Most Popular
1. Banking Crisis is Stocks Bull Market Buying Opportunity - Nadeem_Walayat
2.The Crypto Signal for the Precious Metals Market - P_Radomski_CFA
3. One Possible Outcome to a New World Order - Raymond_Matison
4.Nvidia Blow Off Top - Flying High like the Phoenix too Close to the Sun - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Apple AAPL Stock Trend and Earnings Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
6.AI, Stocks, and Gold Stocks – Connected After All - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Stock Market CHEAT SHEET - - Nadeem_Walayat
8.US Debt Ceiling Crisis Smoke and Mirrors Circus - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Silver Price May Explode - Avi_Gilburt
10.More US Banks Could Collapse -- A Lot More- EWI
Last 7 days
Keep Calm and Carry on Buying Quantum AI Tech Stocks - 19th Feb 24
How to Profit from the Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - Part1 - 17th Feb 24
Why Rising Shipping Costs Won't Cause Inflation - 17th Feb 24
Intensive 6 Week Stock Market Elliott Wave Training Course - 17th Feb 24
INFLATION and the Stock Market Trend - 17th Feb 24
GameStop (GME): 88% Shellacking Yet No Lesson Learned - 17th Feb 24
Nick Millican Explains Real Estate Investment in a Changing World - 17th Feb 24
US Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 7th Feb 24
Stocks Bull Market Commands It All For Now - 7th Feb 24
Financial Markets Narrative Nonsense - 7th Feb 24
Gold Price Long-Term Outlook Could Not Look Better - 7th Feb 24
Stock Market QE4EVER - 7th Feb 24
Learn How to Accumulate and Distribute (Trim) Stock Positions to Maximise Profits - Investing 101 - 5th Feb 24
US Exponential Budget Deficit - 5th Feb 24
Gold Tipping Points That Investors Shouldn’t Miss - 5th Feb 24
Banking Crisis Quietly Brewing - 5th Feb 24
Stock Market Major Market lows by Calendar Month - 4th Feb 24
Gold Price’s Rally is Normal, but Is It Really Bullish? - 4th Feb 24
More Problems in US Regional Banking System: Where There's Fire There's Smoke - 4th Feb 24
New Hints of US Election Year Market Interventions & Turmoil - 4th Feb 24
Watch Consumer Spending to Know When the Fed Will Cut Interest Rates - 4th Feb 24
Blue Skies Ahead As Stock Market Is Expected To Continue Much Higher - 31st Jan 24
What the Stock Market "Fear Index" VIX May Be Signaling - 31st Jan 24
Stock Market Trend Forecast Review - 31st Jan 24

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

The EU Is in a Legal Battle That Will Define Its Future

Politics / European Union Jul 14, 2016 - 10:10 AM GMT

By: John_Mauldin


I spent considerable time last week discussing Brexit with my good friend George Friedman.

George’s opinion is invaluable to me because he is the most dispassionate person I know. He analyzes geopolitics by looking at facts and following them wherever they lead.

George is no one’s cheerleader or nemesis. He calls the shots exactly as he sees them, and he’s usually right.

(If you haven’t done so already, subscribe to his free column, This Week in Geopolitics, at Mauldin Economics)

As for Brexit, George says it is the logical consequence of the European Union’s decisions in recent years. Some country was going to take this step. As it turned out, the UK was first, but it would have happened somewhere eventually.

Who’s in charge of the EU?

George was not at all surprised to hear the EU bureaucrats in Brussels instantly take a hard line after the vote.

Of course, they say they’ll treat the UK harshly. Bureaucrats, and especially those of the EU Commission, always resist when someone tries to escape their grasp.

The important point to remember is that the EU Commission, which is the executive body that implements policy, is not in charge of the EU. The leaders of the member states, collectively called the European Council, are the real power.

And within the European Council is a smaller group of powerful states that usually gets its way. Their opinion is what counts. So what did they think of Brexit?

The foreign ministers of the so-called “EU 6” original members (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) issued an unusual joint statement shortly after the Brexit vote.

For Europe, that is a lightning-fast move. The statement leads off with the usual platitudes about the EU’s magnificent achievements then expresses regret at the UK’s decision to leave.

But then we see reality begin to seep in. These Inner Six countries basically said, “Okay, we get it, some people are justifiably upset. Maybe we haven’t run this railroad quite as well as we should have. We are going to listen to you and change.”

Now here’s the key paragraph of this short statement (emphasis mine):

It is to that end that we shall also recognize different levels of ambition amongst Member States when it comes to the project of European integration. While not stepping back from what we have achieved, we have to find better ways of dealing with these different levels of ambition so as to ensure that Europe delivers better on the expectations of all European citizens.

This is a big deal. The Brexit vote made it inevitable that smaller and less wealthy members will try to follow the UK out. The EU 6 have little choice but to drop their hard line and look for compromise.

George and I both read that statement Saturday afternoon, and we came away with the same “aha!” moment. The acknowledgement of “different levels of ambition” was a message to those less-advantaged countries, essentially saying, “Don’t go away. We can negotiate.”

But that wasn’t the end of it.

The full European Council met to discuss Brexit, with the UK’s David Cameron leaving the meeting early as the other 27 countries pondered their next moves.

Their statement reads much like the earlier one from the EU 6.

Here is the key part, again with my bold highlights.

5. The outcome of the UK referendum creates a new situation for the European Union. We are determined to remain united and work in the framework of the EU to deal with the challenges of the 21st century and find solutions in the interest of our nations and peoples. We stand ready to tackle any difficulty that may arise from the current situation.

6. The European Union is a historic achievement of peace, prosperity and security on the European continent and remains our common framework. At the same time many people express dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, be it at the European or national level. Europeans expect us to do better when it comes to providing security, jobs and growth, as well as hope for a better future. We need to deliver on this, in a way that unites us, not least in the interest of the young.

7. This is why we are starting today a political reflection to give an impulse to further reforms, in line with our Strategic Agenda, and to the development of the EU with 27 Member States. This requires leadership of the Heads of State or Government. We will come back to this issue at an informal meeting in September in Bratislava.

Strip away the banalities and we again see the EU leaders recognizing how the game has just changed and acknowledging that they need a different approach to governance.

The conclusion of the statement is important, too. They will “come back to this issue” in September.

A battle for power

What happens between now and then? Probably, a series of informal, closed-door meetings among the members. Factions may form as they each set priorities and seek allies.

We’ll probably hear a lot of conflicting rumors in the coming weeks. However, pay very close attention to whether it is the EU Council or the EU Commission that gets to take the lead role in negotiating with Britain.

This point is already the subject of a very acrimonious debate in Europe. If the Commission (basically the Brussels bureaucracy) wins, it will want to punish Britain.

If the EU Council gets the right to be the lead negotiator, it will want to try to figure out a way to make it all work, especially trade and commerce.

The lawyers from both sides are arguing forcibly that it’s their team that should be responsible for the negotiations. This is a legal battle with real consequences.

Free Special Report: How Brexit Will Affect the UK, Europe, and the US

Britain’s vote to leave the EU sent shockwaves throughout the world, plunging markets into chaos and Europe into an existential quagmire.

Get this free special report from Geopolitical Futures founder and acclaimed intelligence expert George Friedman to uncover the truth about Brexit—and the devastating fallout we can expect to see worldwide.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2022 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in