#EC

German car makers in trouble with the EC environmental regulator

While governments around the world champion the idea that auto makers are “all aboard” when it comes to climate change mitigating tech, it appears the VW Group (incl Porsche & Audi), BMW and Daimler have been raked over the coals by European Commission (EC) officials for deliberately withholding it.

Why doesn’t the EC understand that advanced pollution cutting technology costs more the tougher the emissions regulations get? That cost gets passed onto consumers.

If auto makers met all the appropriate legislative hurdles at the time, why should they be punished? The law didn’t mandate it. Furthermore consumers put safety and utility at a premium to exhaust fumes.

The EC might complain these auto makers colluded but even if they hadn’t met in secret the outcome would have been exactly the same. Focus on shareholders wouldn’t change. Why can’t we accept it is a 100% reflection of the car makers’ true feelings about the environment. They don’t care! VW even cheated the tests.

What more evidence do we need? Automakers push narratives that they’re big on saving the planet so as to not catch the wrath of the activists. Actions tell the real story.

Perhaps we should question the regulator for not introducing tougher standards earlier rather than beat manufacturers over the head for their inability to provide adequate oversight?

The European Muppet Show

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The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit till October 31st. This will give more time for PM Theresa May, undoubtedly the most incompetent PM in British history, to dither and faff around with another 27 versions of a plan that will still resemble the initial deal.  No amount of lipstick on this pig will sell it to the British public. How she hasn’t resigned given the lack of authority is beyond comprehension? Opinion polls already show an overwhelming preference for No Deal.

Yet the 77% of remainer MPs inside the Commons somehow think they know better than the peons. What these elected officials are failing to grasp is that their constituents are questioning the respect shown to the very democratic processes which gave them the privilege to serve in the first place. Many existing members will see their employers sack them at the next election. May has destroyed the Tories.

At the same time, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will romp home in the EU elections in May and add to the already rapidly rising trend of populist eurosceptic parties across the continent.  While the EU thinks the extension will just provide a path to keep the UK inside the union bar the nameplate, it actually significantly raises the risks of further revolt within the ranks. His party, not a month old is already polling 3rd, behind Labour and the Tories.

The Britons are being viewed as a calm, placid and polite people but when pushed the lion will roar. What we are witnessing is a complete rewriting of the rules. That all of the legalities surrounding the treaties are being ignored to get a different result to that originally agreed. It is shameless.

Perhaps the UK should look at it this way. If Westminster passes a result that locks the UK into the EU, requiring the latter’s unilateral approval to leave, maybe Brits should show the same exact disdain for legal process and choose to ignore it when it suits. What will the EU do? Invade?

Brextension

Brexit is a total shambles. The delay timetable must be channeling British Rail. The Remainer PM Theresa May, instead of first negotiating terms with her own party and allies on a deal from the start and then taking to the EU, has repeatedly done the reverse. Then she wonders why she keeps losing support each time. Apart from the preposterous decision to rally support from Marxist Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May has asked for yet another extension to Jun 30. EC President Donald Tusk is offering a year ‘flextension’. When will she realize that she has no authority?

Tory members have been cutting membership cards in half and posting to social media. This Telegraph letters page sums up the mood. The revolt seems less and less to do with Brexit per se and more to do with the peons feeling utterly betrayed by those they voted for. MPs who have backed the PM better start filling in their P45s. Voters will not let this slide.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is rapidly gaining momentum, picking up disaffected voters. If he contests the EU elections his party should do very well.

The Tories are toast. For a party that should have its core in serving free markets and less government intervention it sure has forgotten its roots. For many Brits they didn’t leave the Tories. The Tories left them.

Juncker focuses on the wrong climate

There is an irony to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker promising to spend €1 in €4 of the EU budget on climate mitigation. Worse he used 16yo Swedish climate school strike activist Greta Thunberg as the pawn to justify it. €1 trillion will be spent annually through 2027. It is for their future after all!

Last week CM debated a former client who tried to justify teachers using WMO data in their studies of teenage students on climate. WMO is a part of the U.N. which has been embroiled in so much data manipulation, scandal, lack of governance, unethical conduct and conflicts of interest as to beggar belief. So kids are being indoctrinated if the scholastic standard is the WMO.

Has Juncker considered how his climate plan will alleviate stubborn poverty and anemic economic growth?

EU poverty or risk of exclusion in 2017 stood at 22.4%. So 1 in 4 EU-28 member state citizens are struggling. In Greece it remains high at 35%. In 2007 poverty in the EU-28 was 16%. Even poster child Germany has gone from 16% to 19% in the same period. Macron’s yellow vests are protesting at 17.1% poverty vs 13% in 2007. In 2007 there were 78mn at risk of social exclusion. In 2017 there were 114mn.

The U.N. has called for “no poverty” in 15 years. The EU subscribes to this nonsense. While poverty may have drifted from the post GFC peak of 24.8% in the eurozone, 36mn extra people are unable to afford to heat their homes, afford a colour TV or eat meat, fish or chicken once every two days. These are the EU metrics on poverty. So how does spending €1 trillion per annum to mitigate climate change sit with a growing number of constituents dying to see blazing sunshine bask upon their economic climate?

Retail electricity prices across Europe are up 23% in the last decade. In Germany +39%. Spain +47%, Portugal +50%. Sweden +76%. France +40%. This is what happens when a growing amount of renewables are thrust on the grid. The countries with far lower renewables targets, like Hungary, have seen electricity prices fall. Who’d have thunk?

EU GDP growth has been slowing for the last 5 quarters and expected to slow to 1.1% in the coming quarter.

The EU claimed a 6.6% unemployment rate in Dec 2018. An update is expected on March 1. Is that number realistic if the poverty rate remains so high or is it a reflection of low paying rubbish job opportunities? Greek unemployment is north of 18% and Spain at 15%. Part time employment has grown to 20% from 15% over the last decade. In the Netherlands almost 50% of work is part time.

December 2018 EU industrial production fell 4.2%YoY. Ireland fell back 19.8% and Spain -6.7%. Hardly positive readings.

So instead of promising teenagers a green future, Juncker would find it far more sensible to focus on alleviating the chronic youth unemployment in Europe which remains around 19%. At least Thunberg is likely to skip the unemployment queue by landing a cushy EU job when she graduates unlike her fellow Swedish schoolmates who will face 18% unemployment.

What’s the point of listening to kids pleas to save the planet when the unelected overpaid bureaucracy in Brussels won’t even be able to provide them with a sustainable career to enjoy it? No doubt the kids will realize this folly when they grow up in the real world.

A special place in hell

Ah, the EU. With comments like this from EU Co-President Donald Tusk it sure feels like a warm and embracing place to return to. Supposedly the 17.4 million Brits that voted to leave the EU are equally deserved of a reservation in hell too. His comments perfectly sum up the manner in which the EU thinks of sovereign democracy. It doesn’t. It proves yet again to the British as to why there is absolutely no need to be part of this unelected federation by the back door.

Leaving without a deal is the best outcome because it is the one which the EU least desires. It is the one which outwardly shows other sovereign nations within the EU that the grass is greener outside. Such a scenario puts massive pressure on Brussels to reform, which is what it should already be doing.

Project Fear continues to make the case for the dangers of No Deal. Even the Bank of England has brazenly promoted the idea that GDP would fall 8% in such a scenario. It is concerning that the central bank could credibly put its name to such shonky projections. Ironic that former BoE Governor Mervyn King believes the opposite.

Do we not question as to why PM Theresa May – who should have already resigned – heads back for the umpteenth time to the renegotiation table, the EU has flatly rejected within 5 seconds of an amendment proposal being floated? So much for open dialogue and discussion. Recall the first version of Brexit was signed off by the EU inside of 45 minutes.

Why would the Brits want to be part of a body that flatly refuses to yield any ground on anything? Anyone with common sense can see that locking the UK inside the customs union is not only a betrayal of democracy but a sure fire way to trade itself into a worse position than it began with. It’s like requesting the EU to lock them in prison, hand the keys over to the Brussels guards and believe they will be let out when they’re ready to go.

Do Brits really want people like this in control?

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker has managed to find himself drunk again before an African-EU dinner this week. He last embarrassed himself ahead of a NATO dinner where he had to be propped up by those EU member state leaders around him. Poor old Boris Yeltsin would feel outdone by this.

How wonderful that the man who refuses to yield to PM May on Brexit can’t seem to show any leadership in public. Why would Brits want to cede power to unelected bureaucrats like Juncker who take no responsibility in public for their inebriated behaviour? While his term is nearing the end, there is no doubt he’ll retire on a juicy state pension courtesy of member states.

We shouldn’t forget that in July 2016, Mr Juncker sent a letter to all 650 UK MPs claiming the referendum was not a real exercise in democracy and should be disregarded.

No Deal is the absolute best outcome for the Brits. It respects the result of the referendum as it breaks all ties with Brussels. The UK has always been a friend to the continent but the EU is treating the Brits like hostages. Apart from Project Fear it would be fair to say the world’s 5th largest economy will find trading partners soon enough. The auto industry will be the first to ask for a deal with the UK. Others will follow. The EU doesn’t want to lose a big contributor to the coffers.

It was soon after the referendum that we were told the UK economy would collapse. Nothing could be further from the truth. So why pay the Bank of England any mind with its prophecies? Former BoE Governor Mervyn King has publicly stated No Deal will be the best outcome.

Juncker proves again why the Brits should revert to type and be plucky. They just need a leader who is prepared to have a spine and respect the will of 17.4 million voters.

Brexit – Jonathan Pie does it again

Whether you’re a Remainer or Leaver, Jonathan Pie explains in his trademark profanity-laced way why the Brexit deal of UK PM Theresa May is such a dud. What is the point of having a referendum which garners the highest ever voter turn out only to throw it back in the faces of both sides? In what world would a collective constituency want their parliamentarians to vote for a deal that makes everyone worse off? Why did May fold to every EU demand? She should have channeled the leader across the pond as to how to negotiate with Brussels.

Last week the Bank of England (BoE) ditched its independence charter to aid-and-abet the PM by producing a document stating a “No Deal” Brexit would hit UK economic growth by 8%.  What a joke. Would the EU seriously try to stitch up the economy of the second largest car market for German auto makers? It is preposterous in the extreme. Obama threatened in 2016 that the 5th largest economy would be at the back the queue when it came to trade deals. Trump would happily move it to the front. Canada and Australia too…can the BoE honestly come up with credible reasons why the ROW would spurn the UK in unison to get to an 8% slump?

Why only now has the BoE discovered this potential economic apocalypse? After all, the scare stories leading into the referendum about how the UK would plunge into the abyss should “Leave” succeed have simply not manifested. None of it. Why believe it now when its forecasts have been so off reservation? After all it did not advise the HM Treasury not to dump all of its gold at the very bottom.

Yet the Brits aren’t so stupid to see the deal being offered is the only one going. They have heard Minister for European Parliament (MEP) Guy Verhofstadt demand that member states hand over more sovereign powers to the EU. They saw EC President Juncker stagger blind drunk across a NATO stage BEFORE the dinner. There was little doubt in their minds when they checked the ballot square as to what was at stake. A No Deal Brexit is the one that should be pursued. The EU has so many disaffected member states that it is the one that needs to play nice with the UK, not the other way around.

 

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Take this chart, which shows the level of apathy member states have to show up and vote at European Parliamentary elections. Were the Brits so gung-ho to stay in the EU, why have only one-third of Brits ever shown up to express their love and affection for federalism? Is it any surprise that Italy, Spain, France & Greece have shown similar disdain over time as the EU fails to deliver for them? Surely the trend since 1979 has shown the underlying mood of member state constituents about how they value EU membership.

Perhaps Verhofstadt put the Brexit discussion into perspective (from 6:20) – after member states ratified the May plan in 38 minutes (a sure sign it is a great deal for the EU) – when he stated the hope that in the not too distant future, “a new generation of British…decide to come back into the great political European family

Tells us all we need to know. This week will show beyond a doubt about whether the island nation will have the very democracy it has shed so much blood to defend will be protected.

As Baroness Margaret Thatcher said of Europe,

 “During my lifetime most of the problems the world has faced have come, in one fashion or other, from mainland Europe, and the solutions from outside it.”