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Comment Re:Yet another example of EU overreach (Score 2) 89

What everyone signed up for was in-fact an ever closing union, with intent of forming a proper political union. In the case of the UK, political union was heavily debated in the 1975. Although many people claim that they where deceived and they never discussed the political union, looking at the records of what was said during the 1975 referendum campaigns, and the debates in the UK parliament, it is clear that this is utter bullshit.

Comment Re:Don't Panic (Score 1) 535

There are several issues, one is the secrecy of the talks. This is never good as secrecy will mean that fewer eyes look at it, which leads to bugs, and it prevents a public debate on the issues being discussed, I am not defending TTIP as such, there are some clauses that have been proposed that are very questionable from my perspective.

I am however defending the ratification process which is reasonable. Also the fact that you can file for arbitration is reasonable, as any type of law must be enforceable in some way (and treaties are law).

Comment Re:Don't Panic (Score 1) 535

Schengen is about traveling, not working in another member state. Schengen is not the same as freedom of movement, it is the zone that does not check passports on border crossings. There are actually two such zones in the EU, the Schengen zone and the common travel area (which includes Ireland and the UK). The freedom of movement is another thing which means that you have the right to move to another country and _work_ there.

Any EU citizen can move to Ireland or the UK (well for another couple of years at least), even if those two member states are outside of Schengen. That is freedom of movement.

If any person _travels_ from one Schengen member to another one, there will be no passport checks. You drive over the border and only see a sign saying "Welcome to XYZ". That is Schengen.

As an example, some years ago, I moved to the UK and lived there for about 2 years. When moving to the UK, I exercised the right to freedom of movement to work in the UK, but I still had to show a passport when entering the UK as the UK is not in Schengen.

Comment Re:Don't Panic (Score 2) 535

You again... can't you even get simple things right?

Switzerland, one of the EU's wealthiest economies with a very strong economy voted to leave Schengen in 2014. And it's outside of the EU. And it just said last week that it's no longer interested in joining the EU.

Switzerland did not vote to leave Schengen, the voted to abolish the freedom of movement parts of their association agreement with the EU. That agreement granted access to the common market and provided freedom of movement to EU citizens to go to Switzerland and Swiss to go to the EU and work.

And France rejected the EU, And The Netherlands rejected the EU. And Iceland ripped up it's EU application.

France and the Netherlands rejected the constitutional treaty, not the EU. They didn't want a constitution so we do not have one now. The result is that we keep on with amending treaty after treaty.

Note that there are significant differences between the constitutional treaty and Lisbon. For one thing the symbol part is gone, for another thing the constitutional treaty removed the "ever closing union" part which forms the basis for a lot of case law from the ECJ. In my opinion, the removal of that clause was enough to reject the constitutional treaty as it was written.

Iceland did cancel their application, I think this was the only thing you wrote that was actually correct.

This institution is the institution that gave us TTIP, the treaty that would give corporations the right to sue any EU government that introduces legislation that effects it's profits even when that government is legislating to protect workers rights or the environment or public services or food standards. When did I ever get to vote for them?

TTIP is not yet finalised and is the product of a request from Obama to have such treaty. Likely, in its current form, it will be rejected by the Council of Ministers and the EP (using majority voting), the Council of Ministers is controlled by member state parliaments, and they can mandate that the minister votes in a certain way. There are certain problems with the TTIP, but virtually all international treaties gives effected legal persons the right to sue governments or use an arbitration court to settle issues when one party violates the treaty and causes financial harm. Note that such law suites / arbitration procedures are only if the treaty provisions are violated. Any other legislative act that causes financial harm is not subject to such court proceedings.

Comment Re: Rationale aside... (Score 1) 1592

I live in Europe and I can tell you without a doubt that the Commission is most certainly not directly democratically elected And the president was not elected by (EU citizen) voters either.

As you can guess from my sig, I do as well. And I can tell you without doubt that there where three major candidates (and some additional ones for other parties) for the commission presidency known before the last EP elections. Juncker (EPP), Schulz (S&D) and Verhofstadt (ALDE). The EPP got most votes in the EP election and hence, Juncker is EC president.

EU citizens did not vote for the Commission or the president or the seven vice presidents. Anything else is not democracy.

They voted for a party who had fielded a candidate for the EC president. Please note that the EC is an executive body, it does not have lawmaking power, that right is reserved for the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

If you truly live in Europe you would have noticed our tradition of parliamentary democracy, very few, if any, EU member states elect the executive.

The Commission differs from the other institutions in that it alone has legislative initiative in the EU.
Only the Commission can make formal proposals for legislation: they cannot originate in the legislative branches. Under the Treaty of Lisbon, no legislative act is allowed in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. In the other fields the Council and Parliament are able to request legislation; in most cases the Commission initiates the basis of these proposals. This monopoly is designed to ensure coordinated and coherent drafting of EU law.[48][49] This monopoly has been challenged by some who claim the Parliament should also have the right, with most national parliaments holding the right in some respects.[50] However, the Council and Parliament may request the Commission to draft legislation, though the Commission does have the power to refuse to do so[51] as it did in 2008 over transnational collective conventions.[52] Under the Lisbon Treaty, EU citizens are also able to request the Commission to legislate in an area via a petition carrying one million signatures, but this is not binding.[53]

You are touching on something important here, the EP and the Council of Ministers does have the power to demand that the EC make a legislative proposal, in case the EC ignores this without a valid justification (e.g. not in the EUs competencies), they can be dragged before the Court of Justice of the European Union. While it would be good if the EP had the power to write and approve motions directly, the current set up is not that bad. In fact, for the constitutional treaty it was proposed that the EP would get this right, but the demands where dropped as the same right would have been conferred on the Council of Ministers as well, the question is whether we would really have wanted that to happen, perhaps it would have been for the better. This said, the EU has been moving in the direction of giving the EP the right of initiative, so it will happen at some point. Small steps...

Regarding the petitions, indeed, if a petition would be in an area which is a national competency, why should the Commission act on it. There is a thing called subsidiarity. First, the petition should be checked for legality, and secondly whether there is any way it will pass. For example, if the EC are told by member states (the Council) that they will not pass any legislation of the petition, there is no reason to continue.

So the public can make a suggestion and the Commission can ignore them and the Council of Europe can make a suggestion and the Commission are free to ignore them. And if you read quotes of Jean-Claude Juncker you can see he has complete disdain for democracy, when he said that if France votes to reject the EU Constitution then they will just carry on regardless and that is exactly what they did. So the EU is not even legitimate, it does not have the backing of the people of Europe.

You can read his quotes in several ways. I.e. when the French and the Dutch rejected the constitutional treaty, you had the following options:

1. Ignore the plebiscite outcomes (but that would be up to the French and Dutch parliaments)
2. Try to find another solution to the issues that the constitutional treaty tried to solve (i.e. too many memberstates resulting in inefficiency due to vetos, ensure that the elected EP had more to say about).
3. Keep the status quo and do nothing.
4. De-evolve the Union

None of the voters where asked which direction to go, they where asked about the constitutional treaty.

The quotes are also mostly without context, i.e. completely worthless for anyone to make a point with.

A system is only democratic is you vote directly for the lawmakers, this doesn't happen with the EU.

The lawmakers are the "two chambers" the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the Commission does not have lawmaking powers. The EP is directly elected, the Council of Minister is indirectly elected through national parliamentary elections.

The EC only have the power to propose law, not make it. Further, the EP has the right to demand that the Commission propose a law according to the parliament's wishes.

The US president does not pick the men and women of the Congress or the Senate and he was voted for by American citizens.

This would be like the biggest party in Congress picking a leader for NAFTA, and then that guy dishes out work to a bunch of people who were not elected to their positions, and then those people run all the countries in NAFTA, overruling the White house from Toronto.

If your idea is that the Commission should be picked from the MEPs, why not, it would solve your problems, but this would imply that the EU becomes a federal union. I see no problems with this, but most people seem to be against federation. Note that more democracy (voter influence) at the Union level is the same as federalism for all intents and purposes.

We have two paths:

1. Federalism (more democracy / voter influence, less member state influence)
2. Confederalism (less democracy / voter influence, more member state influence)

Pick one, you can't have both.

Comment Re: Rationale aside... (Score 1) 1592

The commission is elected!!!

The commission is directly elected (for the president). Juncker was elected by the voters. Any vote on the EPP was a vote for Juncker.
The rest of the members are indirectly elected by 1. parliamentary votes in the member states that results in a government that propose a commissioner and 2. european parliament elections, as the EP approves the commission as a whole (and also kicks out individual members).

Juncker does not pick the commissioners, he gives the ones proposed by the member state governments and elected by the european parliament a portfolio of tasks.

Comment Re: You made it, Syrians! (Score 1) 1592

Does it matter who benefits as the fees have not been raised for the end customer? As for who benefits there are two groups, the end user / customer and the telcos from countries with lower amount of tourisms. The losers are the telcos from tourism dependent countries.

As for the expats, they benefit even with a local contract since they likely call their parents, siblings etc. It is not just the roaming that is hit, but also the rates for calling to other member states.

Some, say 10 years ago, it was very common to read about how people had been provided phone bills of several thousands, and in some cases tens of thousands of euros because they watched youtube without thinking about it when laying on a beach in Spain.

You ask who benefited, well, the people benefits, if any company benefits it is a positive side effect.

Comment Re: You made it, Syrians! (Score 1) 1592

>"Cheaper flights: How often do you fly? Moving once across the continent may be usual for the US, it is very, very uncommon in Europe. Who benefits from cheap flights?"

Personally, usually between 1 and 2 times a month for business and personal reasons. It does vary quite a lot between people. In any case, I have lived in four different EU states so far. It is hard to give numbers, but for short stays (say 6 months to a year) you will find that say 10-20 % have tried this out at some point for studies or work, one out of 15-20 persons will at some point live in another state for a longer time. This isn't really US-level numbers where some states have 50% populations born in other states, but it is steadily growing.

This is actually causing problems now in that a large portion of the population in different countries are taxed but not allowed to vote. I.e. in the brexit case, 3 million EU citizens in the UK were directly affected but where only allowed to pay tax but not have a say in the issue, and secondly 1.5-2 million UK citizens outside the UK where not allowed to vote as you are only allowed to vote the first 15 years you live outside the UK. Looking at how close the results where, where these to vote, it would have had been a clear remain.

> "Roaming fees: How many people do you know abroad that abandoning roaming fees would benefit you. Besides, TANSTAAFL, telcos will not simply swallow the losses, so who gets to pay for corporations' benefit from cheaper international calls?"

When regulating roaming, they also reduced the inter network costs, so it does penalise the Spanish telcos which has a lot of tourists, but in general, no one suffers. About 50 % of my contacts live in another EU state and a lot of them travel around, a lot, for personal reasons and business. My wife for example have reduced her EUR 200 per month phone bills to EUR 50 per month.

> "Lasting peace: Mostly a side effect of corporations not wanting nation states meddling with their profits. Yes, it's nice to live in a safe environment, but don't act as if that's actually something they did for the people."

The Union was formed to create a lasting peace by tying together the member states in a mutual commercial dependence. Yes, this is a side effect of it costing too much to start a war inside the EU, but that was the main point of it...

Comment Re: Rationale aside... (Score 1) 1592

The commission isn't perfect, but it isn't undemocratic, at least relatively speaking.

Let's do some comparisons:

British PM: appointed by the queen (in practice taking the parliament results into account), cannot be subject to motions of no confidence as being the PM is a royal prerogative. In practice the PM candidates are known during the general election campaign.

Commission president: proposed by the European Council (where all members are directly or indirectly elected, except for the British PM), elected by the directly elected EP. The european parties pick candidates for a commission president and the European Council must pick the one with the most amount of parliamentary support.

British PM: Selects ministers, ministers not subject to parliament vote.

Commission president: Selects commissioners for their portfolios, commissioners are proposed by the member state governments and are subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The whole commission must pass vote in EP to be approved, the EP have defacto powers to get rid of individual commissioners.

The point with this is that the commission is elected directly and indirectly in the same way that the British government is. That is the candidate for the PM/president post is de-facto picked from the one the parties propose.

Comment Re: You made it, Syrians! (Score 1) 1592

I have met several imigrants who are highly qualified people and who are not able to get a job. The high jobless rates in some of the groups is to a large extent simply based on racism (some times not intended).

One friend of mine, a guy of Iranian decent was sending out his job applications after graduating. After just getting the hand for 20 graduate level positions (not even an interview), he decided to not write his last name in the application and only used the initial (he was lucky to have a European first name). The result was 3 interviews on 3 applications and he was able to choose from the 3 jobs he was offered.

Comment Re: You made it, Syrians! (Score 1) 1592

In the UK case, as they where the first, the outers could easily dismiss everything as scaremongering, however, as the predictions are pretty much coming true:

- Massive losses in the financial sector
- Scotland will have second referendum
- Northern Ireland may try to have a referendum
- Etc

Further, the EU will not give a good deal in order to make an example of Britain. Other countries will not get any good deals either. The only option the UK has in order to preserve full internal market access is to join the EEA (which includes the free movement provisions).

Thus, the fallout on the UK will be massive in the end as the EU is a lot bigger than the UK.

The point is, the cost for leaving will be massive and it will be clear to anyone who attempts the same thing.

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