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Ripley

UK in / out referendum

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Why a referendum in 2017? I want it this year! If the UK doesnt give up the rabate, doesnt join the Schengen-Area and join the Fiscal Pact, throw them out!

This isn't Germany's Europe run by a man with a silly moustache, a funny walk and a dislike of certain religious minorities. What a ridiculously arrogant post.

And don't have a go at me for making a Hitler joke, your post deserved little more. :rolleyes:

The Scottish Government does have a pro EU stance and does want to be a member state in an Independent Scotland. It does not want to join the Euro.

I find it very ironic and hypocritical that the Westminster Government and Pro-union groups have been scaremongering the people of Scotland that becoming independent would not guarantee a place in the EU and that would result in losing financial subsidies and employment opportunities that the EU brings, BUT then they decide that they want to hold a UK referendum to decide if they leave the union or not.

You're right, that irony is quite strange and I'd not thought of it like that before. That said, it's not just the Tories making this point but the whole of the "No" campaign which also includes pro-EU MPs too. Nevertheless, it's a shame for the "Yes" camp that the SNP didn't score from that apparent open goal rather than getting themselves in knots over their "legal advice". I've never seen Salmond, normally so smooth an operator, get caught out quite as badly as he has over the EU issue.

For what it's worth, I can't imagne Scotland would have any difficulty getting back into the EU should it seccede. I don't see any practical or economic reason why they shouldn't be welcomed back in. But I'm no expert.

Edited by RobH

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This isn't Germany's Europe run by a man with a silly moustache, a funny walk and a dislike of certain religious minorities. What a ridiculously arrogant post.

And don't have a go at me for making a Hitler joke, your post deserved little more. :rolleyes:

You dont have to agree with me. No British members or even many Non-British members here will agree with me on my statement.

I respect that. I dont respect it, when you compare me with Hitler. In many International forums you can read statements like yours, just because a German has a different opinion. It is very common and nothing new to me. I thought you were more creative.

Edited by Westfale

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I could've been more creative but frankly your post wasn't worth the effort. My post was deliberately as ridiculous to the post I was responding to. I wasn't looking for respect by posting it.

Edited by RobH

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Why a referendum in 2017? I want it this year! If the UK doesnt give up the rabate, doesnt join the Schengen-Area and join the Fiscal Pact, throw them out! I know, it is not possible, but who is taking the UK seriously anyway? Who is taking this government seriously? All Cameron wants is to protect the FI! I cant believe it. The FI is responsible for many problems we had and still have. For me, it is like a cancer and Cameron is protecting it! Apart from the FI the UK is only successful in Entertainment and Military. I can live without tanks and without the Australian jungle ;)

The EU has 28 members and the UK would be at 25th rank, when it comes to influence.

I see, so the UK must do what Germany decides is best for the EU or else they can just bugger off? Is that your position?

You certainly don't have much interest in knowing anything about the UK do you? Your opinion of us as a country is somewhat childish and hostile to say the least. Is this hostility all because of the EU or is there some other reason for it?

What do you see as the direction the EU should develop in and should it take into account other countries' different outlooks and opinions on the way it should work. Or should they all just shut up and just do what Germany (and France) decide is best for them?

As a life-long pro-European, I would be genuinely interested to know your positive thoughts about the EU and how it should work.

PS. Apologies for my ignorance, but what is this 'FI' you are accusing Cameron of protecting?

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I think the point he is trying to make is very simple and understandable. The European Union must act, be and think in one coherent voice. The United Kingdom has, and will always continue to seek a special relationship where they play by a different set of rules compared to other members. Even Denmark, which negotiated the same special clauses as the UK during the Maastrict Treaty round, have started the process of giving up those exceptions. The UK is trying to have its cake and eat it too. They are unwilling to submit themselves to all the same rules as the other 26 (soon to be 27 members, no thanks to the UK)* but want all the benefits.

If that is the case, the UK has a moral and ethical obligation to leave the EU and negotiate the same levels of acess that Norway and Switzerland have (and Canada is currently negotiating). The United Kingdom cannot have it both ways. And it will be in a much weaker position in the global economy if it thinks it can act alone.

* The United Kingdom was the leading blocker of Croatian accession because of Ante Gotovina. Accusing the Croatian government of knowingly harbouring him in Catholic monestaries. Found in the Canary Islands and was cleared of all charges.

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Westfale, your position is miserable and ridiculous - especially for an Olympic forum. Especially after the London Games, you should at least know that Britain achieves great things not only in entertainment and the military. And only because it has a weak and panic-driven government, it's not a weak and dispensable country in total. Frankly, I'm very surprised that someone in a forum like this one cultivates such a anti-British mindset.

And apart from also asking myself as well what "FI" stands for, I'm curious how you calculated that among the EU member countries, the UK is only ranked #25 in terms of influence. The UK is still, even after the serious setback by the financial crisis, one of the most important economies of Europe. Yes, the UK is in serious danger of losing influence by Cameron's kamikaze policy regarding Europe - but a nation of 60 million people will never be diminished completely.

Back to the topic: I rather feel sorry for Cameron that he is so panicky and weak towards Nigel Farage and his own backbenchers that he has to make such populist promises like the EU referendum. But as Rob already pointed out: It's rather unlikely that we will see such a referendum happen, since the Tories will probably get the much-deserved defeat at the 2015 general election. Sadly, Labour has taken a more eurosceptic stance as well since they were voted out in 2010, but I'm nevertheless confident that they will take a more sensible and rational course towards the EU than Cameron if they are voted back to power in 2015.

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With Fi I meant Finace Industry or more common Finacial Sector.

My impression is, that the British politicains are very unpopluar in Brussels and many other European capitals. Does the British Gouverment has Partners in Europe? Even the Dutch PM Mark Rutte had no plan to attend Camerons speech in Amsterdam. Is there any nation, that has the same ideas, the same priorities or the same goals like the UK? The UK is like a Rugby player in a football team.

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The problem with Europe, is it has too many cooks in the kitchen - and theyre all making different dishes. What's good for one nation, isn't necessarily good for the other.

When I was in my late teens and early 20's, I was a fan of the EU - I suppose living in the 'euro capital' inspired me to believe in what the EU stood for, or perceived to stand for - Integration, peace and a shared common purpose. How 10 years can radically shatter that idea.

When i think of the EU today, one word comes to mind - Indecision. Countries can simply not agree on a single plan to help ease the current economic downtown. And because of this, relationships breakdown and disagreements between member states only deepen. Germany, believes in austerity measures for member states in trouble, as stated by Angela Merkel in Davos recently. She is quite clear that there is only one way out of the current mess, and that is cutbacks. The French do not believe in this idea, and want investment and growth, irrespective of the current debt fears. So, we have the 2 main engines of the eurozone in disagreement. Alright, let's look at the other nations. Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece.... all facing mounting economic woes. Not even the central bank in the EU can deal with their debts, no matter how many bonds they buy to lower rates. And regardless, Germany and France disagree on how far the ECB can 'interfere' in the market.

So where do we go from here? Eurobonds? Again, member states disagree - most notably Germany. I understand Germany's reluctance, as they'd have to sacrifice their lower bond yields currently and safeguard the rest of Europe. Why would a country like Germany take such a risk? I suppose for the sake of the entire European project.

Either way, I fear the EU is doomed if it stays on this course. Germany can simply not shoulder all of the EU's debt, neither should they have to. But I do believe Germany needs to take some responsibilty. Let's not kid ourselves, the european currency has helped Germany massively. The ECB, based in Frankfurt, are able to set interest rates and other fiscal provisions, and they're always to Germany's liking. The ECB, would never set a measure which in any way impacted Germany's economic positon. And so, Germany has seen favourable rates over the last number of years - whereas, countries in the south have been slumping. What Spain, Ireland and Greece need is their own autonomy over interest rates, to depreciate if necessary. Today, they cannot do that. I understand interest rates in the EU are low at the moment, which is to Spains benefit - but there will be a time when interest rates must increase to control inflation, and when that happens, Spain will be hit again. Its a vicious circle of endless pain.

Tthe EU can work in terms of friendship and trade. But economic fiscal policy must be autonomous. We are seeing the pain of the current plan. Integration, on this scale, does not work.

As for the UK position - they should have a debate, work out what is best for their country and then vote. I wish other countries would do the same. I dont understand why we cant all live in peace, but be separate entities. It seems to me, that the interest of having an integrated Europe has more to do with prestige and power than 'common purpose'.

As a European, that saddens me. If I had a vote in the UK, id vote for the exit.

Edited by Michelle

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The trouble with leaving, as I see it, is that our businesses would still need to adhere to EU standards because that's our main export market. We'd have to adhere to European standards with no future say on how they're reached. I'm not sure isolating ourselves would be a good thing.

I agree with some of Cameron's argument. The EU is seen in practical, not emotional terms by most in the UK. We generally have no desire for 'The European Project' in its grandest terms, but do want to work with our neighbours and the EU is the mechanism that allows this to happen. If it didn't exist I'm sure we'd be screaming for something like it! I don't, however, agree with Cameron's approach which seems to be biting away at the edges rather than pushing for reform from within.

I'd rather we pissed off Westfale and those like him by arguing from the centre, rather than from the edges of Europe. Get rid of the wasteful second Parliament, sort out where the EU goes from here now we have a fast-track of nations in the EU who are by cold necessity integrating faster, speed up the way the European courts work, figure out a way to make farming and fishing less disgustingly inefficient, perhaps even focus more on putting more money into industry and sciencce so we have a chance of competing with Asia etc.

And Cameron's right that we have to look at our national interest. But we should do things that are in our long term, not short term national interest! I don't care that we're a net contributor if it means we reap the benifit in a decade or two with a more balanced Europe. a bigger export market, less unskilled immigration from the East and South of the continent.

Cameron's thoughts on Europe are more or less correct. His approach isn't, and seems to be more or less motivated by trying not to lose the next election.

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The problem with that, is there are many many members within Europe who don't really appareciate the UKs membership of the EU. Even when the UK approaches with good ideas and plans, they're seen in a negative light. There is a perception in Europe that the UK is special. Rightly or wrongly, not many take any interest or care what the UK says or does. Certainly within the parliament. And I argue, what's the point of membership when you're not taken seriously in the first place.

Take the recent UK veto. Countries just side stepped the UK, and formed a different alliance and moved forward regardless. That is with the UK in this 'club' arguing from within. So, what if the UK was on the outside? It seems to me the UK would be in the same position. So I don't necessarily see the loss as that great.

Reform seems to be the buzz word at the moment on these forums. Whether its Fifa or the EU. The problem is, people within the European commission don't see the need for this reform. They believe they work effectively. They even proposed an increase to the EU budget. I mean, what planet do these people come from?!

I just don't see the benefits for the UK being within, when its apparent not many within the halls of Brussels listen to them.

Edited by Michelle
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I think that there is an element of politics to what Cameron has done, but most of what he has said does resonate with the British public at large. It would be a mistake to dimiss it simply as political posturing, I defineitly agree that there is no such thing as a European "demos"... people look to national governments when they have strong views and want to exercise their rights as citizens...not the EU. This will not change in my lifetime. Nobody on these wind-swept Isles would think their interests were well served by a parliament in brussels. I want the EU to work, but I want it to be offering a realistic vision that I can believe in, Its based on a "dream" at the moment. The EU needs to wake up. I agree with everything Michelle has said in this repsect.

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The problem with Europe, is it has too many cooks in the kitchen - and theyre all making different dishes. What's good for one nation, isn't necessarily good for the other.

When I was in my late teens and early 20's, I was a fan of the EU - I suppose living in the 'euro capital' inspired me to believe in what the EU stood for, or perceived to stand for - Integration, peace and a shared common purpose. How 10 years can radically shatter that idea.

When i think of the EU today, one word comes to mind - Indecision. Countries can simply not agree on a single plan to help ease the current economic downtown. And because of this, relationships breakdown and disagreements between member states only deepen. Germany, believes in austerity measures for member states in trouble, as stated by Angela Merkel in Davos recently. She is quite clear that there is only one way out of the current mess, and that is cutbacks. The French do not believe in this idea, and want investment and growth, irrespective of the current debt fears. So, we have the 2 main engines of the eurozone in disagreement. Alright, let's look at the other nations. Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece.... all facing mounting economic woes. Not even the central bank in the EU can deal with their debts, no matter how many bonds they buy to lower rates. And regardless, Germany and France disagree on how far the ECB can 'interfere' in the market.

So where do we go from here? Eurobonds? Again, member states disagree - most notably Germany. I understand Germany's reluctance, as they'd have to sacrifice their lower bond yields currently and safeguard the rest of Europe. Why would a country like Germany take such a risk? I suppose for the sake of the entire European project.

Either way, I fear the EU is doomed if it stays on this course. Germany can simply not shoulder all of the EU's debt, neither should they have to. But I do believe Germany needs to take some responsibilty. Let's not kid ourselves, the european currency has helped Germany massively. The ECB, based in Frankfurt, are able to set interest rates and other fiscal provisions, and they're always to Germany's liking. The ECB, would never set a measure which in any way impacted Germany's economic positon. And so, Germany has seen favourable rates over the last number of years - whereas, countries in the south have been slumping. What Spain, Ireland and Greece need is their own autonomy over interest rates, to depreciate if necessary. Today, they cannot do that. I understand interest rates in the EU are low at the moment, which is to Spains benefit - but there will be a time when interest rates must increase to control inflation, and when that happens, Spain will be hit again. Its a vicious circle of endless pain.

Tthe EU can work in terms of friendship and trade. But economic fiscal policy must be autonomous. We are seeing the pain of the current plan. Integration, on this scale, does not work.

As for the UK position - they should have a debate, work out what is best for their country and then vote. I wish other countries would do the same. I dont understand why we cant all live in peace, but be separate entities. It seems to me, that the interest of having an integrated Europe has more to do with prestige and power than 'common purpose'.

As a European, that saddens me. If I had a vote in the UK, id vote for the exit.

Interesting analysis. Basically it confirms my idea that Germany and France decide on how the EU is to be run and all other EU countries must fall into line or expect to be sidelined. Within the EU, no other country perceives itself to be the equal of the Big Two with the exception of the UK and none but the UK would dare to question or defy the consensus decided upon by the Franco-German axis. So in the Franco-German view, the UK must be sidelined or ignored whenever it tries to steer the EU away from the path decided upon in Berlin and Paris. As all the other countries are used to falling in line with this way of doing things, the UK is effectively isolated. Yes, I can see it makes sort of sense.

So if the other countries of the EU really have no interest in whether the UK stays or not, can we realistically envisage any long-term future for the UK within the EU? Gosh, I never thought I'd ever hear myself say that.

But still, I would vote to stay in. The alternatives on offer by Cameron and co are as yet unclear, ill-thought out and politically deeply suspect.

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You've asked the question the wrong way round. The Scottish referendum will be 2014 whilst the EU referendum - if it happens - will be 2017. It's highly likely in my opinion that Scotland will vote to stay in the Union and that the Tories will lose the next General Election. That means the status of the UK won't be changed radically and we won't end up having an EU referendum anyway because only the Tories are promising one in the next Parliament.

Not sure I go along with the second part of that, Rob. As much as I agree with you that I think our friends in Scotland will vote to stay within the United Kingdom (and I firmly believe they should), I would not want to predict the outcome of the next general election with any confidence. If I were to offer a most likely outcome, I would go for another hung parliament because I simply don't see either of the two main parties being able to present a compelling case to voters based on their recent past records.

Anyway, returning to the European question, it seems to me that David Cameron is proposing exactly the right course both for us and for Europe as a whole. Domestically, those who would wish us not to have a vote do so, not because of apparent fears of instability, but because they are frightened of what the answer might be if they ever dared to ask the people what they thought. Similarly, those who would wish us to pull up the drawbridge immediately will never be persuaded of the merits of remaining in the EU, whatever happens. What is clear to me, and frankly ought to be clear to everyone, is that the European model that has dominated over the past few decades is failing and, if the problems that Cameron identified are not addressed, it will eventually wither and die.

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The United Kingdom recently became Germany's top global trade partner, ousting France, so the last thing Germany wants (or needs) is the UK to exit the EU. I really do believe that the current German Govt want the British to remain, for multiple reasons. Other countries have not been as vocal in supporting the UKs continued membership - notably France and Poland. France recently said they'd welcome Business that would have ordinarily gone to Britain, but because of EU exit fears, might decide to go to France instead.

It is clear that Britain could function outside the EU. It is also clear the EU could funtion without the UK. But, given reform, neither has to happen. But if no reform or changes are made, the UK is absolutely right to say 'cheerio'.

Edited by Michelle

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The United Kingdom recently became Germany's top global trade partner, ousting France, so the last thing Germany wants (or needs) is the UK to exit the EU. I really do believe that the current German Govt want the British to remain, for multiple reasons. Other countries have not been as vocal in supporting the UKs continued membership - notably France and Poland. France recently said they'd welcome Business that would have ordinarily gone to Britain, but because of EU exit fears, might decide to go to France instead.

It is clear that Britain could function outside the EU. It is also clear the EU could funtion without the UK. But, given reform, neither has to happen. But if no reform or changes are made, the UK is absolutely right to say 'cheerio'.

May I ask you a question Michelle? Of course I am aware that there is a difference between a Belgium and France, but I am interested in your opinion about the remark of Laurent Fabius, the french foreign minister, who is quoted with the sentence:

“Europe, let’s suppose it was a football club, you join the club, but once you’re in it, you can’t say ‘let’s play rugby’,”

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Hi Martin, I actually acquired French citizenship through marriage so I will pass comment as a citizen rather than an outsider.

For me, it's a paradox. If something isn't broken, don't fix it. That seems to be what he is suggesting... 'you know the rules, so play by them'... unfortunately, the rules are the problem. The rules have not stopped Europe from sliding into a huge economic mess. And when push comes to shove, it's all about economic power and success, that will dictate whether the European project is a triumph. The Euro, which was supposed to bind Europe together, is in fact helping to dismantle it! The EU needs massive reform. And time is running out.

Edited by Michelle

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Hi Martin, I actually acquired French citizenship through marriage so I will pass comment as a citizen rather than an outsider.

For me, it's a paradox. If something isn't broken, don't fix it. That seems to be what he is suggesting... 'you know the rules, so play by them'... unfortunately, the rules are the problem. The rules have not stopped Europe from sliding into a huge economic mess. And when push comes to shove, it's all about economic power and success, that will dictate whether the European project is a triumph. The Euro, which was supposed to bind Europe together, is in fact helping to dismantle it! The EU needs massive reform. And time is running out.

Bonsoir Michelle,

my first thought after I heard Mr. Fabius sentence was: ... and what is when football doesn't fit in today's world anymore?

Of course you don't need to play rugby, but shouldn't we think about football rules to make it interesting again...

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius

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... and there is another thing: what is when the people, who are telling us that football doesn't fit with todays world are paid by the bookies, who have the monopole of rugby bets, and bet at the same time on the downfall of football in the believe that the football clubs pay any amount that football is saved?

What shall a football league do in this situation?

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius

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... and there is another thing: what is when the people, who are telling us that football doesn't fit with todays world are paid by the bookies, who have the monopole of rugby bets, and bet at the same time on the downfall of football in the believe that the football clubs pay any amount that football is saved?

What shall a football league do in this situation?

CAF what is the prevailing mood in Germany about the EU, Britian and germany's role in all this? My understanding, which admittedly is largely based on the BBC, is that Germans are resolutely positive about the EU in principle and are very critical about Britain's atitude towards the EU. Reports here suggest Germans and the French think the British are trying to divide and conquer... whereas i think the British motivation is more towards "nobody is listening, we may as well leave and let them get on with it..."

Its fairly obvious that Germany is calling the shots these days in the EU and I think the British are less inclined than any other nation to take orders from Berlin for obvious historical reasons. In a sense this is really odd because most Brits can see we have more in common with germany than we do with most other EU countries. Is this just history repeating itself and is it totally irrational? What value does the UK bring to the EU in this context... not much from what I can see.

We have a deep and ingrained sense of democracy and independence in the UK which the EU seems to want us to let go of... its not an immediatley obvious thing but it goes to the heart of what it means to be British. I think Denmark and the other Scandinavian coutries have this to greater or lesser degree, but nobody else seems to care or want to try to accomodate it. Its not about past glories or any sense of cultiral superiority... it just is. Its as British as bad teeth and the Beatles. This sense of democracy is also part of the Australian , Kiwi and canadian sense of who they are... its about knowing who you are, what your rights are as an indivisual and what your repsonsibilities are towards your fellow coutrymen. Its a view of national life from the grassroots, rather than a sense of national identity from the state down, which is what i think tends to happen in other countries, I'm not saying one way is better than the other...but I am saying the british view of democracy is incompatible with the direction the EU is going in.

Edited by Ripley

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Just a quick post, Ripley

Since your question are very interesting, I want to reply "appropriate"/detailed - that is a kind of effort for me, since I have to do it in a foreign language.

Therefore give me a little time to answer!!!

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius

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CAF what is the prevailing mood in Germany about the EU, Britian and germany's role in all this? My understanding, which admittedly is largely based on the BBC, is that Germans are resolutely positive about the EU in principle and are very critical about Britain's atitude towards the EU. Reports here suggest Germans and the French think the British are trying to divide and conquer... whereas i think the British motivation is more towards "nobody is listening, we may as well leave and let them get on with it..."

Yes, I would say that the majority of the Germans is positive about the EU, but I think, too, that the passion of the 50s/60s of the last century is gone. I don‘t believe that „the Germans“ think, that the British are trying to „divide and conquer...“ - I think the Germans are more astonished about why many British think so negative about the EU and can‘t understand it.

The EU is an institution, which organises on one hand the common market of the EU-members on the other hand its combines the powers of the single EU-members in international global negotiations, when the single EU-members agreed on that in the EU-treaties.

I should add that the Germans don‘t agree on everything what the EU does, but I think that are such „minor“ things like: „why in h‘ll decided „Brussels“ about the size of an apple or the bend of a banana“?

But I think we should think about which issues should be decided in the EU institutions and which in the single states. The United Kingdom as well as Germany have the same rights and duties in the EU - when a state wants to change something in the EU it must find other countries, which want to change that, too. I am glad of the French-German cooperation, but I have to emphasise that I wish that there is such good cooperation between Germany and the UK or Sweden or Poland or Italy or Spain or the Netherlands too.

Its fairly obvious that Germany is calling the shots these days in the EU and I think the British are less inclined than any other nation to take orders from Berlin for obvious historical reasons. In a sense this is really odd because most Brits can see we have more in common with germany than we do with most other EU countries.

Well, I can‘t see that „Berlin“ orders and the EU resp. the members of the EU has/have to follow - I suppose you mean the situation in the Eurozone... I believe that a common currency works only, when the member of the Eurozone have comparable tax policies, financial policies etc. etc. I myself think that Germany has a responsiblity as the largest economy of the Eurozone, but I think that the majority of the Germans do not want either the Euro nor to pay for the debts of the others.

Is this just history repeating itself and is it totally irrational? What value does the UK bring to the EU in this context... not much from what I can see.

We have a deep and ingrained sense of democracy and independence in the UK which the EU seems to want us to let go of... its not an immediatley obvious thing but it goes to the heart of what it means to be British. I think Denmark and the other Scandinavian coutries have this to greater or lesser degree, but nobody else seems to care or want to try to accomodate it. Its not about past glories or any sense of cultiral superiority... it just is. Its as British as bad teeth and the Beatles. This sense of democracy is also part of the Australian , Kiwi and canadian sense of who they are... its about knowing who you are, what your rights are as an indivisual and what your repsonsibilities are towards your fellow coutrymen. Its a view of national life from the grassroots, rather than a sense of national identity from the state down, which is what i think tends to happen in other countries, I'm not saying one way is better than the other...but I am saying the british view of democracy is incompatible with the direction the EU is going in.

That sounds that you believe that all Europeans (except the British, Danish, Finnish and Swedish) love to live without their own traditions in a dictatorship. For me it is important that the European Union is democratic, diverse and united at the same time. I do not want to say that the EU is perfectly, but I think it is worth to work on it.

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius

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Germany is the center of Western Europe. We have nine direct neighbors. Only Russia and China have more. The German politicians do nearly everything to make them satisfied, not just France. I live relatively close to the Dutch border and I have the impression, the German-Dutch relationship is better as the Franco-German friendship.

Every democratic German politician is aware about our past. We dont deny it and try to keep the remembrance alive.

I think, these are the greatest differences between Germany and the UK. The Britons live on an island at the edge of the continent. The UK was a world power, but does not realize that they are not it anymore. The Queen is the head of state for decades now, but it took her until two years to visit the only neighbor, that UK has: Ireland. I dont want to minimize the British crimes towards the Irish, but compared to the German crimes against the Dutch, Polish, Russians (!),..., it would be easy for her to give the Irish any sign of regret much earlier. Just remember Brandts kneefall, Weizsäckers speech or the Mitterand/ Kohl handshake of Verdun.

Why is it difficult for the British (politicians and representatives) to stand to their past? It has not begun with WWII.

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Germany is the center of Western Europe. We have nine direct neighbors. Only Russia and China have more. The German politicians do nearly everything to make them satisfied, not just France. I live relatively close to the Dutch border and I have the impression, the German-Dutch relationship is better as the Franco-German friendship.

Every democratic German politician is aware about our past. We dont deny it and try to keep the remembrance alive.

I think, these are the greatest differences between Germany and the UK. The Britons live on an island at the edge of the continent. The UK was a world power, but does not realize that they are not it anymore. The Queen is the head of state for decades now, but it took her until two years to visit the only neighbor, that UK has: Ireland. I dont want to minimize the British crimes towards the Irish, but compared to the German crimes against the Dutch, Polish, Russians (!),..., it would be easy for her to give the Irish any sign of regret much earlier. Just remember Brandts kneefall, Weizsäckers speech or the Mitterand/ Kohl handshake of Verdun.

Why is it difficult for the British (politicians and representatives) to stand to their past? It has not begun with WWII.

The Queen was not able to visit Ireland until recently because of the tensions between the two countries due to the situation in Northern Ireland. No-one in Ireland would have welcomed a visit from her until the Peace Agreement finally began to take affect recently. If you had bothered to read about British politics and the Irish situation you would have understood this but clearly you haven't and you don't. You may not be interested to do so but unless you do please do not make such facile statements about the British and Irish situation when you clearly know so little about it!

BTW, why is Ireland "the only neighbour" of the UK? Actually Ireland is geographically more distant from the UK than is France and the Queen has made several state visits to France and the French president to the UK. Why are France and the UK not to be considered neighbours in your view?

And what do you mean that British politicians cannot face up to their past? We have peaceful relations with every country that used to be part of the former empire and we joined the EU so as to have peaceful and friendly relations with former enemies like Germany! Is that not sufficient for you? What else would you have us do? I'm very keen to know!

Edited by Mainad
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Westfale, trolling again!

Anyway, I believe the most pressing matter currently facing Europe is the situation playing out in Spain, regarding Rajoy, and the allegations of corruption. If the Spanish govt was to fall, Europe is in for one hell of a ride - an unpleasant ride at that.

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