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Seven flaws in Hannan’s seven risks of remain

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 19.04.2016

Daniel Hannan called only last week for the Leave camp to “dispel Project Fear with Project Cheer”. Judging by the Tory MEP’s latest piece, entitled “7 risks in voting Remain”, he’s had a rapid and drastic change of heart. As is so often the case, Hannan hasn’t let facts get in his way either.

“Deeper integration”

Hannan says Brussels is planning fiscal and political union, with pooled decision-making on national budgets and harmonised social security systems. These things will apply “to all 28 states not just those in the euro”. Not so. They apply only to the eurozone.

“More bailouts”

Hannan says the UK was dragged into last July’s Greek bailout. This is disingenuous. Britain was never at risk. What’s more, we have since received guarantees that we won’t foot the bill for any future euro zone bailout.

“A European army”

Hannan’s next scare story is an old favourite: an EU army. “What are the odds of Britain being able to resist this process?” the MEP asks. Excellent, as it happens: we could veto it. Why does Hannan, who believes strongly in British sovereignty, have so little faith in our ability to look out for our own interests?

“Rule by Euro-judges”

Hannan says the EU advocate general ruled that deporting Abu Hamza’s daughter-in-law would “violate her ‘rights as an EU citizen’”. Hannan neglected to mention that the advocate general thought the deportation could go ahead if there was a “genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat”.

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“Shrinking Europe”

Hannan contrasts an EU “convulsed in the euro and Schengen crises” with a growing rest of the world. In fact, the EU grew 2% last year, while even the euro area grew 1.6%. Both will grow at around the same pace this year and next, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“Refugee quotas”

Hannan says the EU will repeal the Dublin Convention, under which Britain can send asylum-seekers back to the country where they first entered the bloc, and make any new deal contingent on accepting refugee quotas. We do not have to accept refugee quotas. Even if we lost the chance to send back asylum-seekers, the numbers are not big – roughly 1,000 people a year.

“Treated with contempt”

Hannan says David Cameron’s recent renegotiation succeeded only in “amending one directive on welfare”. We also secured an opt-out from “ever closer union”, commitments to cut red tape and exemption from eurozone bailouts among other useful goodies.

Hannan says we’ll be treated with contempt if we stay. That would be a dramatic break with the current state of play. To paraphrase Hannan: how dismal, how timorous he must think we are if we will have so little ability to influence affairs.

Hannan didn’t respond to queries.

This piece was updated on 20/04/2016: the EU has an advocate general, not an “attorney general”

Edited by Hugo Dixon