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Mail “4 lies” front page is wrong

by Jack Schickler | 23.06.2016

“Nailed, the four big EU lies”, says the referendum day Daily Mail splash, before saying how Remain campaign claims on Turkey, migration, trade and EU reform had been “demolished”. Yet the supposed demolition itself misrepresents all four issues.

“Talks with Turkey will start in days” on its EU membership application

This is neither new nor evidence Turkey is about to join. In March, as part of a deal with Turkey to control the migrant crisis, EU leaders agreed to open talks on financial and budgetary matters, one of the 35 topics or “chapters” that need to be settled before the country could join, “during the Netherlands Presidency” of the EU which ends next week. AFP reports that the talks will be formally opened at a meeting next Wednesday.

Opening talks is not the same as closing them. Since Turkey applied to join the bloc in 1987, just one of the 35 chapters has been finalised. There is a long way to go before Turkey qualifies for membership, if ever.  The UK retains the right to veto Turkey joining and David Cameron has said that membership is “not remotely on the cards”.

“Brexit WON’T spark trade war say Germans”

Markus Kerber, chair of German industry federation the BDI, yesterday told the BBC World Service that, in the event of Brexit, “imposing trade barriers … would be a very, very foolish thing.” Kerber previously said the UK leaving the EU will cause “major damage on both sides” – evidently he thinks Brexit is foolish, too.

His comments do not rule out trade barriers post-Brexit. Regulatory or administrative obstacles can be as much of a restriction to trade as the “tariffs” mentioned by the Mail. And, as Kerber also admitted yesterday, after a Brexit “we don’t know what the legal framework will be”. Kerber added that “long-established trading relationships between the UK and the European Union will have to be renegotiated” (listen from about 6’30”).

While lobbyists like Kerber have some influence on political choices, Chancellor Angela Merkel will also have an eye on her 2017 elections. Faced with a eurosceptic resurgence at home, she won’t want to make leaving the Union seem too easy. In any case, Germany is just one country. Each of the other 26 will probably have a veto, meaning negotiations can be held hostage to pet issues.

“Brussels will NOT reform on open borders”

The Mail cites comments by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday. Juncker said of the UK-EU debate,  “there will be no kind of renegotiation on the agreement we found in February or as far as any kind of treaty negotiation is concerned. Out is out.” His meaning is clarified by the closing three words: “Out is out”.  The UK cannot use a Brexit vote to secure better terms of membership. But this would not rule out a future agreement between EU members on migration reform, as the Mail implies.

“Deportation of jobless EU migrants a myth”

Under EU rules to clamp down on welfare tourism, to stay in another EU country for longer than three months, you have to be employed or be able to support yourself. Jobless migrants who cannot support themselves face deportation. This happens in Belgium for example, as the Financial Times notes.

The Prime Minister’s claims we use this provision have been denied by migration expert Jonathan Portes. But even if we don’t, that is for domestic reasons, not because of EU law. The “Home Office admitted it did not have the staff or the capacity to enforce” the provisions, the Mail reported.

Edited by Michael Prest

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