulged in like a video game.

    The Remain campaign continued to rely on forecasts, warnings and predictions, in the hope that eventually people would be dissuaded from ‘risking it’. But to those that have given up on the future already, this is all just more political rhetoric. In any case, the entire practice of modelling the future in terms of ‘risk’ has lost credibility, as evidenced by the now terminal decline of opinion polling as a tool for political control.

    One of the complaints made most frequently by liberal commentators, economists and media pundits was that the referendum campaign was being conducted without regard to ‘truth’. This isn’t quite right. It was conducted without adequate regard to facts. To the great frustration of the Remain campaign, their ‘facts’ never cut through, whereas Leave’s ‘facts’ (most famously the £350m/week price tag of EU membership) were widely accepted.

    What is a ‘fact’ exactly? In her book A History of the Modern Fact, Mary Poovey argues that a new way of organising and perceiving the world came into existence at the end of the 15th century with the invention of double-entry book-keeping. This new style of knowledge is that of facts, representations that seem both context-independent, but also magically slot seamlessly into multiple contexts as and when they are needed. The basis for this magic is that measures and methodologies (such as accounting techniques) become standardised, but then treated as apolitical, thereby allowing numbers to move around freely in public discourse without difficulty or challenge. In order for this to work, the infrastructure that produces ‘facts’ needs careful policing, ideally through centralisation in the hands of statistics agencies or elite universities (the rise of commercial polling in the 1930s was already a challenge to the authority of ‘facts’ in this respect).

    This game has probably been up for some time. As soon as media outlets start making a big deal about the FACTS of a situation, for instance with ‘Fact check’ bulletins, it is clear that numbers have already become politicised. ‘Facts’ (such as statistics) survived as an authoritative basis for public and democratic deliberation for most of the 200 years following the French Revolution. But the politicisation of social sciences, metrics and policy administration mean that the ‘facts’ produced by official statistical agencies must now compete with other conflicting ‘facts’. The deconstruction of ‘facts’ has been partly pushed by varieties of postmodern theory since the 1960s, but it is also an inevitable effect of the attempt (beloved by New Labour) to turn policy into a purely scientific exercise.

    The attempt to reduce politics to a utilitarian science (most often, to neo-classical economics) eventually backfires, once the science in question then starts to become politicised.
    Tags: , , , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-27)
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  3. There is one formal route out of the EU: Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. This so-called exit clause is highly contentious and may become the subject of the first stand-off between Brussels and Brexit Britain. The article establishes the balance of power for divorce talks. It lays down the voting rules for deciding how to part ways, and sets a two-year deadline on talks that can only be extended by a unanimous decision of the other 27 EU countries. So while starting the formal break-up process is in Britain’s hands, a decision on how and when to end it would not be. For this reason, before formal divorce talks start, Britain would want assurances about future trade arrangements or transition to avoid a Brexit hard-landing. This is partly why David Cameron, the departing prime minister, is trying to leave the decision on triggering Article 50 to his successor as British prime minister — much to the annoyance of those in the EU who want a fast, clean break.
    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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  4. Why? Because it calls into question the best thing humanity has created in its political history: the post–World War II global order.

    "What’s terrifying about Brexit is » that a lot of the global economy takes certain rules of the game as given," Dan Drezner, an expert on the global economy at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, told me. "They’ve assumed for quite some time — really, the past 70 years — that the global economy is moving in one direction, and that one direction is towards greater openness. ... Those rules of thumb are now being thrown out the window."

    This global order depends crucially on a set of supranational institutions, like the EU. These institutions can only function if member states can keep nationalism in check and submit to a shared framework for governing the world. The global order has served us astonishingly well, making the post–Cold War era the richest and least violent time in human history.

    But that optimism is now threatened. British voters, motivated largely by xenophobic nationalism, have opted out of one of the pillars of the postwar order, the European Union. For the first time since World War II, Western nationalism has beaten globalism in a major way.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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  5. Le problème est que le seul pays dont la langue officielle est l’anglais est… le Royaume-Uni. En effet, en vertu du règlement communautaire I-58, chaque pays ne peut avoir qu’une seule langue officielle. Or, l’Irlande a choisi le gaélique, Malte, le maltais et Chypre, le grec, même si ces pays usent davantage de l’anglais. Dès lors, une fois Londres retourné au grand large, l’anglais ne sera plus langue officielle et il ne pourra plus être langue de travail et encore moins langue de communication. A moins, bien sûr, de modifier le règlement I-58. Et là, bonjour : les Espagnols devront faire face aux revendications basques et catalanes, les pays baltes aux revendications de leur minorité russe, la France de ses minorités corse, catalane, bretonne, basque, etc. Et surtout parlé et compris par une minorité d’Européens, peut-il décemment demeurer la langue de l’Union ?

    Le français pourrait donc dans cette affaire retrouver son ancien statut aux côtés de l’allemand. Après tout, il n’a fallu que dix ans pour que tout bascule dans une seule langue ! Les instituts Goethe et français ne vont pas chômer !
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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  6. Anyone else get the impression that the EU are actually glad to see the back of the U.K.?!

    We've always been fussy buggers. Who knows if they're just not delighted to be rid of us, especially as they had no way to legally kick us out.

    I posted this on another thread, but I think it's interesting: the only way that an EU member state can be removed is for its membership to be suspended. It can only be suspended under article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states that a "breach of EU principles" can lead to a suspension of membership. The EU principles include democracy.

    Ignoring the results of a referendum looks like the opposite of democracy to me.

    So, if the UK doesn't invoke Article 50 soon, could the EU suspend us, by invoking Article 7?
    Tags: , , , , , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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  7. A weak negotiation is going to happen

    I don't think so. Nobody wants to negotiate with the UK anymore. Or certainly not with anyone who had any part in the Leave campaign.

    Even if the leadership election manages to find a sacrificial Remainer to ask the European Council for another round of face-saving negotiations, it'll go something like this:

    New PM: "We want to discuss new terms for staying in."
    European Council: "So you're staying after all? Brilliant. The new terms are that you lose any concessions you've obtained in the past 43 years and now have to follow the same rules as the other 27 countries around this table."


    Thegirlinthefireplace Sat 25-Jun-16 23:48:47

    I disagree rice. We haven't left, we don't need to negotiate to stay, we can just stay (as it stand unless they find away to kick us out). Obviously we wouldn't get anything new and would look like utter fools but not sure on what basis they could remove existing membership rights when we haven't quit membership. Interested to be corrected if you have other facts.
    Tags: , , , , , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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  8. Personally I think it may lead to a new round of negotiations for revised terms for staying in we are a major contributor: can they really afford to lose us? »

    I don't share your view.
    The UK and EU have been "negotiating" for 43 fractious years already. There is no appetite in Brussels for giving London any further concessions.

    And while the UK is indeed a net contributor, British governments and electorate have always under-estimated the fact that, for other countries, it's not about money, as it is here. They lived through WWII in a very different way than the UK did, and for the rest of the EU, the political project is what they see and are emotionally attached to. The UK just spat on that with this referendum, and it is taken as a very grave insult in a way that I think the British public really don't appreciate.
    Tags: , , , , , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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    If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

    Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

    With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.


    Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

    And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legistlation to be torn up and rewritten ... the list grew and grew.

    The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

    The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

    Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

    Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

    If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession ... broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

    The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

    When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was "never". When Michael Gove went on and on about "informal negotiations" ... why? why not the formal ones straight away? ... he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

    All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

    People say a second referendum is unlikely and political suicide. I don't think it is as unlikely as people think. So many who voted Leave now realize what the costs will be and how the Leave campaign has already broken major promises. It's finally sinking in that leaving the EU is going to mean the destruction of the United Kingdom. People now realize that once you leave the EU there is no coming back for decades.

    The pressure for a second referendum will keep rising and how can a prime minister deny the will of the people who will want another democratic election. It is still democratic after all and if the people wish to leave the votes would reflect that. Of course the vote will likely heavily go towards Remain now the large chunk of undecided, soft Leave and people who didn't show up (screw them) actually go vote. The whole crisis will be averted and UKIP will have to make peace with that if it goes heavily towards Remain. Even Farrage wanted another referendum if it was 52/48 and that quote is going to haunt him for a long time.

    Calling a second referendum might be political suicide for the next Tory prime minister but they are going to commit political suicide taking the position anyway and none of them really want that legacy.

    I think that the EU might have had enough of our shit at this point. For all the cold feet and backtracking recently, the feeling from Brussels seems to be "You've got what you wanted, now live with the consequences. There's the door."


    » FassmacherEuropean Union (Living in Germany) 261 points 15 hours ago

    This is the answer. For all the world I want to stay, since leaving makes my life much much more difficult. But, the attitude here in Germany at least is that the UK can't be gone fast enough. Everyone is sick of the UK have dragged their feet and complained about everything for the last few decades with regards to Europe. The UK always wanted all the good from Europe without any of the perceived downsides.

    I have to say that as someone who has experience with both sides, I agree with them.


    » NickTMLondon 95 points 15 hours ago

    Don't blame any European for that sentiment at all. Over the course of its involvement in the EU the UK has behaved like a spoilt brat, stamping its feet and screaming at the slightest excuse and demanding to be given special concessions in return for aloofness and lack of engagement with the EU itself.


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    » alive_in_wonderland 37 points 15 hours ago

    Well how else are we supposed to get such a good deal? Big fuck up with this referendum though, it shouldn't even have been called,


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    » njuffstrunk 45 points 6 hours ago

    Belgian here. Common sentiment here seems to be:

    "Those gigantic fucking idiots"
    "Well they were never completely in the EU in the first place, better to have no partner than one partner who whines the entire time".
    "Those gigantic fucking idiots".
    I have heard no one claim attempts should be made to somehow keep you guys in the EU, cause yeah everyone has had enough of it.


    » Orcrist9000 16 points 4 hours ago

    There are similar sentiments in the Netherlands, and have been for years. I'm not sure where I stand. There are millions upon millions of UK citizens who want their country to participate in a more constructive and pro-active way and I don't want to abandon them just like that.


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    » butthenigotbetter 10 points 5 hours ago

    There's also a longer term consideration, here.

    If the EU moves ahead without the UK, then if it tries to rejoin at some future point, the UK can no longer demand all the exceptions it has now. It'll be treated with all the leeway reserved for Albania, and not one bit more.

    There might be some glee involved.

    Just the vast and deep review of UK law alone is going to be an insane task, which parliament CAN NOT do, it would be down to the government to enact swaths of legislation very quickly in areas from the environment to safety standards to employment law etc etc.

    I think some people thought we could just vote to leave and stop giving money to the EU and that is that....40 years of having our legal framework entangled with the EU has basically made it largely impossible to actually leave without it being messy as fuck. If we don't get access to the single market we basically have almost no negotiating power in terms of trade deals....that is what we had....access to other European markets which we traded away, without it we have very little to actually offer.

    No way in hell I would start any new business in the UK until I know what framework will be governing the project. And it will be many, many years before issues that are key to our projects - yet trivial compared to the many clarifications the whole nation needs - are clarified.

    I work in an industry which has fairly close knowledge of EU law. The average person has NO IDEA just how much we use from the EU, regulations or directives or just plain guidelines, that influence every conceivable aspect of life. From human rights to stuff like how dangerous chemicals should be transported on roads. And suddenly every single piece of legislation will be up for debate, rewriting by political parties (for better or worse), disregarded and new laws written in place. Imagine even the debate and work that needs to go into even just keeping it as is. Our entire system of health and medical regulations is based on EU-wide standards.

    What an absolute shit show. We've taken back control without the capacity to handle control, and everyone is going to fight over the scraps.

    "People now realize that once you leave the EU there is no coming back for decades"

    There is no coming back ever ! At least to what we had before. We had an astounding deal with the EU. Opt-Outs and Veto's on dozens of EU policies, a huge financial rebate and huge sway over the internal politics of the EU council. How are we ever going to get that deal again ? How could Europe even give us that even if they wanted to ? WE ARE FUCKED !


    » Oh_its_that_asshole 113 points 16 hours ago

    We haven't left yet. Nothing has actually changed till someone torpedoes their own political career to trigger Article 50.


    » link0007 201 points 16 hours ago

    Everything has changed.

    UK's fuck-you to Europe, really made them look like a spoiled egocentric brat to the rest of Europe. Not willing to chip in, only in it for their own gains, and even though they already had a special position they just wanted free money from everyone just because the UK thinks it is so special and powerful.

    That caused a lot of resentment and suspicion. Good luck negotiating new deals or getting countries to cut the UK some slack.

    Besides, the referendum has shown that a majority of the UK is against the EU. If the UK politicians aren't man enough to pull out, I seriously hope the EU does it for them, because otherwise they are basically opposing the will of the British people and in some sense they are occupying the country against its will.


    » Oh_its_that_asshole 26 points 15 hours ago

    I'm not too sure having the EU step in and forcibly boot the UK out is something that the Leave voters would support when they voted for less EU interference! :D

    I agree that everything has changed however, some of our politicians need to step up and start doing something about the referendum vote, sooner rather than later, and just accept the fact its likely to kill their careers given that theres no way they will ever be able to get similar deals to what we had previously.


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    » Haan_Solo 5 points 15 hours ago

    I think if the EU decided to keep us it would also set a very bad precedent for them and the current members of the EU.

    The EU would become the undemocratic entity that the leave campaign have been shouting about if it isn't already.


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    » MisogynisticBumsplat 19 points 16 hours ago

    article 49. we can apply to join at any time, whether we've been a member before or not. It's more difficult to join than leave though, as all member states have to want you in.


    » Coaxed_Into_A_Snafu 111 points 15 hours ago

    as all member states have to want you in

    And the biggest "fuck you" of all time could occur thusly:

    Scotland gets Indyref2 and wins it by a landslide. EU fast-tracks their membership application. Rest of UK later applies to rejoin EU. Scotland says "Get tae fuck, ya fuckin weapon"


    » YellowbenzeneGlasgow 46 points 15 hours ago

    And we implement an Australian style points based system for English immigration


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    » Locke66 40 points 15 hours ago

    Even if that can happen we will have lost all our veto power, influence (such as it is), rebate, opt out of "ever closer union", opt out of the Euro, likely opt out of Euro Army etc.

    The deal we have now is the best we are ever likely to have and if it had been managed right we could have built a decent alliance of Euro-Lite MEPs and like-minded countries to keep the "Euro project" faction in check but instead we stood back from engagement and sent Farage etc.
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  10. In Britain, the ruling Conservative Party and the country are perhaps irreparably divided. In the EU, the evident need for a profound renewal of the European integration project is hampered by differing visions about what the EU should be about.

    All this comes against the backdrop of mounting Euro-skepticism, which populists have shown to be masters in exploiting. Indeed, upcoming electoral appointments in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany make the political context highly unfavorable to any new, big idea about rejuvenating the continent -- with or without Britain.

    How did we get to this point?

    While populists have been very successful in manipulating and exploiting these sentiments, they are not the cause of them. Blaming populism simply underlines the divide between the political elites in power and those who claim to represent the "real people."
    These feelings exist because the connection between citizens and institutions of democratic representation and decision-making is not functioning. National leaders are responsible for this more than the EU, as they are the conduit between decisions that require European cooperation (such as managing globalization) and national debates.
    The referendum campaign has shown how hard it is to move from five years of EU criticism to two months of EU support. Politicians all over Europe should therefore take more care when blaming Brussels for the failures of national government.

    The process to negotiate Britain's exit will have to ensure that decisions are not made that encourage the holding of referendums in other countries -- the contagion effect all European leaders dread. To do so, it will be more important than ever that the EU stands firmly by its legal obligations and principles, and treats Britain fairly but firmly. The costs for Britain will be high, and should deter any other country from pursuing Britain's approach.
    In the end, rather than invent some new policies that may or may not interest disaffected citizens, the EU institutions should stick to core principles and offer new ways to encourage political participation in a complex, multi-level institutional structure. This present situation points to a broader crisis of advanced democracies, but the response does not lie in Yes and No referendums. These will not provide the answer. Instead, Europe needs to rethink political participation to give citizens a new sense of purpose for the 21st century.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-06-26)
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