Brussels doesn’t understand “Independence”

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The guiding principles agreed by the EU 27 with regard to the Brexit negotiations include the extraordinary proposition that the rights of EU citizens in the post-Brexit UK should be adjudicated by the ECJ, whose writ would then, at least in that respect, cover EU citizens in Britain.  They seem oblivious to the fact that a key factor in the UK’s Brexit debate was independence — the right to make our own laws for our own country.

Think about it for a moment.  Imagine a US citizen who was disputing his right to work or reside in an EU member-state.  If the member-state courts ruled against him, could he then appeal to the US Supreme Court to decide on his behalf?  And would Brussels and the ECJ accept the US Supreme Court ruling?  Of course not.

Similarly the case of an EU citizen in the USA.  If his residence status or Green Card were in dispute in the USA, could he appeal over the heads of American courts and ask the ECJ to rule on his behalf?  And if it did, would the US of A accept the ECJ ruling?  Again, of course not.  Clearly the EU Commission recognises that the USA is a sovereign, independent country, but does not accept that a post-Brexit UK will be independent and sovereign.

Accordingly I Tweeted: Question for Brussels: Are US citizens in the EU subject to US law, or EU law? Why should EU citizens in post-Brexit UK be under the ECJ?

Now of course you can’t get all the nuances into 140 Twitter characters, so internet critics (that term “trolls” is so over-used, don’t you think?) can have a field day with (often deliberate) misunderstandings.  We immediately had Professor Michael Merrifield (who should, and probably does, know better) come up with: “Yes, quite a large section of US law applies extraterritorially. Funny when your ignorance makes the opposite point”.

In fact I have spent quite a lot of time in the USA since 1972, and I daresay I know as much about it as Professor Merrifield.

But not to be outdone, a certain Nathan Dennis comes up with a similar complaint: “US law has no territorial boundaries and US citizens are bound by it globally. Your ignorance is frightening, is this a parody account?”

It is true that some US law applies extraterritorially, but it then applies to US citizens in addition to the laws of the country in which they happen to be at the time.  An American cannot exclude himself from (say) French law by appealing over the heads of French and European courts to the US Supreme Court.  Yet that is exactly parallel to what the Commission and the EU 27 want to be the case for EU citizens in dispute with post-Brexit Britain.

Of course the good Professor knows all this perfectly well, and probably Mr. Dennis does too.  But they couldn’t resist the temptation for childish name-calling and playground insults.

 

 

 

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18 Responses to Brussels doesn’t understand “Independence”

  1. John Burnett says:

    Roger thank God for your clear sighted comments. It looks as though we are going to need more.

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Laws of one country are not enforceable within a different country. Of course the EU wishes the reverse with its US of E dream.

  3. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

    Merrifield is a professor? With a comment like that, how on earth did he get a GCSE? US law is very clear on a number of issues, not least of which is tax. A person’s global earnings from no matter what source or in which country are subject to US tax. The UK has had arrangements with many countries whereby if taxed locally, that can be offset against UK tax. If our rates are higher, you pay the difference. If their’s are higher, that is just tough.

    To suggest the ECJ would have jurisdiction in the UK is absurd, as absurd as charging us £100 billion to leave and then keeping our share of the assets.

    Far better would be to write off the assets and repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and then wait for BMW to scream rape as 20% of its entire output was suddenly at risk, closely followed by VAG and M-B.

    • KennieD says:

      The case is building to just walk away and assume WTO rules and tariffs.

      • MIKE MAUNDER says:

        I agree KennieD. I just wonder if some member states comprehend what that would do for their trade and world standing. Noises from EU seem to be ignorant on it !

    • Michael Merrifield says:

      As it happens, ironically enough, I have a PhD from an American institution, having lived there for a number of years. Tax law is not particularly salient to the point I was making, as many have extra-territorial legislation in that area. it was more issues like sex tourism, where the US law makes it clear that the pervert in question is criminally liable under US law, whatever the law in the country where the act is committed. So, indeed, the US courts have jurisdiction over US citizens outside the US.

      • Thanks Michael. Of course I know perfectly well that the US has extraterritorial laws. But my point stands. No American citizen in an EU country can appeal to the US Supreme Court over the heads of member-state courts or the ECJ to rule on the rights of American citizens in the EU. But the Commission wants EU citizens in a post-Brexit UK to be able to appeal over the heads of British Courts to the ECJ to adjudicate their rights in Britain. In other words, the Commission is prepared (and obliged) to deal with the USA as an independent sovereign nation, but is not prepared to treat the UK in the same way.

  4. David says:

    They dont understand Fishing, Agriculture, Farming, Immigration, Borders, Freedom from interference, I could go on.

  5. Roger Turner says:

    They don`t understand “too well”

    Isn`t it known as playing “the daft laddie” in our possibly/ soon to be ex-communicated Northern Neighbour?

  6. wraggi says:

    By making these outrageous claims it is obvious the EU doesn’t want to negotiate. They want us to walk away and have a nightmare Brexit.
    The Europeans have learnt nothing of the British mentality or they wouldn’t be acting so silly.
    Their antics are just strengthening the already strong anti EU sentiment.

    • catweazle666 says:

      “They want us to walk away and have a nightmare Brexit.”

      I think it is highly unlikely.
      In fact, the EU have just as much – possibly more – to lose if the UK just walk out.
      Firstly, we are still a member of the WTO, so entitled to trade on WTO terms. Further, Article 50 states that the EU must grant us an equitable trading arrangement.

      Then there is the matter of the imbalance between what we import from the EU and what we export. This means that we would receive around 40% more in tariffs from the EU than we would pay them.
      On top of that, it is necessary to take into account the situation with regard to parts and services for the Eurofighter Typhoon and Panavia Tornado which are dependent on UK manufacturers, and the supply of Rolls Royce turbines, BaE wings, Dowty landing gear and Thales avionics to build the Airbuses on the construction line at Toulouse.

      Factor in also the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence information that we pass on to the European security services, without which Europe would be far more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
      So all in all, the EU states are in no position to make our departure too difficult, a cessation of car imports – the UK takes approximately 20% of the output of European factories – alone would jeopardise the jobs of millions of automotive workers throughout the European Union. Then there are the farmers, Brussels is already set to pay out €125 million to compensate for the losses incurred by the ridiculous sanctions on exports to Russia, if the UK ceases to buy French agricultural produce there will be riots at the very least – French farmers are notoriously volatile – and don’t forget, once we are out of the EU we can recommence low or zero tariff trade with our old Commonwealth partners such as New Zealand and especially with African producers who will be only too glad to supply us.

      So don’t worry too much about the bluster, threats and downright bullying coming from the Kommissars and their apparatchiks in Brussels, they were caught completely unprepared by the result of the Referendum as Cameron had solemnly assured them he had the mater well in hand and the British electorate would do as they were told. Now they are faced for the first time in 40 years with making weighty decisions on the fly, and now they’re suffering badly from headless chicken syndrome. Sooner or later – probably after the next season of European elections in France and Germany they’l sort themselves out and with any luck start acting sensibly.
      Thing is, as long as we are prepared to just up and walk away, unlike Greece etc. we are contributors to EU funds, so they have nothing they can threaten us with, and they are having trouble dealing with that.

  7. vanorman2016 says:

    Actually the EU understands Independence only too well. That is exactly why they have shackled us and continue to tighten the shackles. Their constant brain-washing of us, their destructive laws which MUST be obeyed.Their changing of language, so that we eventually only communicate by barks and sounds. By destroying free thought, speech and common sense they can destroy Independence and are doing so. Do not be fooled by them, there is method to their madness.

  8. Dung says:

    I agree with those who say ‘walk away now’ but I fear that May has no intention of doing that at any point. I sadly believe that May will do a Heath/Cameron and give away far too much in exchange for nothing.

    • vanorman2016 says:

      Of course Theresa May will do a Heath deal, after all she is Remain and her husband owns shares in G4s company, that is gradually taking over the Prison Service, some of the NHS, Home Care and other Public services. Far too lucrative to give up for the people and the country.

    • In fact I think the Brussels nomenklatura are starting to be terrified at the budgetary consequences of Brexit for the EU, and the loss of UK contributions. This is why they are acting tough, and whistling to keep their spirits up.

  9. Anne Palmer says:

    A War to End all Wars. A WAR for FREEDOM to Govern ourselves!

    I remember well that last terrible World War
    From Nineteen-Thirty-nine to forty-five
    When the bombs rained down upon us
    When to the shelters we went, to stay alive.

    To listen to the long speeches of Churchill,
    That, “Outside, the storms of war may blow,
    And the lands may be lashed with the fury of its gales”.
    Such inspiring words all of us so needed to know.

    Huddled up to the “wireless” to listen
    To every word Winston Churchill said,
    “We must not underrate the gravity”
    Oh so many times his words we read.

    He has gone down in UK History
    As the greatest Prime Minister of all,
    Oh, how we need the likes of him now,
    For our Country is heading for a fall.

    The blackest, treacherous Day of all for us,
    Although we didn’t know it, at the time,
    That there would be “no loss of essential Sovereignty”,
    When that Prime Minister told that treacherous lie.

    • vanorman2016 says:

      Winston Churchill was the greatest leader of all. A patriot through and through. We who are left behind must keep fighting on, for Churchill, ourselves, the truth and our country. As Winston also said, ‘we can fight the enemy without, if we do not have the enemy within’. The enemy within is the more dangerous and vile, for we trust him.

  10. Anne Palmer says:

    For the 11th of November and for any year after we joined the then EEC/EC now EU. This poem is absolutely true and as I remember it from those days way back in the bombing of Eccles, near Manchester, (1939-1945 War) until we too were bombed out. Now, we PAY those foreigners to Govern us.

    At the Cenotaph.

    There he stands so silent, so still
    A solitary figure, head bowed down low,
    In the dusk of evening on that special night
    Though the shadows play tricks on me now.
    I’m sure it’s a tear trickling down his cheek
    A white handkerchief smoothes o’er his brow,
    While revellers noisily wend their way
    Carefully, through the flurry of snow.

    They came to a halt as they saw the man
    “Are you all right mate”? They ask of him,
    He slowly turned with despair in his eyes
    A torment that is now haunting them.
    Every year the same vigil he keeps
    At the Cenotaph each New Years Eve,
    “They didn’t come back, we left them there,
    Its for them tonight that I grieve”.

    But grown men don’t cry, do they?
    For just a child in those days, was I.
    But now I am old, and can understand
    I now know the true reason why.
    Such a waste of life of so many young men,
    To the trenches of death, went again.
    A war to end wars such lies they were told,
    It was to die those brave men came.

    Each year I was taken to that cenotaph,
    Watched as that old man bent his head,
    But I understand at last the futility of war
    For that man was my very own Dad.

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