tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN April 15, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
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>> implication of the brexit, first, simply identify yourselves for the record. so if we can go ahead and begin, i can invite you to open the batting. >> thank you very much. for the people watching this i invite each of you to make an opening statement of no more than 500 words. and then i'm going to invite each of my colleagues in turn to put questions to you and give each of my colleagues ten minutes in which to do so. and then at the end i may invite you then to make very brief
remarks to comment on things that you may have heard in the session. so if we could therefore begin. perhaps i can invite you to open the batting. could i begin by congratulating the committee on the nature of this meeting today. i think it's probably the first time the conservatives has created a joint platform here. in support of this campaign, whether it's a precedent time will tell. we're all speaking in our personal capacities. perhaps i should say where i'm personally coming from. historically, i have found it difficult to be on either end of the spectrum from this issue. i was once described of a combination of qualities i was quite happy to go along with. what i've tried to do for each of the issues involving the european union is look at the
cost and benefits of each sector. i have to say, on foreign policy and britain's place in the world, i have not found it at all difficult to come to a judgment, because i believe that the benefits are very substantial and the cost are minimal if not insignificant. let me explain what i mean. the way in which any country conducts foreign policy is to use power, an when it does not have power to expand its influence. when it comes to the eu, we have power and substantial influence. the power we have should not be underestimated. there cannot be a foreign policy issue with the eu unless there's unanimity. we can prevent any policy we don't like, and secondly, because we are a member of the eu, we can prevent the eu adopting a foreign policy
position we don't like. there can be no european view if any country objects to it. and the united kingdom has that power. when it comes to influence on the more positive side, along with germany and france, we have more influence than any other country and we see the importance of that on issues like the iranian nuclear negotiations, the sanctions against russia, where your has made a real difference to the global position. if we were not in the european union, such are the common strategic interests with the rest of europe that a lot of our foreign policy effort could have to be diverted to influence the european union of which we were no longer a member. because there is no geostrategic threat to france or germany or continental europe that would not also be a threat to britain as we found in 1914 and in 1939. so we would be in the
extraordinary situation to have given up the power to control or influence policy, but seeking as outsiders, so the outcome would be very important to us. i noticed a columnist made the remark for britain to have been alone against enemies in 1940 was heroic. to be alone among friends in 2016 would be in his view absurd. i think that was the point. i notice that there is rhetoric that -- who is going to be influenced in a way they're not being influenced by the united kingdom at the moment? the united states have made it clear they don't want britain to leave because they see our role as important to them as well, influencing the european union tradition. but the old and new commonwealth
take the same view. they want the united kingdom in the eu, not outside of it. and the only people who would rejoice are the russians. they want the fragmentation of europe and they would see this as the first major step. let me conclude, because i know time is short. but one final thing. the world is becoming, as we all know, this committee knows more than most about this, the world is becoming global. the big decisions over the years to come are going to be taken more than anything by the united states, by china, by india, by russia, and by the european union, whether we're in it or not. is it seriously being suggested that the united kingdom with 65 million people, less than 1% of a world of 7 billion is going to have more influence by itself than as part of the european union?
my final point. we can get carried away sometimes. remember only ally was china, said to his people we are very important people albania, together with china we represent a quarter of the world. now, let's not make the same mistake of saying that with our 65 million in a world of 7 billion that somehow we are not strengthened by being part of the european union when it comes to foreign policy and the costs and benefits of leading that union. thank you. >> thank you very much. can i invite you to speak? >> thank you very much. i think it is important to say that i was born in west germany. i know these things are perfectly possible, but i know what it requires for it to work.
i spent two years as a health minister, i spent 15 months trying to negotiate a european constitution. on behalf of this committee, by the way, when the constitutional convention was formed, it was this committee which sent representatives. and it was our duty to bring the european union closer to its people. i think it literally was in july of 2003 when after all attempts i reached the conclusion that this institution did not wish to be democratically accountable. that it was incapable of changing. and looking back now, i think the trajectory of where the united kingdom peeled off in some ways, started off with our refusal to be part of the euro, and where we are today, is in the position where no one is actually prepared to defend the
institution of the european union. we keep talking about the benefits of membership of an institution no one prepares to defend for its merits. so can we just talk about the institution? it was very interesting in particular started to talk about we're part of an alliance. that is true as part of nato, we are part of the imf, we are part of all other kinds of alliances and groupings. what is different about the european union, it is an institution that requires leading supremacy. none of the other alliances does so. so i would urge colleagues to think about democratic accountability and where it's going. before 2010, before the prime minister went off on a thursday to the european council. they have all gone.
we have not only increasingly given more areas of decision making, this place itself is simply not taking an interest or the ability to influence and shape some of the decisions. which takes me to why do i now say we should leave? let's just be clear. if it weren't for the fact that the prime minister called the referendum, i would not have sent an application form. i would have said let's work. prime minister calls referendum as recently as before christmas that of course it is perfectly okay for the united kingdom to thrive and be a confident country outside. not entirely sure what's happened in the last four months. suddenly it was perfectly possible to be a confident country outside and now it's doom and gloom and the most utter irresponsibility to say no. it's a once in a generation chance to make a decision.
i look at this institution when there were big blocks, there was the cold war, there was the east bloc, there was the americans and europe thought we need to form our own bloc. but i would suggest there's been three ways of globalization. the ones that started with the formation of the wgo. increasingly the european union becomes the organization that hands down decisions to member states. the second one was the global flow of capital. and the migration crisis we see now is actually the third wave of globalization. and they're incapable of dealing with that. but when i'm asked do i think that this institution, nobody is prepared to defend, am i going to endorse it?
in my once in a lifetime vote, i say, no. i think we should leave. >> thank you very much indeed. >> i am surrounded by conservatives, something which is physically impossible in scottish politics. >> and indeed scots. >> well, i notice giving evidence to this committee trying to deal with the anguish of england. i'm sure we'll do our absolute best. i see this country's future as very connected with europe. i don't rate the campaign that's been conducted thus far, i'm not talking of course about evidence to this committee, i'm talking about the broader campaign. i feel it's almost like project fear from the scottish referendum has been split in
two, one side arguing for remain and one side arguing for out. i find those arguments neither do support. i'm going to take the view that if we didn't have an institution like the european union, we would find it necessary to invent one and no doubt we would invent one with many imperfections, but one to deal with challenges which we should and must meet on a constant basis. perhaps i can bring to the committee some practical experience. i dealt with the domestic policy over a 7 1/2 year period and i was thinking last night if i
could identify those things which were so constrained by european union. that caused great difficult, i could only think of three. i wish i had to introduce a living wage beyond the public sector in scotland. but each of these are capable of being dealt with. and i can think of a whole range of policy initiatives which were enabled which membership of the european union. so my position is an institution like the european union would be necessary to invent if we didn't have one. this country's future is with europe and we should embrace it. it is said that people are not going to defend the european union. i'm prepared to defend it. i think it has achieved a great deal and with effort, it can
achieve a great deal more. but on the issue of practical experience, opposed to phantoms of the night, i hope to offer this committee some insight. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. for me, the whole issue is one of sovereignty. so it's not possible for me to disaggregate the concepts of sovereignty related to that in terms of foreign security policy. i want to live in a free and independent country. for me, the positive benefits of leaving the european union, to get control of our law making, our borders and control of our own money and for me, i do not believe in the concept of super nationalism.
i do not believe that we should give voluntarily our identity to be subjugated to a legal authority rather than a cooperative organization. i do not believe that we can talk about europe and the eu as being the same. and one of the things that irritates me is people talking about europe and eu as one in the same. europe is a continent with individual nations. identities, heritage, the eu is a short-term political construct in my view run for those at its center with precious little regard for its citizens are the consequences of its actions. i'm not one that says everything the eu does is bad. i think the ability for the eu to act as a beacon for countries who are under soviet tyranny, i
think that was very important. but i do not believe that the european union understood the consequences of the new world that was on the other side of that. i do not believe we have a reformed eu, and i think it is an unreformable eu, because those at the center do not want it to be reformed. i think they go against the grain of history. i think if they do not bend they will break. i also believe there are more risks to the united kingdom for remaining in the eu than in leaving. in particular, i think that the unfinished business by the completion of monetary union poses big risks to the uk. and if there are risks before the prime minister's renegotiation, they're bigger now, because we have given up the power of veto when it comes
to that process and what might happen in the euro zone. that is like being in a very modern driverless car, but this one not attached to google. and the security risks that will come, as many came into europe, gain citizenship over a period of time if we have the unlimited free movement people that we have at the present time. i agree that i think the fundamental move here when the euro zone was created, i think at that point, the euro zone started to leave us and it was the fundamental shift that we're seeing at the present time. i totally agree that the world is becoming more political. we moved from the cold war through that moment of the u.s. into a very different world with multiple power centers even though thaer still largely
asymmetric. but i think that the era of the bloc is increasing and will require us to have greater flexibility and the restrictive nature of the structures of the european union will diminish our ability to take advantage over a new global dynamic. i think the european union remains backward looking, spending far too much time gazing at its navel. >> thank you very much indeed for your remarks. i'm now going to give each of my colleagues ten minutes to question. various questions will be aimed at one of the witnesses but if they want flexibility to ask other witnesses in that ten minutes, then they have my leave to exercise that flexibility.
i first welcome nadhim zahawi. >> in a debate in 2011, you said that what we need, for all member states, is a european union where we will not stop france and germany if they want to come into a fiscal union. now, this is agreed not to veto further integration, and we've given that up. but do you believe that the safeguards that gave us -- in 2011, you seemed to argue that there should be a more thorough agreement, that there could be no interference. if we wish to opt out of more areas. now, that hasn't been achieved,
has it? >> i know what you're getting at, but i think the achievement that david cameron got in negotiations, the most important was the clarification that the term "ever closer union" does not require the united kingdom to be under any pressure to conform to any new proposals for integration that it does not believe to be in its national interest. that is exactly the kind of european union we want. please, mr. zahawi, please accept those who do wish to integrate must be allowed and must not be subject to our veto. can i, with your permission, a couple of very brief points. >> we can do that at the end. >> thank you. >> you state previously that a
referendum would be a distraction from the real concerns that this country faces. do you still believe the referendum is a massive distraction? >> i believe the real debate we should be having is not whether we should be in or out of the union, but what kind of union is it going to evolve when it's perhaps 28 or in the 30s. i was involved in publishing a paper "the partnership of nations." it's inevitable that you have 28 countr in single currency, some out of it, you have some in nato, some not in nato, and that factor is going to be magnified over the years to come.
it was inevitable given the degree of hostility from a large section of the british electorate to whether we stay in the european union or not. >> in your view you're saying it's a distraction. >> i'm not saying it's a distraction. we will know on june 23rd whether the section of the british public that want to leave the union is a majority or a minority. >> you're retracting your statement? >> i'm not retracting it. i'm saying i would have preferred there not to have been a referendum. >> i would like to carry on with my questions. at a lecture on may 2, 2013, you said while nato continues to be the main guarantor of the security of european nations including ourselves, it is the european union which has been the most important means of creating and extending
friendship, cooperation and most importantly democracy and the rule of law with europe. do you believe that by enforcing unpopular decisions on independent countries by democratic institutions which we've seen during the euro crisis, for example in greece and in other countries the effort to impose migrant quotas for example, does this not undermine the argument is the most important in your statement means of ensuring democracy? >> today we're discussing foreign policy and britain's role in the world. when you're comparing nato and european union, we have given more by our membership in nato. in nato, there's an integrated military structure. which led general duh gal to -- dugal out, so compared to that nato is an example of where we have accepted that sharing sovereignty can sometimes make a great deal of sense. nato is not intended to be a
democratic organization. i always felt there's a democratic deficit in the european union. that has to be one of the arguments for keeping integration only to those areas where there is an obvious benefit to the united kingdom in terms of either our prosperity, our security or quality of life. single market, example, i was margaret thatcher's europe minister. she was a strong champion of making concessions to the sovereignty like majority voting. i was given instructions to support that when it was being excused by margaret thatcher as prime minister. >> so what you're saying is you accept a pooling of sovereignty or dilution of sovereignty? >> not as a general principle. i said this applies to all countries. >> for the greater good of europe? >> no, for the greater good of
the united kingdom. i said i have only supported areas of integration. i they have supported a single currency, because you can't have that without a single government. i've said all along that i will support integration, including the united kingdom, if i'm satisfied that the united kingdom's prosperity or security or the quality of life as a people of the united kingdom will be enhanced. for example, with climate change policy, with environmental policy -- >> that is my next question. you have a further example of the international action needed. my question to you is, why does this require us to be part of a super national body that notions -- negotiates as one?
>> let me give you an example. when the chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, welsh farmers found their sheep were infected. the only way they could be protected from that happening again is by international agreement. and when it comes to international negotiations, we have far more clout being part of 500 million people negotiating than if we were simply by ourselves. >> i hear you. but the paris deal signed by 195 countries, only 28 were members of the european union. as you say does not recognize national borders, but is limit to the european union? >> i wouldn't for a moment suggest that we could not play our part as a separate country in an international negotiation and be part of the final decision.
but a successful negotiation is actually successful when you get your many negotiating objectives. and if the british clout is restricted to that to one country out of 20, 30, 40, 50 countries negotiating, we're not going to get our own preference very often. if we are one of the leading three countries in the european union, when the european union comes to formulate its negotiating position, it is much more likely to reflect the views of germany, britain and france than it would otherwise do. i've been involved in these negotiations, and i know the extent to which not just the united kingdom, the uk, france, and germany, if they have very strong interests, like the city of london, carry far more weight, sadly, perhaps it's unfair than do the views of individual countries like cyprus, portugal, slovenia and so forth. but that is the reality of this.
and if we can be part of the european union as well, i don't thing a mandate puts us in a much stronger position. that's been my experience which i have to share with you. >> you said the most important objective for the renegotiation of the united kingdom should be a binding guarantee that no proposal of social justice and employment of fiscal policy would apply to the united kingdom without our consent. do you believe this outcome has been achieved? >> i think it has been achieved. remember, i made the remarks, you're quoting about four or five years ago. yes, i think we're very much in that direction, because the commitment will not apply to the united kingdom -- >> has it been achieved is my question. >> the german and french occasionally reach views which they are not happy with.
what is unique for the united kingdom is that this moment in time, other countries will demand a similar privilege, with you we are the only country that can invoke as an agreed position of the eu that we decide whether any further proposals are in our national interest or not. >> thank you very much. time has run out. we're going to need to exercise a bit of discipline. i'm now going to invite ann clwyd. >> thank you. i should explain my position. i wear two hats. i was elected to the european parliament in 1979 as an anti-eu candidate. two years later, i changed my mind. in politics, if you change your mind, it's always embarrassing because you then have to explain why you changed your mind. and i did so for a variety of reasons.
i found that working with a group of people in 29 countries at that time very enlightning. i found the attitude to be -- didn't take into account the views of other countries. and i was very glad i didn't come to this place first. five years in the european parliament before coming here. so i'm obviously very pro eu for a variety of reasons. which we won't have time to talk about today, but i wondered, dr. fox, if you had heard former secretary speak on the "today" program this morning about his views on why we should stay in the eu? and one of the points he made
was why it would be nothing less than an act of political arson. he called it an unprecedented act of political self-destruction. his view is that the challenge is about security and there is only one where you can be sure of having a secure future. and that is working globally. when the need for global cooperation is greater than ever before. so the british question is not only one of what we get out of europe, it's also one of whether we want to shore up the international order or contribute to perhaps even the destruction. i invite you to respond to that.
>> well far be it from me to disagree with anything on the "today" show or "the guardian." it's not surprising i take a polar opposite view of that. because i think that the european union is failing. and i think that we should not be shoring up the institutions that we have at the present time contributing to that failure. i look across europe and i see a generation of young people made unemployed, not the least because of the failures of the project of monetary union. i see fences and barbed wire being erected with the failure to anticipate the problems of mass migration. and i think that there does need -- if the european union is to ever succeed, there needs to be fundamental reform. i think a british exit might just provide the level of shock they require.
we've always cooperated. were we to leave the european union we still have a seat on the european security council. still have the imf, still have the world bank, members of the g-7, g-20, the world's fifth biggest defense budget, heart to the commonwealth hardly going to be thrust into outer darkness. our ability to cooperate is huge. the point remains for me i can't accept the legal supremacy of the project. i'm very happy to cooperate with any of our continental european partners and beyond where we have mutual interests. but i can't accept having our law being sub --
>> we have directly elected members of parliament. i don't think you should discount the european parliament in all of this. i think it is unfortunate that most of the debates take place in the european parliament on our television burn late at night. but i think some of them are very superior some debates that take place in the house of congress. and the role of the european parliament has been strengthened like every elected group of members they're from all colors and achieve more powers and want even greater powers. now, they are directly elected. will the legislators can remove them the next european election. so what do you think is wrong with the european parliament? >> well, i find that particularly today a very pertinent question given what the vice president of the parliament said today about the heads of government agreement
that seems to be the very agreement upon which our entire debate is predicated in this referendum. he said it was something that had been hammered out down the local bazaar. he said it was not binding legally. and that elements of it could be voted down in the european parliament. that's sa statement of fact. it can be. clearly the democratically elected parliament doesn't agree. both things cannot be true. >> again, let me tell you when i was there we had a great deal in the steel industry in particular at that time. what was evident was that in many of the other european countries where great losses were taking place in steel, for example the royal 5,000 men were losing their jobs and 5,000 men
had other jobs to go to. and the great criticism of this country then of the european commissioner called social affairs is we had not come for change. where other countries had planned for that change and had the social policy to deal with the change, this country again under conservative president had not planned for that change. do you think anything has changed? >> i think it's very much changed because unemployment in the united kingdom's 5.1%. unemployment in the european union is 8.9. in the euro zone is 10.3. if you extract germany's 4.4 from the average, you get a much higher number. i think the problem with the european union is that its policies are essentially the imposition of the single currency and the allowance of countries into that single currency who were utterly unsuited for it has been a
disaster. and i think if i may, the reason i think that it is such a social and potentially political disaster is that when i see chancellor merkel visiting athens and i see young greeks wearing nazi arm bands, that says to me they're not there to welcome the german taxpayer, but they see it as austerity being imposed by berlin on other european countries. memories are still raw and that, i think, plays into a growing sense of nationalist tensions. my parents campaigned on opposite sides. and my father campaigned to join the common market because he said i don't want my children involved in a european war. i don't want the tensions, the
ethnic and national tensions that have torn the continent apart twice in a century to re-emerge. i think they are reemerging now because what i regard the sclerosis. and the fact that the leaders in europe are intent on following a blueprint set down in the 1950s, which is not relevant for the world around us today. i was on a meeting a few weeks before the last european elections and i said at these european elections for this democratic european parliament about a third of european voters looked like they will vote for parties who want to either leave the european union or effectively destroy the european union. how will you deal with that trend? the answer means 2/3 are not, therefore will continue in the same direction. that is my fear. they're not seeing these trends in unemployment and social stability and ethnic tensions. the rise of extreme parties across europe and the leaders of the european union are behaving as if nothing is happening. >> the foreign secretary said
in a speech that none of our allies want us to leave the eu. not australia, not new zealand, not canada, not the u.s. in fact, the only country that would like us to leave the eu is russia. that should tell us all we need to know. >> well, i don't agree with that in any case we are here to do what is in britain's national interests, not other people's national interests. i took particular note of what had been said in the united states. and there's no shortage of american political opinion telling us that we ought to remain in the european union, an organization which no american politician would ever tolerate. so while all our friends around the world entitled to their view, when it comes to some of them particularly the united states, maybe when they've got an open border with mexico and a court that can overrule the supreme court and a body that stops congress being the ultimate body for federal law, then maybe we can take more note of them. >> thank you very much indeed.
>> thank you. your partner in crime, so to speak, sir malcolm talked a great deal. he talked about threats from russia, talked about world war ii and the importance of this collective response to those threats. but of course we are -- he only referred to nato once, i think, at the end of his speech, but of course we are members of nato. and as dr. fox has said we're perm neanent members of the u.n security council, leading members of the imf, g-7 and g-20, why is it given our unique particular role in the world and our membership of all these bodies, why do we need that extra tear of the european union? >> i thought they made a fair point. the development in western europe of first the european
community and the european union has had a significant role in keeping the peace. keeping the peace in particular between countries that have had long centuries history of fighting each other. and there has been a role and i believe it was in 1975 to see that as a strong argument for voting for the european community at that time. nato's essential role if remember it was to protect the democratic structures against a soviet threat, against totalitarian threat from eastern europe. but another point made about the concession of sovereign tito nato in many ways is much greater than the concession of sovereignty on foreign affairs at least to european union. after all it's part of the concession of sovereignty nato now treaty obliged to go to war in defense of another nato country. against turkey, for example.
the point malcolm makes is difficult to understand. people are so comfortable with that huge extension of release of sovereignty on the part of nato so uncomfortable with the modest concession of sovereignty of foreign affairs to the european union. >> let me turn to -- we've all talked a little about our own experiences. i'm the first i'm the first polish born british member of parliament. and what has pushed me towards brexit is the extraordinary intransigence of country like poland, depiet everything we've
done for them over many years, you would be stunned. each individual country is only interested in itself and they will work the system to maximize what they can system rather than this utopian version of all of us working together. let me give you an example. spain has stated that it will do everything possible to prevent an independent scotland joining the european union because of course it doesn't want to give the green light to catalonia. how would you respond to that? >> that's not a reasonable description of the statements of the spanish government. the official statements of the spanish government, we were very careful to point out the differences between the cases of catalonia and the cases of scotland, not least of which is we were conducting a consented referendum. that point about catalonia was a
constitutional process. where you are in regard to the legitimacy of the spanish government, of course they were occasionally dragged in usually because the prime minister went across and asked them to do so. it is a habit that he seems to be maintaining in this european referendum. i'm not sure it is the wisest thing to do because i'm quite certain what motivates people in it the decision in this referendum is going to be less about what other people think about the decision and much more about the arguments so deployed in the best interests of this country and its people. >> i remember your partner in crime said the euro is never going to work properly, sir malcolm. i remember writing that.
he said the euro is never going to work properly. that's quite an astounding remark to me. >> i said without a european government. that's why i'm against the euro. >> right. so he is against the euro. but he said the euro is never going to work properly, and i don't believe there will be a single government in europe. so the rational extension of that is that the euro is never going to work properly. bearing in mind that there are 17 countries using the euro, and bearing in mind that the other countries like poland and others are obliged to join the euro, is it wise for us to continue this project which sir malcolm says is doomed to failure? >> two of these countries have an agreed veto over joining the euro. one is the uk and one is denmark. the others have a practical veto against join something the euro because as a condition of
joining the euro they have to join the exchange rate mechanism and that's a voluntary matter. that's why these other countries, not just ones that you mentioned but others much more prosperous economies, are not in the euro. so in that sense you will not in practical terms be compelled to join the euro. in the case of uk and denmark, you cannot be compelled to join the euro. >> in terms of the issue of -- you and i have also got on very well. >> i was hoping you wouldn't reveal that. you've already damned me by my partner in crime. >> you have spent a lifetime, i know, fighting for independence of scotland and being accountable directly to the scottish people. i have to tell you that there are real concerns if you go to a country like poland which i visit frequently, country that lost its independence for over
50 years because of commonism. they are really concerned that of the increasing interference in their domestic affairs by the european union, and one of the cases in point is interference over changes that the new law and justice party are making over the constitutional court, and also on the new polish government's determination not to accept the refugee quo that that the european union is trying to impose on them because they simply think that they can't cope with that. now with all your passion for independence, and therefore accountability to the people that you represent, how can you justify the fact that a sovereign nation -- a new sovereign nation like this, with a government that is being democratically elected. and by the way, this is the first time that any party has got a majority of its own in poland since the fall of communism, that they are seeing this level of interference in
their domestic affairs. >> as you have pointed out, there were economists enough to try and block aspects of the renegotiation of the prime minister. i can answer it this way? you're 1 of only 2 friends i've got in this place. i want to make that absolutely clear. >> you're not going to name the other one. >> it's maybe you. >> answer this way. a number of us, number of you, have talked about their personal journey on matters of european union. i won't ignore the most important argument i have to change my mind was from mary robinson, the former president of ireland when she made a speech in glasgow in the 1990s.
she said ireland until 1973 ireland was an island behind and island. by joining european experiment we rediscovered our european roots and our place in the world. and that speech argued that for a country such as ireland, the process of joining the way to the european experiment had given them more sovereignty rather than less sovereignty. now of course, every country, every single country of the 28 in the european union, are going to have frustrations from aspects of european policy from time to time. i was a fishing mp for 20 or more years and all the frustrations and aspects of european policy. but for most people the concept was, the people i represent, would favor the view that mary robinson -- that for a small country it opened up more possibilities, more dimension,
more practical delivery of influence in sovereignty than it restricted. and secondly, europe for many, many people in scotland, everybody mowans about it but nt that many people want to abolish it. that is the arguing one which delivers more freedom, more prosperity, more ability to influence the world environment than you would have if you weren't members. now i'm sure that applies to an independent scotland which you postulate. i think it applies to the uk as well. >> that's an extraordinary statement i've heard about the scottish people about their weather that they'd actually want it to continue. that's the most amazing claim made so far.
>> thank you. just for clarification, mr. chair, the sun is shining today. thanks to you and other colleagues for coming along today. i think in the past you've talk up a norway model, i think you're one of the few propone s proponents -- >> when was that? >> well, it's purported -- well, comments on this. the prime minister of norway has said that a norway wouldn't work for the united kingdom. why do you think she holds that view? >> norway is not the world's fifth largest economy and norway is not the fifth largest defense budget and it doesn't have a permanent seat in the u.n. and it doesn't have a seat in the imf and it doesn't have all the other things. i think if you may have heard me talk about norway in the sense that i said, if you were to do a blind test on integration, you would probably find that on many levels norway is more
integrated. my point is that when you make these comparisons you need to be very careful because this is an occasion where size does matter, and malcolm was talking about these are three big countries and we have influence. i just want to set down a few really important things. one is, of course countries within europe relate to each other and work together. but until the united kingdom joined the eu in 1973, countries had two models. one was economic cooperation, and the other one was political integration. once we moved down the road of political integration, we could continue a pretense that you could be kind of integrated and not integrated, and it would still work. now mall com riffkin has made it
quite clear that that pretense has come to an end for the euro because for the euro to work you require european government. and if the euro doesn't work then i, quite frankly, wouldn't want be to around as we find that out. so we have to find a model which is appropriate for us. and the model the united kingdom will find will be different from switzerland, will be different from norway. but it will be a different model. >> on that, on the issue of -- you talk about political integration and you mentioned earlier on our partnership with nato. now at the moment reon the foreign affairs committee are discussing foreign affairs issues. where do you see the difference lying between our -- you talked to nato. why does it all need to be part of nato but not to have the cooperation with the european union where, after all, the united kingdom continues to have a veto. do you not trust the uk government in terms of its administration of that veto?
>> again, let me just define some ground rules here. there are bilateral relations and they are united in their european union relations. just because, for example, two member states of the european union cooperate very closely as, for example, france and united kingdom did once before, they are bilateral arrangements. so nato is a voluntary alliance where countries have agreed -- aspired to a level of spending, but nato doesn't come back and say, we're going to fine you because you're not spending the 2%. if they did that, only three countries actually do spend the 2%. the calls are new to take the appropriate actions to take action. and interestingly, article 5 was only ever once invoked by nato, and that was in the wake of 9/11
in defense of united states. the one thing which we had not anticipated. but nato and european union are incredibly important in terms of having secured peace on mainland europe. it was the two together. but they're kind of different relationships. >> partners in nato are very keen on the european union. in fact, united states, canada have been very enthusiastic about us remaining part of the european union. i'm not sure having canada and the united states join the european union would be a good thing. but perhaps that's another discussion. of course article 5 is of course invoked under natural circumstances which you can see first in article 5 is invoked. that's its very point. but why do you think our nato partners want us to remain part of the european union which has been the overwhelming evidence that this committee's taken when we interviewed -- when we took
evidence from partners across nato, brussels and elsewhere. >> in 2003 i traveled extensively amongst the concession states. i'd make myself little notes which would say tuesday, latvia. to remember which country i was in. what was quite interesting is in the run-up to the prague summit the year before in the 2003 prague summit which would decide on the expansion of nato where poland was already a partner, and the expansion of the eu, talking to estonians, latvians and all of those, to then actually membership of nato at that point was infinitely more important than the membership of the eu. and i think there is this continued confusion which i think was sort of explained on poland, that quite a number of countries did not fully appreciate, to begin with, the
depth of the political integration that was actually required because they thought this was a membership organization. now let's talk why do nato member states want -- why do big businesses want us to stay in? because they like big things. if you sit in nato, yet you don't make a constitutional differentiation between bilateral relationships and eu relationships, you just like big units where you just have to make like one phone call. as i said in my introduction, i also happen to think democratic accountability is really important. >> i'm really glad that you raised democratic accountability. on the member states issue of course and with the nato member states, none of those states are being looking to leave the european union. but that to one side, when you talk about democratic accountability. in your opening statement and you talked about when the government used to have debates before the prime minister went o
off. is it thought by the european union we're no longer having these debates? >> no. i used to raise it regularly with the speaker -- the leader of the commons on thursday question time until i sort of became a big questioner because i kept being told, you know, this is back bench business. i'm glad you're raising it. if i go back to the great achievements the prime minister brought back for this reformed european union, except that the european union hasn't shown any sign of having reformed itself, was this increased power to national parliaments? now is not the forum but i first negotiated that 12 years ago and it wasn't seen to be a great shot at that time. so the prime minister is weakening the house of commons and continues to do so in its way it takes part in decision making. he suddenly comes back and claims he's given us new powers from europe. really? >> do you think -- tell me.
this goes down to the way the uk has wielded its influence but the broader european union. do you think the uk as the member state has wielded its influence well? at the time of your government or the current government. either. you have the good fortune of experience in both. >> i think there was one period in british history in my lifetime when you had a british government that genuinely deeply engaged in the european union processes in wishing to shape it. and that actually was the tony blair government in the first years. all the others, you have this view that as long as we did trade and what was our best and we kind of were these reluctant companions. but this takes back to -- as we were recounting our experiences. with the introduction of the euro, all this changed. you could only go one way or another. and for the united kingdom, if you go to the five presidents'
reports which charts out the plan for the next 15 years about the deep integration required. it says in the introduction those countries are not yet members of the euro. invited to join. there is no recognition that there will be in the foreseeable future a number of countries who are neither part of shthe euro. stop states are just left behind. >> you said you think one government is actually engaged effectively on europe and we know the member states. let me just ask you one further question then. there's some talk about -- you're an elected labor party politici politician. of course the social improvements that come from europe are important to you, workers benefits, mortality
rights. given it is likely your party will be in london for another decade, what do you think will happen to some of those advances that we've made as part of the european union over the past 20 or 30 years? >> okay. it is undeniably true that a major reason why the labor party in the mid '80s became highly euro skeptic party -- remember, first election tony blair fought it to leave the common marketers -- became positive towards it is because the law commission believed in a social europe and gave us equal payment for all those things. that was more than 30 years ago. you will only have a social europe commission and a social europe parliament and a social europe council if you've got a majority of left wing governments in europe. now if you look at the current figures, you have 50% of the commission is epp.
the left wing party is at 28%. the council of ministers, you've got a right wing alliance has got a blocking minority and the european parliament, the right wing parties have 50%, left wing and environmentalist parties have 38.9%. i think, what you have just made is the most articulate and powerful case for voting labor back home. >> while i recognize you all, you are well out of time. i turn to mr. holloway who will begin his questions. >> how do you respond to the point about the u.s. urge iing think that they wouldn't accept themselves? >> first of all we are talking about the future of the european union so the united states is not exactly eligible for the european union. but each country has to work out what its national interests. america is the world's sole super power.
i started off by saying that if it is the advance of your foreign policy, it is aboforeig influence. someone recently described it as a super-duper power and we're not in that league and we aren't going to be in that league again so we mustn't be too nostalgic for the past. we are and important country. so is germany. so is france. but when we were told earlier that it is not going to be blocs any more by liam fox, i wasn't talking about blocs. i was talking about china. united states. russia. india. each with a half a billion or more population or thereabouts. we're 65 million. so it is obviously the case that united states will not go for a super national union. it doesn't need to have one. we're at a very different starting point. >> what's your response to that, dr. fox? >> i don't think it is a question of size.
i think it is a question of wanting to govern ourselves. think where i would draw the common thread is that the reason the united states wouldn't ever join something like the european union is not because it might dilute its influence, but because it simply wants to maintain its concept of self-government and of sovereignty. that's for me is the same. i don't say that there are no potential benefits that could accrue in terms of size or economy of scale or be in a larger grouping. it is just that for me it is outweighed by the fact that there is a supremacy of law that lies beyond our own borders. >> one additional point, if i may. this session today is about britain's role in the world. it is about how we are most likely to have power or influence in the world. not just about whether we govern ourselves or not and don't agree to super national treaties. we've got hear arguments that suggest we'd have more power or more influence, or at least at much, by not being in the in
your onas we -- european union. i think that the interests of this country do mean that from time to time we should be willing to say there's something more important. if mr. fox's position is that he's prepared to accept less influence in the world, less power in the world, in order to have complete national independence, that's an entirely logical position if that's the one he's putting. but it is not what the committee is actually addressing. the committee as i understand it is asking us to consider would our power and influence be more or less if we would leave the european union. >> some years ago i spent about a week living undercover and i was astounded at the number of people from different parts of the world who were there. then i visited the jungle camp before christmas and i left there thinking that the syrian border now is basically a ca
calais. >> i'm not suggesting -- i think the original mistake -- this is one of the reasons why i did not support united kingdom joining shengen -- it was perfectly obvious that the external borders of the european union were not secure from any challenge. i don't pretend i anticipated the particular challenge that has emerged but that was the problem with shengen. the problem itself would have arisen even if we had 28 states that weren't in the european union. >> but is it not the case that when these migrants receive german, say, passports, they'll also be able to come and live in britain. >> first of all, it is actually pretty difficult to get a german passport. it takes 10 to 15 years. but whether they wish to flood into britain depends first of
all on whether they have jobs in germany. those who will not return to syria i suspect will put down roots in what is one of the most prosperous countries in europe. there will be no obvious reason why they should wish to move to another country. that will be for individuals to decide. >> can i give you an opportunity to make this little concern? if we do vote to leave, what do you think it will look like for the country over the following year and do you think that the europeans will give us a hard time for doing so? >> they won't give us a hard time for doing so, no. the initial reaction in the first couple of weeks will be one of anger and frustration and irritation. but that will wear off. no, we will then have to embark on a series of extremely difficult and complex negotiations, not just for the european union, but with every other country the eu has a treaty with which we are part of at the moment. and which we would have to negotiate separately as an individual -- independent country not being able to use
the treaty of the eu negotiated on our behalf. we haven't negotiated the there with 40 other countries on trade issues. so there will be a whole series of treaties, none of which do we know at the moment how they would work out. we'd get agreements in the end but the secret of a negotiation is to get the most important things you want and every other country is going to apply the same criteria. when we negotiate with the european union, they will say yes, we'll let you into the single market. i don't doubt that myself. but they will determine the terms and they'll say take it or leave it. one of the things that they will insist on quite logically -- so would we if it was the other way around -- would be free movement of labor because you cannot be part of a single market without the free movement of later. i have yet to hear the brexit point of view how migration will be helped by leaving the
european union when in regards to immigration over every over part of the world we don't have control over two things -- free movement of labor in the eu which we would still have if we were part of the single market. and thirdly the european convention of human rights which has nothing to do with the european union and which we'll all still be part of unless we leave that as well. >> that's a fair point. if we leave the eu will we still have to have freedom of movement? >> well, this assumption that everything is in the air apart from the internal market and free movement of labor have to go together. no, they don't. why are you assuming they are the same? you negotiate. the second thing is, i keep hearing this thing about we've got control over our border. we've got control over our border to note who comes in. but actually enormous number of
people from mainland european union, we cannot stop them from coming in. to malcolm's point about the german passport, he's absolutely right that the german passport is rather difficult to get hold of. but if you were to read last week's frontex report it tells you that a significant increase of albanian nationals often misusing italian and greek i.d. cards followed by ukrainian nationals abusing authentic polish i.d. cards. a number of forged documents that are going around there. so this notion that it's all hunky-dory and in control i think is mistake. >> on the brexit dilemma, in order to get a rapid arrangements like norway or like switzerland, it's going to come with conditions. one of which may well be free movement of labor. and if we take the terrible stance of none of these are
suitable for britain, then you are in the position of unilaterally renegotiating not just the agreements with the european union but individual agreements with the rest of the world which people -- i'm half-way prepared to accept that people exaggerate the difficulties of the negotiation basically saying nothing's changing. yes, you can probably do that. but to negotiate an arrangement where you say unilaterally we're going to negotiate our trading relationships on a separate basis with each european country and with the rest of the world, to argue that can be done in a short period is to say the least heroic. that is the dilemma. to do it quickly you've got to accept the things that the brexit people don't like. >> it is the beginning of a process, and that process a british prime minister just four months ago thought was perfectly
acceptable when he first called a referendum and then told us that of course we'd be a very strong country outside it. now if a british prime minister four months ago thought this was manageable, then surely it is still manageable today. >> thank you. final question. what would it look like for us if we vote to stay in? i mean aren't we then up for everything? >> no, we're not up to everything for several reasons. first, we are no longer committed to have a closer union. for me personally and i think for most people in britain the main concern about the membership is the inevitable ratchet that's drawing us toward some sort of united states or europe which we will not be able to resist. i think that's the concern of many people in this country. that is no longer a risk because it has been expressly said from united kingdom you will integrate in new proposals if you want, if you don't want, you don't need to. secondly on foreign policy, defense policy issues this
committee is addressing today, we don't even have that problem to start off with because there is no qmd. it all has to require unanimity. we can either veto what we don't like and we can actually stop the whole of europe agree on a foreign policy matter if we don't agree to it. that's not influence and that we would give up if we left. >> given the success of the concessions the prime minister was able to get out of your concluding a lack of not ever having a closer union, do you think david cameron will be the right person to conduct those negotiations if we vote to leave? >> that is what is normally known as a hypothetical question. good afternoon, dr. fox. i'm going to start by saying that i'm not one of those who thinks that if we left the
european union or europe we're going to end up -- it's all doom and gloom. so i'm not a believer of the fear project, but i'm not a believer of the fact either that if we stayed in, somehow -- sorry. let me rephrase myself. if we left but suggest in these -- that the outside world is going to be land of honey and paradise because somehow we are out of the european union and we are free to be able to do things. so i don't believe in the sort of fancy project but i don't believe in the fear project either that if you stayed, somehow that our freedom and our sovereignty is going to go away. i'm talking to a lot of constituents on the doorstep. a lot of them are genuinely confused as to how to vote.
really for me, part of this hopefully be able to answer the questions is, our standing in the international community always looks to things like sovereignty and security issues. wanted to come on to trade as well because there was an argument being used by those who say we should leave is that we'd be free to have treaties with commonwealth countries and be able to have business arrangements with many other countries. so that's the kind of areas i wanted to explore. the first thing i wanted to ask dr. fox, you said in your opening statement -- and i was a bit concerned because that's the kind of argument that's been used by a lot of people -- some people on the lead campaign. they say donald trump has been saying as well in the usa,
suggesting that somehow being part of the european union, because of shengen and other things, there would be security risk and causing mayhem and chaos in all of europe. i found that argument particularly offensive, one. it is the same one that trump used in relation to muslims. so i'd like to actually ask, on what basis do you actually say that just because there is a migration going on especially at this moment in time, that somehow those migrants coming in to here or germany or somewhere else are going to necessarily become terrorists and necessarily causing mayhem and sort of threats to our country? >> well, if that was the interpretation, that was certainly not my point. the point i would make is that the million-plus migrants lo have arrived in germany from somalia, pakistan, afghanistan, iraq, syria and others, the
german authorities themselves, never mind the other countries in europe, don't know exactly who these people are, whether they are genuine refugees, whether they are economic migrants, whether they might be sympathetic to more extreme political and religious views or whether there might be indeed infiltration. the former head of interpol actually said that the shengen area was international passport free zone for terrorists to execute attacks on the continent and make their escape. they're not my words. there are genuine concerns about security out there. my point is, we wouldn't know. and to get a huge number of people is itself a risk. we at the moment of course are working under a different policy. malcolm says it takes ten years to get a german passport but you can get a belgian passport in
under three. once people get a european passport, they have every right to come here. we have no control over this process. >> for example, this is linked with the issue of whether we're in the european union or not. shengen is's been going on for god knows how many years. that's been in existence for many, many years. migrants could have come 10, 20 years ago and not perceived as a security risk. what i'm saying, why is that part of the argument whether we leave european union or not? that's really an issue of patrolling your borders. bha because the issue of migration can arise any time in the history of europe or any place in the world. so why is it being linked with the argument of leaving the european union. i find that argument puzzling. >> we are covering the european union. wh while there is free movement by anyone with a european passport. but we have seen this mass wave of migration and my contention
is we don't know a great deal with the millions of people who have flooded into the continent in recent times. that provides us with an extra risk as long as we have free movement. only way to stop free movement is not to be in the european union. >> but as sir mall conjust said that with the european union, even the other agreement, the free movement labor exists anyway, movement of people. so the question of whether who you have -- surely that's really a security and policing issue and intelligence issue as opposed to being linked with whether you come out of europe or don't come out of it. >> while we have free movement, we have to allow people who are european union citizens to come into the united kingdom and settle. >> just a word about seeing this as an ominous threat. where would english politics be without the glittering talents of malcolm riffkin and liam fox. >> that's a ringing endorsement.
>> the refugees in many senses coming in to europe because they're being pushed out of their countries by war or conflict are in many regards i've seen talented, skilled in many cases middle class people. they will offer, if they decide to stay in their host countries, they will offer tremendous things to these countries. and i don't like the argument presenting -- when you present these arguments as constant negatives and i don't think it -- >> that's fine. >> i have argued in many cases that from an economic standpoint migration is a good thing. but my argument is that it should be our choice. let me give it in a slightly different way, not from a security angle. so we've had 1.164 million eu
citizens settle in britain over the last ten years. that has a lot of pressure on school places. it puts an extra pressure on housing. it puts an extra pressure on people's access to the nhs. the numerical -- >> is that a question for the board? >> no. it's there. i'm saying we may decide that it's good to have more or less migration into the country. what i'm saying is it should be our choice. it is the fact that we don't have a choice in the matter. back to my opening remarks, for me it is about having control of our law, of our borders, of our money. >> that's fine. i mean about the issue about whether you want to have people coming in to work in this country or not, you want to control that. but what i'm trying to say is that some who are on this brexit argument -- not all -- are sort of using the migration crisis, which is, to be honest, is of the world's making -- they're sort of bringing the fear factor
to that and suggesting that somehow this migration -- somehow if we were not part of the european union we wouldn't have all these migrants coming in and somehow there is a security risk. that's what i'm trying -- that fear argument, in my opinion -- i'm sorry -- is not a very helpful or productive argument to have. if you want to talk about the fact you don't want people coming in, the freedom of labor, that's a different issue. but trying to suggest migrants or terrorists are going to start killing people, that's not with due respect the right approach to take. >> i think the word "right" is a matter of opinion. but i think it would be irresponsible not to look up the full consequences and look at when you've got former head of interpol giving warnings about it, i think the fact that you would try to dismiss the risk wouldn't be responsible in taking the debate in the round. >> i'll come on to my second
question about trade. one suggestion has been that if we're part of the european union and we can get into negotiation with commonwealth countries, over the past couple of years there has been now a rapid number of free trade agreements being set up by the european union with many of the commonwealth countries which are benefiting directly and indirectly the united kingdom economy. >> yeah. >> so the question is to those who say that somehow it's either the commonwealth and rest of the world or european union, what would you say to the fact that over the last number of years europe has been moving in a different direction and we can engage with trade with other countries at the same time as we partner with the european union so we are actually benefiting from both aspects of being in the european union and also trading with the commonwealth? >> well, again, my argument is i
can't decide what might be of benefit to us from the things that i am fundamentally opposed to with a loss of sovereignty. on the question of trade, why do trade agreements get made? they get made because they're mutually beneficial. and i think where it was mutually beneficial for one of those countries you described to trade with united kingdom, if the united kingdom was outside the european union that trade agreement would come about. it is the same reason -- i totally agree with what malcolm said and leo, some of these arguments about the dire consequences and that our partners will gang up on us. it is simply not credible because the trade impal meabala means they require a free trade agreement with britain more so than they we require with them. when trade is mutually beneficial, agreements will come about. that's how the real world work is. whether there is supply and demand in the market, they match each other. i'm not saying we wouldn't have
to work to potentially re-establish some of those trading relationships if we were outside the european union, but i don't see that there would be any impediment to doing so. >> thank you, everybody, for coming in. i can first just pick up something tom said. i'm going to start with malcolm. do you agree that there is a danger that the remain camp talks britain down in this referendum debate? i don't think you meant to do it, for example you listed a series of cubs sountries sayinge is no way we can compete on an international stage. russia and ukraine.
russia has a smaller economy than the uk's. if countries as diverse as tunisia and canada, for example, can have free trade agreements with the eu, and very profitable agreements at that, are we really saying that britain's going to suffer by being in a similar sort of camp? i don't think you are saying that, but there is a danger, is there not, that the remain camp talks britain down and you pay close to it when comparing it to russia. >> i don't think that is at all justified. you have to -- particularly if you are involved in international negotiations, you have to be ambitious but you've also got to be realistic. so the issue is not simply whether you will at the end of the day get an agreement. of course you get agreements. it depends on how many concessions you are prepared to make in order to get that agreement and the question is what is your negotiating strength? and if you are negotiating a country of 65 million with a european union which will still have 430 million, and 27
separate countries, including germany and france, the idea that these are two equals negotiating, i'm sorry, that is not real negotiation. >> with all respect, if countries, as i say, as diverse as tunisia and canada -- there's no acceptance by them free movement of labor. the end of the day they have are free trade agreements. and the point surely is that many diverse countries far less powerful than ours have very profitable trading relationships with the eu and there is is a real danger, i suggest, in comparing us to russia which is a smaller economy than ours is complete and utter nonsense and risks scammery. >> if i may make the point, i'd pay compliment to the logic and consistency of what you just said. because if i don't misunderstand you, you said let's simply go
for a simple free trade agreement not go for being part of a single market. you're right, if it is simply free trade which we have with many countries around the world, that's fine. but don't tell the city of london that's going to benefit them. what we have at the moment are free goods and services. we have an open market. we can have british airways opening an air flight from pares to berlin and the french can't stop us as they tried to do and failed. so if you want just a free trade agreement, like tunisia, you will get just that. but not a single market. >> i would say in response to that that we've got to look at the british economy as a whole. alec, can i take you up on one or two issues. we've compared nato to the eu. in one sense, sovereignty with nato, because we could go to war to defend another country. but we know the downside, we know what our commitments are. is there a fundamental difference between nato and the eu, it is an open-ended possible
sacrifice of sovereignty. concession that the prime minister gained, the so-called red card, means that we have to gain support from 14 other countries before we can say no to a piece of unwanted tax directed or regulation. it is like a football referee stopping the match, issuing a red card to a player, but before it can actually take effect you have to go around and consult 14 other officials by which time the game is probably over. it is nonsense. that's the fundamental difference. it is open ended sovereignty that is at stake here and we cannot stop the erosion of that sovereignty. >> well, malcolm made the point that the nato alliance has joint operations, has joint forces. and he was making the point in comparison with the foreign policy agreement of the european union that was a much greater concession of sovereignty to nato than there was to the european union. and then amplified that by pointing out by treaty
obligation -- >> i can say -- >> no. to your point. that seems to me a rather important. it strikes me as a hugely important decision. therefore you have to accept the relative consequences of that sacrifice of sovereignty as well as your opposition to do whatever -- >> you and i have been on the same side of many benches. >> that's right. >> it is poignant. at least whether it comes to nato, you know what your commitment is. the difference with the eu is that it's open ended. you accept possible loss of sovereignty, whole suedes of your governance. that's the fundamental difference which you don't know what's coming next. if you cannot say no or stop, any unwanted taxes be with directives or regulations, and
at the moment we can't without leaving the eu, then we are -- that is why in many respects the sovereignty has been sliced over a period of many years. that's the fundamental difference. >> i don't accept that nato's been a static position. nato was formed for very explicit purpose of preventing the soviet union invading western europe. after 1999, it started to move into different spheres of operation. in kosovo and the middle east and elsewhere. it's been quite different from the original organization. your second point, i would argue that essentially membership of the european union as totally composed, a member state controls pushing top 90% of the taxation. you don't control customs, union elements. but you control the top 90s of your taxation. i think that's a very powerful,
relevant exercise of sovereignty for a country within the european union. >> can i move on if you don't mind? i appreciate the brevity of your answer on this. do you accept that there isn't one example in the world where you can have monetary union without a fiscal union? and if so, can you give me an example? >> there was member between egypt and syria. it didn't last very long. >> in the end, it broke up. >> it is a reasonable example, john. >> but history would suggest there's been no long-term example of monetary union without fiscal union. if we accept that and that the
eu is not going to be the exception to that rule, we have to accept that the eurozone is heading towards fiscal union ever closer to union. to come back to a previous point that we not choose to belong to ever closer political union and we might have even extracted those words in the agreement if we've got some sort of agreement, the fact is economic logic forces us down that road. why is it then given the straight jack straightjacket that that will impose, whether we are inside or outside of europe, because the institutions in europe will be forced to go down that road, why is it you want to belong to an organization that has, for example, is in the global economic slow lane? unemployment rates much higher here. youth unemployment rates approaching 40%, 50% in some countries. why do you want to belong to that club? >> right. i have said publicly that i don't have the highest regard for many of the prime ministers
renegotiation points. i think the importance has been exaggerated. when it comes to being forcibly brought in to the euro i think the prime ministers' arguments of the countries they cannot be forced into the euro for two reasons. one in the uk they have a vae toe guaranteed. same as denmark. not just because uk is a large country or a small country. it is the same thing. in terms of the other countries they don't have the legal, they have the practical objection and ability to object to the exchange rate mechanism which is a voluntary decision of these parliaments. i see no sign of enthusiasm for forcing them into that position. i think this idea of being d dragooned into the euro for these two reasons is a fantasy. >> you'll find -- and this has been confirmed by civil servants in brussels talking to us -- that our position outside the euro but inside the eu is
unsustainable, that the institutions in the eu will eventually be geared towards achieving single currency and closer political and economic fiscal union. let me ask one final point, if i may. >> just say, civil servants that you have spoken to who believe in the euro obviously are going to say things in favor of the euro. but the practical reality issue cannot be dragooned into the european countries. >> it is whether the institutions themselves are moving on this conveyor belt -- >> don't say institutions. a vice president of the european union says something, it was a german liberal, as it happens, therefore that's to be taken as the holy wit. the european union ss more vice presidents than the bank of america. they all have different views. or the vice president of parliament for that matter. that doesn't make it the view of the european union. >> final issue. fairness. when it comes to the referendum.
do you think there is a risk that the government is playing with fire in the sense that the more it wades in on the -- in favor of remain, and the $9 billion spent on additional pamphlet, the more referendum will be seen to be unfair, and therefore will not put this issue to bed for a generation that many of us hope the referendum will do. >> well, i stay away from generational comments these days. >> for very good reason. >> but i think it's been a legitimate argument. there is a great legitimate argument that the government has an absolute right to put forward in my view as a government. we did that in the scottish referendum through the white paper and through the summary. but then of course the scottish referendum there was a scotland office putting out the opposite
point of view. i think there is some explaining why there isn't the counterveiling argument also being delivered as there was in that case when there were many other imbalances in the scottish referendum but it was balanced in the same as official information coming to people. i think you've got legitimate grievance there. i wouldn't describe it as playing with fire. >> final set of questions ill reserve to myself. >> thank you very much. liam fox said that' enlargement of the european union was right and welcomed the expansion to the central eastern european countries. presumably you agree to that. in which case, are you not -- i thought you also said to the european union. maybe i misunderstood. >> i thought it was a mistake to divide cypress in.
but i think in terms of an enlargement process, in principle it was right but we can go on as to where i think it may not have been entirely right. >> okay. would you accept that the uk leaving the european union might actually lead to problems within the european union of those countries that are like us, not in the single currency? and is there a danger of the disintegration of the european union following on a uk vote to leave? >> may i come back to -- i think the moment we gave any country within the free european union a choice how to relate to its neighbors, i think there was a problem. you allow me to make a very important point. if the prime minister had come back with a deal from brussels which had accepted in the institutional architecture that there forever will be some countries who are not part of the euro, and some countries who
are not part of shangen which will not just shall the u flighted kingdom but more than that, i would have said, you know what? you may be able to make that work. if you go to the five presidents report which is really important because completing europe's economic and monetary union. because this vote is not about today. this vote is about 5, 10, 15, 20 years ahead. and if in this whole document there have been any recognition, i would have had a bit of hope. but it says the process towards deeper eu is nonetheless open to all eu members. in other words, the church doors are open but there's no possibility for dissent. in those areas in eastern and central europe -- and you know them better than i do -- the council of europe has been really important because it managed to reach out to
countries which were beyond european union borders. it managed to reach out to them in a way which was not always offering assession. i find that the ukraine deal created tensions because we'd run out of options as to how to actually reach out and help countries develop in a democraticcy. >> i can take you on to that point. president putin clearly did all he could to undermine ukraine's association with the european union. and he previously succeeded with regard to armenia. doesn't the weakening of the european union by a uk withdrawal undermine the democratic pillow which acts as a magnet for countries away from authoritarianism from the post
soviet era and towards a democratic pluralistic western european model, and therefore, although you have got other arguments for why you are in favor of the leave position, isn't the, in practice, your position seeking to undermine a democratic pull of attraction to people away from authoritarianism, the kind you abhor? >> i share your concerns about this part of the world. when last week i heard about attacks, i had a cold shiver going down my spine saying there's something brewing which we as a european union collectively or individual ly ae rarely facing up to. what you said i find extraordinary. it says the only way these countries can develop is by ultimately aiming to be part of a supra national international tu -- institution. if there was a failure of theeu
union, it did not know when it stop the deepening and widening. >> in which case, are you opposed to the enlargement to the western balkans of the eu? >> well, at the moment, i want the western balkans to actually be democratic states and functioning. the problem at the moment is not whether they have take joined membership or not. it is because in areas like kosovo we still haven't got functioning anything. we have got enormous problems with terrorism there. and if at this stage for them, it is still the only show in town, then probably i sadly would say they have to make the decision. >> the question isn't about the cost of joining next year or the year after, but whether macedonia, whether albania, whether serbia and kosovo have an aspiration to join, which then leads to a democratization and a more modern approach to
their politics. as worked in poland, and elsewhere. >> mr. gibbs, you're making the assumption that you cannot become democratic and liberal and successful unless you have an aspiration to join the european union. >> no, i'm not. >> no, i'm not. >> yes, you are. >> i'm making the assumption that countries, which are european in culture, and european in aspiration, should have a right to be part, as the other states, former yugoslav, yeah like slovenia have done very well within the european union. >> i can't recall anything which i've said that would deny them that right. if there are sovereign member states who fit the criteria, they deem it to be in their best interest, they can apply and they'll be accepted. >> can i move on to the document which was sent to us, which i assume you had something to do with. i don't know whether you -- you
did or not, but it makes the case for some countries which have supported that everything would be very smooth after we left. and it quotes two prime ministers. one, the discredited former prime minister now of iceland, representative country of about 300,000 people, and the other, the prime minister of new zealand, which is in global terms a rather small player. it doesn't quote any others. and given what we've just heard about the united states, major commonwealth countries like india, even china, don't you recognize that there is in reality a major difficulty for the uk leaving and that the international climate afterwards, but the complexities of our relationships with global
countries of great significance will be difficult? >> well, i would make two observations. in my years of negotiations, particularly trade negotiations, i've never come across anything that is quite as hard-nosed as trade. whether you like people or don't like them, if the trade deal cuts the ice, it will be cut. there will be some who draw their pension and who will be displeased for a bit. the rest of the world will deal with whatever the situation is. just like the united kingdom may occasionally have a few of who they think should be the next president of the united states. but whoever is elected, we work with. that is the world. and the second point, and that's a really important one, i try to make that at my beginning, is if the british prime minister had not called this referendum at will, did not have to, i wouldn't have. however, he has called it. i am asked to look at my
experience of what i think my best interest in the united kingdom is, a once in a generation vote, and i'm of the conclusion it's in our best long-term interest to now leave. >> what about the remarks the imf made today where they say that brechsa could cause severe and global collapse? >> two points. i think it's undermining the united kingdom. i think mr. barron made that point. and there is a fair amount of a groupie sentiment among some world leaders of just supporting each other. but the other point is about the imf addition to find it easier not to have the united kingdom there, so they have a bit of an
institutional interest here as well. >> your document says that the eu is attempting to silence the uk and the imf. clearly, that hasn't worked because presumably you have to have influence with the imf to get this statement today up. can't have it both ways, can you? >> i'm not supporting what the government's position has now become. the government now has decided that having called a referendum. but there's another important point. when we're sitting down at the international negotiating table and the eu negotiates on our behalf, we're actually limited in our influence and power unless the eu actually does what we want them to do. you're making a lot of noise about we're strong collectively, but we can make things happen which we want and they don't. >> final question. the overseas territories
clearly -- makes this clear, very concerned a british withdrawal with embolden spain and would no longer have a voice to protect its interest within the european union. and the question of the falkland islands, argentina, they have not taken hostile positions collectively and that might change after british withdrawal. aren't you concerned about the impact of british withdrawal on our overseas terts? >> mr. gibbs, both of us are old enough to remember the falkland invasion. the united kingdom successfully defended the falklands on its own. it's defended gibb ral tore on its own. i don't think whether we're in the eu affects that. and i think our overseas terts deserve our protection and they'll continue to get it. >> thank you very much, indeed.
if i can just ask a question of mine with two former defense secretaries. about the defense dilemma and the development of the defense dilemma in the european union. this is on the back of having been in the hague last week at the parliamentary conference on the common security and defense policy where yet again we were invited to endorse conclusions as parliamentary's operational headquarters for the european union military. there's 50 years of background of an attempt to create the european defense identity and you've got the president of the commission wanting introduction to the european army. that being the exclusive position of the spanish and german governments. at one level there is part of me that thinks it's a good idea if the europeans -- if the europeans got their defense
together and had a sizeable defense for the economies me have. and then there's part of me they're reinventing the wheel by trying to push the european union within nato. i found myself as the lone voice, making clear i was taking exception to this on behalf of the united kingdom and i would not agree to these conclusions unless they were within the berlin class arrangements, which tie them into nato. but this is a ratchet. the pressure is constant. the moment we drop the ball the european union will be collecting -- there's enough forces in the european union to want to have its own defense identity. if you want, would that be a good thing? and if we are, highway do we get them to focus on nato rather than try to -- deal with this unwelcome distraction, this constant pushing for european
union defense. >> you have a crucial point, which i'm very happy to respond to. under current arrangements the united kingdom has veto. we're not alone. there are quite a number of other unions which give nato which do not see desirable -- >> i was the only one who was prepared to veto. behind that were the danes who were ready to abstain but did not want to upset them. there's a problem if you're not powerful enough to overcome -- >> that goes to the heart of the point. within the european union there are a number of states that agree with the european union and prefer to shelter behind us knowing we will veto any issue of that kind. you asked germany what would happen if they left the european union. it would mean the single most important country that will always give priority to nato will no longer be there. that means those forces within the eu, and there are some
forces, who would like to move toward a european army at the expense of nato. they would be that much more powerful within the residual eu. that is a very important reason why the united states is so unequivocal in saying, for god's sake, britain, stay within the eu. we need you there in order to strengthen nato and ensure the eu does not believe it can somehow supplant it. i'm very happy to answer that question. >> well, i harshly agree with some of that analysis but i think the u.s. views are mistaken because i think the eu's defense pretensions actually undermine nato. i think that the duplicate and divert scarce resources at a time we can hardly allow for that to happen. i think it allows some european countries to believe they have a soft peacekeeping alternative to the hard edged, more war-fighting of nato. in fact, the former prime minister told me he thought his country was more suited to
peacekooemg keeping than war fighting and that's why he thought the eu defends arrangements were so attractive. i pointed out to him you can only be a peacekeep fer there's peace to keep. that sometimes requires you to fight or die and certainly to spend for it. this is the other point when it comes to funding. of the 9$900 billion budget of nato this year, the united states is contributing $665 billion. that's 7 % of the budget from the u.s. alone. the european union countries within nato contribute 24% despite the fact that's 500 million people out of 900. if you take the uk's contribution out of that, it's only 17% that the eu countries, members of nato actually contribute. to go back to mr. getham's excellent question earlier, which is why do so many european members of nato want britain to stay in the eu? they want to keep britain's budget in because it