22 Dec, 2016 @ 13:45
2 mins read

Donner Und Blitzen!

brexit e

THIS Christmas Eve, it will be six months to the day since the Brexit Referendum result and I am reminded of the German names of two of Santa Claus’ reindeer ‘Donner’ and ‘Blitzen’. In English, ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightening’.

brexitMore about Germany below but first, a confession. When I started writing these articles for the Olive Press I thought that Brexit was a matter to be considered within the ambit of law and politics. So, I have written at some length and sometimes presciently on issues such as the Royal Prerogative and European Citizenship. Separately I have had occasion to give talks on British secession from the EU in Morocco and Spain and I have been interviewed on the BBC, Cadena COPE and elsewhere.

I have come to realise, however that this is not just about law and politics served neat but maybe, the editors of OP should’ve asked a psychiatrist to write about Brexit and the effect that a Referendum result seems to have had on people who still define themselves as democrats. For months now there has been wailing, gnashing of teeth and whimpering more suited to the aftermath of a tragedy and therefore surprising because we are dealing with a decision by the British people to withdraw not from Europe (that would be physically impossible), but from a bureaucratic entity created by some, not all, European countries i.e. something not dissimilar in principle to Ricky Gervais’ dystopia “The Office”.

The latest offering has thrown me sideways. A reputable Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw has claimed in Parliament that the Referendum result was tilted by “Russian cyber warfare”. Tragically, I do not think that he was joking. It is extraordinary, to my mind that an experienced socialist politician should have apparently not realised that the result was a judgement on years of weakness, indecision and arrogance at the top of the European Institutions. The voters, particularly those three million people who don’t make it a habit of voting but did so on this occasion had had enough and wanted change. To say they were influenced by Russian secret agents makes the toes curl.

At this time of the year we are called upon to try to predict what will happen in the New Year.

In the context of Brexit I think that the focus will move away from Britain to Germany.

The economic data suggests that Germany literally cannot stop trading openly and uninhibitedly with the UK which accounts for 20.5% of Germany’s entire trade surplus. That is £51 billion per year.

Brexit has caught Germany in a vulnerable position. Its bailouts of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece has lost it £125 billion in interest which was due to it from the European Central Bank. There is a funny clip on YouTube of a German reporter outside a Madrid public building remarking on the large number of civil servants arriving very late indeed for work. One lady candidly explained that she had overslept and all agreed that there would be no sanctions for their lack of punctuality. The RTL newsman ends by saying that with this attitude Germany has little hope of recovering what it is owed by countries in Southern Europe.

The Germans are losing patience with the Latin belt and ironically, all the indications are that Germany’s best bet is to have an optimum relationship with the UK.

At this point it is well to remark that when we talk of £51 billion here and £125 billion there and €400 billion, calculated to be the cost of the immigration crisis over the next 20 years, we are talking of the German taxpayer whose money is being diverted from hospitals, schools and infrastructure.

My prediction is that next year we should look out for thunder and lightning coming from Berlin and the Länder and that Germany will look to cement its trading relationship with the UK.

One thing that does unite most Europeans from the Arctic Circle to the Greek Islands is Christmas. I wish all my readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous 2017.

Charles Gomez (OP Columnist)

Charles Gomez has been a barrister for more than thirty years and is currently an Honorary Professor of International Law at the University of Cadiz, where he hosts lectures in English and Spanish.
Readers of the Olive Press are invited to discuss this or any other legal matter with Charles Gomez by emailing [email protected]


  1. Before thinking of trading with Germany, the UK has to have an agreement with the 27 members of the EU, which will not be easy.
    But it will be a lot more difficult dealing with the 164 members of the WTO.
    And all those agreements could last decades.
    Not by chance most of the financial firms established in London are moving to Europe.
    It seems the UK will be more and more insignificant, in economic terms, through the years.

    • Pablo, please tell me, why are you so concerned about Britain and of the Brexit movement. I would have thought the demise of Britain would please you. Get over the Falklands. BTW, the good and sensible thing that the British government have agreed with Argentina is to remove any trace of a so called invasion by the removal of their brave young soldiers remains. Don’t you think that is a wonderful gesture on behalf of the British Government.

  2. Charles Gomez, thank you for teaching me, a German, what Germans feel about Brexit and about Germany’s role in the EU. Please understand that RTL is one of 40 German television stations and is not “THE German tv. And that your opinions about the German view on Southern Europe, on the UK and the things we pay tax for, are mainly the view of the rigth wing AfD Party, which is not represented in the Berlin federal parliament. It’s like I would say, that UKIPs positions are the political positions of THE British people.

    Now to your “facts”: Germany is both: a loser and a winner in the ECB game of low interest rates. Our public households have saved 200 Billion Euros in interest payments since the Greek finance crisis broke out and since the ECB cooled down the interest rates to zero. Our federal budget made a plus in 2015 and 2016, and all 16 Bundeslaender (federal states) will have their budget balanced from 2020 onward. Also private companies saved much interest payments and therefor could invest more money into export and became more price competitive. And in Germany we see a ongoing boom in real estate business, as everyone may get mortgages for free.

    Until now, no German tax payer has lost any Eurocent to Greece or Italy. Instead our private banks make nice profits with public bonds from these countries. Also those countries help us to keep away refugees coming from Africa. Please mind that islamic Berlin terrorist Anis Amri has been shot to death this night by Italian police at Milano. Who will help the UK against islamic terrorism when Great Britain hides outside the EU?

    The poor guy is the German buyer of life insurances who cannot earn enough money for his extra pension. But Germany has a very good and stable public pension system, so this is not a really big problem.

    Compare this situation to your country where even the announcement of a “may be Brexit” crashed the British pound and shortened the pensions of British expats in Spain, being paid in Euros. Which other terrible things will happen during the 10 years of Brexit negotiations, that are predicted by British government officials, IF the UK government really happens to apply for Brexit according to article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty?

    You say, in case of Brexit 51 billion of German export surplus into the UK would be in the fire. Yes, in 2015 Germany exported goods worth 89 billion Euros into the UK and imported goods worth 38 billion from the UK. The huge gap is caused by the fact, that Margret Thatcher has decided to name financial services a “industry”. Even if the UK will be moved completely outside the EU, this will not reduce our UK exports of goods to zero, as the UK economy obviously has a need for German hardware. Therefor about 30 billion Euros of our trade surplus MAY have to be replaced by exports to other countries. Do you think, an economy which creates exports of 1300 billion Euros and imports of 1000 billion Euros per year is not able to compensate a lush sum of 30 billion Euros in net export earnings from the UK trade? Think about German export losses of 22 billion Euros per year due to the sanctions in the trade with Russia. Think about new German export chances into Russia, Iran and hopefully Iraq and Syria after the British bombs have defeated the Islamic State and after Donald Trump has normalized the US relationships with Russia.

    The huge cost of migration crisis is not bound to Germany alone. All the migrants inside the UK, coming from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, China, Nigeria, Philippines… have nothing to do with the EU but with the British Empire and cause a financial and social burden on the UK, which remains too after a Brexit may have been finished.

    But the young migrants from Syria and Erithrea are a chance for Germany. If we are successful in managing their integration into the German society (as we did with refugees from Vietnam, the Balkans, the Soviet Union) then our exports will not be limited by the aging of the German society. The Germany tax payer has already paid 2000 billion Euros for the German unification process. Therefor we have not to worry about another 400 billion for integration of refugees.
    Think big!

  3. Thanks for your helpful response Wolfgang; one slight worry that I have with your detailed analysis is that when it comes to immigration, it seems to be premised on the notion that Germany needs “young” migrants whereas, of course the young migrants of today will grow old like the rest of us. The economic model that you seem to offer is one where millions of people will be needed every few years as the ever growing population inexorably becomes older. “The chance for Germany” as you call it is also a blight on countries like Syria who are losing their best people.

  4. Charles,
    Wolfgang is blissfully unaware ( a German Trait) that his whole post is one of arrogant self interest, German greed and their total could’nt care less about others attitude is the real face of Germany. In reality there has been no real change from the Nazi mentality. Look at how he crows at the profit to be made from buying up bonds issued by countries ruined by the Euro, the ludicrously low % rate that encouraged southern Europeans to buy German goods.

    The German miracle – don’t make me laugh. Al their debts were written off in 1945, whereas the British were hammered by the onerous and infamous ‘Leaselend’ that was’nt finally paid off until 2005. These mass murderers were off rationing years before the British, that in itself is outrageous – it should have been the reverse.

    He lies totally about the German State pension scheme, in a few years time it will be bankrupt. As you quite rightly say who is going to pay the pensions of all these immigrants – the man on the moon, it’s the same silence on this most important point as the Remoaners in the UK.

    The coming years elections in Europe should be very interesting. People across Europe have had enough of German control of the EU. Everything is about what’s best for Germany . None of this would have been possible if they and the Austrians had really paid the price for their racist mass murder mentality, they did’nt and we can thank the American elite and the duplicity of the British public school crowd for that.

    With the collapse of the Euro, the re-introduction of a German currency will see the price of their goods rocket. The whole German infrastructure is collapsing and the new airport for Berlin still is’nt open – faulty construction, rampant corruption – this is the face of Germany that they don’t want the world to see. The complete shambles re. the Christmas market is incredible. They arrest a man simply because of the colour of his skin, when any idiot would have combed the cab of the articulated lorry for clues. That they did’nt set up any kind of border control so that the Tunisian was able to travel via France to Italy and if he was’nt so stupid as to be walking around in the early hours of the morning would still be free.

    Germans like Wolfgang mouth platitudes about their horrendous crimes carried out by virtually the whole population but the reality is his post – see it for what it is.

  5. Mr Gomez needs to understand the role of social media in the referendum result, indeed the team for leaving the EU wrote dedicated software for the task of thrusting constant false anti-EU messages and other interstituals to people who were undecided on their vote, by carefully analysing their public social media postings, and then targetting them online accordingly. It worked very well indeed and produced the few extra percent of undecided voters that clinched the result. The result wasn’t a landslide and has left the UK polarised with deep problems that may never be resolved.

  6. Stuart, so you say the view of Charles Gomez about Brexit and its possible impacts on Germany had been out of “self interest”?
    It is your personal tragedy that you are not able to see that many relations and attitudes between our two countries have changed since the damnable Nazi Regime. I am fully aware I cannot change your attitude towards Germany.
    The only point that I may agree to, is our inability to build a Berlin airport. But this should be in your sense, as a country without a Berlin airport is not a real threat for the UK and for Europe , isn’t it?
    And yes, Germany is so weak inside the EU that we cannot even control the border between France and Italy! Or do you prefer a “Nazi” control of the Italian-French border?

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