For Immediate ReleaseMarch 25th is the 60th Anniversary of Treaty of Rome – a chance for the EU to reverse Brexit and save Europe through a transition to a Treaty of ‘Home’
Welcome as it was that Geert Wilders was beaten into second place in the Dutch elections, the public concerns that have forced the other two leading parties to become evermore right wing have not gone away. A report Reversing Brexit with a Treaty of ‘Home’ published today by Colin Hines author of Progressive Protectionism calls for a radical rethink of the future direction of Europe when the leaders of the EU27 meet this Saturday March 25th in Rome for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Treaty of Rome. The report is available here
To see off the rise of the extreme right and reverse Brexit will require a rewrite of the Treaty of Rome to convert it to a ‘Treaty of Home Europe-wide’. (The changes required are detailed in the report.) This will involve the reintroduction of border controls to people, goods, capital and services to allow local economies to be protected and nurtured continent wide. Cross border issues like responding to non European migration, climate change, pollution, crime and military security would still require intra European cooperation. These measures could build a sense of hope and support for this more cohesive European future and so halt the EU’s present descent into potentially terminal unpopularity.The fundamental changes proposed can be summarised as:
Existing EC Treaty of Rome Article 3 (ex Article 3) (c) an internal market characterised by the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital;
Proposed ‘Treaty of Home’ Article 3 (ex Article 3) (c) a market characterised by the maintenance, as between Member States, of appropriate controls to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital in order to allow regional, national and local economies to prosper.
Colin Hines states “Brexit, Trump and Europe’s extreme right all owe their success to addressing citizen’s concerns not just for stricter immigration controls, but also for protection of domestic jobs. Most other political groupings are still pandering to the demands of big business and finance and sticking to outdated calls for the retention of open borders to goods capital, services and most politically contentious –people. Compare this cloth eared, slow footed stumbling by left and centre parties with the victories of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and the rise of Marine Le Pen. They shrewdly offer voters their first opportunity to reject inadequately controlled immigration as well as addressing protection for local employment.”
The Free Movement of People -The Political Times They Are A Changing
The report outlines how the free movement of people is beginning to be reconsidered by leaders across Europe and could therefore be a crucial first step to changing the Treaty of Rome to a Treaty of ‘Home’. This is such a huge shift that a decade long transition mechanism is likely to be necessary to fully achieve it. One aspect could start immediately however. That would be the application of a 10 year brake on uncontrolled immigration of citizens between European countries to allow countries to manage migration to suit their domestic priorities. There is a precedent of a kind here with the transitional provisions of the EU enlargement process which allowed for restrictions on the free movement of workers from the new EU member countries for a period of up to 7 years.
So Bye Bye Brexit
Hines concludes that ‘This pan European trend for demanding more controls on the free movement of people will become evermore evident as the Brexit negotiations proceed. Since uncontrolled migration was the key cause of the vote to leave Europe, then this, plus the increasing awareness of the adverse economic and social implications of crashing out of the EU, could lead to resurgent calls for the UK to reverse Brexit in the light of these changing realities.”
Gradual Replacement of the Single Market with the ‘Protected Market’
For virtually all activists and commentators opposed to Brexit there has been a stampede to a defensive position of glorifying the continued membership of the Single Market, with its economic advantages for some of open borders and possible increases in exports. Discussions about the future shape of Brexit have therefore centred on the conflict between controlling the free movement of people versus the perceived advantages of continued access to the Single Market.
However as the Brexit negotiations carry on and the rise in opposition to the free movement of people and job relocations grow, then a move towards a more protectionist Europe will itself require changes in the Single Market. As EU calls and policies to increase border controls mount, two advantages become apparent. Firstly, this will bring European policies more in line with the will of the majority in the UK. Secondly, controls on the present unfettered movement of goods, capital and people will also lessen the present adverse social and environmental effects of open borders. These include the relocation of jobs, offices and factories and the absurdly splintered industrial production processes found for example in the car industry.
The Car Industry as an Example of the Downsides of the Single Market
Jobs Goes East
In terms of job losses or new jobs relocated away from Western Europe, the automobile industry in Eastern Europe now produces approximately one fifth of Europe’s cars i.e. 3 million cars. The companies involved include VW, and its subsidiary Audi, General Motors’ subsidiary Opel, Daimler, Mercedes, Peugeot-Citroen, Ford Europe and the Asian firms Hyundai-Kia, Toyota, and Suzuki. The reason is simple, the search for higher company profits by taking advantage of more limited labour rights and lower wages. According to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler “An hour of labour in Hungary costs €13, in Germany, depending on the activity, between €40 and €52.” In Bulgaria and Romania, they are estimated at less than €5, and in Ukraine they are just as low”.
The Environmental Lunacy of ‘Car Part Miles’
The car industry has probably exploited the open border single market more than any other sector. The result is the environmental lunacy for example of the production process for a crankshaft used in the BMW Mini. This involves a zig zac journey crossing the Channel three times in a journey of over 2000miles. It is cast in France, milled in the UK, inserted into the engine in Germany and put into the Mini in the UK. If the finished car is to be sold on the continent then the crankshaft, inside the finished motor, will cross the Channel for a fourth time. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/03/brexit-uk-car-industry-mini-britain-eu
However under the protectionist direction set for all EU countries by the Treaty of ‘Home’, Member States will be able to control their own borders to protect and rebuild each national economy. This would enable the replacement of the Single Market over a ten year transition period with a ‘Protected Market’.
Why The Treaty of ‘Home’ Can And Must Be Achieved
Activists and European parties of the left, greens, centre as well as those supported by localist, small ‘c’ conservatives will gain support by campaigning for such a radical change in direction of the EU, since this would put them more in line with public opinion and allow them to play catch up and then counter Europe’s extreme right. The latter have so far had the political monopoly on policies for curbing high migration and protecting local jobs from imports.
Given the key elections looming this year in France and Germany, dealing with immigration and insecurity is something that all political groupings will have no choice but to address. If they don’t then the extreme right could triumph and the rest will still be left babbling that open borders and uncontrolled immigration between EU countries are irreversible. This will leave them as quaintly passé and irrelevant as those who once asserted that the sun would never set on the empire.
For more information
A copy of the Intemperate Introduction to ‘Progressive Protectionism’ which summarises its policies and the contents of the chapters is available here: