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Saturday, 10 August 2019

EU nations divided by visceral self-interest

Here's a paradox. You want to ship a 20' container of tools from Shanghai to Munich. You'd think the best route, after Suez, would be a port as close as possible to Munich, wouldn't you? Somewhere in the north Adriatic? Suez to Koper is about 1,750nm and 7 days at sea. From Koper, the Adriatic's largest container port, to Munich is also only 500km by road. Well, the freight rate Shanghai to Koper is around $1,750. However, if, after Suez, your container turns west and makes passage to Gibraltar, the entire length of the Med,  then north through the straits of Dover, and the North Sea, then finally east to Hamburg (4,250 nm, 18 days at sea) the freight cost will be, erm, around $1,350. $400 cheaper for an extra 11 days steaming. Road distance to Munich is about 800km.

The insanity of receiving substantially more freight from China through Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Hamburg rather than through EU ports closest to Suez has escaped the attention of neither the Chinese nor the Italians. And just as Germany has shown two fingers to the EU in a deal with Putin to deliver Nordstream II, Italy has done likewise by signing up to China's BRI in a deal that would prioritize development of five key ports in the north Adriatic as a primary point of entry for Chinese goods into Europe. Even Saint Greta couldn't complain at the Eco-sense of it. However, the Dutch and Germans will be very cross.

Meanwhile, the US is seriously considering starting to move its 50,000 troops and defence personnel from Germany, which fails to pay for NATO, to Poland, which pays its full 2% of GDP. Given that the German armed forces under vdL were reportedly down to just one working helicopter at one time, the famed Leopard tanks are rusted and immobile and the army trains with broomsticks, America's departure would leave Germany militarily helpless but again paradoxically make many Germans, who like all true EUphiles loath the USA, very happy.

And so as the Italian government fragments, a blanket of choking tear-gas smothers Paris, German industry disintegrates and the Eurozone shudders just like Mrs Merkel on a hot day, the fiction of an EU united in purpose becomes every day more apparent.

Ignore the doomsters and gloomsters. We're actually going to be in a good place if we Brexit on Hallow'een.


DeeDee99 said...

Paradoxically, the more unstable the EU becomes, the more hysterical the Remainers become about our departure.

r_writes esq. said...

That extra 300km on the road, gives our wonderful EU border staff time to individually check each item that is being imported, including Hong Kong escapees, so it's justifiable tactics to enable the smooth running of Germany/EU.

JPM said...

Fewer of the TLAs please, Raedwald.

Would you rather that the Lisbon Treaty prevented nations from engaging with non-European Union countries of their own accounts, and dictated their infrastructure arrangements then? Do make up your mind.

The US may be considering moving its troops, but apparently for an inflammatory purpose, not for funding reasons. Two percent of Poland's GDP would be rather less than what Germany contributes, I'd have thought.

The cities and regions of the UK compete too, in their "visceral self-interest".

The disintegrating government of the UK is also a spectacle of some international interest.

rapscallion said...


I really don't care what the Lisbon Treaty does or doesn't say, as we aren't going to be a signatory to in 81 days

Trump moving his forces into Poland does three things: It supports the Poles, sends a message to the Russians and pisses off the Jerries. All those troops have got to spend their pay somewhere, and why give it to the Krauts, who can't even be bothered to pay for their own defence.

"Disintegrating government of the UK" ? Really JPM? This isn't early 1979 you know.

Get a grip, there's a good chap.

Sackerson said...

Doesn't relocation US forces to Poland make more sense from a military point of view?

Charles said...

It is funny how remainers cannot see just how appalling the EU has become. I suppose if you limit yourself to a couple of weeks in the South of France and a week skiing everything looks rosy. If you want a disintegrating govt have a look at Spain or Germany. Avert your eyes from the dreadful treatment of Greece, the chaos over immigration or the total lack of democratic accountability.

Is there a prize for correctly guessing which of the remainiacs in the House of Commons spontaneously combusts first? I think we can ignore members of the House of Lords, they are barmy as it is.

Span Ows said...

DeeDee and Charlie are right. It is very odd that the more bad news about the EU that there is (and there is) the screechier they get. Most odd. The MSM are just as bad jumping on everything and everything to paint Brexit as bad. yesterday on the radio they mentioned the negative growth figure but not without "that's only one step from recession" I kid you not.

Lets see: Last night there was a depot fire...that's only one step from dozens of people burning to death.

Yesterday there was a traffic accident, nobody was hurt but it's only one step from a multi fatality pile-up...

JPM 07:14, "Fewer of the TLAs please, Raedwald"

USA and GDP too much for you? ;-)

Sackerson said...

I had to look up "TLA".

Span Ows said...

LOL :-)

DiscoveredJoys said...

@Span Owls

"DeeDee and Charlie are right. It is very odd that the more bad news about the EU that there is (and there is) the screechier they get." The most committed Remainers are the most committed to their worldview. People (including Brexiteers too) defend their worldviews by various cognitive biases, including 'bigging up' favourable information and disregarding (or not even noticing) unfavourable information.

Now a reasonable person will acknowledge that there are potentially pluses and minuses to Brexit, and much will depend on the weights you put on them... but the screechy ones are not reasonable.

Strangely the Remainers have not generally argued for the pluses of EU membership, only Project Fear minuses. It's a puzzle. How are they to campaign to Rejoin once we leave the EU?

Bernard said...

@ Sackerson - I had to look up "TLA".
So did I, but I found there were 192 options including 'Three Letter Abbreviations'.
I'm still none the wiser.

RAC Esq. said...

@ Sackerson 09:00

Me too, here's my favourite....

What does TLA stand for?
TLA stands for Terminate and Leave Activated

Dave_G said...

Unsurprisingly, all the negative aspects of EU social/economic under performance is never told as a counter to Brexit by any of the media outlets. It's always how 'bad' things are going to eb for the UK - nary a mention of Europe/EU.

I have long complained about the lack of reporting from the 'other side' of this Brexit argument - the effect on Europe. It is clear - if it were actually shown to people - that Europe is heading for massive internal problems that the UK could well do without being attached to, politically or economically, and Brexit is our safe haven.

The Lisbon Treaty can only exacerbate the impending difficulties and would certainly make supporters of Remain think again if they were fully aware of the implications therein.

AFAIAC the EU can GFI with a short, spikey stick.

JPM said...

No, but marginally better informed, Bernard.

Glad you fell for the jape. I had to look up BRI.

Span Ows said...

@ DJs 09:25, ah a spelling of my name not seen in a while ;-)

"...but the screechy ones are not reasonable."

Indeed. Also, I know of NO Brexit voter who didn't expect a quite harsh temporary downside...and we all still voted LEAVE!

BTW, I always thought TLA was Three letter Acronym but Abreviation is acceptable. AFWIW, my reaction to the Remainers: WTF? OMG! FFS! RIP/SOS EU

John Brown said...

DeeDee99 : 06:58 : “Paradoxically, the more unstable the EU becomes, the more hysterical the Remainers become about our departure.”

It’s not paradoxical at all.

The EU is waiting for, if not actually working towards, a crisis of a sufficient degree that they can say a complete integration of laws, policies, taxation, and spending is the only solution to the crisis.

The remainers in the UK are desperate that Brexit will mean that the UK will not be on hand to provide resources to quell the crisis and worse still, will not be in crisis itself.

The remainers know that the more unstable the EU becomes the more important it is for the UK to be locked into it before the crisis occurs.

JPM said...

in case you haven't noticed, the discussion is no longer about Remain v. Leave.

It is about sensible relations with the world's largest market, or none.

It is about sanity v. madness.

Span Ows said...

"no longer about Remain v. Leave"...well it is because you lot won't STFU

"world's largest market"...nope

"or none"...nope

Mr Ecks said...

JudasPM--The EU is fuck the world's largest market you brazen liar and traitor.

The UK govt is facing scummy EU-sucking shite MPs --also sellouts and traitors like you. They can and will be broken tho' I doubt BoJo has the balls to deal out the heavy punishments they deserve. It is enough that they and you are defeated. I for one would very much like to see the remainiacs destroyed both as a cause and as individual participants in that cause. A 99% treason tax on both your capital and income should give you the pain you deserve and hopefully drive you cross Channel to join your masters and owners. Better be quick--as Radders says the ESpews time is running out.

Anonymous said...

"It is about sanity v. madness"

That's exactly what it is. I want to escape the reality = sanity. You want to be in the fantasy = madness.

As Span Ows says. We know there will likely be disruption, maybe serious disruption, but that is not a reason to stay if what we are being asked to stay in is an economic and political catastrophe.

mark said...

Anonymous above, thats me, sorry forgot to clip the ident

JPM said...

State a richer unified, integrated market than the European Union then?

The US is the biggest household consumer market, but the European Union is the biggest overall:

Mark said...


That's the fantasy.