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UK votes to leave EU (bbc.co.uk)
3125 points by dmmalam on June 24, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 2530 comments



A very sad day for everyone in Europe. The EU is not only about trade regulations, but about a continent who had a not very peaceful history finally growing together. The freedom of movement for European citizens was not only "convenient" but in fact an important civil right. When you live or have a business in one state of the US, you are bound to local regulations of course, but being part of the US granted you a lot of fundamental rights and freedoms. In my eyes, the EU was very much about the same thing. It didn't matter in which part of the EU you lived or had your business. Being part of the EU granted you rights and equal access to the rest of Europe.

The EU in my eyes should aspire, to what the US has achieved already, being a large region, composed of quite a lot of different states, which are united, so that there are no arbitrary geographic borders limiting the freedom and the rights of the individual. This is not always easy, and it means, that the richer parts have to give to the poorer, but that is just basic humanity.

Especially I am sad for the young generation in the UK. A very large part (about 75%) voted to stay in Europe, and this future is taken from them. I would guess no small part of them will try to move to the remaining EU states.


The US did not magic itself into existence as a united state. It began in common purpose with a shared, very strong, external enemy. It then assigned itself a shared dream of settling the content. And, crucially, it already had a shared cultural identity, shared language, and shared religion when it began.

The EU does not have a common enemy to force it together. It does not have a shared language, or culture, or identity. Its dream, while noble, does not speak to ordinary people. And it is pretty damned incompetent at what duties it has assigned itself.

The prospect of a United States of Europe was extremely remote even before today. It's dead, now.


I don't agree with that, the EU has a very strong cultural union that was created by the enunciation of the French Revolution principles. It's not by accident that, for example, there is no state in EU with death penalty. This makes states within the EU very similar at certain levels, otherwise a claim could be made that the cultural delta is the same between two different EU states and between an EU state and US, but this is not true, if you check a bit the fundamental values you'll see that EU nations have a lot in common.


Careful with the French Revolution. I'm sure you know but I was an adult before I understood how insanely brutal that thing was, not only towards former monarchy and nobility but also, or possibly even especially, towards common people.


The revolution set the stage for the modern world though, a world separated in sovereign states (instead of kingdoms) the three branches government etc. etc. For countries that are hanging on the edges of europe, which weren't strongly ethnically homogeneous, like my country, Greece, that style of government was vital for the definition of the nation.

That said, let's not derail the conversation with irrelevant historical anecdotes that are out of time anyway.


The revolution set the stage for the modern world though, a world separated in sovereign states (instead of kingdoms) the three branches government etc

I'm fairly certain that the US was already independent and had adopted the current Constitution by the time the French Revolution happened.


Well, sorry to say this (it might offend Americans), but nobody important at the time really cared. Except for Britain, as the directly involved party. The US at the time was a minor player and its independence and democratic process didn't really affect a lot of people. Abraham Lincoln, ~80 years after the American Revolution was replying to San Marino's government along the lines: you are the only fellow state in the world (San Marino being the oldest republic in the world) in this period of turmoil (i.e. Civil War).

The French Revolution was the event that kick-started the spread of democratic ideas and regimes throughout the Old World. It brought about the downfall of the medieval regimes, the abolition of serfdom and slavery, etc.

The American Revolution was more of a symbolic event at the time. On the other hand the fall of the French monarchy was a colossal event at the time: the new French Republic was continuously attacked by all its neighbors to prevent the dangerous ideas from spreading.


The main difference is that the French Revolution overthrown the old Order.

If you read Tocqueville, he actually clearly comment on the difference, and even impressed with American institution or people, he says that it only works because it was basically a blank slate, and does not believe it could work in Europe.

The American independence did not endanger that much the British Monarchy or British Empire (who happily went on to be the first world power in the XIXth century)


Well, Poland was inspired to adopt a democratic constitution in 1791 and the speed with which its neighbors invaded probably shows that they cared about the spread of democracy too in a more negative way. But yes, that wasn't as significant as the French Revolution.


Ironic that the Poles set themselves back by electing their new right-hardline leader, who immediately moved in to take control over the national television, don't you think?

The elected official in question actually saw no problem with that. To make matters even "better", he is stuck to communist regime / fascist methodology of tightly controlling television and radio... in the age when everybody is on the Internet... awesome!

I know of another guy, over in Turkey, who works the same way... Ataturk would be turning over in his grave if he saw what that other guy is doing in the country he founded.

Anyway, when is Poland holding the referendum on leaving the european union?


Sorry, but you are very misinformed about current events in Poland, as well as the broader geopolitical context. The current party has for the most part used methods that have been employed by every government in Poland since 1989. Purging the national media is standard practice (please see what the previous party did, or the numerous shocking scandals it was involved in). Worth noting is that Polish media are owned (~80%) by German media conglomerates Bauer and Axel Springer which means that the mainstream media are largely pro-German. That is a far more worrying state of affairs than the recent tradition of purges and political jiggery-pokery. I won't get into all of the details, but Poland faces numerous challenges that the Western media never discuss, leaving Westerners horribly misinformed about what's actually happening or why it's happening. What Chomsky calls neoimperialism is very much a factor.


> Ataturk would be turning over in his grave if he saw what that other guy is doing in the country he founded.

Well Atatürk was not exactly a saint, for example I've just learnt the history of İzmir, which had a large Greek population who had been living there for generation and was relocated to Greece after the Greco-Turkish war.

Some of the events around the revolution and the subsequent foundation of the Turkish Republic would now be considered ethnic cleansing now. And the man is still worshipped in Turkey (at least in parts of the country that don't have an AKP majority). In İzmir there is even a Mount-Rushmore-like statue with his face.

This is not to say that Erdoǧan is better, far from it. But Turkey is a complicated country with a complicated history and talking about Kemalists vs Islamists as if they were good guys vs bad guys is a bit simplistic.


I think you're talking about the Second Polish Republic in 1918. They didn't have televisions in 1791.


Nor they did in 1918 for that matter.


Simón Bolívar (born 1783) was an extremely important historical figure. Much of Latin America threw off their European oppressors in part through inspiration Bolívar took from what the Americans accomplished in getting rid of the British.

Clearly the American Revolution was far more than symbolic: it directly, entirely reshaped both North and South America.


And isn't it ironic that this name was used to re-enforce Hugo Chavez's "Bolivar Revolution" aka dictatorship. Now Venezuela is in shambles and the poor people can barely afford food when the government controls more proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia.


> And isn't it ironic that this name was used to re-enforce Hugo Chavez's "Bolivar Revolution" aka dictatorship.

Actually, Hugo Chavez was very popular and won all his elections by a wide margin. You could say a lot of things about him but he was not a dictator.


Except for the time he lost, and within two days a military coup of the democratically elected body put him back in power (amongst other thing):

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-15240081

Forget the excessive gerrymandering or his successful change to the Venezuelan constitution which allowed for him to be reelected indefinitely. He was indeed a lot of things, but his legacy will be mismanaging a country with enough natural resources to be one of the richest countries in the world. He was an authoritarian dictator. Faux democracy with fake votes and a press which is govt controlled and a leader that wants to run forever is a dictatorship no matter how you skin it.


Many of your critiques apply to many countries considered democracies. Excessive gerrymandering is an issue in many democracies including the US. Not to mention that in the US minorities are specifically targeted for exclusion. A lot of countries don't have term limits for heads of state (for most of its history the US didn't). Press freedoms aren't what defines what a dictatorship is either. Would Saudi Arabia be a democracy if suddenly all censorship laws are purged from the books?

> Except for the time he lost, and within two days a military coup of the democratically elected body put him back in power

LOL. The coup was done against him after being democratically elected in 2000 but it failed disastrously, making him some kind of a folk hero in most of Latin America. If you don't know this basic fact you really have no business talking about Venezuela, let along calling Chavez a dictator just because you didn't like the guy. Venezuela had many chances of getting rid of him democratically and they decided not to, we all can disagree about how wise a decision it was but that is different matter.


The US independance was completely inspired by the "Lumières" (the philosophical movement of the Enlighteners), which originated in France and led to the French revolution as well as the emergence of true democracy accross Europe. So even if the US was already independant by the time the French Revolution happened, this is only because it was way more complicated to achieve the latter. But let's not be mistaken about its origins.


There was a lot of inspiration the other way too, though.

Here are two little instances I came across recently where the french copied their rhetoric and symbolism from America:

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants". Then in 1793 Bertrand Barère, in an influential speech to the national assembly advocating execution of the king, repeated "The tree of liberty grows only when watered by the blood of tyrants" . In French sources the quote is often (incorrectly) attributed to Barère only.

Similarly, during the American revolution, Americans raised symbolic "liberty poles" in their towns. Directly inspired by this, during the french revolution most cities raised and decorated "Trees of Liberty" in their central squares. King Louis even stooped to visiting and honoring the one in Paris to appease revolutionaries (it didn't help).

(The French took the idea of "watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants" quite literally).


> But let's not be mistaken about its origins.

Let's not make nonsensical statements like US independence was completely inspired by the Lumières then.

Most notably, US independence was also inspired by the Glorious Revolution in England (the American Bill of Rights is even based on the English Bill of Rights), about a century earlier.


The glorious revolution was the direct consequence of the Lumières - in fact it was part of the movement!


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumières

"The Lumières (literally in English: Enlighteners) was a cultural, philosophical, literary and intellectual movement of the second half of the 18th century"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glorious_Revolution

"The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688"

Your proposed timelines are a little off, old bean. ;-)



You would be correct to believe that.


The US is not the world though.


Yes, but the original claim was that the French Revolution codified the idea of the separation of powers, which is clearly false. The evidence of that is that America already existed with this structure and was obviously known to the west.


Democracy was also known in Greece a couple thousands of years prior. As others have stated, the ideas were the ideas of the enlightenment and while America was a wonderful project, it wasn't the real example to show that these ideas could work -- the French Revolution did that.


Except it didn't work. After overthrowing the monarchy, France went through a number of highly unstable governments until Napoleon ascended to the throne in 1805. That period was called the Reign of Terror for a reason. If you were suspected of being a counter-revolutionary, you could be executed without trial.

After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, the French monarchy was restored. When the Second Republic was established after the revolution of 1848, Napoleon III quickly abused his uncle's popularity to establish another dictatorship within five years. This lasted until 1870.


The ideas worked only about 10 years though, until Napoleon.


Not at all. Napoleon was definitely seen as a force in that direction and that was a large part of his appeal to the masses.


Some interesting fact-bending here.


He's right. In a dichotomy of revolutionaries vs. monarchists, Napoleon is definitely seen as the former. It's not really as simple as democracy vs. lack thereof. Many of the most radical revolutionaries were extremely undemocratic. At times during the Revolutinary period even suggesting democratic measures (like implementing the Constitution) could get you killed.


Thank you. US people just don't get it.


The Franco-American Revolution created via violence or a new model of governance who's moral authority wasn't challenged until the Russ-Sino Revolution nearly 100 years later which was also violent.

Why does HN pretend political revolutions are peaceful?


> Why does HN pretend political revolutions are peaceful?

So HN is a single-minded entity? Just because a couple of people say something you don't like, you paint all of HN, with its 1000s of members, with that?


The UK does not have that shared French Revolution tradition at all, and neither do a large number of European countries that are still monarchies. Instead of a violent French Revolution, the UK had a nonviolent change of power from royalty to the people. Instead of a civil war over slavery, the UK had a peaceful transition where the state bought the slaves from the slave owners. This referendum fits in a great tradition of nonviolent change.


Just to expand on this, because it isn't often mentioned in contrast to how awful colonial England was:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_Abolition_Act_1833

The UK abolished slavery, and even fought commonwealth territories that resisted. Maybe if parts of the US had still been in the commonwealth, slavery would have ended sooner there too.


It's even less mentioned that the French abolished slavery about 40 years before that.


Let's be honest, it is actually the brutality of the French revolution which forced the British royalty to hand over power to the people. And before doing these "peaceful" transitions, all neighbouring countries tried to smother the French with war in order to preserve the priviledges of the remaining monarchies.


You kinda throwing the thousand years of gradual maturing of democracy in UK out of the window with that common. The "royalty" didn't suddenly give power to the people after seing horrors of French revolution; it happened over ages of internal conflicts and civil wars.


So you are implying that a add-hoc democracy like in the cold war country's or post-war Germany, is not a real democracy? Cause it had no time in the barrel, going to the irish-famine, the scottish conquering s, the Falkland wars, the opium-wars. Dear god, what uncivilized undemocratic huns we outsiders are. And nothing off value got lost.


No. Why would anyone think so?


Hrm, England had its own bloody Civil War, and if that wasn't enough there was also the Glorious Revolution. These were the 2 events that ultimately gave political power to the parliament.

If you look at the way Western Countries transitioned from one form of govt. to another its seems to have been very bloody. Glorious Revolution, French Revolution, American Revolution, German Revolutions, Russian Revolution etc.


Actually the Glorious Revolution had such relatively few deaths it is also known as the Bloodless Revolution.


> nonviolent change of power from royalty to the people

So regicide doesn't count as violence? Also, as mentioned down-thread, we had a pretty bloody civil war here, which replaced the monarchy with a 'Lord Protector' which ultimately amounted to the same thing by another name and so we decided the monarchy wasn't that bad, as long as parliament kept the worst excesses in check.


What on earth are you talking about? Not only did the UK have the 'French Revolution tradition', it's arguable that they got there first. I take it you're not that familiar with the English Civil War...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Civil_War


Not that England/Britain didn't have their own bloody, violent civil wars along the way to get there. The English were ahead of the curve by just over a hundred years, as far as executing their king and instituting a military dictatorship goes.


What culture do Germans, Greeks, Latvians, Bulgarians, Fins, and Spaniards share? It takes more than vastly differing attachments to a vague sense of liberalism and a desire to not blow the continent to high hell again.


Coca cola, modern sports, national health care, the Internet, videogames and on a more serious side a higher degree of respect for minorities that countries bordering the EU, no death penalty, gun control, a will to improve civil rights and liberties, ... should I go on?

Once you start meeting people from all those countries you realize even more how similar your cultures are. Some common sayings, some common tales, very similar political divisions, etc

There's a reason why Europe is many times referred as a whole. "They do it like this in Europe", "In Europe they prefer that" (and it's not always ignorance ;)).


> Coca cola, modern sports, national health care, the Internet, videogames and on a more serious side a higher degree of respect for minorities that countries bordering the EU, no death penalty, gun control, a will to improve civil rights and liberties, ... should I go on?

This is interesting to me. As an American, our national identity certainly looks similar; it's composed of favorite pastimes and products and shared political values.

But is that true in Europe? The cultures of European countries are much older, predating capitalism and the democratic governments they have today. Most of them are more or less homogenous, whereas the US has always been a nation of immigrants, and the whole "melting pot" idea has been around for most of our history, even if our behavior and policies sometimes clash with it.

Also, I'd argue some of the nation states in Europe are invented, like Italy and Germany, which each were basically just a bunch of city states that were more or less force ably amalgamated into one country. I don't know much about modern German or Italian nationalism, but I think that might have a negative impact on an overall European identity.

Granted, I'm speculating here. At the end of the day I'm an American who doesn't know what he's talking about. Though I do think it's telling that a good number of things you offered as components of a shared European identity were invented in America.

> There's a reason why Europe is many times referred as a whole. "They do it like this in Europe", "In Europe they prefer that" (and it's not always ignorance ;)).

Do actual Europeans say that? Sounds more like the typical American who just got back from a vacation in Europe.


As a non-american / non-european, I find this interesting.

For a lot of things, I see countries of the EU are _more_ unanimous on topics than the US is internally.

The death penalty is a prime example. It varies state to state in the US, but (AFAIK) is consistent across EU countries.

Gambling is another, I didn't realize it was actually illegal in some US states. I'm not aware of any individual countries in the EU that differ from the majority there.


> For a lot of things, I see countries of the EU are _more_ unanimous on topics than the US is internally. The death penalty is a prime example. It varies state to state in the US, but (AFAIK) is consistent across EU countries.

Ah. I wasn't trying to say we as a country have univeral political positions, but rather shared beliefs and values. Americans certainly don't agree on the death penalty, gun ownership, the limits of free speech, or hell, even gambling, but most everyone believes in things like one man one vote and equality (once again, even if we behave differently sometimes for the latter).


Gambling actually is a big point of contention in the EU, because countries try to control it/grab profits from it and regularly get in conflict with the free market rules. E.g. Germany is under pressure because most German states only allow state-run organizations to offer sport bets, "to limit gambling addiction". Which would be ok, but at the same time they heavily advertise for it, which made the argument hard to believe to EU courts. (State monopoly on gambling is just so very, very profitable...)


I disagree. I do not identify with New Yorkers (or north east coast), Florida, Texas, California, Oregon, the rust belt, or the southwest. You probably guessed by now I'm from the Midwest. I also don't identify with the blacks, Hispanics, Cubans, Irish or Italians. All of these have rich and interesting cultures. I respect them, but they are not mine. When I meet one of them, we often have difficulty finding commonality. My point is that you would be hard pressed to find one specific example of something that relates to all American backgrounds. I think this is a good thing.


Let's start from the basics: All nation states are invented. You've mentioned Italy and Germany. Let me add the UK (England conquered others), Spain (Castille and the Kingdom of Aragon merged, then Castille imposed their culture over the years), France (many different tribes and many different languages apart from French), Belgium (what is Belgium?), etc

Even some more homogeneous (apparently) countries are melting pots. Romania: Some regions speak only Hungarian (and they're not bordering Hungary) and some others speak also Ukrainian. Their borders have changed a lot in the last 150 years. Hungary itself is nothing like it used to be (and it was the same country / empire with Austria... go figure!). Let's also not start with disastrous examples like the former Yugoslavia...

The difference is that the US assumed and took advantage of the "melting pot" idea whereas nationalistic views in Europe have been making the world think we have some special character or culture (and each of us different than its neighbour). Two World Wars mostly based on nationalism haven't helped either.

In many European countries it is frowned upon to worship the national flag or at least it's considered potentially close to extreme right wing and racism. Why? Because as opposed to the US flag which represents a melting pot and freedom, European flags represent nationalistic ideas. Ask and Englishman about Saint George's cross or a Spaniard about their flag. In both cases they'll only wave the flag during sporting events like the current Eurocup. Outside that, the above applies.

> Though I do think it's telling that a good number of things you offered as components of a shared European identity were invented in America.

Globalisation. Also, America didn't just happen. America is a branch of older European cultures (British, Irish, Dutch, Spanish and French at least), so in a sense the American culture is child of European culture, hence why it's not difficult for us Europeans to make it our own too.

American ideas and ideals come from Europe and / or Christianity. Some of them even predate the idea of Europe, coming from the Romans or Greeks. This is a long heritage than you guys and us have shared for long time. Globalisation is just making the rest.

> Do actual Europeans say that? Sounds more like the typical American who just got back from a vacation in Europe.

Not unheard of, specially if we're talking to someone not European. A clear example is political views: In Europe we consider American elections a choice between right wing and righter wing ;) whereas some of our social democratic (or labour) parties might look communist to you guys.

Times change and this might not be true anymore in a few decades, but a majority of Europeans would always choose Democrats over Republicans (and Bernie over Hillary).


Except if you go to England they don't like to be referred to as Europeans even if they are technically.

These countries like their distinct identities. They like to visit other European countries but they really don't want a melting pot at home.


As a European I say that you are wrong. Of course there are quite a few right wing extremists in Europe, but in general we are very happy with people from other European countries coming to study or work in our own home countries. (Those who come to beg are seen as more problematic.)

In addition, we as everyone else are capable of identifying with many things, and what is important at the moment depends on the context. When I speak to an American or Chinese, I'm European, when I speak to an Englishman I'm a Swede and if I speak to another Swede I'm from Stockholm.


In Europe, I identify as Spaniard.

In Spain, I identify as Catalan.

In Catalonia, I identify as someone from Barcelona.

In most world affairs, I identify as European.

It is human nature to look for your own identity; and sharing that with your neighbours substracts from your own personality. On the other hand, against external competition you would look for group membership.

What I'm saying is, the Brits are not special or different on their aspirations than their neighbours. Their main difference is who owns the media and the aspirations of those media moguls.


The western civilization?

From philosophy, to mathematics, to physics, arts, and to democracy, we built everything based on each others past ideas.

Our foundations are really the same.


Don't forget morality. There are many atheists in Europe nowadays and not all countries are Catholic or even Christian, but I think we share a very similar set of moral values.


I agree, ethics are pretty much the same across Europe too.


>mathematics >physics

The foundations here are not all and only western though.


Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the foundations of mathematics and physics are European. Rather that mathematics, physics, etc... are themselves the foundations of the Western civilization.


But they are still common to all of Europe.


As a expat Spaniard living in Germany, I can tell you, we have much more in common as one would intuitively think.

I would go to the extend to say, I am culturally much closer to the Germans, than to other American nations, even if we share the language, Spanish.


But to the news at hand, many English people don't like to be referred to as Europeans. They don't think they have much in common with Spaniards as an example.

And no offense or disrespect, but Spain has a history with Latin American countries that they don't have with the Germans. That cannot be ignored.


Spain has a history with Latin American countries, that's true. It's something that all former colonial empires share. UK has also a history with the Commonwealth members.

Said this... do you seriously think that UK is closer culturally to India than to Germany?


I think you are putting words in my mouth. I was talking about Spain and Latin American history because the parent was saying they feel closer as a Spaniard to Germany than Latin American countries. I think it's plausible that history has something to do with that.


To me, it seems they are deliberately trying to differentiate themselves, when reality is they are very similar.


The UK sees itself as an important world player in its own right.

EU membership challenges that, because in the EU the UK is one country out of many - and not even the most important one.

Of all the countries in Europe the UK has been least able to deal with the loss of empire in the previous century, and hasn't yet worked out a way to look forward to the rest of the 21st century instead of back to the 19th.

This is unfortunate because there's a lot of talent of all kinds. But it's trapped in a political and financial wasteland which is built on a bizarre nostalgia for the glory days of the 19th century.

If the UK had been like this in the 18th century, the industrial revolution would never have happened here. We'd have been pining for the old pre-civil war monarchy instead of building a future.


There is a difference between wishing/thinking to be different and actually being different. The moral code, greater world view, etc. is very much alike. We celebrate our differences, as we should, but it seems that Britain forgot the common base we share. I fear it will hurt them more than they realize.


Spain was ruled by the Habsburgs for a long time, the same dynasty that infested central Europe. Spain also fought central European powers regularly, intermarried with them, so on and so forth. It's crazy to say that half a millenia of Spain and Central Europe being entwined politically is somehow less of a cultural bond than colonisation, where slaves were shipped out-of-sight, out-of-mind to produce wealth for the people 'back home'.


>Spain was ruled by the Habsburgs for a long time, the same dynasty that infested central Europe.

'infested' is a bit of a strong term.


I just mean that they were all over the place in positions of power. I didn't mean to make a value judgement on their quality, sorry.


> What culture do Germans, Greeks, Latvians, Bulgarians, Fins, and Spaniards share?

What culture does a hill billy from the Ozarks share with a Bostonian? (And no, it is not a function of social status only; it really are deep cultural differences.)


> What culture does a hill billy from the Ozarks share with a Bostonian?

TV.

From east to west to north to south everyone in the States has this common bond, television, and through this medium our "culture" is propagated.

Flip on the TV in Europe and not only will the language very likely vary from country to country, so to will the content, which is based on the cultural norms of that particular country (or language group from which the country evolved).

Also, given how new the country is, the "united" in United States is easily traced to the American Revolution and Civil War. In Europe there is no such common identity given the rich and varied history.


in europe most of the the time if you turn on the tv you _will_ find the same stuff.

Holliwood movies, Game of thrones, Kommissar Rex, the borgias, eurovision song contest, european football championships, local versions of "the billionaire" or "big brother" etc.

Did you grow up in southern europe in the '80s? Then you probaly watched the same dubbed animes like "Captain Tsubasa". In eastern europe? Same, but this time it was Krtek. Are you a kid now? Then you are likely watching Masha & The Bear across the whole continent.


>in europe most of the the time if you turn on the tv you _will_ find the same stuff. Holliwood movies, Game of thrones, Kommissar Rex, the borgias, eurovision song contest, european football championships, local versions of "the billionaire" or "big brother" etc.

That list sounds more of a reason to being done with Europe rather than an argument for its shared culture.


well, you can be done with the EU, but you can't really move a country outside of the european area.

You can avoid TV though, it's really quite simple to do.


>You can avoid TV though, it's really quite simple to do.

Not really. At best you can avoid watching TV yourself -- but you can't easily avoid living in a city/country influenced by tv culture.


by that logic, there should be just one "housewives of.." why do they need to hyper-localize it?


Because they can sell more ads if they have more shows.

People do not only watch the "housewives of..." that's from their own part of the country.


Historically they would likely share a belief in American exceptionalism. Although that widespread cultural belief may be coming to an end.


Bostonians generally don't believe in exceptionalism. Ozarkians tend to, but I know liberal citizen-of-the-world people from, and actually residing in, the Ozarks.

Anyway, exceptionalism isn't really a common bond.


Bostonians generally don't believe in exceptionalism?


1776.


> What culture do Germans, Greeks, Latvians, Bulgarians, Fins, and Spaniards share?

Eurovision?


We've been warring with each other for 2000 years. Also, the same space was very integrated culturally.


And what are those big differences, other than the language?


I'd propose sport, namely football. Take a look at how the Euro16 tournament is going, and how the fans are interacting together in France.


Whatever is happening between football factions in Euro16 is nothing specific to international European matches; violence is very frequent even for national ones.


Latin


Finnish is one of the few European languages with no connection to Latin


One of two, I believe. The other being Hungarian.


Actually Finno-urgic languages include Finnish and Hungarian; but also include others like Estonian, and many others besides in Russia, northern Norway, Sweden, etc.


Celtic languages, Estonian is another Fenno-Ugric one, Sami, there are lots.


Celtic languages (Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton) are all distantly related to Latin, and probably closer to Latin than other branches of Indo-European.

Basque is a language isolate spoken in parts of Spain and France. There's also Turkish - part of Turkey is in Europe, but not in the EU.


Though Basque is an isolate, it has a lot of Latin-origin loan words, due to centuries of contact.


What is the explanation for part of Turkey being in Europe and part in Asia? AFAIK, that is not common, right, for a country to be part of two continents?


I live in Ireland and I can tell you Irish has very little to do with Latin. Those who say Hungarian is hard have never been here.


An bhfuil Gaeilge agaibh? I was correcting someone who didn't think that the Celtic languages and Latin were in any way related. That is not true: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italo-Celtic explains this, even if the similarities are no longer obvious. Hungarian is unrelated to Latin.


No, I'm Brazilian/Hungarian. I've been here for months and still can't even figure out the structure of sentences, much less their meaning (unless it's obvious from external clues). I've always thought of myself as having a knack for languages, but Ireland humbled me. I can write Klingon, but I wouldn't be able to read safety warnings on the train were they not also written in English below.

Which makes me want to put up some bilingual fake warnings with jokes written in Irish and innocent information written in English as if it were a translation from the text above.

It'll be fun to learn Irish from my daughter as she starts school in the next months.


What does the "ugric" part stand for?


Wiktionary says:

> Etymology

> From Russian у́гры ‎(úgry), the name of an indigenous people dwelling east of the Urals, +‎ -ic.

From the indiginous peoples in Russia whose languages are thought to belong to the language family.


Sorry, it's one of many languages with no connection to Latin.

Latin languages are French, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Romanian. That's it. All the others are not.


Are you honestly suggesting that the English language has "no connection" to Latin?

... even the English word "language" is itself derived from Latin!


That does not mean that English is a Latin descendant.

English sits on Germanic/West Germanic/Anglo-Frisian branch of the language tree. The Germanic branched together with Romance, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic, Helenic from the Indo-European/European branch, but Latin belongs to Romance, not Germanic.


Perhaps that is because the language tree does not effectively express multiple inheritance.

Multiple invasions of Britain by different ethnic groups have patched together so many language roots into English that the conjugation of the core existence verb "to be" is just an aggregation of the same verb from seven or eight different languages, pasted together in one etymological mishmash.

At some point, English started stealing vocabulary from any language used in international trade, and simply invented any new words that needed saying, using whatever etymological root that was convenient or marketable.

At some point, the Normans and Picards hammered enough French words into Middle English that there should be at least a second root extending into the Romance branch from English.

How else would you get "milk" from a "cow" (Germanic), but get "beef" from "cattle" (Norman), and refer to them all as "bovine" (Latin)?


Those trees are not a terribly good metaphor, though. English is more "descended" from its Germanic roots, but it also has enough in common with Romantic languages that I think it is reasonable to say that it descended from both.


But "no connection to" isn't synonymous with "not a descendant of"...


some significant portion of English is descended from Latin as well


Some significant portion of English is descended from French (which is descendant from Latin).

Edit: But taking some vocabulary from language does not mean being descendant. Half of the world uses the term "e-mail", but they still are not English.


What about Greek, the family of the Slavic languages like Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Kroatian, the family of Finno-Ugric languages Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian, the isolated language Basque and finally the big share of the Germanic languages: English, German, Dutch, Swedish and Danish?

If we want to define language as a common value for the European Countries, then it might be some Indo-European proto-language (even then it's not clear where Basque comes from).

I agree that Latin had a huge influence in most of the European languages, but this mostly through the Roman Empire and later through the Catholic Church.


Greek =/= Latin!


!==


/= (well, js is popular on HN, but Haskell nerds have been making rounds...)


Christianity


That's something they share with South Korea, Ethiopia or Russia. I would not call them as a culturally coherent group - thus I would not hold having a major christian population in a country very uniting. Especially since parts of those are protestant and partly catholic - and that creates hugely divisive cultural views on e.g. womens rights even today. So one could claim 'christianity' a thing which culturally divides them as well.


Just travel a few times outside the continent and you'll have your answer.


What culture do bavarians and frisians share?


beer


1000 years of religious oppression.


The answer is Nokia.


> I don't agree with that, the EU has a very strong cultural union that was created by the enunciation of the French Revolution principles. It's not by accident that, for example, there is no state in EU with death penalty.

The conjunction of those two sentences is a bit hilarious, considering the wanton abuse of the death penalty during the Reign of Terror.

And I think that the lack of capital punishment is an indicator of one of the EU's problems: it's stunningly undemocratic. Polls (until recently?) have shown for decades strong popular support for capital punishment, and yet countries have been forced by the EU to ban it.


> forced by the EU to ban it

The death penalty is prohibited by protocol 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights [1]. Ratifying the convention is a requirement for joining the EU, but it isn't the EU that is doing the banning. The ECHR is an instrument of the Council of Europe, which is not connected to (and pre-dates) the European Union.

[1] http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/hrpolicy/Others_is...


I am unaware of anyone in any of the EU countries who support the death penalty nor capital punishment. It is overwhelmingly frowned upon. Now I admit I haven't asked everyone in every EU country. And I'm sure there are those in Central/Eastern Europe who still support it (I know life was especially brutal under the communist regimes).

Polls (until recently?) Which polls? I'm honestly curious.


Well, I'm in an EU country, and I support the death penalty for the most severe crimes; as execution method I only propose that the condemned shall be kept in prison until he or she dies. A lethal injection or bullet in the neck is too easy.

(However, this is forbidden by EU.)


While you're mostly right (and associating the abolishment of death penalty with French Revolution made me chuckle too), it's not actually true that the EU banned death penalty outright. EU institutions surely oppose death penalty, and there would be political/diplomatic repercussions if a member state tried to restore it, but this is not imposed upon any state in legal sense.


There are of course lots of principles that European citizens all share. But there are also some principles that they don't. France, for example, is significantly more socialist than the UK.

Unfortunately the EU sees differences as a disease which must be wiped out with always the same prescription: more EU. Literally so. They talk of voting as a "contagion".


I'd like to see some evidence for your statement. Subsidiarity is a general principle taken into account for all EU decisions. It's the opposite of "seeing difference as a disease" IMO.


Just look at how they talk. Voting is a contagion that might "spread" to other countries, as if it was the bubonic plague. The EU has constantly increased its power. The goal of the people who actually run it is federalism. They hate the idea of countries picking and choosing integration from a menu, they are literally dead-set against the idea.

And why would you insist on a deal being all or nothing, bad with the good? Because you know that's the only way to get the bad ideas through. Same reason Congress attaches riders to bills they know will be strongly supported, when those same riders got rejected earlier.


As an immigrant living in London the "bad" ideas are in the eye of the beholder surely? Can you enumerate a few ideas that are bad?

Also, to me an institution keeping the peace also trying to contain the "contagion" of instability makes perfect sense. It's what I want and I contacted all my representatives to that end.


Of course they are in the eye of the beholder.

A few that I personally think are bad:

- Recent VAT reforms

- Cookie law

- Treating low taxes as "state aid" (EU Commission will be setting tax rates across the EU soon, just wait)

- Having a Parliament that can't make its own laws

But if you asked others you might get an answer like "the euro".

The EU has no relevance to peace or war. The USA is a much more strongly federalised union than the EU and had a brutal civil war. Most wars today are civil wars. There is absolutely nothing that'd stop the EU having a civil war even if it was incredibly federalised and had become practically a single country, like the USA. What has kept the peace in Europe was avoiding a repeat of the Treaty of Versaille, nuclear weapons, NATO, and the fact that European countries are now all mature democracies (the latter is imo the most important).


The US was not nearly as federalized when the Civil War broke out as it is today.


Exactly that's what sickens me the most. Not many politicians actually champion democracy and the populace's ability to decide for themselves what they want. They only want more power for themselves.


Does it really "sicken" you?

This is the first objective of the Maastricht treaty:

"strengthen the democratic legitimacy of the institutions;"

That sounds like championing democracy to me?


I like the ideal. But in reality, it seems to be just empty words.


No, it's not empty words. It is just that you haven't been paying attention.


> Unfortunately the EU sees differences as a disease which must be wiped out with always the same prescription: more EU.

I don't see how the EU has pushed or facilitated any kind of political homogeneization. Apart from the short rise of the liberal democrat party, it seems UK politics have been the same for centuries.


And that in itself is not a big difference. Neither france or UK in general are advocates of totaliatarian communism.


"Totalitarian communism" sounds like the very definition of EU.


that very is disrespectful to people who lived through it...


No it isn't. I was born in totalitarian communist country and living in EU gives me a deja vu.


OK i hope one day you will be able to escape from the regime.


The ultimate totalitarian regime is one that convinces its citizens that they are living in a democracy.


You mean like the US?


The great irony is the EU motto is literally “United in diversity” (In Varietate Concordia). Apparently what they really meant was “United > diversity.”


I would think two World Wars fought over the continent would be more incentive to make it work. Considering how long ago the French Revolution took place it does seem no one there learned much until so many were killed it appalled all involved.

One major advantage the US has is a single main language. That is something that will in time possibly occur within the EU but language is a barrier that cannot be over estimated


Language, national identity. The US and EU are not the same


I could be wrong but even the French are still a monarchy. In fact the only case of a dissolved monarchy I've read of lately is the Spanish monarchy.


When Napoleon took the reins of government, he decided to call himself an emperor rather than a king. Emperor is a temporal title, it's not intended to be passed down to heirs the same way a throne is. French emperors rule at the will of the people, and it's up to them to decide whether they want a monarch or not.

Napoleon III, the last French monarch, was captured during the Franco-Prussian war, and after his death, the French decided they'd had enough of monarchs and the third French republic lasted until WWII. It was replaced by the Germans with Vichy, and then after the war, the fourth and fifth republics.

It's highly unlikely that the French will ever accept another monarch. There are Bonapartist and a Orléanist (Bourbon) pretenders to the throne, but none hold any public office. If the government falls apart again like it did in 1958, it should be replaced with another republic as it was then. Nobody can really rule out a third French empire, but the trend of democracy worldwide has been towards devolution of power rather than centralization, France is more likely to break apart than it is to re-imperialize.


Ahem. France is a republic, and Spain is a constitutional monarchy.


> EU has a very strong cultural union that was created by the enunciation of the French Revolution principles. It's not by accident that, for example, there is no state in EU with death penalty.

This is a somewhat funny thing to say, considering how many people were given the death penalty in the French revolution and its aftermath. Executions for "crimes against liberty" and whatever are estimated to have been between 16,000 and 40,000. [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillotine


Wait, hold on. Are saying that the EU doesn't like the death penalty because of French Revolution principles?! This is the same French Revolution that famously involved the guillotine, no?


No, we all agree that, both historically and presently, our political leaders are incompetent and not to be trusted with such a sharp blade. They get children's scissors and should be happy about it.


Adjacent EU nations do have a lot in common, but the differences add up across the continent.


It's all relative. I live in Eastern Europe part of EU and I can tell that either it's London, or Stockholm or Vilnius, they all look and feel very alike. Biggest difference is amount of non-white people in western cities.


French Revolution or Emperor Napoleon & the Napoleonic Code? Italy was hugely influenced by the latter, as I am sure you know.


It's not enough to have things in common. The point the previous post make is that it requires a common enemy to forge unification as strong as the US and even here there are talks about some states wanting to go independent from time to time.

Without this external factor it's hard to find something to really feel the same about.


Is that why the US seems so hell-bent at creating new enemies for themselves?

Would one of the states exiting the US be thinkable, were it not for the unity in waging wars against external (and some internal) enemies?


http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-usa-secession-i...

And yes. Leo Strauss was of that opinion and you will find a whole suite of argument that talk about how the middle east became the new enemy out of need rather than actual threat.

This was part of the PNAC (Project for New American Century) which identified the need for a new enemy after the fall of the wall.

Now whether they were actually successful is another discussion but it was part of the Bush administrations fundamental belief as several of it's key members where students under Strauss.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss


Yes. I believe Texas Republicans call for independence with some frequency.


Let them go and watch the hellfire of their economic explosion i say.


I'm skeptical that Europe will ever be as united by culture as the US is as long as Europe is divided into different language communities.

(Although there are millions of Americans who do not speak English, only the tiniest fraction of those have any influence on American culture.)


Actually, the US did kind of magic itself into existence due to a domestic labor and civil rights dispute. The states were primarily independent after the declaration of independence. It was not until Shay's Rebellion 10 years later that spooked the aristocrats into drawing our current constitution.

And to bypass your essentialized romantic patriotic history for a moment while utilizing your "common enemy" rhetoric, the EU has many common enemies and innumerable common and unique struggles. Consider immigration, the struggle for democracy, ecological responsibility, social justice, annexation by Russia. All issues individually more compelling than the rich coalescing their power to maintain control of the poor in a relatively isolated country with the population of Houston. The EU has so many good reasons to exist.


Yeah the original post above is pretty starry-eyed and ignorant of American history. Forget the Shay Rebellion, we also had a civil war to sort out the "shared vision" thing. Lots wrong with such a silly analysis, so dunno why it spawned so much discussion.


The point stands though. US of E would be a beautiful thing.

> Its dream, while noble, does not speak to ordinary people.

Maybe not ordinary old guya. Many young people have a cosmopolitan attitude. They see themselves as Europeans first, and they like the freedom to live and work anywhere, not just within some postage stamp sized area like Slovenia.

I disagree that the dream is "dead"---in fact, Brexit might make it easier to integrate, since the biggest integration opponent is now gone


The question is - what is the dream exactly?

I am as cosmopolitan as they get, but I also abhor central planning and elitism. And, unfortunately, this is what EU has become.


Can you give some examples of such central planning, and your objections to it? FAFAIK the only "planning" the EU does is to regulate exploitation of the commons (like fisheries). Other than that, the EU mostly concerns itself with setting minimally accepted baselines for all member states to follow (i.e. harmonizing existing policies).


Plans to force all member countries to have higher taxes, for instance. Or regulated VAT rates.


Makes doing business and order of magnitude easier.


How? Honestly curious.


From what I've been able to find, the EU established a common format for VAT invoices, so it's now easier to scan and file your tax receipts, especially when dealing with businesses in many different countries. Also, VAT declaration forms now have a similar layout in all member countries.

Also, it appears that for international consumer sales, the seller may now apply its own country's VAT instead of needing to know the VAT regulations of the buyer's country.


What plans? (honest question).


There is always a new biggest integration opponent. I don't know who it would be right now, but I could easily imagine France if Marine Le Pen becomes their next president.


Evaporative cooling.

As long as the new biggest integration opponent is less opposing to integration than UK was, it will still be beneficial to integration efforts.


I propose NL under Geert Wilders. It will be a total disaster but it could actually happen.


Germany has benefited from being able to be a swing voter in the council votes due to QMV. With the UK gone it will now have to nail its colours to the mast if it wishes to resist significantly more redistributive and socialist policies supported by the southern countries, instead of acting as a decider knowing what the UK will do. This could change the politics in Germany in unpredictable ways.


Money transfers are necessary for eurozone to stop blowing up in people's faces, sadly


A United States of Europe would not a beautiful thing.

And I voted remain


The U.S. Congress is also pretty damned incompetent at its duties. In many ways the EU institutions are functioning better than their American counterparts. Sometimes it's better to have 20 different opinions to reconcile, rather than two polarised factions that can't concede on anything.


Yes, but too many of the EU leaders and elites want to create a United States of Europe, with the Commission/Parliament hybrid as an even more dysfunctional equivalent of Congress (imagine how productive Congress would be if everyone had to speak through an interpreter).

It's actually worse than that though. The EU Parliament doesn't really deserve the name. It can't actually initiate legisliation, so it's meaningless for EUP parties to have any actual policies, so they don't, so there's no formal opposition either, so nobody cares about them and ... therefore ... (phew) turnout in European elections is extremely low. Most people can't even name their MEP, and why should they be able to? That MEP has no power to speak of.


Federalists (like me) who want to create United States of Europe usually want to get rid of the current institutions, and replace them with proper executive and legislative entities, elected by European citizens.

But the focus on Commission/Parliament is misguided: they are a just a smoke screen, as neither has much power. In the EU power is held by the European Council and The Council of the European Union [1]. These two institutions are composed, respectively, of the head of states (Merkel, Hollande, Renzi, Cameron, etc.) and the various ministers of each branch of government (economy, education, agriculture, etc.). The former controls the commission, and the latter holds most of the legislative power.

[1] Not sure I got the English name rights, as they are pretty confusing.


The elites are one thing, and actual European people are another. Of course the elites have a disproportionate amount of control but that's true of any institution but it doesn't invalidate the institution. European people by and large enjoy a better quality of life because of free trade, movement and most importantly peace. That there's one set of scoundrels at the top vs another isn't as important as is made out. At the end of the day all that will happen in the UK now is a new set of elites take control (the old rule Britannia brigade that were previously on the wane) and there won't be the buffer of a larger enveloping organisation to help smooth over the bumps. Britain has been declining recently because that's what happens to spent colonial powers, not because they were in the EU.


Of course people benefit. And if the EU had never existed, many of those same benefits would have been created via a patchwork of treaties and deals anyway.

The EU is not a choice between integration and chaos, despite what Brussels wants people to believe. European economies were integrating before the EU anyway.


Many benefits for sure, especially if you live in one of the richer countries. But what the EU gives you are certain rights, which are guaranteed to any EU citizen. Movement is no longer governed by treaties, but a right. As a business, you have the right to sell across Europe, without local regulations being able to ban you unilaterally.


Good luck selling software across the EU if you live there. Check out the new VAT rules the EU imposed. It's less paperwork to sell to everywhere but the EU, which is madness.


That's a different thing, you sure have the right to sell your software. Unification of VAT policies would be a hard sell for the member countries.


How is this different from having to account for different state and local taxes when selling software inside the US?


Your payment processor tacks on sales tax. Just list where you have nexus. You get a number at the end of the quarter that you pay when you file taxes.

With VAT, you have to keep careful track of input VAT and sometimes later claim repayment from various governments.

There is a lot of obligatory registration and document submission.

The velocity of legislative change is high, especially when summed across member states.

Small entities have an incentive to underreport. Thus, a lot of enforcement activity is targeted at small entities.


I think a lot of EU members would rather take the Swiss[1] deal.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland%E2%80%93European_U...


Instead, you get European regulations that ban you locally.


> European economies were integrating before the EU anyway.

No no no, the EU is an artefact of that integration. Just because it's grown a head and legs, and started to talk isn't an excuse to kill it though. Better off talking back. But when the quality of representative you send over is Nigel Farage you can't expect much of a conversation.

Definitely a frank discussion to be had about the behaviour of the EU (in particular the EC) and maybe such a discussion will be the good that arises from this ill wind.


People vote for Farage because the only difference between MEPs is how much of a symbolic protest against the Commission they will make. There's no other difference: it's not like an MEP can introduce a bill to change freedom of movement or reduce the EU's budget.

So the UK sends Farage. He achieves nothing. Nobody cares, because nobody expected him to achieve anything anyway. No MEP could.


Yes you are right. Political parties need to present a Euro agenda that their representatives will commit to advancing. Currently we only have the false dichotomy of (a) do what Brussels tells us or (b) tell Brussels to GFT which really isn't good enough. Sending the prime minister over there every 6 months or so to "get concessions" that the representatives should have been coherently campaigning for in the first place doesn't count.


In that case the EU isn't a choice at all.


Peace in Europe? You gotta be kidding. NATO bombed down Yugoslavia less than 20 years ago.


Well, Russian militia bombs Ukraine today, and that is Europe too.

But it's not EU, nor is Yugoslavia.


What is Ukraine? UK Reign?


> The U.S. Congress is also pretty damned incompetent at its duties.

People seem to forget that the American government has been made "incompetent" by design. The Founding Fathers never wanted a strong government.


As a german, there is a reason Hitler create a centralized government tuned for efficiency; and there is a reason Germany was rebuilt as an inefficient bureaucracy. Because in the latter you only get to move fast on something if every single involved person has a natural understanding that this is the right thing to do, has to be done, and why did it take so long?

Inefficient government makes it harder to move against your own population without open military action.


Was the US an european colony? With people speaking French, English, Spanish and Portuguese? I guess it was a mix and match of many human being that decided to be free : no more, no less. Freedom was the driver, not the enemy.

Also maybe you should consider the actual state of US : What's the percentage of english/spanish people speaking? What about Catholics/Jews/Muslim? Should we expect an USbreak ?

Saying that, I do not believe that we need a common enemy to be united. There is better values and challenges for all of us : environment, peace, love. Europe will stand strong, refine its vision to the current context. After a few years, UK we be back and we will all make love peacefully in a better environment.

Long live to Europe.


Actually German came very close to being an official language of the USA at one point.



Huh, I'd argue that the united states as we know it today is wholly a product of the civil war. Before that Virginians felt loyal to Virginia, New Yorkers felt loyal to New Yorkers, and frankly the United States right before the civil war was not all that different from the EU today. They spoke Spanish in California, the western territories, and Florida; French along the Mississippi river, etc.

I think this view of the US having a shared cultural identity at any point before the 20th century is very far-fetched.


Agreed we tend to reason from the perspective that we are in and see all things thru that lens, but antebellum America was a very different place from where we are at today. At the onset of the war and even before with the nullification crisis even antebellum America was very different than early post revolution America.

Federalization, centralization and bureaucracy are the natural order of empires and America has been on a slow roll towards them since at least the early 1800's and the barons. Honestly probably since it's inception, Hamilton was a devout federalist and Modern America would be a realization of his dream. I think Jefferson and Franklin would be horrified to say the least.

With all that said, it always seemed to me that the EU wanted to be America 2.0 and modeled the empire and not the early confederation that got us here. America used to look like a coalition of distinct states where basic rights (albeit for only some at times), where guaranteed so that a citizen has a host of options to find a representative government. More and more the states look like cookie cutter copies of each other and more and more legislation gets pushed to the federal level because there is little distinction between them. This makes for an efficient business environment but it comes at the cost of a representative government for the people. From the outside it seemed to me that the EU tried to fast track this homogenization in the interest of being a competitive business environment.

In my view the EU took it one step further and fully embraced unrepresentative bureaucracies and set up, for the better part, a technocracy. The people of Britain felt that they had no reach into these un-elected representatives and therefore made the choice to exit as it was the only ripcord they had.


"They spoke Spanish in California, the western territories, and Florida; French along the Mississippi river, etc."

This is a completely inaccurate and hamfisted statement. By the time of the Civil War, California was already predominantly Anglo. The only Spanish speaking parts at that point were the southern part of the state, which was sparsely populated compared to the Bay Area.

Florida was already filled with Anglo settlers as well. Spain had a number of horrifically protectionist policies that doomed their outlying North American colonies to poverty and depopulation, making them extremely vulnerable to infiltration by settlers from the US, who ironically, were illegal immigrants.


I should've been less broad, I wasn't saying that the entire state has Spanish speakers, just that a very large community was there. There was a significant Spanish speaking population in California though, they are called californios and I believe they were a significant minority (probably 1/3 of the population) at least in 1850.

Also you're right,I was completely wrong about Florida.


>> The EU does not have a common enemy to force it together. It does not have a shared language, or culture, or identity. Its dream, while noble, does not speak to ordinary people. And it is pretty damned incompetent at what duties it has assigned itself.

I believe mentalities are changing slowly. My generation (generation "Erasmus") is the first that identifies itself more as an European citizen than a national citizen [1] but our parent's generation doesn't feel the same yet.

By the other hand I think the main reason for Brexit is economics and not identity: UK thinks that they are not having a positive ROI by staying in the EU. Puting it roughly: Germany "exchanges" money for leadership. Peripheral countries "exchange" leadership for money. And UK? The "exchange rate" doesn't seem favourable..

[1] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/young-voters-wanted-bre...


> The prospect of a United States of Europe was extremely remote even before today. It's dead, now.

Not necessarily. There's no reason why the UK would have to be a vital part of that union. Quite the contrary, in fact: the UK has always been the biggest opponent of such a closer union. Without the UK, it's possible that the EU might actually be able to move ahead in that direction again.


The EU, to me, is basically the Fourth Reich. Germany failed to rule the continent militarily, so they did it instead economically. The Euro is backed mostly by the strength of the Deutschmark, the ECB is in Frankfurt. They are dominant on the continent politically and economically.

If the other 20-something nations are ok with being basically ruled by Germany, that's fine. But no way in hell would Britain want to play second fiddle to Germany. Ever. They have always seen themselves as slightly more separate, more different, more "special" to the rest of the "the Continent".

But there's no way the UK was not a vital part of the union. 5th largest economy, a very strong military, still large sphere of influence outside of Europe. Losing Greece is one thing, but the UK...I don't know.

The entire world is moving in a direction I don't like. Populist policies, protectionism, "us-vs-them"....that usually leads to war.


There's a theory that after war, the people want to make it never happen again. Then they get older and die, and the fourth or so generation lacks all of that experience or motivation, and so someone is bound to start a war because people don't learn from the past.

The EU itself is likely still very far from starting that war. China and its superiority complex seems much more likely if they can find someone willing to stand up to them. Or maybe Russia is going to overstep its boundaries for real sometime. Either way we're probably close to our 80 or so years of "Western" (relative) peace, certainly fear and populism are not helping to avoid that path.


Or they want to make it never happen again so they institute hundreds of bureaucratic processes that only a select class of insiders have the ability to navigate, thus forming the political power bottlenecks which will lead to the corruption and waste that sparks the next war.


The EU, to me, is basically the Fourth Reich. Germany failed to rule the continent militarily, so they did it instead economically. The Euro is backed mostly by the strength of the Deutschmark, the ECB is in Frankfurt. They are dominant on the continent politically and economically.

Well, ok, so what is the US then? It may have a few centuries of a headstart, but it's the same thing, with 13 colonies invading the rest of the continent. You just overlay the Third Reich onto the new union.

If the other 20-something nations are ok with being basically ruled by Germany, that's fine. But no way in hell would Britain want to play second fiddle to Germany. Ever. They have always seen themselves as slightly more separate, more different, more "special" to the rest of the "the Continent".

The UK is as important as Germany. But they didn't want a closer union so they just stayed out there while Germany played a more active role. So did France, by the way, but they're looked upon as losers so that makes Germany the "ruler" in the eyes of people.

And yeah, UK was special over a century ago, maybe they need a few decades to realize they're not anymore.

But there's no way the UK was not a vital part of the union. 5th largest economy, a very strong military, still large sphere of influence outside of Europe. Losing Greece is one thing, but the UK...I don't know.

It was. Greece is too, but they can also leave if they want. It would just completely destroy them.

The entire world is moving in a direction I don't like. Populist policies, protectionism, "us-vs-them"....that usually leads to war.

Always been like that.


One thing which excited me about the EU was, that the peoples of Europe unified without a war or an enemy at hand. That would be an incredibly good sign for humanity and give hope to some future, where the globe isn't split into entirely separate nations.


I agree that would be a good sign but it's hard to support the claim there was no enemy at hand with a heavily militarized USSR almost next door


This is exactly why Germany secretly supplies Russia with top notch military tech today. If there is no enemy, you should create one.


Heh, just buying equipment from Germany does not make it some conspiracy of them supporting Russia.

Military industries need to sell stuff. France, Belgium, the UK, and others do the same.


They are not buying end products. Germany supplies plants (!) for conventional military production. And Rheinmetal financed creation of testing grounds at Mulino.


Source?


http://jbpress.ismedia.jp/articles/-/44305. Despite official sanctions Germany and the US (!) continue to supply Russia. Just like the US sold to both Russia and Germany before WW2.

Here about 30% of export increase from Germany to Russia at Deutche Welle - http://www.dw.com/ru/экспорт-из-германии-в-россию-вырос-на-3.... I bet they did not exported beer. Its Siemens, Rheinmetall and alike.

Also look in Gardner Research. The World Machine-Tool Output & Consumption Survey


The experiences of the second world war definitely played a role as something that should be avoided at all costs and put up infrastructure and friendship against, so it wasn't really without a war.


> The US does not have a common enemy to force it together. It does not have a shared language, or culture, or identity. Its dream, while noble, does not speak to ordinary people. And it is pretty damned incompetent at what duties it has assigned itself. The prospect of a United States was extremely remote even before today. It's dead, now.

FTFY. In all seriousness, this whole UK thing sounds like a good excuse for California and The Bay Area to attempt to secede from the union. I'm about sick of our broken consensus mechanisms here.


If it's anyone in the US, it will be Texas. They've done it before, California has not.


Unfortunately this will also be reflected on other countries, give it a few months and we'll be dealing with the same kind of shit in Italy, France etc... The saddest part is that older people(fact) practically decided for the future of the younger ones.


The backlash towards older people in UK isn't because they decided the future for younger ones, it's because they decided the future the media and politicians don't want. Unlike most European countries, in Poland young people, especially the ones just entering the voting age, vote overwhelmingly right-wing, and they are also criticized. But this time it isn't "deciding future for younger ones", it's "lack of experience and wisdom that comes with age".


> The saddest part is that older people(fact) practically decided for the future of the younger ones.

Why is it sad? Do you think the vote of young people should weigh more than the vote of old people? That'd be discrimination.


Well the young people have to note live in the world much longer. They have to get educated, finds jobs, develop their politics, grow their selves. The old people mostly have done all that and don't have a primary interest making those things easy. The ramifications won't be felt for perhaps 3 years and then not fully for perhaps a decade.

It's not sad, to me (not the parent) that the voting power of each person is the same; it's sad - though expected - that older people seemingly looked to their own interests and not those of the people who will have to live through it more.


>"that older people seemingly looked to their own interests and not those of the people who will have to live through it more."

You're making assumptions there as to peoples' individual motivations. Just because someone voted in a way that you deem is not in the best interests of another group doesn't mean that they didn't have that group's best interest in mind.

I personally think this is a good thing for both young and old people. So in your mind, me voting to "leave" would actually be me not-voting in the interests of the young?


You're right of course, the young people (I'm off course talking in generality of the modal opinion) could be misguided in what they wanted, but they wanted it.

I suppose it's also possible there was a cadre of older people who felt the young would be better out of the EU - the same problems but no say in how to fix them and less cooperation, that's got to help /s - but who choose to keep silent about that position?


On the other hand, I have three children and I'm voting to make life good for them more than myself. They are old enough to vote, yes, but they have far less experience of looking at political life than I do. I'm not at all ashamed to vote the way I see best, and perhaps even tell it to my kids, even if I don't think it is wise to push that too much, or at all indeed.

Think of that quote attributed to Churchill - not liberal at 20 has no heart, and not conservative at 40 has no brain.


> that older people seemingly looked to their own interests

That's an assumption. You could even look at it another way and say it's the other way around where they've lived in the UK prior to being in the EU and know what the UK is capable of on it's own.


> Do you think the vote of young people should weigh more than the vote of old people?

Sure, why not? At a shareholders meeting, people with more shares get more say. Young people had much more at stake in this vote than old people.

This isn't like a normal election where there can be a course correction in a few years. In all likelihood this was a once in a generation decision, and the old folks voted to take away young peoples' right to live and work anywhere in Europe.


Perhaps the older voters are wiser and should receive a greater voting share.


Is it really discrimination? Why do older people get to decide the fate of a world they won't experience?


As soon as you start limiting people's ability to vote based on the perceived stake they have in the future, you start down a dangerous path.


It is discrimination by definition, whether you think it is justified or not.


The case could be made that not letting the people who will have to deal with the consequences for longer have a larger say is also discrimination. To be clear I'm not advocating for this to be put into practice however I do think that elderly should vote with this point in the back of their minds.


By this line of reasoning you could indeed decide to give less of a voting power to old people, arguing that all political decisions have important long term consequences.

There are plenty of reasons why that would be unacceptable, and I'm sure that's why human right conventions prohibit this kind of discrimination.


Is it really discrimination? Why do younger people get to make decisions with so little experience?


“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” I'm curious how you will act when you have grand children.


You could easily make the argument that the younger people lack the experience to make sound decisions on the future.


You won't experience my life. So why should you get a vote on anything that affects me?


Based on the views in this subthread, it seems votes should be weighted by inclusive fitness.


Everyone gets a vote. But old people have more experience and more are more invested. Maybe they remember something we don't know.


i used to think the same when younger... not anymore. old have experience, true. Most of it is coming from different era, different world than current one. Apart from basic moral principles, for which you don't need age to conform to, their experiences didn't transfer well. Most of old are more or less completely lost in current fast-pacing world. they cling desperately to anything/anybody that still speaks to them and makes sense to them, no matter the content.

I can see it clearly all around, including my family. my parents, and I love them with all my heart, have simplistic views on politics (although both have university degree). easily to be persuaded, missing bigger picture and view beyond couple of months/years. my grandparents, they are completely lost in this world. they mostly look only what would affect their pension payouts and medical care fees. it doesn't matter if a proper gangster would be handling small financial favors to them, they would go that way.

older people are more invested? nope - we young will live much more of our lives in system that is coming compared to them. We have much more motivation to live in system that is stable and working well in long run (>20 years). it's fair to have same voting rights, but how much do we expect from usual > 70 years old in terms of clever voting decisions? Zero, and politicians know this, hence campaigns are quite emotional to work with them.


I can guarantee that a lot of "old" people think young voters are idiots who have no clue and are easily manipulated through their emotions.


Don't sell your friends and loved ones short. You might want to have a look at Bryan Caplan's book "The Myth of the Rational Voter". Quite eye opening: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_the_Rational_Voter


My 94 year old grandfather flew a spitfire in WW2 and voted in he said precisely because he remembers the mess the UK was in before joining the union - the British economy and infrastructure was in a sorry state in the 70s.


> My 94 year old grandfather flew a spitfire in WW2 and voted in he said precisely because he remembers the mess the UK was in before joining the union - the British economy and infrastructure was in a sorry state in the 70s.

That was due to Labour's insane economic policies and the Tories failure to fix them. It wasn't until Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister that the UK started to be well-run again.


"Well run" The housing insaninty is a direct effect of her crazy policies. Yes, she did do some good, but at great, needless cost It's like amputating both legs and a hand just because a pinky went bad...


Should've just left things as they were, right?


> But old people have more experience and more are more invested

In what way are they more invested? They have ~5-25 more years left and then it makes no difference to them. Furthermore, they're likely pretty settled in their life and already retired.

Young people are still building their lives, trying to establish their career. They're likely going to be denied the opportunity to live and work in 27 countries. I think it's pretty disgraceful that they've torpedoed our future based on their hazy rose-coloured memories of some supposedly-better past.


"Denied the opportunity" is a gross exaggeration, given in most European Union member states the number of foreign-born residents is made up primarily from people born outside the European Union. EU member states are generally regarded as generous when it comes to migration, much to the dismay and consistent criticism of their respective tabloid papers.

I'm also skeptical of your conclusion as to why people voted leave. In case you missed the poll, it wasn't just the 65+ age range that voted this way. Even down to the 25-49 group you're looking at a 45% leave vote. Age distribution isn't equal either - the majority of the UK falls in the 25-64 group band, which varies between voting leave or voting remain depending on which poll you look at.


"It does not have a shared language, or culture, or identity. Its dream, while noble, does not speak to ordinary people."

I think you speak of real challenges that the EU has; but to put it in context, other countries have similar challenges. Spend some time in the US, and you will see cultural and language differences among the states. You can also find the same differences in India and China.

Assuming you are American, like me, it's very easy to see the differences in European culture because each state is still a sovereign nation. Chinese and Indian states don't bring their separate flags to the Olympics, so we just assume it's one culture. We go out for "Indian" or "Chinese" food in restaurants that gloss over their internal differences.


You make it sound as if we are living the dawn of Nation-states. We live in a globalized world. Nations are now trading areas. EU is well positioned as one, (if it ever manages to become productive). No nation is an island in this world (including britain). UK will now have to re-pick its allies, and pick them carefully. I can see the pieces of commonwealth that are left in europe denouncing their british past (Gibraltar is a start).


Gibraltar, Scotland, Northern Ireland (what will become of the peace process?). Effectively the UK is left with Wales. Is it even a 'K' any more? Would that take the 'G' out of GB?


Wales isn't and wasn't a kingdom, the union that formed GB was that of the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland initially under personal union of King James. The Welsh counties were annexed to England long before that in a similar way to the other counties of Britain.

The geographical state of Wales being birthed now never was a unified Kingdom though it was very briefly conquered by Gwynedd (Northern principality in Wales), only for so much time as it took the English crown to realise and quell the 'rebellion'.

For GB there are about another quarter million people who are subjects of Her Majesty who remain in overseas territories.


Sir Thomas More: "it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?"


"Great Britain" is the name of the island, there's no reason for it to change. It is opposed to "lesser Britain", the Brittany part of France.


Yeah, but it's used as a shorthand for the full name of the UK: "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". If Northern Ireland leaves, that makes it "The United Kingdom of Great Britain". If Scotland leaves, that makes it ... what exactly? The United Kingdom of England and Wales? I guess they'd also have to change the flag but I'm not sure what a cross between the English and Welsh flags would look like.


Sorry got it backwards :-) no U or B


You're mistaken. We became Great Britain when England and Scotland unified. When all the peripheries split off again, it'll be back to good old England with John Bull, warm beer and less jobs.


Scarblac is correct. We became the United Kingdom.


[flagged]


Oh very funny, and not particularly accurate. Ptolemy used the term Great Britain (μεγάλης Βρεττανίας) for the large island in 147AD, long before Scotland or England existed. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain#Derivation_of_.2...


The large island is Great Britain. When the top bit splits off (that's Scotland btw) the bit left won't be 'the large island'.

If you're confused I suggest reading my first comment again...

I trust that you always refer to the Republic of China too, rather than Taiwan?


Personal attacks and uncivil comments generally are not allowed on HN. Please edit the nastiness out of what you post here, regardless of how wrong anyone else is.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html


More like Cyprus and Malta. I figure the UK is not ready to split yet, no?


I expect Scotland to split and join the EU shortly. Just look at the map in the linked article.


Perhaps. If they did, so be it.

But the arguments at the time of the referendum didn't get stronger. The EU would require Scotland to join the Euro, join Schengen (means a border wall), and the primary argument for an independent Scotland was "we'll take all the oil money for ourselves". But now oil is cheap thanks to US fracking and the North Sea oil industry is going bust.

I think the future probably has more devolution in it. Which is fine.


One of the key arguments against independence was uncertainty over if/how soon we would join the EU. At the time that vs just staying in. Now it's vs definitely leaving. So while the argument hasn't changed the alternative has.

We've also had almost 2 years of Westminster failing to deliver any of the promised devolution. We get these things are slow to happen but there's been pitiful progress towards them so far. Lots of people voted No on the basis of more devolution.

So while the arguments haven't changed the alternative to independence has for the worse. I'm honestly struggling to see a future without an independent Scotland tbh.


The delay on devolution was caused by the SNP insisting that it still receive the same or bigger subsidies from the rest of the UK, even though that struck many as unfair (part of independence is paying your own way). It's not like Parliament refused to hand over powers.


IIRC part of this argument was that Scotland contributed more than the uk average as well, they most per person outside London/South-East England. Additionally parliament haven't been particularly forthcoming over tax rights, easiest way around that argument was to split income tax into a federal and regional income tax and let us set the later.


>means a border wall

Hadrian's wall and miles of rural waste should already be sufficient for these purposes.


What, against immigrants?

Seems like it'd be easier to get illegally directly to England, than go through Scotland...


Exactly my point!


There's talk of London trying to do the same. That'd be a way to solve a lot, but I can't see it happening.


And London too.


Just a couple of years ago Scotland were all set. Then some EPP crony said something about not being in the EU any more and swung the vote.

As for NI - for the sake of peace that would be a more drawn out process.


I can see Northern Ireland, Scotland and London splitting and rejoining the EU. The rest can go wallow in the mess they made for themselves.


Northern Ireland won't split from Great Britain. Too many people there are too heavily invested in their identity as British and would happily follow the rest of the UK over the edge of a cliff so long as they get to keep their Union Jacks and framed photos of the Queen.

Sinn Féin have called for an Ireland-wide referendum on unification because obviously they have. Even if you grant that they don't have the ulterior motive of being Irish Republicans and that they genuinely want Northern Ireland to remain part of the EU (and there's no reason both of these things can't be true), that's probably the only way to ensure that the six counties of Northern Ireland do remain part of the EU in some fashion. And, of course, if it did pass, you'd simply end up with a resurgence in sectarian violence as Unionist hardliners rebel.


You're probably right on all counts apart from leaving Great Britain (though its's also possible you're right on that too). As an Irishman I'm not sure a united Ireland is desirable as the problems of the north may spill into the south. I would personally support an independent Northern Ireland in the EU more than a united Ireland.


Great Britain sounds fine to me.


Chances are you're English though.


No sir I'm not.


Well Sir, what is it then that qualifies your otherwise unqualified remark?


Freedom?


Wrong again Sir!


> (if it ever manages to become productive)

It is productive.


Actually I think this makes the eventual prospect of United States of Europe more probable, not less. The UK is the country who has most strongly opposed political integration in the EU. It has a history of watering down, or outright vetoing, proposals that would delegate more sovereignty to the EU or make it more tightly knit.

Unfortunately, with euroskepticism strong also in countries like France, it seems improbable that we are going towards an U.S.E. any time soon. But if Britain were not in the EU in the first place, maybe we would have achieved it already...


You say that like it's a good thing, but you should take a good look at what the EU is about. You may think that it's all about open borders and greater cultural and economic exchange, but at its core it's a vehicle for big business to control politics in the region.

You may think this is some form of conspiracy theory, but there's very strong evidence for it. I would recommend starting here...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xMuUEd6w54E


I saw it till about 23 minutes. The ERT did not seem like a secret organization to me. They left the building, which the NGOs had 'occupied' to go for lunch. Leaving all their documents for them to copy. Are there any ground breaking revelations after that (i.e. after 23 minutes)?

Also, in general, whats wrong with multinationals having a strong influence in the present world? They are the modern day 'kings' replacing their medieval counterparts. Of course I am not arguing for blanket powers for them at all. We of course have checks and balances like regulators/auditors/politicians. Even take the example of #Brexit, it happened didn't it? If corporations had absolute power it would not have.

The point is what's good for society in the long term? Who knows best? No easy answers. But I am willing to err on the side of doers (with checks and balances of course) rather than pure career politicians.


> The EU does not have a common enemy to force it together.

Yes it does, Russia.


Russia is not an enemy of the EU, although the NATO countries in Europe and Asia (Turkey) often treat it as such.

EDIT: Maybe some minority circles in the Russian Federation want to make it an enemy of the EU or the rest of Europe, but most people, rich and poor, don't want to. The former because of trade opportunities and the latter because of shared cultural heritage.


i agree most common Russian people are very europe-friendly, but the guy up there, for whom they repeatedly vote for, is quite old school and crystal-clear in his intentions (what else to expect from ex-KGB guy).

and old school means invading central European countries at whims (Czechoslovakia, Hungary, we have not forgotten), building iron curtain and so on. Or Ukraine now, exactly same approach. This is what world sees, so yes, Russia is the biggest threat to Europe, at least on par with current mass immigration.


Trying to argue that Putin is a common enemy doesn't fly. John Major (former PM) tried that tack, nobody cared. Ukraine broke up in a nasty civil war between pro-EU and pro-Russian camps. Putin hasn't done anything that seriously threatens even the eastern countries, let alone the UK.


Europe goes more to the east than some UK :) in fact it seems to be stopping just right before that these days. It seems to be your personal UK-centric view.

trust me, people from central/east Europe feel very threatened by Russia's attacks on Ukraine. You haven't been through in past what we have been and obviously it's sometimes hard to learn from other's lessons...


Maybe they feel threatened but that doesn't make their view necessarily realistic. They hate Russians out of a deep seated distrust that has its roots in historical Russian expansionism. Whilst I do understand why they think like this I also think their world view is not reflective of actual reality on the ground in the post-Soviet American expansionist world.


Czechoslovakia ??? It was invaded and brutally occupied by Poland,Hungary and Germany. How's Russia got to do with that?


The Prague Spring, 1968, and the ensuing Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia (Operation Danube).


Russia is a schoolyard bully and should be treated as such


A less sophisticated schoolyard bully than the US, but otherwise pretty much the same. It would actually make sense for Europe to make friends with Russia; they're, after all, kind of closer (geographically and culturally), and on the same slab of land.


Russia has been "sharing" culture with Romania and other eastern countries for decades during USSR. No, we do not have the same culture and we do not share the same values.

Friends you say? Oh, that's rich. Maybe when they give us back our national treasure, along with Basarabia and Northen Bukovina, which they took with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and apologize for crushing the national identity of those regions, for starving them to death and for the mass deportations and killings, maybe then we can be friends.

But that will never happen, especially given its leadership. So until hell freezes over, they can go fuck themselves.


I see the point, but to be honest, many European countries (my own included) suffered greatly under Nazi Germany - including mass deportations and killings (but maybe sans the starving part), and yet we've forgiven the Germans. Sure, the USSR times were more recent than II WW, but I hope in years people learn to forgive Russia for the soviet times too. Keeping an "eye for an eye" attitude can get you only so far, and it's better to be friendly and work towards ensuring atrocities such like these don't happen again.


Germans went to apologize and pay retributions. Also considerable soul seeking that lasts many decades now.

Russians (there are exceptions certainly, but statistically) are proud for the oppression they did upon the neighbours and cherish it as their golden years and action plan ahead.


You do realise that in modern Russia Stalin is considered a hero and role model?


Lie. For most people in Russia Stalin is just a figure of USSR past that they do not care much about. Few people which try to bring Stalin do not have wide support and they do not make your words true.


Lie. Stalin is openly revered as an example of real leadership.


Proofs?


There's forgiveness and then there's stupid ignorance. Germans apologized and changed their ways. Russia did not.


Not the same. Both aim to project geopolitical power, sure, but US still a political entity in the western tradition where totalitarian rulers are not accepted, and Russia is of the eastern tradition where total rulers are admired and loved. Most of europe falls to the western category (roughly). There is a east/west divide in political sensibilities, it's as old as antiquity, I don't know where it's coming from, but it's a real effect.


No, that would not make sense at all. Russia is run by an entirely different play-book than the rest of the EU.


There's a gradient of sophistication between western and eastern. Seems to me that Westerners like to hide things under the logic and courtlaw rug while easterners are more crude in how they express painful issues. For the East, West is devious, to the West, East is barbarian.


not the same at all, US hasn't annexed territories from its neighbours for 150 years now


No, but they bombed the shit out of several countries in the last 15 years.

Also, both US and Russia do more bullying on the economic level anyway.


There's a very simple real world test - Korea. Russia created North Korea, US created South Korea. So ask any other developing country - who would they rather be allies with?


So bombing the hell off the Iraq (for exmaple) is okay as long you are not grabbing the land?

Like you can kill 300000 people and everyone is okay as long as the territory is whole.

This is the most dumb thing I've read in this thread.


now russkies are bombing the hell out of Syria, do you like it better?


No, but we do this after we were asked by the legit government and according to international law. While the US did that out of their own whim, even when UN said clear "NO".


Wait. Last time I checked it was the US which was bombing the hell out of Syria while claiming to fight against ISIS. Russkies are actually supporting the legitimate Syrian government, also saying they fight against ISIS.


Apart from the Spanish-American war, of course.


right, I stand corrected, 118 years


Russia makes a habit of invading European countries.


Ehm... You are bad at history. Russia withstood several Polish invasions, several Swedish ones, several German ones. It lost Crimean war to allied 'EU' forces, but in the end took peninsula back by peaceful means. What you are referring to was WW2 and its not that simple. Would you like your parents burned in Auschwitz or similar European institution, or have their chance in Siberia?


I'd rather Auschwitz: you die faster, and you aren't contributing to your oppressor's bottom line.


Unlike European contries who never invaded Russia /s


You mean that Napoleon guy, once?


I think you'd want to dive into history books. Almost all European contries (that were close to Russia or Russian Empire) did that at some point of time.


The EU has many enemies. Bureaucracy, Greed, Idiotism to name a few. But Russia is not among those. Russian military is fueled by German tech and French avionics, Germany is a primary market for Rusdian gas. Kohl sits in Gazprom.


"Bureaucracy, Greed, Idiotism to name a few. " which country doesn't have these enemies?

btw: it's Gerhard Schroder, not Kohl. ;o)


Far from it. Besides, when was the last time the russians invaded europe [edit:EU]?


In 2014 Russia invaded southern Ukraine and annexed it.


Crimea had a referendum. Opinion polls and independent studies in the time since have shown that the referendum results match other forms of polling, it was not rigged. They wanted to join Russia, mostly because since the fall of the Soviet Union Russian salaries are now 10x higher than Ukraine despite starting in the same place.

People who try to argue that the cold war is still running don't get anywhere with me.


That's absurd, there was no referendum if special forces and unlabeled army forces of an invading country is there to "enforce peace" - and the rest of the world doesn't share that naive view and continues to punish Russia for it through trade deals and embargoes, lowering the quality of life of Russians and devaluing the ruble while increasing import costs for them. Tell me, how's that been going for Russia?


Well, I agree we shouldn't be encouraging it, but when I pay attention to the shadow government players like Kissinger and Brzenski, they seem hell bent on bringing back the Cold War (I call it the neocold-war), mostly because while no one really speaks about it publicly, resource wars are on the horizon.


Referendum was organized under supervision of Russian special forces and Russia acknowledged this. By all laws it was a military operation which is normally called annexation. Hitler made the same annexation in his times.

Interestingly, the survey conducted in 2013 in Crimea doesn't show any sign of Russian language discrimination at that time.

Which proves one more time that all Russian propaganda was just lie.

And you intentionally or unintentionally support Kremlin propaganda.

http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/2013%20October%207%20...


It's scary that no one remembers this...


This was after the democratically elected president of Ukraine was overthrown by undemocratic means (protests) and went into exile in Russia. This subtext is conveniently ignored because the president was pro-Russia.


The Ukraine is not Europe (at least not if you contrast Europe and Russia like that) and the Crimean Peninsula has a disputed past.

Calling Ukraine "Europe" (again: in contrast with Russia) really just masks the power struggle that was going on before the annexation and the (Russia-supported) civil war. Ukraine was originally part of the "buffer zone" between Russia and the NATO. Both EU and NATO (i.e. US) were trying to change that (not that Ukrainians really complained or anything -- the prospect of EU membership was obviously exciting for many of them).

Does nobody remember the infamous "F### the EU" wiretap? It may have been published by Russia (though that was never confirmed AFAICT) but it was authentic.


The Ukraine is not Europe - google maps can help you ;)

Also it is much more Europe than Russia which is Asia by it's spirit and history despite has some European territories.


The US annexed Texas, ripping it off from Mexica in 1848. Give it back you bully state!


> The US annexed Texas, ripping it off from Mexica in 1848.

It annexed the Republic of Texas, which had been independent of Mexico since 1836, in 1846.


Freedom to Texas! Than we'll discuss Crimea.


Ukraine is not in the EU.


You can read, yes? He says Europe.


i edited it. the thread was about eu anyway


Are you for real?


Russia is in Europe.


Russians dont really see themselves that way, they call it northern Eurasia. Europe is now almost synonymous with the EU and it interest sphere.


May I ask you why do you think you can represent Russians' opinion here? I am certanly Russian and feel the way you discribe.


Quite so. Huge gas pipes are connecting it to the EU.


There are also gas pipelines connecting Algeria to the EU. Is Algeria in Europe?


Certainly. It was a part of the Roman Empire, state language is French, and most money flows from France. Its apity, that geographically its Africa. I propose to rename Northern Africa the Special European Economical Interest Area.


Israel, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan (and now even Australia!) participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. So I guess the concept of Europe is flexible enough to allow for that.


"The Greater European Co-Prosperity Sphere".


North Africa is quite distinct from the rest of Africa and the middle east either way you slice it.


As a Dutch citizen I very much feel kinship with people who happen to be from the other founding countries D, F, B, L, I. I speak their languages, I know their typical strengths and foibles, I've visited their cities, I know their history. We've been together for 70 stable years. The ministers of those countries are convening right now. And I very much agree with the words of the German minister Steinmeier "that those countries won't let anybody take that union away from them".


> The EU does not have a common enemy to force it together.

Considering two world wars and a history of war before that, EU's common enemy is itself, divided.


About 85 years after the U.S started, the south wanted to leave and that led to the most deadly war in U.S history.


> And, crucially, it already had a shared cultural identity, shared language

Isn't the US a conglomerate of former English, French and Spanish colonies?


The US took over former land claimed by France and Spain. Very few Spanish and French actually lived there. It was mostly territory claimed by Spain and France, but almost totally unsettled. The land was populated with Indians, but they had already seen their populations ravaged by European disease.

Somewhere like Illinois is littered with places named in French or Algonquin, but there is zero culture leftover.

Parts of Lousinana are all that's left from France.


I can't believe Nigel Farage and a lot of pro Brexit campaigners have been calling it UK's "Independence day". Apart from being a very bad (purposeful?) analogy, it's seems to me pretty disrespectful to their own and to US history. I'm not from USA (or UK) but would love to hear how US and UK people feel about it?


Many countries have am independence day, not just America. Granted most are celebrating independence from us brits through.


"Independence day" is not exclusive to the US.


The film with the aliens and Jeff Goldblum made that particularly clear.


>I'm not from USA (or UK) but would love to hear how US and UK people feel about it?

I think it sounds like populist grandstanding. We've been hearing that sort of thing for a year now. We (the US) seem to have a lot of people buying into it though. We get to see first hand how stepping back from globalization looks like before we vote for it ourselves come November.


I can understand the US shared dream, but are you really serious about the other points? In what is today called United States of America in the beginning there were indeed people with different languages, religions and radically opposite culture. Manhattan, hearth of New York and global economy, was Dutch. California (or at least part of it) was Mexican. The vast majority of the land was inhabited by Native Americans. And you are telling me that a United Europe is more difficult than unify that unbelievable potpourri that was US at the beginning? Before the Brexit that was an ongoing process that slowly was moving toward a common goal. Now I'm not sure if Europe still exists.

As always democracy proves itself very dangerous. If I'm ill I go to the doctor, I don't start asking around common people opinions.

A very sad European living in uk.


And even then USA had a civil war...


"The US did not magic itself into existence as a united state. It began in common purpose with a shared, very strong, external enemy. It then assigned itself a shared dream of settling the content. And, crucially, it already had a shared cultural identity, shared language, and shared religion when it began."

People keep making this comparison, but they also keep forgetting two elements:

1. After the revolution, parts I and II, as part of the shared dream, they identified an even better external enemy, one which was not only weaker but could easily be vilified.

2. Then there was that whole civil war thing, which killed something like 2-2.5% of the population. (I know, that's low by European standards. For comparison, WWI cost France something like 3.5%. Anyway, still...)


>I know, that's low by European standards. For comparison, WWI cost France something like 3.5%

That's only a matter of timing. If the civil war was delayed 50 years and was fought with WWI tech, it probably would have killed way more people. Trench warfare, machine guns, etc, just ate up lives.



I'd extend the question. Can peace subsist long without a war ...


The EU has done a pretty good job. You'd have a hard time finding a 70 year period before the EU where none of the founder members were at war with one another.


that's an arbitrary number. The EU was officially created in 1993. So a better question would be, can we find a 23 year period before the EU where none of the founder members were at war with each other? Yeah you can. About 3 of them.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_union

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958 [..] The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993

If your position is that every major treaty establishes a new Union, then the EU is less than 10 years old (Treaty of Lisbon, 2009). Otherwise, the EU originated in 1951.


That has almost nothing to do with the EU and almost everything to do with NATO, the massive number of US troops (they outnumber all European troops in Europe), nuclear deterrents, and shared foreign policy goals (i.e. managing the rise of China, combating terrorism, and deterring Russian meddling).


It did work for a very long time but even then after a while things go south.


As a person who currently resides in Europe and expects to continue living on this planet for another 60 or so years, I ask, I plead - could people please consider trying to make things not go south? Petty political and economical differences are not worth another war.


Just in case people thought I was rooting for mess over peace. I'm just trying to find why things aren't stable so we can try to keep them stable longer.

Why do most societies resolve internal stress by communautarism, law of ancestry, blind and stupid racism. Why not by gathering and looking at what's wrong then fix it with wisdom.


I wasn't thinking you're rooting for war - but I had that on my chest and had to say it. I see people sometimes saying things like "oh well, every civilization has to end at some point", or noting that Europe is long overdue for another war. It's as if people didn't realize the war isn't some abstract shifting of borders, it's mostly innocent people dying terrible deaths from bullets, hunger and disease. While it is a true historical fact, it's something we should focus on figuring out and, as you said, "fixing it with wisdom".

Maybe I'm too sensitive on this topic, but ever since the Crimea debacle I've become much more worried about instabilities in Europe. I have only ~300km to the Ukrainian border. There are nights when I hear some weird aerial noises and I wonder if that's a missile, and if this is the day when my city turns into a CoD: MW map.


I'll add that I'm 101% against war. But again I'm a drop in the ocean. And again, society is too keen on forgetting the horror of the past while stepping on the rage pedal. Crimea worried me too. I didn't expect a big country doing such a violent thing. I hope Russians demote Putin ... I like to dream.


Europe's shared enemy, if you accept the concept, was the double-whammy of being ground zero for two world wars.


You forgot the part where the US tried one form of government and then ditched it for a different one 10 years later.


A whole lot of people missed your point and for some reason are trying to play semantics with history.


> The EU does not have a common enemy to force it together.

Yes it did, that enemy was "world war".


> And, crucially, it already had a shared cultural identity, shared language, and shared religion when it began.

I don't think this is true. German, for example, had a very strong presence.


One can be for free movement, free trade, peace and 'growing together' without being Pro-EU.

The EU is not a abstract entity that only lives of ideas. Its a concrete implementation of these ideas (and many others). This implementation I judge to be deficient. The issues are to many to list here, but I just wanted to state the principe.

Europe can achieve most of the things you want without the EU. Switzerland has many of those things with the EU states. You can easily have all these contracts as bilateral contracts that everybody signs. Then you can do the joining and leaving independently, creating much better incentives for both the people who create the contracts as for the participants in the contract.

Their are already tons of things like that, and their could be more. Look at ESA for example.

> This is not always easy, and it means, that the richer parts have to give to the poorer, but that is just basic humanity.

You totally falsely imply that the richer part "HAVE TO" to give the poorer parts money to achieve these goals. That is totally false. Only with a currency their is a real issue and that is solvable even if you want a common currency without massive redistribution.

What you are doing is deceptive, you are making a operational argument for a issue that relates to moral. If we choice this kind of redistribution, we should do it based on MORAL properties and not operational issues.


Switzerland and Norway (where I'm from) has the worst of it. They're essentially member states without any voting privileges. We pay a large sum of money each year, and we implement a most of their laws, without any representation in the union proper.


The voting privilege is really not that important. Switzerland does not get forced to implement laws that they don't want. Currently Freedom activists in Switzerland try to fight new surveillance laws, that would be required if we were in the EU. German and Austria have a huge amount of problems because they are in the EU.

Switzerland also has more freedom to have other international agreements, both with states in and outside of the EU.

Switzerland and Norway can join the parts that they like and avoid many others. They have agree to pay certain amounts but they not immediately have to pay more if the EU sets up something new. They have much more control over their spending.

I am not against many of the things the money are spent on so the fact that we are paying, is not that relevant. It is relevant that we have control over it. In Switzerland I can get a bunch of people to sign something and the population will vote on the issue. That why we are not in the EU in the first place.


And without the UK in the EU both Switzerland and Norway will have a greater bargaining power.


The parent commenter is referring to the European Free Trade Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Free_Trade_Associatio...


I don't know what you think you know, but that isn't true. You do have an impact on the EU law!

Norway has membership of the EEA council and they are able to affect the EU laws which affect them.

Obviously, you can't affect the laws in the EU which as an EFTA member you don't have to implement.

I don't know why people keep on saying that you don't have any representation...

Do I misunderstand?


> Obviously, you can't affect the laws in the EU which as an EFTA member you don't have to implement.

Sure, as an EFTA member we have a veto, which we always never use because it always trigger repercussions or sours or relationship with the EU, on which market we're completely dependent.

Our former foreign minister paints a better picture than I do: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/27/norway...

That being said, I don't necessarily think Norway should be a member of the EU, as I think we'd be too small to make a significant difference. UK on the other hand, had a lot of sway within the union, and it's sad to see them leave this behind for a potential "Norwegian solution".


This is correct. It is possible to have co-operation, trade and agreements of all sorts without having an additional layer of government (and a rather unaccountable form of government, at that).


That's quite a misleading argument.

A trade agreement, where it's "stay, or you'll lose access to everything", and which can't be renegotiated, is horrible for the young people.

What if I want to vote to change it, even just slightly? No chance.

With the EU, I can vote for a different party in the EU Parliamentary elections, and they can easily change it to the better.

Trade agreements are less democracy than even the EU.

Why is everyone telling this damn lie?


>A very sad day for everyone in Europe.

I don't know, I'm pretty glad myself.

>The EU is not only about trade regulations, but about a continent who had a not very peaceful history finally growing together.

Only there is not much "growing together". Besides the bureaucracy there were certain large countries (and alliances) pissing all over smaller ones, in things from trade agreements to fiscal policies and other decisions.

A lot of people seem to value vague unity, but this was the opposite of democracy, where rampant groups with no official standing (the ad-hoc "Eurogroup" for one) and bodies no one voted for, where ruling a whole continent.

So, valuing this kind of faux unity is, for me, like saying "It was nice when the US, Canada, India, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland etc were united -- under British rule".

>so that there are no arbitrary geographic borders limiting the freedom and the rights of the individual

Borders in Europe are the opposite of arbitrary: they are based on culture, history, economy, popular revolutions, sovereignty, and lots of other factors.

(In a continent like Africa yes, a lot of borders are arbitrary, because they were decided and drawn on some map from colonial powers dividing their lands -- the will of the local people, culture, etc be damned).

And borders are not some plight on the "individual". They are a large-scale extension of their individuality -- ensuring the individuality and independence of their way of life at a larger scale.

There's a whole order of magnitude difference of 350 million people (most of which have different cultures and priorities, not to mention interests) voting for what happens in your country of 30 or 20 million. Even worse when the decision is left to some bureaucrats in the pockets of big business.

>In my eyes, the EU was very much about the same thing. It didn't matter in which part of the EU you lived or had your business. Being part of the EU granted you rights and equal access to the rest of Europe.

Well, if you could have that without the political power plays, coercion, disregard for democracy, and plundering of lesser countries, that would be great.


I think you hit on something that's been bothering me here in the US too: The federalization of state freedom. That is, when a super-state entity like the EU or US federal government passes laws which restrict the freedom of the states to implement their own distinct solutions.

I'm not super familiar with the EU agreements, but the US Constitution was supposed to restrict federal power over the states. An unfortunate loophole was found through taxes. Citizens pay federal taxes, then some amount of those taxes flows back into state power. The federal laws I'm discussing don't have criminal or even civil penalties, but rather restrict or eliminate this flow of funds unless the will of the federal government is met. Sure, the states can technically do whatever they want, but these are very large funding streams that they will be missing out on. That's like saying I can technically choose to not work... It's true, but it's also a sure way to end up in a bad spot.


The Supreme Court does seem to reign in that technicality (as you put it). For instance, there were some provisions of Obamacare tied to funding that that the SC voted were invalid.

But in general, you're correct. Incidentally, this change is actually Constitutionally-valid in some sense, in that a Constitutional amendment needed to be passed (income tax) in order to give the Federal gov't the money to bully the states in the first place.


While I feel like voting to leave is the wrong step here, and will undoubtedly lead to some problems in the immediate future, I do find some truth in your post. The unity of the EU has always felt ethereal to me. It has never felt like the EU was one entity. I'm hoping that this sparks a movement toward something that IS more unified, and more representative of the needs of the individual member states. Even if the EU dissolves entirely, perhaps this will mean adoption of common treaties and policies that are drafted during the preparation of the UK to leave.


I agree with you. I thought that both Jacob Rees Mogg and Nigel Farange made some pretty strong cases for a lack of ability to have a fair hearing for redress of grievances. Mogg relates the story of a constituent who was a farmer and had a cow die between Christmas and New Years when the post office had limited staff. The farmer had mailed the forms on time and the holiday hours caused them to be received late in Brussels and the farmer was fined. When Mogg wrote a second time, he was told someone would pay the fine: either the UK or the farmer. Bureaucracy has risen to idiotic proportions.

Farange reported the moves between offices that occurred twice a month and the lavish EU spending on administration. Both noted there was no way for the people to vote down laws or vote out these bureaucrats.

Statist bureaucrats too often spend the people's money with little regard for return on investment. They are the brightest people in the room - just ask them. They don't face the same restraining force as the business owner whose customers can go elsewhere if they don't think they are getting value for their money. As the Brexit folks framed the issue, this was about being responsive to the people, giving them the ability to vote out the whole lot and get others who will be responsive to the people paying the bill.

We have the same problem here in the US. There really is little difference between the establishment Democrats and Republicans. All are big government types who focus on policies that benefit their big donors. They are spending us into oblivion and devaluing all our assets by flooding the economy with more printed fiat currency. Our unfunded future liabilities are even worse. We need to do our own house cleaning.

So I say "Happy Independence Day" to the folks in the UK and hope my neighbors are looking closely enough at our own situation and will will band together to do our own house cleaning this November.


Agreed.

As an aside, for me this is a sterling example of the dangers of "direct democracy", that many see as the solution of all evils that plague the political process.

The majority of UK lawmakers (democratically elected by the same people that voted the referendum) were in favor of staying in the Union: even a large number with conservative and traditionalist background (including the PM).

Yet the future of the UK (and EU) was decided by people (on both sides) that cannot possibly have an idea of what the implications of this decision will be, and that can be easily swayed my media and influenced by emotions.

Representative democracy has its faults and inefficiencies, but if the alternative is to have gut-reaction votes and petty nationalism decide the future of a country, count me out.


I find it quite dangerous to think most people are too naive to vote on important issues. Trained politicians are also very much impacted by gut reactions and irrational behavior (though in favour of one's own party/career/etc).

People don't necessarily all use the same objective functions. I think many were disappointed by the EU as they perceive it as an economic-only enterprise, where not everyone wins. I think many could be OK with a lower GDP, and a slower and more local economy, etc. It's not so clear on the long run what will actually be the best for UK and its people.

In Switzerland, people vote on different issues about 12 times a year. Some of these issues are quite complex and technical (for instance, how should benefits of some state-dependent companies be handled, etc). Some are easy yet extremely consequential. Usually there is no particular tendency to fall for the easy stories based on gut feelings. In general I think that able to vote is more important (mostly for stability), even if it leaves a door open to populism.


> I find it quite dangerous to think most people are too naive to vote on important issues.

I disagree. Sure it's possible to have a public educated enough to decide whether being in the EU is a good idea, (hi Switzerland), but the fact of the matter is that this doesn't apply to either the US or likely the UK.

It's possible to have a nation where direct democracy is effective, but I'd say it's more the exception to the rule.


So how did you establish "the fact" that the Swiss public, in particular, is "educated enough" and the US and the UK public, in particular, are not? Is there a standard somewhere, a test that was done, or is it just the good old "seems to me"?


> how did you establish "the fact" that the Swiss public, in particular, is "educated enough"

I didn't - I said it's possible.

> the US and the UK public, in particular, are not?

To me this seems a self-apparent fact, but I admit it may not appear so to others. I'm not sure specifically where I'd lie my standard, but I'd say the public support for Donald Trump falls dramatically below wherever it would be.


Right, the correct answer is a well-informed public, and the answer is education.


I agree. At minimum, these kind of decisions should require 50% of all eligible voters to to agree, not only 50% of those who cast their votes, or alternatively 2/3rds of the cast votes. Also, this kind of decision could require some kind of multi part vote. I wonder, how the results were, if they had to cast a vote again in a few days.

Here in Germany, we have a strict representative democracy. But we have regional elections often enough, that the government gets to feel, if voters no longer agree with it. So it is a balance between short term popularity a long term considerations.


I am with you 100 percent. I would say that one of the primary examples of the problems with direct democracy is California. Here you have a very liberal state, but because of the proposition system, when it comes time to vote on some of these issues only the crazies com out to vote.


But isn't this the point of direct democracy? That you can elect someone (a MP) to represent you in most issues you care mildly about, despite not agreeing with them on some very important issues. You get to vote on those issues separately.


Disclaimer: I voted to remain (I fit the demographic of the 16 million - postgrad degree, professional &c).

The leave voters I spoke to kept mentioning 'feeling in control' and concern about EU immigration and benefits. Also 'don't want them to ignore us'. Basically, bye election rhetoric. They bought the suggestion that 'a deal will be done' about England's access to European Economic Area as more or less certain.

I hope they are right about the last one :-)


I hope they're not. I will welcome all the remain territories back into the EU with open arms but I think people should learn to live with the consequences of their small minded decisions. We've been hearing all this nonsense about leaving for years and quite frankly I'm sick of it. Cameron thought he could play politics and look smart and instead he got royally shafted. He will live with the consequences for the rest of his life for sure. If people want to be selfish, greedy and easily manipulated puppets then they should be made live in the world they have chosen. For the rest of us we can continue on with our progress unimpeded by small-minded BS.


OK, I should have said "some powerful business interests in Germany especially will hope they prove to be right about the last one".


Ironically, I heard that access to European Economic Area means european regulations, european migrants, european workers. Basically everything they hate


Yes, exactly, and in a superb example of Rorty's irony, no control or consultation whatsoever - known as 'government by fax' in Switzerland.

But people forget, and when the jobs start going, ideas will change.

The more I look at the geographical/demographical distribution of voting, the more I see evidence of turkeys voting for Christmas.

All most strange. Enough for quite a few data analysis projects I think!

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-su...


I think by Direct Democracy the parent means where every vote is put to the people rather than via an elected proxy like an MP.


I completely agree with you that in many situations like this where there is a direct democratic referendum, many do not know what what will be good for them. However, I am weary that having a small group of politicians tell the people what is good for them is much better. I'm not sure there is a clear solution.


I think it's a mistake to compare this to direct democracy. If referenda are the appropriate tool for anything at all, it for determining the consent of the governed.


For some, like Germany, the EU is great. Their export-oriented economy coupled with control of the ECB and the Euro currency means they get to export their goods to the entire continent without tariffs. Someone like Greece/Portugal, who are not manufacturing/export economies, in the meantime get to enjoy endless debt and with no control to print and devalue their own currency, are essentially fucked. Forever. Is the EU "great" for them? I dunno.

Portugal is in trouble, so is Italy. The upcoming Italian banking center crisis, which is pretty much inevitable, will reset any economic gains from the last 5 years quite nicely. France is doing okay-ish. Definitely second fiddle to Germany though.

Speaking of Germany. Their bone-headed fear of - gasp - inflation and austerity measures are dividing Europe, not to mention Merkel's idiotic handling of the refugee crisis. Euro-scepticism is growing. Fully 1/3 of Germans are now Euro-sceptics. Let that sink in for a moment. Right-wing nationalism is increasing. Marie Le Pen and Geert Wilders are growing in popularity. If that's not a failure of Euro-liberal policies, I don't know what is.

I don't think what happened yesterday is great. But portraying the EU experiment (I call it that since it still might fail) as some kind of giant happy family and the UK being the unhappy, ungrateful child is grossly inaccurate.

The EU project has been in trouble and under pressure for a while now. I'm 100% convinced this is only the first domino to fall.


Sorry, but if your country's economy is not producing anything worth exporting and, you know, selling to others in exchange for money and jobs being created by that growth, then there's nothing the EU or any other union can do for you - or is, for that matter, taking anything away.


Greece actually was doing ok before the Euro even though they never produced anything of value. Tourism was basically enough. What they had, that they've now lost, is control of their own currency and sovereignty. And if you control your own currency, you can at least inflate your way out of some debt. At least you could do that, yes? And then - boom - your country just became a cheap tourist destination and cash starts flowing in.

Now, the Greeks don't even have that. They're basically a collective EU servant class. Portugal is in the same boat. Italy is not too much better.

That's your precious EU with a single-currency-under-German-control right there, Bud.


Have you a source for that? Would like to read up on that. I was always under the impression that Greece was already not that stable financial before entering the EU, and that they faked their economic data/audit with the help of a bank from the US to get into the EU (and EU politicans knowing about it but ignoring it).


> Especially I am sad for the young generation in the UK. A very large part (about 75%) voted to stay in Europe, and this future is taken from them.

That's indeed really sad. Young Europeans have enjoyed a freedom to choose where to study, live and work that was unprecedented in Europe. What will come next, with the resurgence of nationalism and bigotry in Europe, is very difficult to say, but I see no good coming out of this.


Freedom to study, live and work anywhere in EU for European was an incredible privilege and liberating. Unfortunately no one had thought of millions of non-Europeans actually getting into EU in such a short time as it has last 2 years.


Yep. That issue has totally been resolved by leaving. We only had to wipe off trillions from global equities and other assets to do it.


I doubt most of the Britons voting for exit worried about trillions of global equites getting wiped out, as most are not affected by it in daily life.


* EU has got to deliver *

It needs to show that it can provide solutions for the euro financial crisis and the refugee crisis. Solutions that are sound, long term and have popular backing.

It has shown that it cannot.

And thus we europeans are better of with a smaller, simpler european cooperation of independent nation states.

At least this should be the very real threat the EU politicians should operate under.

We need a better EU.


> And thus we europeans are better of with a smaller, simpler european cooperation of independent nation states.

They can only, by definition, find a worse solution than EU. The migrant crisis needs a solution at the scale of the continent. Individual nation state cannot deal with a crisis of this magnitude efficiently.

Without the EU, Greece, Italy, the Balkans would be left on their own to deal with the migrants. Northern and eastern nations would tell them to fuck off and keep their money. That's it.

EU is the primary channel for negotiating a long term solution. If it cannot find one, no one can.


>The migrant crisis needs a solution at the scale of the continent.

The migrants NEED to solve their own problems where they live. All the western nations mucking around over there need to get out and let them sort their own stuff out and we would not have these problems in the first place.

>Without the EU, Greece, Italy, the Balkans would be left on their own to deal with the migrants. Northern and eastern nations would tell them to fuck off and keep their money. That's it.

And the better alternative is that they feed every person who decides to come their way and go broke? There is nothing wrong with a country defending its own border, just like there is nothing wrong with you locking your door at night

>EU is the primary channel for negotiating a long term solution. If it cannot find one, no one can.

The EU does not negotiate on some important topics. The EU vilifies anyone who brings reasonable arguments against welcoming massive amounts of people into their countries against the will of the inhabitants of those countries..


"Individual nation state cannot deal with a crisis of this magnitude efficiently."

They absolutely can! Britain is now able to say "no more migrants are allowed into the UK", and it will now happen! That is a working long term solution for Britain.

This doesn't help OTHER EU countries of course. But why should Britain care? Those countries got themselves into this mess, so they can solve it on their own.


Exactly! Britain vehemently protested the US invasion of Iraq while France and other EU countries egged them on. \s


My impression is that the migrant problem developed itself especially because there was the idea that Europe has to accept migrants (which just invited them in more to a level that surpassed the capacity of individual nations).


>Individual nation state cannot deal with a crisis of this magnitude efficiently.

Not sure I buy that assertion. It actually seems easier for the handful of small political units directly affected to decide and act on than a giant EU bureaucracy. Which in fact is true in many other instances as well.


> EU has got to deliver

I think this is the most important misconception GB always had about the EU. It's a union which means, having a well tempered partnership should be the goal - not cherry-picking like the UK often did.

Or, to resemble a famous quote: Ask not, what the EU can do for you - ask what you can do for the EU!


As someone who voted to remain I have to say if I was from one of the other EU countries I would be happy with the result. Short term it's going to be difficult for the EU but if they can hold things together it'll be good for them to have gotten rid of a partner that isn't fully in and wants special privileges. That just creates friction.


100% with you. If contagion can be avoided, the EU got today its indepence day.


I can give you guys the Danish perspective.

We are not ready for further expansion of the EU project.

If this causes the EU to split in two parts: A smaller but stronger EU politcal/economical union and a broader but weak trade cooperation amogst european countries. Then Denmark will probably end up outside the political union.

We too had a number of referendums, more than one voting "no to EU" but always our representive polticians chose to negotiate a deal and create a new referendum which just scraped a yes.

The UK being out adds legitimacy to the "being out" case which EU opponents in Denmark and other places will use.

The dissatisfaction with the EU will much more visibile after this.


That is sad. Blaming the EU for what esentially is a global recession, a period of wealth redistribution fostered by globalization and technology, and massive demographic movements caused by multiple crisis around the world.

Getting out of the EU will not solve any of that. It could be that isolated countries will do better economicaly, and will be able to isolate themselves from the problems happening around them. It could be that you stay rich, or become richer, by closing your eyes and ears to the suffering happening around you, while the rest are left carrying the burden.

How sad.

The EU is the chance of Europe to be heard around the world, a great project being squandered by some right wingers opportunists.


That said, there is still a long way from the vote you mention (which basically boiled down to "do we want to give the EU more power?") to a full blown exit from the EU, which I don't imagine would garner nearly as much support as the other vote.

That said, I'm certainly not that happy with the EU myself (also Dane), and really think it needs to shape up, but that is more related to the abundance of literally retarded regulations that they force down upon member countries.


These are difficult problems without a good answer. Will the smaller independent nations be able to provide a better answer to these problems? I seriously doubt they will.


In the case of the euro crisis smaller independent nations have already proven that they can. The UK is not in the euro, it was hit as bad if not worse than any other EU nation during the financial crisis but because it still retained control of its currency and had a functioning central bank it has dealt with that crisis while the flaws of the euro are still unresolved and have effectively been brushed under the rug.

Make no mistake, if the EU had competently dealt with the issues with the euro the UK would not have left.


Yes, exactly.

USA, Australia, Canada, Japan ... all had their challenges with immigration and fiscal/monetary issues and have been able to find suitable solutions without their federation/country falling apart.


Since the EU does not have a common fiscal policy the challenges are not the same.


I don't think an undemocratic government is required to achieve freedom of movement across the EU states. The problem however is that this is the only choice we have right now (and I sincerely hope the brexit will lead to a more democratic EU, instead of a collapse). Personally I think an undemocratic central government limits your freedom a lot more than any other benefits that might come from supporting such a government.


> I sincerely hope the brexit will lead to a more democratic EU, instead of a collapse

I really hope so. Right now most decisions are taken by the Commission and the ECB, which are neither directly nor indirectly elected by the people. A bit more democracy would help here.

Although I'm a firm believer that too much democracy is bad: see the topic of the day, where old and/or provincial people (fact) just voted hundreds of rights away from the younger generation and from urban people.

I'm sure our media will widely publicize any and all troubles brits will face in the coming months / years by not being part of our union and this will hopefully help reduce support for the most troublesome nationalist parties.

On the other hand, the UK never really played fair with the rest of us, what with keeping their own coin and having "tax haven" rates. So I'm not entirely sorry that they left. I'm sad for their younger people, of which I personally met a few in many occasions. This was a decision made against their will, which is never a good thing.


> most decisions are taken by the Commission

Most decisions were. Post-2009, legislation has to go through Parliament. The Commission remains the initial proposal engine, and makes executive decisions on some things, but in reality most of the urgent matters are dealt with by the Council, i.e. the elected heads of state. Commissioners these days are just people saying "wouldn't be nice if we did this and that?" and then elected MEPs hammer out details and eventually decide whether it looks sensible or not. A lot of Directives are actually fairly-generic guidelines anyway and can be "interpreted" at local level.

> and the ECB

Central bank independence is widely considered a pillar of economic stability. I have my problems with the ECB (mainly that they are fairly powerless in real terms), but not about being nominated vs elected.

So uhm, this trope that the EU is full of "unelected" people is not really up to date, although it was true in the past.


You are right. I stand corrected.


> This was a decision made against their will

Are you talking about those too young to vote?


"Right now most decisions are taken by the Commission and the ECB, which are neither directly nor indirectly elected by the people. A bit more democracy would help here."

The ECB was modeled more or less after the German Central Bank who made the German Mark a huge success. There are good reasons to NOT make the central Bank "democratic" or a toy of politicians.


A great example of what you get when financial decisions made at the current political whim is the looming unfunded pension crisis in Chicago / Illinois, New Jersey. There are a lot of places right behind those as well. Super easy to make promises for when you no longer be around to deliver on... Esp if you need votes now.


Chicago and Illinois are terrible examples. Their collapse is due purely to graft and deals between insiders, and there has never been a change in whim. Financial decisions were made by unaccountable appointees for the benefit of their friends and relatives.


Funny enough, the Bundesbank has been criticising the ECB pretty harshly recently.


The EU "central government" is made of the union of the governments of the constituent states of the EU. I'm absolutely in favor of directly electing a EU government instead of using the intergovernmental approach, but who will convince state governments to accept that?


European citizens can already move freely between Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein which are members of the EEA, but not the EU.

There are also significant movement and trade freedoms with Switzerland, which isn't even a member of the EEA.


Being a part of the EEA and not the EU basically means that you accept most rules from the EU while not being able to influence anything.

The UK really has put themselves in a bad situation here. The main reason people voted to leave was immigration and to "take back power Brussels" and because they were convinced by the campaign that they could still get all the benefits of EU if they left. How will these people feel when they realise that they're going to need to join EEA which will mean the same level of immigration and less political power?


I've hard it said that Norway would easily be in the top EU countries when it comes to speedily and effectively implementing EU directives in law, if they qualified for the list. On the other hand, they remain outside the widely impopular agriculture system. Those things really highlight that "leave" in itself means nothing. Would the EU skeptics of the country be content if the UK only left the EU itself and remained with all the agreements?


A higher level of immigration potentially. The UK is outside the Schengen Area so has more controlled on immigration and movement.


I don't really understand the immigration situation. I know "uncontrolled EU migration" was the focal point of the leave campaign, but if the UK has not been part of the Schengen Area, then what controls did the UK lack?

Also, I thought the way immigration numbers were used in the debate was appalling. If I remember correctly:

- The UK deals with 300,000 immigrants per year, of which 50% from inside the EU.

- The immigration target set by the government was 20,000 per year.

- That means the UK government was already allowing 150,000 of non-EU migrants in the country. And for these migrants, the UK does have full control.

How come everyone in the UK accepted this rationale as a valid argument against the EU, instead of a failure of the UK government?


They had no control at all over EU migration, basically. They are not part of the Schengen Area, which means that they have their own visa regime (with respect to non-EU nationals), and they have systematic border controls (passport checks) at their borders (air, train and ferry terminals, since they don't have a Schengen-Area land border). The main content of the Schengen Agreement is the removal of systematic border controls.

The free movement of EU persons (and their families) holds in the whole EEA, independent of the Schengen Agreement. There are also EU rules about where refugees are settled, but the UK already had an opt-out from those.


Re-read the comment you replied to. If the UK already allows 150k non-EU immigrants to come in, the EU is not the problem?


I was responding to this:

> if the UK has not been part of the Schengen Area, then what controls did the UK lack?


Yeah that's something missed by so many (and hardly pointed out by Leave - what a crap campaign).

The EU is not the only way to get the good bits of European integration. It badly needs some competition. I wish the UK would create a competitor to the EU and start advertising the new union to EU member states.


> I would guess no small part of them will try to move to the remaining EU states.

You seem to underestimate the language barrier. I once talked to a few British young people about which country they would like to move to and I recall they mentioned New Zealand and the US, none of them mentioned any country in continental Europe and when I asked why I got confirmation that language issues matter.

That's one reason among many why Europe can't quite work as a federation as the USA do.


Since we're swapping anecdotes - I've personally known 4 monolingual English speakers, who've lived and worked in the EU (Spain, Switzerland and Germany) and got long fine. They weren't monolingual when they left.


I've got a Facebook feed full of friends discussing their destinations right now. Helsinki is a popular possibility.


Meanwhile everywhere else they learn English and most (with the exception of the French) are pretty good at it

But yeah, if they can't be bothered to learn another language...


If you already speak the universal language, there is little reason to learn another one.


There are areas in Europe where english is not that strong. If one lives in such an area it's a good idea to at least try to learn the language.


Well if you really think all you ever need to know is in the language you speak go for it.

Or never contemplate going somewhere else


English is my second language. I don't speak from self interest of provincial ignorance. Just being rational.


so wrong... when you live in non-english speaking country, you will be quite isolated from the rest of the world, even if your freinds speak english. it's just they won't speak english all the time...


In some regions in the South-West of France the majority of immigration comes from UK. In some small towns almost 1 out of 10 inhabitants is British [1]. Admitedly these are mostly old British people looking for some nice place to live with a lower cost of life than UK.

[1]: http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/document.asp?reg_id=4&ref_id=1... (French)


Indeed.

The top emigration destinations for British people are nit in the EU - the US, China and Australia.


Wow, China. That debunked that the language is the compelling reason.


Not really - China is very English-friendly, particularly in its business centres. Of course EU countries generally are as well.


Only in the main cities. Just outside the boundaries, and you will face some language barriers. Language barriers also with small to medium businesses interaction.

To be honest, it is not just a language barrier, how about cultural barrier and others.


Where in China have you visited? Did you venture outside the main touristy areas?


Business, rather than tourist areas. And no. Though I understand that English is a mandatory language in schools now.


Wow why would them want to emigrate to China?


Hong Kong, which speaks English or for English teaching jobs in China.


Hong Kong?


Pretty much everyone who is literate learns French, German or Spanish to a basic conversational level at high school FWIW.


EU was never about the people. It was and is all about banks and corporations. When they had enough for themselves and to provide enough scrapes for people to keep everyone happy all seemed well. The moment they started bailing in states to save banks and corporations (selling this as German 'austerity' fiscal policy) it all started cracking. So - to more and more 'Europeans' EU means a never ending future of joblessness and 'austerity' imposed on them by fat cats in Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, etc. It is unfortunate that extreme right wings and nazis are capitalizing on this frustration but somebody eventually would.


"It was and is all about banks and corporations"

Funny you say that. If I remembered correctly it was the UK that blocked a lot of the banking reforms because it wanted to protect their financial industry... Not the way around.

"EU means a never ending future of joblessness"

Weird independent projections in this European country talks about new 140.000 jobs in a period of three years and we got horrific terrorist attacks in March which has a big negative economic impact.

Maybe with regards of new jobs it has also something to do with political choices ?


> Funny you say that

And global warming means some places actually get colder. You can't cherry pick things out of context.

wrt political choices, it'd be nice to choose for ourselves, which is one reason for the Brexit. Brussels doesn't exactly lead the way wrt good immigration policy.


>It is unfortunate that extreme right wings and nazis are capitalizing on this frustration but somebody eventually would.

Somebody eventually would, and in 2008 it was considered of paramount importance that it not be extreme left-wingers and communists. Stomp the Communists, get the Nazis.


> A very large part (about 75%) voted to stay in Europe

Can you share the source of this data? I'd be interested in investigating.

I agree with everything that you said. Taking a glimpse at the history of the EU starting from the 2nd WW, Bretton Woods, Nixon Shock brought us 2008 is very well documented in Varoufakis latest book[1].

I travelled lately from Greece to Bulgaria and to Turkey. Having border controls really feels like 1980 and I believe it adds NOTHING to security. It's just a sign of hostility towards the neighbour country. Ideally borders should be like the ones the Swiss have with Austria or Austrians with Czechs.

But unlike technology, society progresses in cycles... My hope is that brussels will get re-shaped in a more democratic way, stop abiding to stupid rules and start looking after the prosperity of the remaining members of the Eurozone. But doesn't look good :-(

[1] "And the week suffer what they must?", goodreads URL: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24886497-and-the-weak-su...


> I travelled lately from Greece to Bulgaria and to Turkey. Having border controls really feels like 1980 and I believe it adds NOTHING to security. It's just a sign of hostility towards the neighbour country. Ideally borders should be like the ones the Swiss have with Austria or Austrians with Czechs.

UK border controls, though, probably aren't going to change much. They never had open borders, although they did - and will probably continue to - have mutual agreements on somewhat less strict border formalities with most Schengen countries (eg. a national ID is enough to enter, no passport required, but you still have to go through passport control).


  no passport required
That's true. But I strongly advise to use your passport (if it's a biometric one) instead of the id card if you come from an eligeable country. Especially when entering the UK in Heathrow.

A biometric passport of those countries gets you through the automated passport control gates, which makes the whole process significantly faster an much less painful.


You realize the new EU ID cards also have biometric features? The German one, for example, is a full eID even.


Maybe. But to my recollection a passport is required to use those gates.

If I recall correctly:

  Minimum age requirements; kids are not allowed
  A biometric passport
  A passport from an eligable coutry. Essentially the EU, Island, Norway, Switzerland and potentially a few more


Right, right. I totally forgot because the border controls in the UK didn't look like the ones Turkey has in place.

Bulgaria (which is 40k away from my town) had very lose controls. They had been tightened lately, I'm guessing because of the refugee crisis.


Very tight now in Bulgaria. Just passed in, never been so strict there.


According to the polls, the 18-34 age group were mostly in favour of remaining, whereas 45+ where mostly in favour of leaving. There are other divisions across the country - Scotland and London were distinctly in favour of remaining, and economically deprived areas tended to favour leaving. The BBC has a good summary of the results here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36616028


> According to the polls

Let me stop you right there.


Wait and See. Uk is not out of the EU yet, nothing has been triggered officialy in either side and the frenchs like me who remember the 29 May 2005 referendum http://pa.oxfordjournals.org/content/59/1/98.abstract knows that referendum results can be forgotten and ignored quite easily.


It's sad, but it's also not a given that this is bad for the EU. The EU today is much too occupied with staying where they are, instead of thinking about where they're going. The leave camp offered a story of future prosperity, making things better than they were before. The remain camp's argument reduced to "things are as good as they can be, and leaving will make it worse". The remain camp's future was definitely bleaker. Maybe this vote can galvanize the EU leaders into thinking about the future, instead of narrowly focusing on maintaining the present.

What the EU needs is a story about its future identity. What should the european values be? How do we bring more of those values to the EU's citizens? In other words: how do we make the EU better for those already in it, instead of just talking about how to preserve the status quo? Unless and until the EU develops a vision for future prosperity, it will keep facing "no" votes from its citizens. People want to believe their children will be better off than themselves, and they'll vote for anyone who promises them that. Who can blame them?


Well that was unexpected but I guess not that unexpected since only British citizens were asked.

If all the people living in the UK regardless of citizenship were asked the result would have been different.

I wasn't allowed to vote even though I've been living in the UK over 5 years since I'm not a British citizen for example.

Edit: if you're going to down-vote at least explain your reasoning.


Without considering the result of the referendum, do you know of any other country that would allow visiting citizens from another country to vote on something so serious?

Just for point of discussion since since you only mention living in the UK for over 5 years but if someone had resident for 6 years or over then they could apply to become a UK citizen. For most nationalities (but not US I seem to remember) you could become a joint citizen so wouldn't really have to give anything up in the process.

If becoming a UK citizen is not something someone aspires to then surely a point could be made that that person is not invested in the future of the UK.

If you've only been here for 5 years and want(ed) to become a citizen in the future then you have my sympathies.

For disclosure, I'm British, pro-immigration and voted to remain in the EU; I feel sad today.


> Without considering the result of the referendum, do you know of any other country that would allow visiting citizens from another country to vote on something so serious?

Yes, UK European Union Referendum, 2016. Resident Irish and Commonwealth citizens were allowed to vote.

Scotland Independence Referendum 2014. Resident EU citizens also were allowed to vote.


I applied for citizenship already once but since I couldn’t prove I was in the country the entire time during my first year since my employment was a bit random at the time I got rejected.

My only option is to wait another year so in can prove it even though if they really wanted they could probably check their own records to see my immigration activity.

It's quite difficult to get citizenship I know someone who got a 10 page letter citing a lot of random legal clauses for why she got rejected.

Hell it looked almost like they were trying too hard and felt borderline racist to me but I could be imagining things.


That's interesting. I am in a similar situation as you. But I have been living in the UK a lot longer (since 2005, so 11 years). I'm 20 years old, so I have now been living in the UK for a much longer proportion of my life than in any other country. It's annoying that I don't get to vote in something as important as this.

I'm sure there are plenty of British citizens who are expats living all over Europe, and despite the possibility that they have been living outside the UK for a large proportion of their life they are still eligible to vote. Perhaps I am wrong and there is some rule against this, so please do correct me if that is the case. But if it's not, then how is this fair? Why do they get a say in the decisions a country is making without being a resident of that country?

I will most certainly be attempting to apply for citizenship. Unfortunately the prospect of being rejected, for something which will quite likely be very random and illogical (likely designed to catch as many people out as possible), makes me worried. From the (admittedly quick) research that I have performed to date, it seems that just the act of applying requires a significant sum of money (around a £1000?). If my application gets rejected, then will that money essentially be gone?

On top of all that, I am still a student, it's not easy to part with £1000 under these circumstances.


For what it's worth in the case of these 2 British expats living outside the UK for long periods they lost a legal challenge against their ineligibility.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/28/british-expa...

Good luck with your citizenship application and don't be put off, if you've been here since 2005 I'm sure it will be OK.


But why on earth would you have bothered applying for citizenship since being an EU citizen already gives you the same rights. I think if people had actually thought ahead of time that brexit would win you would have seen a huge uptake in citizenship applications.


I would guess that would come down to how you view the EU.

If you view it as a single nation state or as group of cooperating partner nations.


As a UK citizen I live in Spain and I would never dream of having a say in how the Spanish people should live their lives.


Why not? As an Irish citizen living in the Uk I get to vote in British elections and frankly would find it annoying if I couldn't. Note that I can't vote in Irish elections, but British people resident in Ireland can.


It's their country, not mine. I didn't know about your right to vote in elections but I'm more comfortable with that than I would be about you having a say in the EU referendum.


Sorry I don't get you. I was able to vote in the EU elections, as were commonwealth citizens. What I was taking issue with was the insinuation that it is ridiculous to think that EU citizens should have been able to vote.


OK, I misunderstood. But, to answer your question I didn't intend to imply it was ridiculous but I don't think any EU citizen (regardless of national citizenship) should have a say in the UK's membership of the EU, not least because they would be somewhat biased.

Just my opinion.


It's the common market. Safety regulations on microwaves are EU wide. Is that that big of deal?

(For Euro countries things are big different, but still.)


Yes, the thought that an English person might have a say in how foreigners should live their lives is unthinkable.


I don't know what the actual rules were regarding eligibility, but I am a permanent resident of the UK and not a British citizen, and I voted yesterday.

So some non British citizens were able to vote.


why would they allow foreigners to vote whether or not to kick foreigners out? bizarre.


See that's the problem I'm still being treated as a foreigner even though I've been living here for years and have been contributing to the British NHS service, paying British taxes and in all generating wealth for the country.

All the obligation but I don't get a say on what my new home country should do? Does that seem right to you?


Sorry, but you are a foreigner. Your not a British citizen. In Australia we have people who are Permanent Residents. They have rights to work in Australia, but they are not citizens. They don't get to vote in elections.

It appears to me that as an EU Citizen in Britain you are the equivalent of a PR.

I'm not sure why you feel that the franchise should be further extended to cover people who work in the UK, but are not citizens.

The EU is not a political union. It is an economic union. This has been the problem from the start. People want it both ways when it suits them.


Voting is a privilege of being a citizen.

At least you get access to a bunch of benefits thanks to the UK (used to) being part of EU. I'm a non EU citizen working in the UK and I don't get any of that if I lose my job. I don't have any problem with not being able to vote.

Although funny enough, my spouse is Australian, and being a commonwealth citizen, he can vote here


Why the hell should commonwealth citizens get a vote and not EU citizens?


Them's the rules. General elections in the UK are open to British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens residing in the UK. As set out in the Representation of the People Act 1918.


It's perfectly fine. Just go through the naturalization process that is available to you, swear allegiance to the Queen and you can have your say in the country's future.

Being a citizen is more than being a tax payer or generating wealth.


Isn’t it absurd that as someone who lives somewhere and pay their taxes you can’t have a say on local politics, just because you don’t have a piece of paper that says you have the right nationality? As a French I can live 10 years outside of the country and still vote for the mayor of Paris. You don’t even need to live in Europe to vote for European elections if you have that paper that says you’re “French”.


Or just be colonised by the British at some point in your past..


You've been very unlucky in that the referendum came before you could become a citizen, but I do believe it is right that the poll was restricted to citizens and certain classes of other permanent residents[0].

[0] https://fullfact.org/europe/who-can-vote-eu-referendum/


You contributed to the British NHS and could use their services. It doesn't make you British. Just like buying any other service usually doesn't make you a shareholder in the company which provides it.


I think it would be worth (re?)considering what should meaningfully constitute citizenship. Allegiance to your monarch? Participating in communities? Bringing your country's hono(u)r and values everywhere you go? Committing to a certain number of years of residency? Going to war for some politician's economic or expansionist dreams? Feeling more connected to other citizens who vote with their fear and raw emotions, rather than to some reasonable foreigner?

As it stands, the definition of citizenship from my own practical point of view is, "You've been a permanent resident for long enough, have picked up the language in the process, know a few history facts and the National Anthem, and are willing to give up your previous country's citizenship for us".

With all due respect, that's a lousy set of criteria for whether or not I get to vote in a country that I care about, whose people, policies and politics I follow closely, and that I consider a long-term home for at least a good portion of my life.

Being a citizen is definitely more than being a taxpayer. But then, look at what your criteria would be, and apply that same standard to born citizens. Being born in a certain place, or to a certain set of parents, is obviously a much better criterion to judge people and their connection to a country, is it not?

Obviously that's what people have decided on and continue to uphold. I just find it hard to follow that reasoning.


You aren't fulfilling the obligation of carrying on a UK citizen's genes---states are, to an extent, a mediator between parents and children.


You want to exercise rights without fully committing?


this is how it works anywhere in the world, including your home country, wherever you come from.

and it actually makes sense, citizenship brings a lot of rights.


No it's not. As an Irish citizen resident in the Uk I can vote in Uk elections but not Irish ones.


>..only British citizens were asked.

I'm Irish and I voted, and my wife is from an Asian commonwealth country and she voted. Neither of us are British citizens


A couple of Canadian friends of mine living in England were able to vote. No, not only British citizens were asked.


What is weird is that english is the de facto language throughout the EU. There is so much integration that the new regulation will have to effectively re-establish the rights lost by brexit. UK will have to essentially become switzerland. I cannot see it being differently without people from both sides literally rioting.


Switzerland had to agree to freedom of movement of persons in order to get a free trade deal with the EU. The UK, on the other hand, is flat out opposed to freedom of movement, so it seems unlikely they'll manage to get the same conditions as the Swiss with regards to trade.


The Leave campaign was very contradictory on this point. They wanted to prevent EU citizens from freely moving to the UK, but they also claimed they could still get access to the common market like Norway or Switzerland. But you can't. They come together.

And if they did decide to get both, they'd end up fairly close to the current situation, but without a vote in EU matters. It's possible the Leave campaign may have mislead the voters on this point.


The UK may well not exist for much longer, get used to talking about England please.

Two and a half years is a long time, you may well find that enough people have sort of forgotten about EEA free movement of people requirements by the time it comes to actually leave EU and gain membership of EEA. Remember, 'enough people' is only about 500,000 or so, and that will be in the context of a general election.


> The UK, on the other hand, is flat out opposed to freedom of movement

50% of the UK is flat out opposed to freedom of movement. In fact I'd wager it's even less than that since freedom of movement wasn't the only talking point of Leave.


It wasn't? It sure was the point that got the most coverage, at least here on the mainland. Other than "the EU is corrupt because we don't control it", what were the Leave side's arguments?


Freedom of movement seemed like the main issue, well "immigrants" really. It could also be a problem for people voting to remain. Indeed we weren't in the Schengen Area say if you wanted less movement within Europe then Remain could have been the right vote.

The other big issue was the money we pay to Europe which was exaggerated; has the falling pound wiped out that 'saving' yet?


Actually the UK is likely to become less than Switzerland in terms of integration with Europe.

There are many treaties between Switzerland and EU, and after they slammed the door I just don't see EU countries accepting the same deals with UK.


"What is weird is that english is the de facto language throughout the EU."

I recently visited the swiss/french border region around Geneve. I can assure you that english was not really a good option for communicating there outside of airport.


The outright disdain shown for democracy here is shocking. The EU is a completely undemocratic institution with a huge amount of control over member nations. Having an organization I have no say in control my life and my country is insane. Especially one that threatens sanctions against member nations that elect "wrong" governments, where "wrong" means "opposes any EU policies". The US wouldn't be united if the citizens of the individual states had no vote in the federal government.


You do realise MEPs were democratically elected, yes?


MEPs belong to EU political parties, and serve the interests of the EU, not the member nation electing them. And again, having people in France elect representatives to create laws in the UK is absurd.


Freedom of movement is an ideal to aspire to, but maybe the reality we live in now is that immigration needs to be managed to maintain social cohesion. People need time to stop thinking of themselves as British or German first but rather European. Eastern European countries need time to develop. The Eurozone needs time to stabilize. Eventually I think the EU will get there, but maybe for now, the survival of the European project depends on reconciling ideals with realities.


People need time to stop thinking of themselves as British or German first but rather European.

This. But I will add that it is mainly the English that do not consider themselves part of Europe. You'll find much more European identity on the mainland, or north of Hadrian's wall.


> People need time to stop thinking of themselves as British or German first but rather European.

Things like this is what's pushing people to brexit. 20 year old sheltered college liberals who never saw life outside their rich parent private houses telling people what to think and what is best for them. People are tired of being called -ists and -phobes, and this vote result expresses the sentiment.

Just because some people think globalism is cool, doesn't mean everyone wants it. Globalism isn't some universal goal everyone should be moving to. There are tons and tons of people that don't want globalization, and they were silent for a long time, but their patience is running out. UK is not some kind of exception, same thing on the rise is in US and many other countries too.


The reality is that free movement of people is the core value, principle and the foundation of the EU as we know it.

If Britain has a problem with it, then goodbye Britain, don't let the door hit you on the way out.


Develop how/where exactly? What are the Eastern European countries missing development wise that's hindering the EU?


Economically develop. Wages in eastern Europe are a fraction of western Europe.


That's true about wages (although some are close to South Europe at least). How is that hindering the EU though? Do you mean workers migrating for higher pay? Is that not, economically, beneficial for both parties?


Overall for a country it can be beneficial to have immigrants, but it can be hurtful to low-skilled workers in that country to have to compete against the foreign workers. Higher skilled workers usually have less to worry about as connections, language skills, and industry-specific experience give them an incumbent advantage. I realize one of the founding goals of freedom of movement was to allow workers to be able to move to countries with greater opportunities, and that that is overall a good thing. But politically speaking, how do you ensure that you don't alienate large swathes of the working class, and make sure that their needs are attended to as well? As globalization and technology displace more and more jobs, it becomes very easy for people to fall into the trap of joblessness. They then fuel the radical right movements that are springing up across Europe.


This is a conundrum indeed, managing the line between what makes sense (economically or otherwise) and what's acceptable to an population. The coming wave of automation related job displacement is gonna make immigration related job loss look like a small thing. I keep getting back to (forms of) basic income when thinking about how these scenarios would play out.


But the difference is the US is a political union and the EU is not. In fact truthfully the EU is flawed as the 'freedom of movement' implies political union, which it is not. And this is what has lead to brexit.

The euro is flawed[1] for similar reasons. The economies of southern Europe are too different and its impossible to adjust as the flow of labour is limited due to cultural and language difficulties.

[1] http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/revenge-of-the-o...


> Especially I am sad for the young generation in the UK. A very large part (about 75%) voted to stay in Europe, and this future is taken from them

The undertones in this point imply that votes from the young generation is worth more than others.


As an older person, I'd say the younger generation is worth more than others. I want to prioritize young people's futures over mine. The opposite -- sacrificing the next generation's well-being for mine is downright criminal and an abuse of power.

Of course, it's not a dichotomy. I think we can both have reasonable welfare.


I'm talking strictly about the voting weight of an individual.


I took it to imply that the youth will have to live with the consequences of this vote for a much longer time period than the majority of folks who voted to leave.


Which has the same consequence. Alternatively, they'll have longer to change things than the older generation too.


I like your alternatively. Thank you for the optimism.


There is a saying I can't fully remember about the nobility of an old man planting a tree, knowing he will never sit in its shade.

At which point should you switch from trying to shape your generation's future to trying to shape the next one's?


They aren't, but they should be worth more, since long term policies affect them more.


Isnt that exactly what the people do not want? I for one moved away from the EU, also because i did not like how my country was slowing losing its sovereignty and with that their traditions and national proud (in a good sense, not the nazi one they have a lot of that right now).


"The greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects; In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings."

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/t...


The US was a dream to follow, but it has also become a nightmare. The US federal state has become quite horrible over the years as well.

My conclusion is that current day democracy does not work at the scale of hundreds of millions of people. The US, the EU, Russia and China are all examples of that in different ways.

We need a new form of democracy which scales better than the one we have today. Only then can we try to build sustainable unions on this scale.

I have no answer to what that would look like though. I can only guess at some of the components.


I think it would greatly help if people who vote were required to demonstrate that they understand the underlying facts to some degree. In addition to making sure everyone has the means to freely access and learn these facts. Once you know the facts, it's much easier to draw correct conclusions.

On the other hand, democratic elections as we know them skip the basic-understanding part entirely and go straight to the debate, denounce & convince part. Having that would be fine if people actually had a solid base from which to judge these arguments.

Personally, I wouldn't mind if there were a test similar to driver's license tests, far less involved but still a bit of a hurdle, and the voter base shrinking to a much smaller but on average much better informed populace.

Again, this has to come with completely free, government-sponsored access to time, opportunity and information for any citizen, so that even the poorest homeless person has a reasonable chance to take and pass that test. In that sense, it's a fragile system that can (maybe too) easily be rigged against the poor and struggling by educated and potentially malicious actors.


>Once you know the facts, it's much easier to draw correct conclusions.

I disagree. Facts can and do often get in the way or confuse people - and oversimplifying the facts for mass consumption has its own problems.

What if the facts are data/statistics? Depending how they get massaged you can have wildly different conclusions and both still be "right". Or voters not willing to investigate the data themselves (or lack the ability to perform statistical analysis) could be easily influenced by how the data is presented, if the data is presented in a manner meant to make drawing the "favored" solution easier.

What if the information presented is meant to mislead people with facts? Such as the old "ban dihydrogen monoxide" campaign.

I can't remember the city (state?), but they held a vote to ban Uber. The way the phrasing was to accept/decline the ordinance to outlaw Uber was so confusingly worded I read it several times and still wasn't sure if I was supposed to vote "yes" or "no" on the ordinance... was it saying "yes" to the new ordinance to overrule/replace the old ordinance or was it voting "yes" to keep the old ordinance? If I voted "yes" was I voting to outlaw Uber or allow Uber? I have a feeling it was intentionally made as confusing as possible.


How is China an example that large scale democracy does not work?


Russia? Yeah, right.


We're actually still in Europe. We're just not in the EU. EU != Europe.


Canada and Latin/South America have been fighting the same fight for ages. Doesn't work. "Europe" = EU, "America" = US. Sometimes even "Africa" = South Africa (depending on the topic). It's a large enough territory and it has the name of the continent in its official name. Good luck trying to correct people.


In Europe is more like "Plays the FIFA Euro cup" = "Europe" :p


Technically the European Championship is run by UEFA, which isn't directly part of the FIFA (but recognized by it).

Also, by that logic Israel is part of Europe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA#Members

Though I guess Israel must be European if it's also in the Eurovision: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_in_the_Eurov...

Upon closer inspection participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is restricted to countries that are members of the European Council or members of the European Broadcasting Union: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Broadcasting_Union#Me...

Here's an idea: a map of countries overlaid with membership in the various "EU" groups (i.e. including EC, EEA etc), membership in UEFA, membership in the EBU and participation in the Eurovision Song Contest (per year). That should answer the question of Europeanness of individual countries once and for all.


I found this image[1] that shows the overlap of Council of Europe, European Free Trade Association, European Economic Area, European Union, Euro Zone, EU customs Union, Schengen Area. Unfortunately my source is a tweet that didn't mention original source.

[1] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ClsjOjxUkAEldmL.jpg:large


Yeah, I saw that a while back. It's what inspired my quip.

Now just add UEFA, EBU and Eurovision ;)


> "America" = US.

Correct. The way to refer to North and South American countries as a group is "the Americas".

Incidentally, the USA is the only country that has the word "America" as part of its official name.


In politics, I don't think bigger is better. I'd even say it's dangerous.


This is what we should be talking more about.

Once a political unit gets too large things get weird. There exists an optimum complexity for political units for them to function effectively or you get fragmentation.


The whole thing needs to be refactored.


Bah. Thats the kumbaya message the champagne left have been pushing for several decades at this point, while the finance right have been fleecing everyone under the guise of "one market".


> the richer parts have to give to the poorer

That's what's different monetary-policy-wise. California, for instance get's like 10 cents on the dollar back from its federal tax burden. Those 90 cents are used to shore up economically (and perhaps other kinds of) backward states like Mississippi. Nothing like this happened in the EU. Germany keeps a lions share of revenue and sends a tiny trickle back to the EU. This was never going to last long. Britain has probably only hastened the inevitable.


You have this backwards; California sends the federal government $1.00 and receives 90 cents in return:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/which-st...


That last paragraph is the clincher for me. A 60 year old is going to see maybe the next 20 years of long term effects pass them by in their old age. A 20 year old is going to see a lifetime of the consequences of this split, with special emphasis in their youth and entry in the job market and whatnot. Very very sad that the future of today's youth was just put in jeopardy. It crushes me to think of the hardships ahead.


> The freedom of movement for European citizens was not only "convenient" but in fact an important civil right.

Borders exist so the concept of freedom of movement is not absolute. Now, maybe that's a bad thing and we should abolish all borders all around the World. I feel that would be unreasonable though, but it's probably debatable.


How did you get to "absolute" and "all borders around the World", from "an important civil right" that we granted outselves within the regions we control?


To be faire the UK never totally adhered to the EU, they didn't adopt the euro, they are not part of the Schengen Area and they were against a lot of decisions and slowed the the EU contruction. I see this break-up as an opportunity for the EU to grow faster without the UK slowing it down and with 2 leaders at its head (France and Germany). And anyway, economically speaking, the UK will probably make a treaty with the EU that will be similar to the current situation. The danger is that it gives ideas to quit the EU to other members.


The UK was one of the biggest proponents of the eastern expansion (2004 expansion) to take in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, etc. They were such big proponents that they didn't stipulate any national limitations on new members working in the UK immediately after accession, like most existing EU countries did. A move that, at the time, UK elite thought was illiberal.

The UK, little more than 10 years ago, was pro-immigration via EU in a way that seems inconceivable now. The UK's anti-immigration response today probably owes something to those decisions. Turns out those other EU countries knew a thing or two about immigration after all.


> The EU is not only about trade regulations, but about a continent who had a not very peaceful history finally growing together.

I feel like the EU has been becoming more of a ruling political power than just the trade regulator it began as. I think the recent increase in EU laws is what set this into motion. I agree that the EU is beneficial for trade, but I don't understand why they've started trying to make political moves impacting citizens day to day lives


> I would guess no small part of them will try to move to the remaining EU states.

Ironically, that might not be as easy as it sounds. Closing the borders works both ways.


The problem is that the EU countries have a long history of fighting against each other and their cultural differences are too big to keep them together. There isn't the sentimental feeling of America in the EU, people don't feel themselves as European and since the current situation in EU is bad, the feeling of being independent has grown a lot.


I beg to differ. The more people from any single European country travel across Europe, the more they figure out that there are almost zero cultural differences between their countries.

Things that people used to call 'typically French/German/Italian/Spanish/Slovak/Greek' are increasingly seen as typically European. I can't back this statistically, but virtually all the people I met in my life who have lived in at least two EU countries think this way. I honestly can't think of a single person who I've known and thinks otherwise and I should know because this topic almost always comes in discussions when you get to know somebody.

Of course, there are some minor cultural differences, but these are not particularly larger than the ones found in the US, India, China, Brazil, or the Russian Federation for that matter.


> The more people from any single European country travel across Europe, the more they figure out that there are almost zero cultural differences between their countries.

Have you actually travelled in Europe? Germany is radically different from France; both are radically different from the UK, and let's not even start to talk about Eastern Europe.


Germany, France and the UK are very very similar compared to the US, North Africa, and the further reaches of the Union (e.g. Bulgaria). Asia might as well be on a different planet.

The degree of deference to authority, the specifics of the rules of the road, the level of interference of governance - these things vary, but they're within a spectrum. Things go off the wall different outside Europe.


Compared to the U.S., things go off the wall in Europe, and — as you say — Asia is just another planet entirely.


Well, I'm living abroad and in my experience I can tell you that there are remarkable cultural differences, specially related to working habits.


There are differences, but the similarities are bigger IMHO. I say this with the experience of having lived extensively in the UK, US, Sweden, work in the NL, and travelled to 40 countries on all continents.

The difference in culture between the UK and other Northern European countries is often exagurated. Many say that the UK is more like the US. In my experience this really isn't true.


You can feel European and (as in my case) Danish at the same time, and I do. It's not mutually exclusive.

I think the problem with EU is primarily one of communication. The member states should do more to inform the public of what is going on in the EU, and EU should do more to avoid negotiations behind closed doors (because how can you ever trust a process like that?).


> You can feel European and (as in my case) Danish at the same time, and I do. It's not mutually exclusive.

No, it's not mutually exclusive but the order matters. IMO American first see themselves as American while here a French guy will see him as French and then maybe European. That's the sentiment I'm referring to.


As a federalist of egalitarian persuasion born south of the Mason-Dixon, I assure you that I am Northerner before I am 'Murican.


> When ... in one state of the US, you are ... granted [a] lot of fundamental rights and freedoms. In my eyes, the EU was very much about the same thing.

That is absolutely what the UK has never wanted from the EU. I would wager a good chunk of the Remain voters would have voted against a 'US of E'.


Freedom of movement isn't totally correlated to EU membership, though


> "no arbitrary geographic borders limiting the freedom and the rights of the individual"

Wouldn't that be nice? Too bad no one stops to think about the rest of the world...


The primary difference between the States and the EU is that the federal government is checked by the power of the state governments. The EU has no such check.


It is good news for Europe (and bad news for the UK).

You don't have to be a fan of the bureaucratic EU but leaving was madness. They have now all the disadvantages and no advantage. The UK will likely have to pay MORE to the EU than before if they want to keep access to the EU market (see Norway who pays more per head already while not being a EU member).

"The City" will lose big time: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-03-16/london-co...

And the EU gets a chance to restructure. A good day for Europe and a bad day for the UK. Would be insane if Scotland and Northern Ireland now want to leave the UK.

Biggest Idiot of them all: Camerone. Wanting to leave the EU for years, then becoming an advocate of staying. He got what he asked for. At least he took the consequences. But all in all an idiot extraordinaire.


> Would be insane if Scotland and Northern Ireland now want to leave the UK.

One of the larger vote swingers for Scotland staying part of the UK was that they would have had to renegotiate their membership with the EU from a weak position. Scotland overwhelmingly voted remain in the EU referendum last night, so arguably the SNP now have a valid mandate to hold another Scottish referendum on membership of the UK.

It's like they had a housemate they didn't really like, but who took them to all of the cool parties. Now they won't even get to go to the parties anymore, and I don't blame them for wanting to move out.

Arguably London is larger both in population and economy than Scotland and Wales combined, and also overwhelmingly voted remain. If there is a referendum on whether London should leave England, I know which way I'm voting..


I would dearly love to vote to uproot the contents of the M25 and place it somewhere picturesque and better connected, perhaps on the foothills of the Alps.


> "A very sad day for everyone in Europe."

The unskilled, or partially skilled working class in Britain had to compete with immigrants from poorer EU countries for jobs and the immigrants also drove down wage rates.

The leadership of the EU is able to dictate treaties to member countries, but the leadership (unlike the President of the US) is not elected by the people, but rather appointed by elites. In other words, the leadership of the EU had no mandate to govern by the electorate of the EU. This favored policies that favored elites, but not the working class.

The rise of Trump and of Sanders was caused by the Republican and Democratic political elites and media elites that ignored the suffering of the working class. Working class in the US has to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs while at the same time having their wages depressed.

It is against the law to hire illegal immigrants, but they are hired anyway.

Meanwhile firms are exporting jobs to Mexico, China etc.

Recently Carrier air conditioners closed a factory in Indiana and moved the jobs to Mexico. There is a video on youtube with the Carrier leadership acting terribly towards the factory workers in Indiana. Only Donald Trump spoke out against Carrier exporting jobs.

Trump may not be able to "fix" the problems, but at least he's not a member of the Republican or Democratic elites that simply ignore the plight of the working class.

The UK withdrawal from the EU was most about economics for the working class and lack of autonomy for voters. The situation was created by British political and media elite who by and large simply ignored the complaints of the working class.

PM Cameron had the hubris to call for the referendum because he that it was impossible that he would lose.

The EU leadership and the leadership of individual EU member countries need to start listening more to the citizens, the electorate and less to their clueless elites.

They need to take into account the job concerns of the working class in member countries instead of just ignoring them.

This is all probably because of a structural problem in the EU that makes it basically not a democratic institution elected by the people. If the EU has any chance of a successful union, they need to ensure that all leadership offices are elected, much as they are in the US.


The EU grants rights; I have read your charter. In the US, our rights are inalienable and not granted by government; big difference.


I am not a lawyer nor a native english speaker, but in both cases we have a central power which limits the powers of the constituting states. In the USA you have the constitution, in Europe its the treaty of Lisbon. And there is a high European court which is the counterpart to the US supreme court. So I am not sure what the fundamental difference is you are referring to.


In the US, our rights are inalienable

As long as you are white. They fixed that later with a few amendments. If you served a prison sentence you may have lost a few as well.

Seems like this inalienable rights can be taken away arbitrarily is what I'm saying.


Both the EU and US structures of individual rights are based on philosophies of pre-existing, fundamental rights; both the EU and US have governing documents which establish legal rights grounded in those concepts of pre-existing, fundamental rights.


it's not sad, it's a good news. The EU was only about trade regulations, nobody is thinking that we are EU but only think I'm French, I'm German, etc. How do you want that this is working? US have done nothing special, they only use the same money, and it's still splitted in "nation" then it's the same, different rules, different culture (rage against Spanish in some state, rage against black in other). We are not united, we are all alone in this war. When people will start to say "I'm a citizen of the world" and stop thinking that they are "French, US, etc." maybe the world will go better.


>they only use the same money, and it's still splitted in "nation" then it's the same, different rules, different culture

Have you ever actually been to the US?


This was your best argument? I don't have been there then I can't have a judgment? Do you really thinks that people from Las Vegas take care of other states when they get all the water from other state? are you telling my that this is a global country where problem are solved in a global manner? No. This is true everywhere, even in UK you have not the same culture in the nord than the south.. check the result of the votes... even in my small country you can see the difference of culture between big town and small town.


You tried to compare the US to Europe impying that US states are functionally equivalent to countries of Europe, sharing only currency but differing in laws and society (and, weird example you gave, the people they hate). Cultural differences in the US are largely regional, usually having little to do with the borders of a given state. The federal government is made up of officials elected and appointed from all states and is governing over all of the US. Laws enacted by Congress aren't then approved or enforced by state legislatures, they are decided by those elected to the national legislative body by all citizens of the US. So yes, this is a country where matters are largely decided at the federal level. You overestimate the influence and power of state (and local) governments.

Maybe you'll visit some day and see what it's actually like!


I can visit, I will probably do it but this will not teach me everything's in two weeks or more. What you didn’t understand (my bad explanation) with my statement is that people can live in a big country, have almost the same rules, votes globally etc. there still will be a huge difference between culture of people (rich, poor, etc.) It’s why the EU is falling down, everybody does not pull at the same rope. People still use history to say that they are a country when we are just the same, human mixed by a million of years of sex. It’s just a loop, “country” like cells get bigger, fall and split. Let’s do it again and hope that we can do things globally.


That wasn't an argument, it was a question. One that was asked because what you said seems so ignorant that the best explanation for why you'd say it is that you've not been to the US and have no real understanding of how its government works in practice.


You can go to a country and still don't understand how he works. You can also live in a country and still don't understand how he is working it's not a proof of something. There's a lot of debate between local power and government power but hey I don't know how it work. Thanks for the nice exchange and the arguing.


> The freedom of movement for European citizens

UK was not part of Schengen. As such, it was always more difficult to go to/from the UK. Foreigners having a Schengen visa (work permit) still need an expensive Visa to go to UK.

Then there's the pound instead of having the Euro.

What was more easy is _permanently_ moving from UK to e.g. Spain (which happens a lot). Finding work in another EU country and being able to live there without too much hassle.


That's false, Schengen only regulates border checks, EU citizens had the same right to move to the UK as UK citizens moving to a Schengen area country.


> UK was not part of Schengen. As such, it was always more difficult to go to/from the UK. Foreigners having a Schengen visa (work permit) still need an expensive Visa to go to UK.

UK opting out of Schengen has nothing to do with it, EU citizens are visa-exempted and I as a European have traveled to the UK many times without a visa.


Travelling without a visa is not freedom of movement. That's visa waiver.


Completely false. EU citizens do not enter the UK on a visa waiver. They enter exactly the same way as British citizens. (i.e., show your passport, go through with no questions). A US citizen enters the UK on a visa waiver. The duration of their stay is limited, and there are limits on what they may do while they are in the UK (most importantly, no working).

Please, after all the lies of the leave campaign, can we stop casually spreading utterly false information?


The thing is, even "informed beleavers" don't know they are spreading misinformation. A lot of them have no idea what they're talking about. Most of them don't even know the EU of 2016 is different from the EU of 2008.

Ignorance is a terrible, terrible thing.


> Completely false. EU citizens do not enter the UK on a visa waiver.

That is literally what i was saying.


i'm confused. I can go from Copenhagen to Stockholm to Helsinki to Berlin to Paris to Brussels without once being asked to show ID but the moment I tried to go the UK I had to show ID. Not having to show ID = freedom of movement. Having to show ID = a chance to reject your movement = not free


Fly between Berlin and Paris, and your luggage and ID will be checked at the airport multiple times. Not because you're not free to move, but to check you and your luggage for security concerns, and sometimes even precisely to check if you're free to move (e.g. flying from the US to Germany as a European, how does one know you're not a Nigerian who has a tourist visa to enter the US, but no visa to enter Germany, rather than a German returning home from the US? By checking your ID)

Having to show ID or getting inspected doesn't violate the notion of free movement in the way that this term is used.

It's just that it's not commonly done in most modes of transport between most borders, e.g. cars between the Netherlands and Germany. But the UK is not alone in this, take the eurolines like I have half a dozen times (a bus network commonly used by poorer people, including poor immigrants) from e.g. the Netherlands to France and you're guaranteed to run into checkpoints. And if you've got the right ID for which there is freedom of movement, you're free to move.


"Freedom of Movement" in EU context does not mean "I can travel without border checkpoints". It means that you have to right to travel to, to work and to stay in all EU member countries. Yes, the UK checks your passport and luggage when entering the country, that doesn't mean that they can deny those rights from you if you are an EU citizen.


> it was always more difficult to go to/from the UK

This is not true. You obviously haven't travelled many times from UK to other european countries (or viceversa)...


What? I haven't been stopped on a border a single time while travelling within Schengen.

At the same time, crossing the Channel tunnel or taking the Eurostar means having to get through border control, handing out your passport and sometimes, if they feel like it, having to answer questions on what you're going to do in the UK.

Taking the Eurostar from Brussels to Lille (because it's sometimes cheaper than a regular TGV, or because the timing is better) is even more bothersome because they get double suspicious that you only want to go to France instead of all the way to London.


Freedom of movement != being stopped at a border

One simple example, when you come back from an international trip to your native country you still need to go through the border even though you have freedom of movement there


If you're totally free to travel, why do they check people at the border? I'm pretty sure that they can refuse entry (else I'd like to see a source that they cannot). As such, not free to move.


> If you're totally free to travel, why do they check people at the border?

Because even though you have the right, some people don't. And they only know which is which after you present your documents.

I guess the only case in when they can refuse entry is if you are wanted by police or something (or maybe not even then)


Don´t know what you did, but the last time I got off the plane in London (travelled from Germany), I showed my Personalausweis ("small" passport, everybody in Germany has one) and were good to go and leave the airport. No checks, no questions, nothing.


Well, I've never taken a plane within the EU, but usually the border checks are before boarding, not when you get off the plane. Similarly, the border checks are in Calais for Eurotunnel and in Paris or Brussels station for Eurostar.

You have to embark and go through border checks 30 minutes before departure with Eurostar, that's a fact. Whether you will have to answer questions is very random and doesn't seem to depend on whether you give them a passport or just French ID. My wife has a Canadian passport and a French residency permit and this does make them ask more questions though.

Eurotunnel checks were lighter when I used to take it, but that was before the Calais crisis so I would guess it has become more bothersome lately.

In any case, you just can't say it's as easy as just hoping in your car and driving to Belgium and back to fetch your beer.


That's because you're equating freedom movement with the Schengen area.

Schengen agreement mandates no border check, but the UK is not part of it, so of course they can have border check


But... I'm really not. I know very well the difference.

I guess I misunderstood what was being talked about, but I was actually trying to make the point that movement between Shengen and the UK is different from movement within Shengen.

Specifically, I was answering to this exchange:

>> it was always more difficult to go to/from the UK

> This is not true.

by saying that it is actually more difficult to go to/from the UK. Which it is.


I'm guessing you're from UK? Travelling to UK always means a passport check and usually answering a few questions. This is pretty much every single time.

If I go to Indonesia for which I need a Visa on arrival, they asked me zero questions, nor said anything. I handed them the money, they gave the visa (etc), done.

For many countries I don't need a Visa for. Saying EU is freedom of movement, but then narrowly defining this something else is moving goal posts.

I have various foreign colleagues (non EU). They need a Visa to go to the UK. UK being part of EU or not does not make that much of a difference for them at all.

The effect is whether you can easily work in another EU country. But that is just one part of "freedom of movement".


It's actually true. Travel to/from the UK requires a passport check, travel between Schengen countries does not.


Your EU national ID (Spain, France, Italy, etc) is enough for accessing UK. In the airports is only a simple check, not passport check...

Now try to enter LAX or JFK with your national ID and without a visa...


Nobody said that UK/Schengen is on a level to EU/US. It's just way more complicated than Schengen/Schengen which has no check at all and there's zero risk to be turned down at the border.


You have a funny vision of what "complicated" means. Needing only your everyday national ID for travelling (without the need for visas, passport or permits) and saying "hello" to an officer is not something difficult for many people.

UK/Schengen and Schengen/Schengen are so close compared to EU/Rest of the world, that the differences are imperceptible.


> UK/Schengen and Schengen/Schengen are so close compared to EU/Rest of the world, that the differences are imperceptible.

But they are so much perceptible, when you live inside Shengen. Nobody says it is complicated (as an absolute) to go to the UK. But it is more complicated (as a comparison) than travelling within the EU. I don't even understand how that can even be in question.


See, when I'm traveling from Berlin to Poland I have no delay. I only notice the border because speed limits are now different. I do that on a regular basis. Last time I traveled to the UK I actually had to wait in line to show my ID. It's less of a hassle than crossing the border between Botswana and Namibia, but more than between Ger/PL. It does take noticeable time. There are people commuting across the border in many regions of europe and for them, 10 minutes every morning do add up.


I was travelling the past month from Dublin to Nice and on my way back they wouldn't let me board the plane because I "just" had an Italian national ID and they wanted to see an actual passport. Been traveling for more than 10 years within the EU and never had that happen to me before. After about ~10-15 minutes of arguing with border control that you don't need a passport to travel within the EU (I don't even own one) was granted access to the plane with a scoff and a "just get your damn passport next time and don't waste our time" line.

Just saying that it very strongly depends on the person at border control at the airport and a lot of different circumstances, you can get pretty tight checks from EU to EU too.


Dublin isn't in Schengen, so you actually do need a passport to travel between there and a Schengen country. I'm Irish, and can confirm that this baffles citizens of most other EU nations.


That's not true. Schengen is about lack of border controls. Being able to travel without a passport (using only national ID) is a EU thing. As a Polish citizen, I can travel to UK or Ireland without a passport, but I still need to go through a border check. Going to e.g. Italy I don't go through any checks.


You don't need a passport to travel to Dublin from mainland EU. You just need an EU ID card. The fact that it's not in Schengen just means that there are a bit tighter "passport" checks and controls and usually it takes a bit longer after you land to reach the exit. That's my experience with it at least, as somebody who's lived here for almost 2 years and been traveling all over Europe.


I haven't traveled Dublin/Nice but I haven't seen any border control at an Airport for Schengen/Schengen flights for a long long time (or car/train travel for that matter). Airlines sometimes check ID cards though and those people might not be up-to-date with regulations.


Not exactly a passport check but more an identity check. As French, a simple id card (French one) was enough for us to cross.


No, EU citizens can work without a VISA in the UK.

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