This time, what they have resorted to is plain theft. Stealing. Bank robbery. You know, like the gangsters in some second-rate Hollywood B movie.
They have reached a “deal” to “save” Cyprus’ banking system.
The deal protects small depositors, and therefore meets the deposit guarantee obligations of the Cyprus government.
However, larger depositors will suffer losses of up to 40%.
Laiki Bank, Cyprus’ second largest, will be closed down. Deposits above €100,000 in it will be frozen and used to clear its debts. You could argue that is legal, since this particular bank is bankrupt. Bondholders and shareholders in this bank will lose everything, and depositors are next in line to take losses. When you put your money in a bank, you are lending it to a company, and if that company goes bust, you can lose some of your money.
But what about the biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus?
Officials said senior bondholders in Laiki would be wiped out and those in Bank of Cyprus would have to make a contribution.
OK then. Depositors in Bank of Cyprus must be safe then, since bondholders are not losing everything?
[Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers] said the Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest bank, needs to be recapitalised. “The contribution to this recapitalisation must come, inevitably, from senior bondholders, junior bondholders, shareholders and, to some extent, we don’t know to what extent yet, also from uninsured depositors,” Mr Dijsselbloem said.
Thus they intend to raid deposits in Bank of Cyprus to protect bondholders. Which is, actually, illegal. But that never seems to worry the EU.
And anyway, “many of the depositors” are apparently wealthy Russians. It seems that their money can be stolen with impunity.
“We did not speak to Putin tonight. We will have to speak to the Russians at some point,” said Pierre Moscovici, the French finance minister.
Good luck with that one. Mr Putin may be tempted to argue that Russia, unlike the EU, is committed to democracy and the rule of law. And next time we hear EU posturing over the actions of supposed “pariah states” and third world dictators, they will all no doubt argue the same.
The Bank of Cyprus must also assume over €9 bn in liabilities owed to the ECB by Laiki.
And that is the key sentence in the whole article. The ECB (European Central Bank) wants its money. It can’t get its money back from Laiki Bank, so obviously the answer is just to take it from wherever it can.
More on Bank of Cyprus chairman Andreas Artemis’ reported resignation. Local news website Stockwatch said he quit due to the condition in the bail-out agreement that the Bank of Cyprus would have to absorb Laiki’s debts. He also cited the appointment of an administrator for the Bank of Cyprus without first informing the group’s managment, and the sale of the bank’s branches in Greece.
But there is worse even than all this theft and robbery: this deal will not save Cyprus. Once the banks re-open, people will be queueing to take out their savings. They will send those savings abroad to foreign banks, perceived as safer.
The EU elite think they can stop this with capital controls.
Those capital controls might stop a sudden collapse. But they won’t stop a steady erosion of the Cypriot banking system, which will just as surely end in collapse. The EU don’t care about that of course. As long as Cyprus stays in the Euro, and the ECB gets its money, Cyprus can rot as far as they are concerned.
Perhaps you think I am simply misquoting Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony, and I mean the statement to be dripping with irony. Actually, I do not.
Mr Cameron, in my view, is almost completely lacking in vision for our country, and much more concerned about his own position in Downing Street than about any notion of fighting for our national interest.
In what sense, then, can I suggest that he is honourable?
I suppose that I do not really believe him to be honourable in the full meaning of the word. He is an honourable politician. The word “politician” lessens the force of the word “honourable”, leaving an overall impression of someone who is not very special at all as far as his profession is concerned.
He is honourable only in this sense: he speaks the truth. Time and again he has wrong-footed his opponents by using the power of being completely open about his intentions. He does so, though, in a context that implies he means something more. He leaves his audience believing him to have said, or at least to have hinted, more than he really did – and he does not take much trouble to disabuse them of their misunderstanding.
Consider the issue of Europe – because it is on this issue that Mr Cameron has used this technique most forcefully.
Before becoming Conservative Party leader, he promised to take the party out of the European People’s Party grouping in the European Parliament. Many thought he was simply electioneering – that once he was installed as party leader, he would quietly drop the idea. A nudge and a wink to the EU-loving part of the Tory Party hinted that he didn’t really mean it. And simultaneously a wink and a nudge to the Eurosceptics said that his commitment to leaving the EPP meant he was a Eurosceptic like they were.
Both camps accepted those contradictory propositions – because they both so much wanted to believe in those winks and nudges.
However, once elected as leader, he carried through the promise. His MEP’s left the EPP grouping, and formed a new grouping in the European Parliament.
The Europhiles in his party initially became upset at this development. After all, their winks and nudges had apparently been disproved. They became more settled however as it became clear that the practical effect of the move was almost nothing, since the policies pursued by the new grouping were nearly identical to those pursued by the EPP. But Mr Cameron had kept his word. He had done no more – and no less – than he promised.
Before the general election, he gave that famous “cast iron guarantee” that the Conservatives would offer a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Eurosceptics, especially the Right of his own party, are incensed that now he is Prime Minister, he has supposedly reneged on that commitment.
And yet, he did not promise a referendum on our EU membership. He promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty – and by the time he became Prime Minister, that Treaty was already in effect, so it was too late for any referendum.
He had promised something quite limited. His audience did not hear what he had promised. They heard what they wanted to hear – a promise of a general in/out referendum.
There was more: he gave the impression that he was hinting at a Euroscepticism within himself. And yet, was he? Even the implacably EU-loving Liberal Democrats had policy in favour of a referendum on the Treaty.
He had promised a referendum on the Treaty, not a referendum on EU membership.
What’s more, he had promised a referendum. He had not promised to campaign for a “no” vote. Indeed, he had given no indication whatever of what his own position would have been during a referendum campaign.
And again, a few weeks ago, he was using the same technique. He promised, proclaimed the media, “an in/out referendum on Europe”.
The BBC said, for example:
The prime minister said he wanted to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and then give people the “simple choice” between staying in under those new terms, or leaving the EU.
He committed himself to supporting Britain’s full engagement in the European Union (and this was not the first time he had done so):
I speak as British Prime Minister with a positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part.
He spent a great deal of the speech outlining how he wanted the EU to change – to become less bureaucratic, to become more democratic, and to complete the Single European Market. All those sentiments could have been uttered by the most hardened continental EU fanatic.
He also said he wanted a more flexible EU, with countries not necessarily all adopting every part of its structures. That sentiment would indeed be regarded as heretical on the continent, and was duly denounced afterwards by senior European politicians.
None of that, however, diminished in any way Mr Cameron’s commitment to keeping Britain firmly in the Union.
And so on to the referendum. Mr Cameron quite clearly ruled out an immediate referendum:
A vote today between the status quo and leaving would be an entirely false choice.
Even the British media noticed that. So no referendum right now. Next, Mr Cameron said that he would go into the next election promising to renegotiate (or try to) Britain’s relationship with the EU.
The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament.
And so came the key part of the speech, in which he promised that referendum:
When we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice. To stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether.
It will be an in-out referendum.
Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.
That sounds like a pretty firm commitment, does it not? A firm timetable; the legislation being published before the election, so that we all know what we’re getting; a free choice for us all, with leaving the EU on the table.
Crucial questions, though, were left unanswered. What would Mr Cameron’s renegotiation seek to achieve, beyond platitudes about an “open” and “flexible” Europe? Could he not, then, obtain very little and yet proclaim the negotiation a success?
What about the key, fundamental question – of whether sovereign authority is vested in a European government in Brussels, or in our own elected parliament? He made no suggestion at all that he would be seeking a return of sovereignty – the legal power to govern ourselves. He would be seeking a return of “powers”, not a return of sovereignty. Those two should not be confused – and yet he glossed over the distinction.
If the others fail to offer anything at all, what then? Would there still be a referendum? Or would the negotiation be regarded as “incomplete”? Would a slippage in the timetable not be regarded as much more honourable and much more defensible than a change in policy? Would it not be better to wait just a while longer to get the best settlement possible, rather than rush into a premature decision? In short, would the government not argue that it would be sensible to delay the referendum until after the following election, due in 2019 or 2020?
Crucially, if there were a referendum, what would be the position of the British government in that referendum – whether it had “succeeded” or “failed” in the negotiation?
All these questions were left unanswered, and I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that they have the effect of eliminating the referendum promise altogether.
Mr Cameron then spent the rest of the speech clarifying what his own position would be in any referendum campaign. There was a quite a long passage in the speech in which he argued that Britain should stay within the Union. He left, in fact, little doubt that he would himself, and that a Cameron-led government would, campaign for a “yes” vote to stay in the Union – regardless of the outcome of the negotiation.
And what else would you expect of the party that took us into the EU in the first place? The party that bashed Labour for being “anti-Europe” during the 1980s? The party that passed the Single European Act, introducing that single market – or single set of market regulations, set in Brussels and binding on all the member states? The party that forced the Maastricht Treaty (which created the Euro) through parliament on a three line whip – and that at a time when Denmark had already voted in a referendum against the Treaty, meaning that it was legally dead?
David Cameron has merely followed in the established position of the Conservative Party. They want a democratic and flexible EU – but they very firmly want Britain in it – “at the heart of Europe”, as previous Tory leader John Major so memorably put it.
To this extent, then, Mr Cameron is an honourable man. He has not hidden his position, and he has not changed it either.
On the Right of his party, however, are the people Mr Major called “bastards”. The Eurosceptics – or so they style themselves. What is their position?
They say that they want an independent Britain. And yet they choose to belong to that party with an established commitment to the EU.
They campaign for a referendum and tell their constituents that they are fighting for the people to have their say. And yet they choose to support a leader who imposed a three line whip on his backbenchers to prevent an immediate referendum.
They say they want a Europe that is about free trade only – and yet are content to remain within a party that is committed to British inclusion in the “ever closer union” and in the European project that is designed to create a single European government, parliament and State.
They say that their party has left the EPP in the European Parliament – and yet their supposedly Eurosceptic MEP’s vote with the EPP most of the time.
They hint (but never say) that they support the policies of UKIP, but never quite have the inclination to step outside their comfortable position in the Conservative Party and join the independence movement.
In short, they are hypocrites. It is those “bastards” on the Right of the Tory Party who are preventing the realignment of British politics.
Yes, I accuse them of preventing British independence. I accuse them of providing cover for the establishment to keep Britain in the ever closer union of the EU. I accuse them of helping those who are usurping the power of our elected sovereign parliament.
I do not know wether it is through fear or cowardice that they fail to act, or whether in fact their own true position is closer to that of the Prime Minister than to that of a believer in a sovereign British nation state. Perhaps some of them fall into each of those camps.
But act they do not, and by their inaction they betray their country.
That is why I left the Conservative Party two years ago. I spent too long on that decision, and should have left long before.
But in the end I did have the courage to act. You might say that I had little to lose, holding as I did no office in the party or public office. What I had to lose, though, was an adult lifetime spent campaigning for the Conservatives, and a whole mindset built up over several decades.
Those people who call themselves Eurosceptics, and yet still fly the flag of the Europhile Conservative Party – those are the people who are the most contemptible enemies of British democracy. The EU-loving Liberal Democrats, and their friends on the Left of the Conservative Party, would slay Britain with a stroke. At least they would strike in the open however. The Eurosceptics in the Tory Party, by contrast, are content to lurk in the shadows while others deliver the blow, or even to sink a knife in Britain’s back themselves when it is convenient to do so.
Perhaps we will not succeed in defending our nation’s history and the democratic rights of its people. But we will be fighting for the Independence of the United Kingdom.
Others will instead make Eurosceptic noises while supporting the EU-loving Conservative Party and the EU-committed Prime Minister. And yes, Douglas Carswell, Daniel Hannan, Chris Heaton-Harris and John Redwood, this means you. By your inaction you are making the defeat and destruction of Britain as a nation more likely.
“I hope we are not going to follow the temptation to give in to populism because of the results in one specific member state.
The question we have to ask ourselves is the following: should we determine our policy, our economic policy, by short-term electoral considerations or by what has to be done to put Europe back on the path to sustainable growth? For me the answer is clear.”
Interesting debate on the Telegraph website, between myself and a Europhile commentor, under a Telegraph article about the differences between the German and British economies. I thought I would reproduce the debate here, in the hope that it might be of interest.
The debate centres around the European Union but is really about something wider – namely whether we still believe in sovereign nation states or whether we prefer to adopt a globalised system of governance, with overlapping supranational bodies making law, and “pooled sovereignty”.
The problem is that the British are not like Germans – more’s the pity! If the UK had been bombed in the manner which Germany sufferred, we would still be sitting in the ruins whining about it.
The Germans, on the other hand, just got on with the job of repairing their country, as one would expect from an industrious and forward-looking country.
The British, on the other hand, imagine that history stopped in 1945 . . .
Yes, we need to encourage talented immigrants – but only if they are going to WORK – not use the UK as a tax haven, while also refusing admission to those frm the Third World who just want to use the Welfare State.
Restriction on the actions of venture capitalists would also be welcome – do you remember the ‘Phonix Four’ who asset-stripped the Rover Group, or the way in which a hsotile takeover of the Hawker-Siddeley group took place, after which it was dismembered for profit?
“The British, on the other hand, imagine that history stopped in 1945″
Not all British. But the UKIP seem to think life was better in 1940 when Britain and Germany were bombing each other and trying to starve each other to death.
As far as I am concerned, the EU is worth every penny if it means we avoid that sort of thing happening again.
If there is another war in Europe, it will be caused by the EU. We are already seeing riots in some of the Southern countries. We have seen the EU depose two democratically-elected governments (in Greece and Italy). Eventually if you take people’s democratic rights away, and impose suffering on them, then they will take to the streets.
The idea that the EU has prevented war for the last half century is quite simply a big fat lie, and insulting to the Americans, whose troops really did keep the peace all those years.
The American troops were there because of the Cold War. Not to keep EU member states from fighting each other.
Virtually all the American barracks are now empty.
There is absolutely no prospect whatsoever of wars between European states.
Riots and social disorder are hardly the same thing.
Chester58, I fully agree with you that there is no prospect of war between the European states. I also agree that the reason the American troops were here was the Cold War. But they are, nonetheless, the reason for the peace we have enjoyed.
But I wasn’t talking about war between the European states anyway. They are being progresively weakened and smothered by the EU. I was talking about what would be a civil war, or a revolt against the supranational EU.The EU is all about subjecting the democratic nation states in Europe to a supranational body, the EU itself, led by the Commission. One day Germans, for example, will realise that their elected government is no longer able to act in Germany’s national interest because it is subject to the EU. And there will be no way for them to change EU policy, since the EU itself has little democratic basis. In that scenario, the only way for Germans to fight a decision by the EU, would be with violence. That could ultimately lead to war. As you said, there is no prospect otherwise of war.The European Grand Project is far from complete. But we see even today our own government repeatedly saying it is not able to take necessary decisions because of EU “law”. And we see our own courts deferring to European “courts” as well.As the “Project” progresses, we will see even the strongest nation state, Germany, being forced into line and its government turned into a local council.
The EU is not a friendly international agreement between sovereign states. It is a subjection of those states to a supranational institution, run by a European elite. What’s more, that elite see it as a model for the future governance, not just of Europe, but of the world.
Your first paragraph does not make sense. The American troops were here because of the Cold War. Not because without them France, Germany, Italy or other EU members would have gone to war.
The EU has progressively strengthened Europe. In most of the post-war period Europe had been weak and divided, caught in a vice between the USA and USSR.
Now Europe is the world’s largest and strongest economic bloc.
The European Commission consists of about 20,000 civil servants. By contrast, the British MoD alone has 80,000 civil servants.
The idea that the EC is “taking over” Europe is just too utterly ridiculous for words.
The EU has done a fantastic job in harmonizing law between countries and giving us defined human rights as citizens of Europe.
You people – the Europhobes – are just so divorced from reality, you are political flat-earthers.
I suspect that, while there is absolutely no prospect of war between European states, you are rather hoping for one. Well I think you will be disappointed, just as you are disappointed that the Euro did not collapse as you were predicting.
Yes there will be civil unrest and demands for reform (such as the deman for greater social equality across Europe) but that is normal – it will drive progress.
You have contradicted yourself, Chester58.
You say that in most of the post-War period “Europe was weak and divided, caught in a vice between the USA and USSR”. And you also claim that the EU was the reason for peace during that period!
You say that it is “ridiculous” that the EU is taking over Europe – and then say it has done a fantastic job of “harmonizing” law, and making us citizens of Europe. With “defined human rights” – which override our own laws – to boot.
I don’t want a war. But I am not a citizen of Europe. I am a citizen (actually a subject) of a democratic nation state, namely the United Kingdom. My elected parliament has democratic sovereignty. The EU wants to “harmonize” that away.
You are the one who is divorced from reality. You think there could never be another war in Europe. You think that what is happening now in Syria could never happen here. You and your kind are supremely dangerous people. You endanger both our democratic rights and the peace we have enjoyed for my whole lifetime.
The EU and the efforts towards economic integration and reconciliation are indeed the reason for peace in Europe and in particular between France and Germany.
This happened while Europe was in the shadow of the Cold War. Now eastern Europe is part of the European family of nations, which the UKIP is determined to destroy.
I did not say there can never be another war in Europe. But I would not want to return to the pre-EU hostility between European countries.
Everything that the UKIP says about democratic rights is complete and utter tosh.
Britain is less democratic than most European countries and the EU can do nothing without the consent of its member nations.
“Everything that the UKIP says about democratic rights is complete and utter tosh.”
Tell that to the Greeks – whose democratically elected Prime Minister, George Papandreou, was deposed in an EU coup d’etat and replaced with a “technocrat” when he dared suggest that a referendum was needed on the austerity plan.
Tell that to the Italians, whose democratically elected Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was deposed in an EU coup d’etat and replaced with a “technocrat” when he failed to support the austerity plans in Italy with enough vigour.
“The EU can do nothing without the consent of its member nations.”
Hilarious. EU directives (which are supposedly “legally binding” on member states) are proposed by the Commission and approved, mostly by qualified majority voting, by the Council of Ministers (European Council) upon which Britain has 29 votes out of 345 and by the European Parliament, within which Britain has 72 MEP’s out of 736. In general, neither the Council nor the Parliament has the power to propose new “laws” – that is reserved to the Commission. Britain does not have to give its consent to new EU “laws” – they can be imposed regardless.
Further, the British courts are subservient to the European Court – and that is empowered to create case law. Again, on the European Court, Britain provides one judge out of 27. The “Court” ruled as long ago as 1964 that member states had definitively transferred sovereign rights to the Community and Union law could not be overridden by domestic law.
Majority voting is what democracy is all about surely?
Or has UKIP redefined democracy as the rest of Europe being forced to do what Britain decides?
Or do you require absolute consensus on absolutely everything? So for example, for a decision in the UK parliament to be binding, do you require that every single MP votes for it?
Papandreou was not deposed by an EU coup. He failed to secure a parliamentary majority in his own country.
Berlusconi lost a vote in the Italian parliament.
British courts are not subservient to the European Court (I assume you mean the ECJ).
The ECJ is the highest court of the European Union only in matters of EU law, not national law. It is not possible to appeal the decisions of national courts to the ECJ, rather national courts refer questions of EU law to the ECJ.
If you mean the ECH that is unrelated to the EU.
Again, the ignorance of Europhobes is just staggering.
No, we have not redefined democracy as the rest of Europe being forced to do what Britain decides.
The point is that under the EU, Britain is forced to do what the rest of Europe decides.
UKIP wants Britain to be an independent sovereign country, in which our elected parliament makes the laws that govern us without reference to any higher authority. Naturally we do not want any say in the laws that govern other European countries.
Yes, I was referring to the ECJ of course. British courts have to defer to the interpretations of the ECJ on matters of EU “law”. And EU “law” is now easily the majority of law that applies in Britain. Further, the Commission can prosecute member states in the ECJ that do not apply EU “law”, and the ECJ has the power to fine them.
I note that you have mentioned “EU law”, and juxtaposed it with “national law”. EU “law” is made by the whole union, and it comprises easily the majority of the “law” that governs us today. It consists in “directives” from the EU, applied into British law by the British state. Would it be clearer for you if I called them “orders”? That word “directives” is a bit of a weasel word after all!
In theory directives are applied into British law subject to the consent of parliament, but the British state itself can be hauled before the ECJ and fined if it fails to implement a directive.
Most of all, remember that the EU “project” is evolving all the time. The intention is to deepen the “union” (i.e. subservience of the member states) ina continuous process.
You also mention the ECHR and state that it is separate from the EU. True – but EU members now are forced by the same EU “law” to accept the ECHR.
“The point is that under the EU, Britain is forced to do what the rest of Europe decides.”
NO! That is where you Europhobes have got it so, so wrong.
Britain is part of the EU, it is not “under” the EU. And it is not “forced” to do anything.
Britain, as part of the EU, has its say in the shaping of EU law.
But so too do the other 26 (soon to be 27) member states. Unfortunately, for a chauvinist party like the UKIP this is unacceptable. The UKIP says “if I am not allowed to win I am going home” – it is the attitude of a callow teenager.
But that is an undemocratic view. In negotiations there must be a willingness to compromise.
EU law only touches those areas that concern all European countries. But we are talking in general terms. What ruling by the ECJ do you object to?
The English legal system is far from perfect and personally I think it is no bad thing if the ECJ can review a situation where English law is at variance with European norms.
Notice I say English law, because Scots law is closer to European legal norms.
Chester58, I’ve enjoyed this debate and it is a vital one for all our future. I suspect it will rumble on for many years yet.
Your points would carry more weight though if you refrained from calling your opponents “chauvinists”, “Europhobes” and “undemocratic”. I respect your point of view as sincerely held and well thought-through. I believe I deserve the same respect.
He says it would be “a fatal mistake” for us to leave the EU – conjuring once again the spectre of fear that has been at the heart of the pro-EU campaign for decades.
Nothing could better illustrate the debate in Britain today about our future.
Last century’s political class, with their obsession about Europe and European affairs, pitted against a younger generation who can see that our future is in a wider, globalised world.
Mr Clarke represents a generation of political leaders who took Britain from being a leading country in the world, to one that is close to being an economic basket-case. Their failed ideas have led Britain to where it is today – with its very independence, democracy and self-determination threatened by EU integration.
The economic future lies in the East, not in Europe. Even the EU itself admits that. And Britain is fantastically well-placed to take a leading place in that future, with our historic links and understanding with India.
So let’s reject Mr Clarke’s message of fear. Let’s not try to hide in Fortress Europe. Let’s take our future in our hands and take our place in the new global economy of the 21st Century.
David Cameron has cancelled “that speech”. You know, the one in which he was going to outline the basis for Britain’s future in Europe. The strategic masterstroke that would silence his critics and slay the dragon of Conservative squabbling on whether they should prostrate themselves before the EU or merely bow.
He’s cancelled it “because of the hostage crisis in Algeria”.
Well, that’s what the Tories are saying anyway.
I say he’s bottled it, just like Gordon Brown did with the “election that never was”.
This is the beginning of the end for Mr Cameron. Trust me from 30+ years in politics. He will not recover from this.