Donald Tusk By EPP (CC-BY-2.0)

Donald Tusk By EPP (CC-BY-2.0)


The EU Council President, Donald Tusk, has told eurocrats not to lecture Italian voters about choosing eurosceptic parties.

What's this I hear, Donald Tusk, whose official title is President of the European Council – note that it's 'European' and not 'EU' Council, has berated his eurocrats for lecturing the Italian voters for electing anti-EU parties.

This comes after the EU Budget Commissioner, Gunther Oettinger said that the economic uncertainty in their country brought about by their vote, could teach them not to vote that way in future.

Tusk's reply to that was: "My appeal to all EU institutions: please respect the voters. We are there to serve them, not to lecture them."

And Juncker said "Italy deserves respect".

But writing in Politico, Matthew Karnitschnig said that Oettinger should be applauded for saying that markets will decide how people vote and points at Greece as the example saying that all that those who tried to go against the EU achieved, was a worse situation for the Greek economy.

But he says:

"Italians may opt to learn Greece’s lesson the hard way. If they do, there’s a good chance the euro won’t survive. Considering the difficulty Europe had coping with Greece, a country the fraction of Italy’s size, there’s little hope the common currency could withstand such a crisis."

Now let's think about this. One country's voters could potentially bring down the eurozone, if not the whole European Union should they go to the polls again and more of them opt for eurosceptic parties.

To what lengths will the Commission, or the other member states come to that, go to ensure that any future Italian elections have the correct outcome (for them as opposed to Italy), or to ensure that Italy does not pose such a huge risk? Will they really just sit back and let democracy take its course? Or will the EU engage heavily and probably counterproductively in Italy's elections?

The news at the moment is that moves are still being made to cobble an unlikely coalition together, but this may well come to nought and just delay any new elections.

And with Oettinger's comments being pushed hard by the so-called 'populists' in Italy as yet more evidence of an overbearing EU, the prognosis is not good for the eurocrats. (Populist of course being the term used by the political righteous against people who vote the 'wrong way').

Interesting times lie ahead.

Moving on, in a trip to San Francisco visiting tech companies, the chancellor, Philip Hammond said the UK will have to stick to EU privacy rules post-Brexit.

This was in response to the US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, saying that GDPR would force 'big changes' on business relations between UK and US companies, reports the FT.

"GDPR’s implementation could significantly interrupt transatlantic co-operation and create unnecessary barriers to trade, not only for the US, but for everyone outside the EU." Mr Ross wrote in the FT.

Having looked around the web myself for guidance and comment on the impact of GDPR, I can understand why the US Commerce Secretary says this.

It's all as clear as mud, with no-one really willing to put their neck on the line saying that they have the definitive answer. Just lots of hints and maybes.

When you have little hobby sites having to create four pages of privacy documentation, which their site visitors will never read anyway, you get the idea that this is all just administrative baloney that the little people get hurt by.

Couple this with the new copyright laws coming out of Brussels if they get voted through by the EU parliament on or about the 21st June that is, which could end up with fees to hyper-link to news sources and Big brothers checks of anything you upload to the internet, you can see why business outside the EU might be worried about continuing their operations inside the EU.

Already some non-EU businesses have reportedly geo-blocked the EU from their services because of this.

It seems to me that, if fully implemented, the combination of all these new rules will shut down on true free expression and innovation and protect the real big players from competition – sounds very like the sort of approach the EU takes to most things.

I personally would much rather be outside of that soviet-style Big Brother zone, sounds far too much like what China is trying to do for my liking. And I think most people will want the same once these new EU laws begin to bite and restrict their use of the web.

Unlike Mr Hammond I don't think we need to stick to EU privacy laws after Brexit, as I think they will naturally unravel as business and social media gets hit.

And on security I hear that the French want to keep the UK out of any involvement in the Prüm Convention, which is a criminal information system with 14 EU members swapping DNA, fingerprint and vehicle data. The UK is not a signatory to this but some of the core elements became part of EU law in 2008, with the UK opting out of these in 2014, then opting back in in January 2016 and I understand our government now wants to stay in it post-Brexit.

The parts we are already involved in as EU members come under EU law and ECJ jurisdiction, something we should avoid like the plague.

So why can't we just set up an agreement to liaise with them instead of trying to remain a part of it?

Now to border control. If the Swiss can remain outside of the Customs union and prevent a hard border, why can't the UK, asks Jacob Rees-Mogg.

With the Express saying:

"Mr Rees-Mogg issued a rallying cry after the Daily Express saw at first hand how the Swiss manage to avoid a hard border by using technology and assessing risk. Surrounded by EU member states, its borders with Germany, France, Italy and Austria run smoothly despite it remaining resolutely outside the customs union."

Isn't it strange that modern technology can put EU military grade satellites into space, it can help build an EU army etc, but it's not up to the task of adding the movement of goods to a border that already monitors currency, people, taxes and law within the EU.

Finally, a report from The Times says that UK economic growth is expected to accelerate faster than expected according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD has upgraded its forecasts for this and next year in its latest global economy health check and predicted 1.4% for 2018 and 1.3% in 2019.

Oh, and do you remember all those recent bad motor trade figures? Well things are looking up. With the Times reporting that April was a bumper month for the UK car industry with a 5.2% increase in production. And further says the report, four out of five of the vehicles were exported.

Business keeps on rolling.

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