tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV June 17, 2016 7:00am-7:31am PDT
peter: very warm welcome to this latest edition of quadriga, from the heart of the german capital, berlin. today we look at the eagerly awaited referendum, just days away now, on britain's future in europe, where the latest polls suggest the brexit camp has a slight lead. supporters say they want to cast off the shackles of buckles -- brussels. give us our country back, is their cry. the remain camp says the bitter divorce could recover con on the british economy and put the future of the eu at risk. that is certain
is that this vote will be very tight and very tense. so our question today on quadriga, should the u.k. stay or go? i am joined by three seasoned observers and analysts, beginning with derek scally, who is from the "irish times," and says brexit is merely a symptom for a long deep-seated eu illness. also with us is alan posener, a regular commentator for berlin who believes" that brexit would be a catastrophe that would lead to the dissolution of the european union. and welcome to ulrike herrmann, a business editor and writer at the "tageszeitung," who says a brexit would not be as bad as it seems for the eu because the british would be forced to adopt all the key eu loss.
say a disaster might be just days away. tell us about the disaster. alan: the disaster goes like this. britain leaves. aere is a disaster, in that man like boris johnson might become prime minister, which is disastrous for britain. talk about europe. camp in places like france, 61% of the population unfavorable of the eu, they demand a referendum. in denmark, they demand a referendum, where there is an anti-european party with more votes than any other party. in poland, people demand a referendum, and the whole thing starts to fall apart, the whole project starts to fall apart. permany is left with a few rum states hoping for handoffs from the german table, and that is cast as the european union,
which is really just a neocolonial project. this, i admit, is the worst possible outcome, but it is not totally unrealistic. that's the terrible thing. peter: ulrike, do you buy into this? ulrike: i don't. politically, europe might be divided, but economically we are bound together. it is a very small continent, with very tight economic affairs. it is impossible to somehow get independent economically, and that is something the british are going to realize. look at countries like norway, or switzerland, or iceland. they do not belong to the eu, but nonetheless they are forced so implement european losaw to be able to trade with the european union. the same would happen with britain. we would be no longer part of the eu, but to trade with the
eu, to have economic contact with the eu, they would be forced to implement european laws, and the only difference is they would not be able to take political part in deciding on these laws. alan: it is a german fallacy, that since the days of karl marx, who was a very german person, that economics determines everything. ulrike: it does. alan: europe was a tightly knit economic unit before the first world war, and they threw it all away, they destroyed this, and we have not recovered since. europe, europe is totally capable of self-destructing once the demons of european nationalism are unleashed, and this is what is going to happen if the, if the brexit people win. that's what i'm worried about. if germans sit back completely and say, they will have to take their method in, like the german medicine, likedrig --their
the german finance minister said, you don't understand how everywhere in europe except for germany itself, people's blood begins to boil at that. this is what is destroying europe. derek: i would be with ulrike at this point if we did not have what alan described, this populism and nationalism, this talk sing mix across -- toxic mix across europe. the notion that the rules will continue to work, and it is a clockwork that will keep taking and britain will be a smaller wheel in the clockwork mechanism, on paper that is how it should be, but we have marine le pen, populism in austria, sweden, finland, denmark, right
here in germany, and we are kind of in a post-reality-based part of europe, and it is emotions driving things. almost like the donald trump feeling. if you start tinkering with the clockwork at a time like this, that's where you will never get this clock working again after the brexit vote. ulrike: where i agree is that, of course, t there's lots of nationalalism and emotion that's now deciding the fate of britain. agree the ukip guys are not pursuing a rational policy. how is europe supposed to be reacting to irrationality? germans, you as always address me as a german, so what of the german supposed to do?
five years ago, you could differentiate between insane euroskeptics and rational eurocritics. this firm me has been a very frustrating part of the european union in the last 10 years, that criticism was like a teflon coating in brussels, it just dripped off. there are european critics in britain who are very rational, intelligent people, and they have never been listened to. and suddenly in the last reel we have britain being listened to, this and this is a good idea. ulrike: tell me. what exactly would have had to change in europe in order to somehow improve the situation in britain? my perspective is completely different. everything that britain wanted has been done by the eu. that's the problem. there is not one single
proposal, not even from cameron, eu should do to keep britain in the eu. my impression is, the whole debate in britain doesn't have anything to do with the reality of the eu. it's about britain, and the situation there. peter: before we continue about the british perception of the eu and the gripes the british have about the eu and brussels, let's hear a little from the brexit campaign, starting with boris johnson. boris johnson: why are we sending 10 billion pounds a year to brussels, some of which is spent on spanish bullfighting? do you think the british taxpayers should be supporting spanish bullfighting? absolutely not. the eu is certainly not a democracy. laws are instigated by the european commission. it is very frustrating, having
to constantly deal with the barrage of mindless, petty rules, completely mad. should have a huge warning sign on top of it that says "contains nuts." >> our message will be loud and clear. we do not want a european union passport. we want a british passport. we want our passports back. we want our soldiers back. we want our country back. we want to make june 23rd independence day. faragederek, nigel talking about independence day, saying we want our country back. is that just right-wing populism, the kind of thing one could dismiss, or should we take it seriously? have the british really lost their sovereignty and seated at -- ceded it to brussels? derek: they believe they have,
but that is perception. what they are really saying is, we want our empire back, we want to feel like somebody again. britain lost it long before joining the eu, and now we have even less importance in the world, having been in the eu. alan: the british believe quite sincerely, i was speaking to a lot of people, and they believe that their democracy is much more open and accessible and transparent and lively and authentic than brussels. they have a case, haven't they? derek: what is brussels? british politicians are going to brussels to make decisions, or telling the european commission we would like you to come up with a r rule onn vegetables, wh they then mock in london, saying there are these crazy rules about vegetables, which london and other capitals demanded. so britain is projectcting -- there is self-loathing at play here, and such irratioionality that somehow we will be somebody again, that we can make britain great again, like donald trump says,, make america great again, by cutting off the nose to spite
the face. and then they will listen to us, when we have no nose left. press years, the murdoch has been attacking the bbc and attacking europe, and if you have been raised in this environment, everybody who is pro-europe or pro-eu is on the back foot, and they have been for the last 30 years. you are constantly defending why this i is a good thing, as oppod to in germany, where it is the other way around, and rupert murdoch is now going to have his day. this is what he has been investing in all these years, to try and get britain where he wants it, out of the european union. if you are bombarded with these messages for 30 years, it seems completely normal, and that is the bubble in which britain is living. the environment in which they are deciding could not be less conducive. what will happen then across europe? that's really the spark in the gas-filled room. peter: point taken.
let's shift focus just a little bit. becausele sovereignty, too much has been given away, say the brexit camp. and too much immigration. is there too much immigration? derek: no. britain has profited immensely from immigration to europe. take the poles, people from ireland, bankers from france, businessmen from germany, and so on. in fact, many people in britain would rather have more immigration, from other countries, china, russia, the caribbean, pakistan, so on. nos is, this is, there is rational argument, i agree, for britain leaving the european union. the point is, we are beyond the point of russian argument, and when british people look to europe, they see, for instance, knees, brought to its
by the german finance minister. they see spain brought to its knees with austerity at the behest of berlin, with 40% on employment. they see a eurozone with zero growth when their own country has 2% growth. they are worried. it's not just nostalgia. peter: also positives. if 50% of the people vote for the brexit, they believe they can go it alone. do you believe, understand whatt makes them so confident? alan: it is in part a feeling that, the transatlantic feeling, the anglosphere, encompassing australia, new zealand, united states, and so on, obviously this is more a dream than a reality, but i understand where they come from, because if you are a british position or actor
or businessperson, like sir branson, who did virgin airlines, you do automatically find your way, or if you are a journalist like tina brown, you find your way to the united states, whereas germans find it difficult to do so. , he went tot britain and said, you will not have more influence if you leave europe. you will have less. peter: going to the back of the queue with negotiation privileges. alan: it is not just old empire. it is the old feeling of the english speaking people, since churchill spoke about defending democracy together. butink it is an illusion, it is no coincidence boris johnson is a biographer of winston churchill. he's a character of the great man, but that's what he gets his ideas from. peter: you talked pragmatically
about the british after they voted themselves out of the eu, turning back to the eu and reinventing themselves into the club, according to the norwegian or the swiss model. do you think that rereally will work? a lot of people say, the eu city will not go with that anymore. ulrike: i don't think so, because once there is this brexit, of course the eu will try to keep written as close to the -- britain as close to the eu as possible, but the real problem will be that the brexit will not be a clear-cut decision. because even if there is a decision for brexit, it will be by a margin of, say, 2%. 2% is nothing, in political terms. after the vote for the brexit, you have two years of negotiations with the eu. during this time, there will be a lot of uncertainty, which i ththink will be causing economic trouble in britain. so probably during those two years of negotiation, a lot of brits will think, it might not
have been such a good idea to vote for the brexit. so then when it finally comes time to leave, polls will show most brits would rather stay. peter: this is a very messy situation. [laughter] ulrike: in the end, it might be that britain will stay, and the only victim will be david cameron, who of course will be forced to resign if there was a majority for a brexit, however small. letting the genie out of the bottle by causing the referendum. ulrike: boris johnson will be a problem. eu,britain will be in the but it is a possibility. i think it's very -- it wouldlde crazy to think that a very small margin in favor of a brexit would automatically lead to britain leaving. that, i think, is not how politics work. peter: ulrike is talking about, if there is a brexit vote, what happens next? nothing we could not deal with is what the brexiteers appear to be saying. the remain camp says they will
be major worries, perhaps a disaster for europe, and the u.k. >> a storm is brbrewing over t e isles. the brexit is now a fact. britain is getting out. the european union faces the biggest crisis in its history. the bloc has lost a major military power, and its third-largest net income contributor. but after the party, it is time to pay the piper. the economy in britain shrinks an estimated 6%. experts say around 800,000 jobs are in jeopardy. it is ground zero for a political explosion. all over the continent, the hour has struck for euroskeptics, and they start to push for exits, too. prime minister david cameron falls on his sword and resigns, succeeded by leave front man
boris johnson, the former mayor of london. and what does the rest of the union do? draw together, or fall to pieces? alan, you were shaking her head listening to the report. tell me why. agree that thei scenario seems to be very realistic, especially the part about what happens to europe. it falls apart. it does not draw together. this is what mr. schaeuble is hoping, what the social democrats, what the lefties in germany are hoping, finally without these pesky brits we become the closer union we always wanted to have. but nobody in europe, and those people in germany, don't want that. this is not going to happen. europe is going to fall apart politically, and the idea that, oh, with this economic union we cannot do that -- europe has destroyed itself time and again,
and by the wayay, had to be rescued by great britain twice. that's true. so you can do it again, without the brits. peter: donald tusk, president of the european council, said this week that our enemies will open the champagne if britain leaeav. which enemies was he referring to? derek: people who are in very good position to win elections in the next two years in europe. brexit is only the first. you have t the presidentiall election in frfrance. wewe have got, we just had a presidential election in austria, and there will be parliamentary elections there. in germany, we have federal elections next year, with an unheard of double-digit growth for a populist right-wing party playing a lot of this anti-european rhetoric. ay fors going to be paydf this anti-elitist, anti-european movement around europe.
damp of nationalism coming up through the walls. ulrike: i think that's true. there is an anti-elite sentiment in all of europe, but that's not because it is the eu. problem is, in most of these countries there has been a long period of neoliberal policies, which meant the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and that's what people are revolting against, but it doesn't have anything to do with the eu. britaiain has a veryry neoliberl policy when it comes to enriching the rich and making if your more poor, so wanted to somehow defeat the populist parties, to have to let rycial democratic policy tt to make people feel more secure economically.
but that's not going to happen. liberal w we have a new government in these countries -- peter: which the movements are taking advantage of. ulrikeke: so i feel your fefear, but i don't think it has anything to do with europe. and that's the problem. ofn: first, the question who donald tusk is referring to, he is referring to russia. i have just been on a trip to the three baltic republics. lithuania, and, these people are shaking in their boots for what fear of what russia will do with their own russian minorities, and what russia is doing. mr. putin has artie declared himself the -- already declared himself the protector of these russian minorities. this is what europe is facing. this is why the eu needs to keep together, and this is why we must combat these, this idea of
nationalism. i will say one thing. it is not neoliberal policies, as proposed by great britain, that is driving european apart. it is the attempt to hold the euro together at the cost of the poor nations of europe, driven by a grand coalition in germany. ulrike: i agree that german euro isealing with the completely mental, but you cannot tell me that the brits, were not part of the euro, want to leave the eu because of german policy about the euro. i same nonsense. it is rather the people in britain, think that somehow their situation is due to those immigrants from east europe. peter: let me go to derek. we are running out of time, so i
want to tell you -- give you a minute and i have to say, how much dismay will there be in ireland if there is a brexit vote? derek: we have a border with ireland -- northern ireland that is a completely open border, with open trade back and forth. if britain leaves it is now an outer eu border, so do we put up our wire again? do we put up soldiers? ? there will be a customs border again, which means costs and queues, and the prosperity that oiled the peace process will be called into question, so ireland could be one of the first casualties of this debate and vote, and it is not really being debated in britain at all. we will see how that goes. alan: absolutely. it is a disaster for ireland, a disaster for the peace process, a disaster for the baltic states, for poland. you name it, is terrible. [laughter] peter: the question i asked at
the top of the show, should be u.k. stay or go. give me your summarizing comments? ulrike: of course they should stay, and i think they will vote for nonot leaving. derek: i also believe self-interest will prevail at the will remainu -- they will remain with the wounded pride that brussels is dictating their lives. alan: i hope they are afraid enough of boris johnson as a prime minister. he is a mediocre but ok novelist, but as a primee minister he would be a disaster. he is an actor, not a politician. i hope that the fear of boris johnson -- peter: is it interesting that the name boris johnson gets named as the same sentence as donald trump? alan: donald trump is a horrible person. a nasty person. forest johnson is a nice person. he's just a bad politician. peter: one last word on this.
which way do you wanted to go? which way do you think it's going to go? the bookmakers are on one side, and the pollsters on the other side. to his right? the pollsters say they will be a brexit, and the bookmakers say people will err on the side of caution. derek: i hope the irish voters will get out in britain and swing it one way or another, and they may swing it for remain. it could be tight. so all irish voters are ordered to go out and vote on referendum day. peter: thanks for a much to all of you. thanks for being here. thanks for providing our viewers with so much food for thought. i hope you enjoy the show as much as i have. if you have, get in touch with us by mail or social media. come back next week. until then, bye-bye. ♪ ♪
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