Denny Sabah has an Honors in International Relations and Diplomacy and Economics and is a long-standing friend of Core Consultants, even authoring an issue of Core Consultants’ Ferrochrome Quarterly Report back in 2014.
Prior to Denny entering the commodity world, he interned at the European Commission.
From time to time, Denny posts analysis on Facebook and is followed by friends, fans and followers, including me. However, his latest piece on the upcoming EU referendum was exceptionally well written, thought provoking and quite, frankly, too good not to share. So here goes:
“If you have not yet been convinced to Remain by every single major economic organisation in the world, by the leader of every major UK Political Party, by every living former British Prime Minister, by the leaders of every major country in the world (except Putin), then maybe I’ll manage to do it.
The amount of nonsense I’ve heard in relation to the EU over the years, and the sheer levels of ignorance on this issue is shocking. Most negative views on the EU are based upon this ignorance.
A very quick primer:
The EU is made up of 4 main bodies:
1- European Parliament (elected by you and me. Like the House of Commons)
2 & 3- European Council & the Council of the EU (Made up for the 28 heads of states and governments. Elected by you and me. David Cameron is a member of the Council, as is his cabinet. Sort of acts like the House of Lords, except with elections and democracy and stuff.)
4- European Commission (the EU’s Civil Service. Unelected, same as every civil service in the world)
The Parliament and Council debate and pass laws (like the Houses of Commons and Lords). Then the Civil Service (European Commission) executes and implements those laws.
With that in mind:
1. It is a myth that the EU is unelected.
It is a myth that the EU “tells” us what to do. Britain’s elected politicians are at the top table formulating all European laws.
It is a myth that the EU “forces” us to do stuff. How can they force us when we helped decide the laws which we must then implement? (And who would do the forcing?)
Can we be outvoted? Of course. All countries unanimously agreed which issues require unanimity and which are less important; the latter only require a majority of votes. The UK has been outvoted over 50 times, equivalent to 2% of all votes. All other countries are outvoted at various times as well. It is the only way to ensure there is not gridlock. It’s called compromising with your partners.
Saying that EU rules force us to do something, is like saying “My boss is a right bastard; he forces me to come in every week day and do 8 hours of work.”
If you have ever stated that “the EU forces the UK to do x” then you don’t know how the EU works.
If you have ever said “the EU tells us what to do”, then you don’t know how the EU works.
If you have ever accused Brussels of something, but can’t answer the question “who is Brussels?”, then you don’t know how the EU works.
2. Brexiters promote the idea of the UK as an economic, political, and diplomatic powerhouse (which is correct). But those same Brexiters complain about us not having influence in the EU. Well, which is it? Are we powerful or not?
(We’re petrified of Malta, we have no influence over Luxembourg, and Latvia always pushes us about, but if only we could have a pop at China and India and America).
If Brexiters think we are able to get the best trade deal in the world with China, why not lead our 27 partners into doing just that?
The amount of influence a country has in the EU depends on the size of its population, the size of its economy, and the amount of soft power it is able to wield. The UK is number 2 in population and economy. As for soft power, well that depends on how good our government is at negotiating and getting people onside.
3. Turkey is not joining the EU. It applied to join about 30 years ago, and has so far met 1 out of 35 criteria. Just 1. Seeing as it is regressing in terms of freedom of the press and freedom of religion, there is no chance of meeting all 35.
More importantly, every member state has the right to veto any new country. Cyprus is occupied by the Turkish military. What are the chances Cyprus will agree? Cyprus will veto. Greece will veto in support of Cyprus.
Turkey is not joining the EU… not for decades, if ever.
The Remain campaign are shamelessly lying about Turkey joining.
I have never before seen politicians blatantly lie to the electorate as Brexiters have done:
-Turkey is NOT joining
-We do NOT give £350m/week to the EU
-The EU is NOT building a European army which will have authority over the British army.
-We will NOT have to pay to bail out the eurozone again. We are exempt from that.
4. When we joined in the 70s, Britain was in such a bad state that we were a net recipient of EU funds for a number of years. Now the tables have turned, so we pay in more.
No-one would mind us paying for a new motorway in Malawi, but Brexiters are furious if we do the same in Hungary.
5. Having this referendum is really insulting to our European partners. We’re saying we’re better than them.
It’s like turning to your group of friends and saying you don’t want to hang out with them anymore because they’re not cool enough, and you want to hang out with the cool kids instead.
But you can’t afford cooler clothes, you don’t know if the cool kids want to hang out with you, and the cool kids have all just come down with a virus (called slower economic growth), so they’re not coming out to play for a while anyway.
Are we so superior to the rest of Europe?
50% of our trade is with the EU. Just 3% is with China. Why would we not want a seat at the top table with our single largest trading partner?
Luxembourg is too small to lead the EU. Bulgaria is too poor. Only three countries have the stature to do so. And we are one of them.
Instead of scurrying away like a spoilt child, why not lead Europe from the front!
To paraphrase Trump: Let’s make Europe great again!