I refer to the old Chinese curse ”May you live in interesting times”. There is not a lot to report from Brussels or Strasbourg. Brussels Airport is closed and the city in shock. Business goes on, but discussion outside is dominated by the Brussels attack, migrant crisis and Brexit.
UK politics, despite best Tory attempts to control the situation, is focused on Osborne’s discredited budget and undermining any Brexit efforts. For once, the EU and UK Government are in alignment, albeit on avoiding Brexit!
These are indeed interesting times. The EU is yet again a “rabbit caught in the headlights”. The EU mantra of free borders and the Schengen Agreement never anticipated what might happen after the initiatives by various world powers in the last two decades to try to introduce their form of “democracy” to the Middle East. They had no understanding of the local cultures and the fire-storm that would ensue. The ill-judged, ill-managed attempted intervention highlight only too well the implications of an EU acting as an aspirational Super-state.
The EU, however, has no significant power to control what really happens in controlling migration. In terms of border security, it has its body FRONTEX, based in Warsaw. This is a body of some 500 administrators and hopelessly inadequate operational capability.
UK citizens have been told recently by our UK government that “we are safer in the EU”. This is reassuring, supposedly. However, if in the on-going EU environment for the UK, with diminution of our national powers by the EU, we were to declare a border emergency, we would have to contact Warsaw and would be asked to fill in Form B263/1473, which will then pass through the normal EU process of several months. Since FRONTEX have no capability, they would have to delegate responsibility to some other operational agency.
The two big political issues are the reaction in Germany against the immigrant crisis and the increase in position of the AfD group. The other issue that is really in the fore is the major dissention in the UK Conservative Party in regard to the Referendum and also the attitude to cuts in the recent budget.
The Labour Party is moving steadily to the left under Corbyn and McDonnell . The Conservative Party is already splitting into two factions, one based on UK independence and developing UK economy/strength and the other on maintaining membership with the EU.
These are indeed interesting times!
With this Conservative split, there could be a new political arrangement, not least accommodating the many UKIP supporters and giving UKIP a more forceful role in how the UK is governed.