Tag: EU

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Wow, that was a late night. If popcorn was available, it would’ve been passed. Of course, those in the free market, anti-elitist central gov’t, liberty minded crowd are whooping it up, as we should. Will there be reverberations? Yes. For starters, the British Isles may see another push for Scottish Independence. In fact, several other EU countries […]

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UK Voters Decide to Leave EU

 

BrexitWith all the results in, it appears that voters in the UK have chosen Brexit. “Leave” defeated “Remain,” 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent, a lead that held most of the night. ITV, Sky, and BBC have officially declared victory for the sovereignty movement.

Scotland and Northern Ireland were the strongest regions for remaining in the European Union, while England and Wales had the lion’s share of Euroskeptics.

You can see the vote count and read late-breaking news via The Telegraph.

Why Brexit Is Important to Americans

 

brexit-logoWith all that is going on in the US, perhaps the topic of “Brexit” has escaped most people. Until the last week or so, even as an American living in Switzerland, I have to admit I didn’t find it important. But Brexit is important even to Americans. It is about what happens when an “administrative state” is in the process of becoming your unwanted master.

Brexit is the June 23 referendum to decide if the UK remains in the European Union (EU). The peoples of the 28 members of the EU are governed to a growing extent by a complex organization in Brussels that can best be described as an “administrative state.” It has evolved from the original Treaty of Rome; this formed a trading bloc called the European Economic Community (EEC). When the key members formed this bloc in the 1950s, it amounted to a group of countries that sought free trade among themselves and common tariffs with countries outside the bloc. It was simple, effective, and democratic because each member’s participation was governed by the parliaments of each member state.

The European Union has evolved into a political-economic behemoth of enormous complexity and costs, headquartered in Brussels. Because of this complexity, many here in Europe believe it represents the worst of centralized government. It is seen as largely unaccountable to the average citizens of the 28 member states, and equally leaderless, incapable of speaking in a coherent voice about issues such as the tidal wave of refugees coming out of Africa and the Middle East.

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I wrote some time ago about some implications of a Greek default.  With Greece at risk of defaulting on its debts again, and with a plebiscite on Great Britain leaving the European Union coming up, I thought I’d bloviate a bit on some implications of these for the EU based on a couple of unlikely […]

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Greece Gets the Worst of Both Worlds

 

greek facepalm-225x300It appears Greece has ended up paying two costs. It chose first to spurn the EU through a referendum and has suffered a banking system shuttered and a major contraction in its economy. It then spins around and takes a deal that is to most observers worse than the one it turned down the previous week. So it pays for a financial crisis and for more austerity.

Heckuva job, Alexis.

So while the European and US stock markets were having fun and the euro was trading down — never mind what happened in the Athens stock exchange — here is some of the mishegas happening in Greece as they approach nighttime.

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There’s an excellent piece in Forbes that explains why Grexit is already well underway. Today’s no vote will only accelerate the process. As the author notes, Grexit is a process, not an event. And it is a process that has already begun. Greece’s membership of the Eurozone was partially suspended when the ECB capped ELA. […]

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Random Thoughts on a Greek Default

 

shutterstock_254353558It seems the IMF has thrown up its hands and terminated debt recovery talks with the Greeks. They’ve even pulled their team out of Brussels, where the talks were being held (according to an earlier iteration of the article at the link). What happens, then, if the Greeks default? A default will take some months to unroll under IMF rules. In many respects, that’s something of a quibble. Fast forward to an actual default. (Shameless plug: I’ve written about this on my blog to some extent, beginning with this.)

The default likely would lead directly to a Greek departure from the eurozone and probably (though not certainly) from the EU. This, contrary to what a lot of naysayers have been bleating, would not lead to a breakup of the eurozone or the EU. For one thing, the rest of the PIIGS are on much sounder footing these days.

The EU stock markets would be in turmoil for several days, perhaps a few weeks. (That’s a buying opportunity, though—Rothschild’s blood in the streets—for those with the bucks to play.) Then folks would look around and see that nobody’s economy in the EU or the eurozone had folded, or even been hurt overmuch. The Greek debt held by the rest of the sovereigns is really small potatoes compared to those nations’ GDPs. There would be, certainly, a number of private investors who would be burned by the default, some even bankrupted, but they’re all big boys; they knew, or should have known, the risks they’d run.

After the U.K. Election, a Dis-United Kingdom?

 

Whether it’s the rise of the Scottish National Party, the future of Britain’s association with the European Union or the rising nationalist (read: anti-immigrant) sentiment at home, David Cameron has his work cut out for him. I interviewed the Henry Jackson Society’s Douglas Murray, who happened to be passing through New York City today:

Purity Before Safety (or Science)

 

shutterstock_88312414The ‘war against tobacco’ has long since ceased to have much to do with saving lives. Here’s the latest bone-headed example:

(Reuters) – Swedish Match AB should not be allowed to alter the warning label on its snus smokeless tobacco products to claim they are less harmful than cigarettes, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded on Friday.

The Stockholm-based company is seeking FDA approval to remove warnings about mouth cancer, gum disease and tooth loss from its snus products and to state that they present a “substantially” lower risk than cigarettes.