Reading the foreign press about Brexit

(16 Posts)
ipsogenix Sat 11-Jun-16 22:45:13

I just realised that with Google translate we can now read foreign newspapers like Le Monde to find out what they say about the referendum. (I speak French quite well, but it's so much quicker just to read the translation.)

I also tried Der Speigel and that was really interesting. I found this article about how Brexit is viewed by the Germans. It says that the whole point of the EU was to bring the UK and France and Germany together to prevent further war after WWII, and that to lose Britain would be pretty awful in that context.

This is the article:

www.spiegel.de/international/europe/germany-has-much-to-lose-if-britain-leaves-a-1097029.html

Has anybody else looked at what other countries are thinking about the referendum? I'd love to know how it's viewed elsewhere.

dogchewedtoy1 Sat 11-Jun-16 23:22:37

Family members of mine from France and holland are envious we have a referendum and can't believe that we won't take our chance to get out of the Eu while we can. If they had a vote it would be for out.

SpringingIntoAction Sat 11-Jun-16 23:35:07

I read the international version of Der Spiegel in English. I also read the WSJ and New York Times plus assorted sources worldwide.

I found this article about how Brexit is viewed by the Germans. It says that the whole point of the EU was to bring the UK and France and Germany together to prevent further war after WWII, and that to lose Britain would be pretty awful in that context.

The EU (in its initial incarnation) was to bring together France, Germany and some of the smaller countries, Belgium and Netherlands in a union. It was never the intention of Churchill for the UK to be in such a union as he saw the UK as fulfilling the pivotal role of being the conduit between our Commonwealth, the US, with our special relationship, and a United Europe. He had ample opportunity during his 2nd term as PM to place the UK in that union and he chose not to.

It was our poor industrial and financial situation in the 1970s that led us to joining the EEC - something we should not have done.

Of course all the countries in the EU want the UK to remain a member. The Uk provides a substantial chunk of the EU's funding, it provides the EU with access Commonwealth and channels to the US for intelligence purposes that the EU would not otherwise gain. The UK also provides a good counterbalance between the affluent Northern European countries and the poorer southern ones. The Eastern European countries enjoy the protection that our status in the world gives them and relish the opportunities for work that free movement to the UK provides.

All lovely pink fluffy stuff. But there's nothing in it for the UK. We pay in more than we get out. It restricts our freedoms and trade. It prevents us from competing globally.

We should leave the EU, trade with the world, and maintain friendly and cooperative relationship with the 27 EU countries and the 168 countries world wide that we are prevented from fully interacting with while we are members of the EU.

So, the German Press are reporting Schauble as saying we will be denied access to the single market if we leave. I have a number of issues with this

1) since when did the German Finance Minister dicatate who has access to the single market? Are we supposed to maintain the fallacy that Germany does not run the EU?
2) There is no single market. It has no single currency, or single language or even single method of plugging an electrical item into a socket on the wall! It has no single market in services - which is what we in the Uk mainly provide. It is an illusion - for which we pay £millions a week i frees, plus tariffs to the EU to trade outside the EU plus the cost of implementing the mountain of EU legislation that is handed to us every year - 2,000 plus laws.

So the German Press will report Merkel's carrot - We love you and would miss you' tripe as well as Schauble's threats of withdrawal of trading access. It's a bit like our own Press reports - throw enough project fear at the problem and something will get through to frighten enough voters.

Unfortunately, as was proven by Obama's interference, the meddling by foreign powers in Uk affairs tends to have the opposite affect.

Chalalala Sat 11-Jun-16 23:53:26

it says that the whole point of the EU was to bring the UK and France and Germany together to prevent further war after WWII

Yes, that's how people have always seen it in France (especially bringing France and Germany together, the UK came later). As far as I can tell it was really only the Brits who thought it was primarily an economic free-trade area, so I can completely understand why they feel carried into something they didn't sign up for.

My family is pretty left-wing but if anything their problem with the EU is that it's become too much of an economic club, and lost touch with its original roots of union and solidarity between peoples.

The French are becoming more eurosceptic, but mostly because they don't like the right-wing austerity policies of the EU, otherwise the ideal itself is still very much alive. It's really only the xenophobic National Front that has a problem of principle with it (and even them just want to renegotiate the terms, not actually get out)

As for Brexit, I don't get the feeling that people are too bothered yet, many think it's just the Brits doing their usual eurosceptic noises and that they'll vote to remain in the end (I disagree, I'm very worried). But when they think about it seriously, the majority hope it won't happen. That's what the polls say, and it's what I'm hearing as well. With probably a minority of right-wing nationalists hoping it could lead to a referendum in France, and also a minority of left-wingers who hope it could be a chance to reform the EU.

Leslieknope45 Sat 11-Jun-16 23:59:03

I read an article this week with this in it: Die Briten gelten ja als ewige Nörgler, die immer Extrawürste haben wollen
(Brits always want 'extra sausages')
Too true! Made me smile.

STIDW Sun 12-Jun-16 01:14:04

It was never the intention of Churchill for the UK to be in such a union as he saw the UK as fulfilling the pivotal role of being the conduit between our Commonwealth, the US, with our special relationship, and a United Europe. He had ample opportunity during his 2nd term as PM to place the UK in that union and he chose not to.

During a debate in June 1950 in the House of Commons to discuss a united Europe, Churchill said that he could not “at present’”foresee Britain being “a member of a Federal Union of Europe”. He went on to explain that this was primarily because of Britain’s position, “at the centre of the British Empire and Commonwealth”

Answering the question “Are you prepared to part with any degree of national sovereignty in any circumstances for the sake of a larger synthesis?”, Churchill responded: “We are prepared to consider & if convinced, to accept the abrogation of national sovereignty, provided that we are satisfied with the conditions & the safeguards… national sovereignty is not inviolable, & it may be resolutely diminished for the sake of all men in all the lands finding their way home together.”

hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1950/jun/27/schuman-plan

By Churchill’s 2nd term as PM his health was failing & there were other priorities such as the Cold War. He wasn’t as successful a leader in peace time.

www.academia.edu/8554772/Winston_Churchill_Why_Was_a_Successful_Wartime_Leader_Unsuccessful_at_leading_a_Peacetime_Britain

According to Churchill’s last Private Secretary, Sir Anthony Montague Brown, in August 1961, Churchill wrote to his constituency Chairman:
“I think that the Government are right to apply to join the European Economic Community..”

archive.spectator.co.uk/article/12th-june-1993/30/letters-no-longer-relevant

Problem with going back 50+ years ago is most – if not all – of the EU’s founders are dead & buried, along with the post-WWII ideals of the era in which they were working.

SpringingIntoAction Sun 12-Jun-16 01:23:58

He went on to explain that this was primarily because of Britain’s position, “at the centre of the British Empire and Commonwealth”

Exactly as I stated.

Churchill saw the role of the UK as providing a counterbalance to whichever of the European powers was most powerful at any given time, be that France, Spain, etc.

Having read Churchill's works extensively I can see nothing to suggest that he saw the UK's future in political union within the EU. Quite the reverse. However he did offer France political union at the outbreak of the 2nd World War, in a vain attempt to keep France fighting but did not repeat that offer when he had the opportunity to do so.

STIDW Sun 12-Jun-16 01:26:00

According to the Luxemburger Wort Luxembourg leaders are uncomfortable with the "Europe à la carte" concessions made to David Cameron.

In a poll 66 % of Luxembourg residents were in favour of remain, 25% for leave & 9 % were undecided. Only in Germany (79 %) and Ireland (70%) was the percentage of those against Brexit higher than Luxembourg.

www.wort.lu/en/politics/tns-ilres-study-luxembourg-residents-opposed-to-brexit-57554481ac730ff4e7f618bc

SpringingIntoAction Sun 12-Jun-16 01:39:51

Kick us out. Please - do that. I will go willingly - no fuss whatsoever.

If we stay in we are only delaying the inevitable.

The others are going to forge ahead with deeper political union.It will be impossible to differentiate those ECJ rulings that apply to Eurozone and those to the rump members. we will be sucked into political union by the back door via the ECJ.

It's much more mature to recognise that w don;t want that direction of travel and to negotiate a civilised and ordered friendly Brexit.

I don't even mind continuing to pay the EU fees - if they just let us go.

I see no point whatsoever in trailing behind the EU, grasping its coat tails as it heads off in a direction we don't want to go.

Spinflight Sun 12-Jun-16 03:14:54

To be fair it really isn't the EU's fault that our politicians have been lying to us for forty years.

Heath and Wilson knew the direction the EEC was taking, knew it had been earnestly started for the reasons stated, and knew the British public wouldn't buy it.

So they lied. Through their teeth.

All our politicians since have also had to lie to us to perpetuate it.

Check the EUs own publications and they are open and honest about their intentions. Trouble is they come as a shock to us because the whole shebang was sold to us as a trading club with no loss of sovereignty.

Heath in particular both took us into the EEC - as far as I can tell because of the trauma of witnessing the destruction his guns caused in WW2 as an artillery officer - and also laid the basis for us coming out with his lies.

ipsogenix Sun 12-Jun-16 07:27:29

Wow! I'm glad I asked. I love mumsnet. :-)

Chalalala Sun 12-Jun-16 10:13:29

To be honest sometimes I wish the UK had never joined. Then the EU may have become a smaller, better-integrated and more coherent union that would have kept its original purpose. And the UK would have developed its own trade partnerships with the English-speaking world.

But now this doesn't seem to me to be a possibility anymore, the EU has taken a certain path and will have to make the best of it. And the UK has also gone so far down the EU path and invested so much in it, there's a huge opportunity cost involved in changing course now. It can always be done, but it would be long and painful.

Chalalala Sun 12-Jun-16 11:29:19

Churchill saw the role of the UK as providing a counterbalance to whichever of the European powers was most powerful at any given time, be that France, Spain etc

Yes, but this was a vision based on pre-WW2 geopolitics, back when the major world powers were the European powers (with the US rising, to some extent). Now the powers that need to be counterbalanced are China and the US, maybe Russia, and no single European country is large enough or wealthy enough to do this on their own. That's why we need to stick together, so that we are able to provide this counterbalance on the global scale.

Winterbiscuit Sun 12-Jun-16 15:43:45

the whole point of the EU was to bring the UK and France and Germany together to prevent further war after WWII

Really? The UK wasn't even allowed to join the EU for a long time!

Spinflight Sun 12-Jun-16 16:53:27

" UK and France and Germany "

Miss out the UK here and it is not incorrect.

At the heart of Europe the disparity between the agricultural bread basket of France and the industrial resources of Germany has had a part to play in many wars.

Them sharing these made total sense.

Our joining though was borne of a panicked executive who sought to control rather than trust the population in the 60's and early 70s.

Our trade was primarily with the Commonwealth, and was in decline at the time. Our industrial relations were poor and our industries outdated.

A remarkable thing happened though in the late 60s. A chap appeared on TV merely saying that when he made a decision he always tried to choose something which benefited Britain. A British toaster even if it cost a bit more.

"I'm backing Britain" became a viral phenomenon on the back of this.

As the craze petered out economists analyzed it - and found no net effect. All those people backing Britain had no helped our position one jot.

They were wrong, but it took some years for this to be evident and I think this influenced our politicians in the European direction.

The British industries reinvested their profits, especially into patents and other intellectual property which had often been neglected in earlier years. Even the silicon chip wasn't patented by a British company.

The Patent office was inundated and the effects of this intangible knowledge had a great effect upon the boom of the 80s.

The economists only looked at short term effects and were blind to the real consequences.

Spinflight Sun 12-Jun-16 16:55:58

Also worth noting that the Commonwealth economies started growing strongly in the period after we joined and the European ones growth slowed.

We jumped off a supposedly lame horse only to see it race ahead after we'd discarded it.

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