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Schadenfreude: Home Truths From Abroad

First Truth. Umpteen percent of laws affecting the British people are made in Brussels, writes Schadenfreude, our secret columnist in Brussels.

The number varies with the speaker but is usually high and challengeable.

But who makes them? Not, despite deep-rooted belief, the unelected European Commission. The lawmakers are the European Council, composed of the heads of elected governments, usually acting unanimously, but possibly by majority vote; complemented by a vote of the directly elected European Parliament.

It is cumbersome and usually a compromise rather than what individual participants wanted but it is democracy at work. Whether it is the greatest good for the greatest number is moot – like all lawmaking. You makes your choice.

Second Truth. Britain does not need the European Union to negotiate trade deals. We have enough clout to do it ourselves.

The European Union is currently closely engaged in negotiations aiming at an Atlantic trade and partnership deal. It is stuck. If the Union, with its multinational backing, and the prospects which it can offer, cannot cut through, what chance would there be for a single country, however skilled in negotiation.

Third Truth. Britain could leave the EU and have a free trade deal with it.

It could happen in different ways but there is a downside. To maintain freedom of trade the partner country would have to adopt, without consultation, new EU lawmaking affecting trade, such as environmental protection and product safety.

The Norwegians, who are already in free trade, call it democracy by fax.

It would literally, be subjection to “laws made in Brussels,” but this time, 100%.

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