Tuesday, 29 May 2012

NUTS And Regions - Guest Post

A guest post from Edward Spalton

This is the framework within which Mr. Salmond is selling an entirely illusory "independence" - on a par with Slovakia which had come into line with the ESM within a few days of voting to stay out.

Of course, Sir Peter Housden was John Prescott's right hand man for the EU regional project in England so his present role is entirely congruent with the EU's long term aims for which he was Prescott's accomplice.

I have corresponded with Sonya Porter for quite a long time but not met her. She writes some interesting articles.

NUTS and Regions

S Jay Porter

The plan by the European Union to destroy the historical borders -- both internal and external -- of its separate countries is speeding up.
In 1994 we, in the UK, voted in our Counties at the European Elections for the last time.  If you lived in Cornwall, for instance, you sent an MEP from Cornwall to sit in the European Parliament.  But by the next EU election in 1999 as far as the European Union is concerned, the counties had been superseded and the country split into twelve Regions.  The Provinces of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were considered by the EU to be countries and therefore were established as one Region each, but England instead of being one country was now nine Regions.  This meant that if you lived in Newcastle you now lived and voted in the North East Region of the UK, not England.

This was the start of the NUTS  --  Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (nomenclature dunites territoriales statistiques), or the division of all EU countries into areas ostensibly for statistical purposes.  The basic countries have a two letter code  --  UK, for instance  --  and each Region is an NUTS1 and has an additional letter.  If you live in the South East Region, then you reside in UKJ, while those living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland reside in UKL, UKM and UKN respectively.

Then comes the first subdivision of the Regions, or NUTS2.  While Northern Ireland remains one NUTS2, Wales now has two and Scotland, which believed it could be an independent country within the European Union, now consists of four NUTS2 subdivisions.  The nine regions of what was England now consist of 30 NUTS2.  There is yet one more sub-division:  NUTS3.  These consist of five groups of districts in Northern Ireland, 23 Groups of unitary authorities or LECs in Scotland, 12 groups of Unitary  Authorities or groups of districts in the nine regions of England.

All these sub-divisions and sub-subdivisions are numbered.  So this means that if you once lived in the Isle of Anglesey, you now live in region UK11 of the European Union or if you once lived in the Shetlands, you now live in UKM66 of the European Union.

Of course the United Kingdom is not the only country to be divided in this way and there are now approximately 264 Regions (NUTS1) covering all the countries which make up the European Union.  To take one instance, currently there are 13 such Regions in Greece.  Their personnel are appointed by the Greek government and the duties of each Region is a miniature of the duties of the central government.  In 2008 the current Greek government announced its plans (as per EU directives) to reduce the number of Regions from 13 to five,  the number of prefectures from 52 to 16 and the number of municipalities from 1050 to 350.  In the meantime came the financial crisis and these plans were shelved but not abandoned.

In addition, there are approximately 110 organisations known as
Euroregions or inter-regions which cross national borders and belong to the Association of European Border Regions.  These are said to be for cross-border co-operation in various fields including the promotion of trade links, cultural ties, transport policies, tourism, education and spatial development.  However, the term Euroregion does not always clearly show the differences in aims and objectives, if they exist at all, compared with other trans-frontier structures which are given different names such as Euregios, Border Regions or Working Communities.  Many of the newly established Euroregions in the central and eastern European countries seem to be in fact, simply communities of interest which are forums for informal trans-frontier information and consultation.  Moreover, the legal frameworks within which the Euroregions operate exhibit such a wide variety of forms that it is difficult to clearly associate one particular legal framework with the term Euroregion.

The first inter-region, called Euregio which took in parts of Germany and the Netherlands, was created by Germany in 1958 to ensure, it stated, that national borders should not be a barrier to the integration of Europe.  Although several of these date back to the1960s, it was the 1990s which saw the largest increase in cross-border regions all over Europe.  In fact today there are virtually no local or regional authorities in border areas which are not somehow involved in inter-regional co-operation initiatives.

Nor do these inter-regions stop at the borders of the current European Union.

Turkey, which has yet to be formally accepted as a member of the EU, nevertheless has extensive inter-regional programmes linking it with Greece.  Switzerland with its substantial banking sector and Norway with its huge resources of oil, are both particular targets in spite of the fact that they, too, are currently outside the EU.  For instance, the Nordic Council, which comprises Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, gets EU grants for all of its eight Euroregions and the EU says that it is necessary to include Switzerland so as to integrate it into European regional planning.  According to the August 2009 Current Concerns, the English edition of the Swiss magazine Zeit-Fragen, largely unknown to the Swiss population (and certainly not voted for by them), this most democratic of countries is being split into three huge Metropolitan Areas  --  Zurich, Geneva and Basel -- ready to act as European Motors and to play leading roles in Europe in a number of respects such as economic performance, decision-making, etc.

But of particular interest to us here in Britain is the fact that
three of these Euroregions cross our borders:  the Arc Manche, the Atlantic Region and the North Sea Region.

The Arc Manche was originally set up in 1966.  It currently includes the French areas of Brittany, Nord-pas de Calais, Lower Normandy, Upper Normandy and Picardy together with the English counties of Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, and West and East Sussex. It has created its own forums for conferences, etc. and on 12th October 2005, members of Arc Manche met in Brighton to create the Channel Arc Manche Assembly.  Inter-regional Assemblies, where they exist, usually consist of regional heads of governments, commissions of executive officers, general secretariats and standing commissions on a wide range of issues. These officials are not elected by the general public. 
At the first meeting of the Arc Manche Assembly, Alain Le Vern from the Upper Normandy region, was appointed President and Brad Watson, from the West Sussex County Council, was appointed Vice President. 

The North Sea Region was created in 2007 and links areas of six countries bordering the North Sea: Norway (which is outside of the EU), Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands and the whole eastern side of the UK.

The Atlantic Region, which was possibly created in 2008, takes in the west of Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Devon, Northern Ireland and Eire, plus parts of south-western France, Spain and Portugal.

There seems to be no information yet about Assemblies for the North Sea or Atlantic Euroregions but it is certain that none of the three will be based in the United Kingdom.  The Arc Manche Region will be run from France, the Atlantic Region from Portugal and the North Sea Region from Denmark.  All three now have legal status and receive large grants from the central funds of the EU (which, of course, includes British taxpayers money).  Between 2007 and 2013, the Arc Manche Region will receive an annual budget of £261 million, the Atlantic Region £127 million and the North Sea Region £219 million.
In other words, the EU is busy knitting the various nations so tightly together, destroying both local and national loyalty, that it will be difficult to unpick them and retrieve our countries should we ever wish to leave the European Union. 

And that's the idea.

Although I have done my best to make sure that the above is correct, the information about EU organizations can be very confusing – there are frequent changes of names, areas, competences, etc. – which I take to be a deliberate ploy on the part of the EU in to prevent the general public from gaining information about it.  I apologise to the EU if this is not so.


JRB said...

Why does Europe make things so difficult, when, with a little effort it could make things - BLOODY IMPOSSIBLE!

Captain Ranty said...

I carried this a few days ago and I agree entirely.

This is why I think Scots are being sold a pup. I have long maintained that Scotland's "independence" will be measured by the historians in yoctoseconds.*

The stories spun (by both sides) are confusing: the SNP say that entry into the Stupid Club is almost automatic whilst others say that the UK (now broken up) will have to reapply for membership.

Still others say that nought will change.

The Scots (and other Britons) really must wake up and smell the hype.


* Yoctoseconds are now officially the smallest unit used in time measurement.

Joe Public said...

I didn't realise there were so many politicians & administrators to spend the taxes from the handful of productive workers in each region.

Presumably there's a statistic of the ratios somewhere?

Elby the Beserk said...

Hands up if you knew

1. That you have a Minister for {whatever region}?

2. Who that Minister is?

Hands up for me for #1, as I stumbled across this fact by chance. Hand stays down for Number 2, as I neither know nor care who he or she is.

What IS extraordinary is watching the EU ramp up its unification propaganda and legislation at the same time as the EU collapses. A solid dose of the old cognitive dissonances, perhaps better put as just ... WTF?

Given the above, I leave you with this masterpiece, paid for by you, I and our fellow EU slaves


Captain Ranty said...


I don't think they got the memo.

They are completely unaware that they are racing towards extinction at light-speed.

Let's not tell them.

I can't wait for the collective look of horror and panic when they discover that the gravy train crashed.


Brian said...

Great post, very interesting.
When I joined the Civil Service 25 years ago the country was divided up into administrative areas for convenience, Scotland, NI, Wales, NW England, NE England, W Midlands, E Midlands, SW, Southern Region, SE and London, if I remember correctly. Now the Cold War is over, I am able to say that those regions would outlast a nuclear strike and the barbequeued remains would be governed from deep bunkers by Ministers and picked civil servants, police and soldiers etc. As their families were outside, I never envied their job.

Brian said...

@Captain Ranty: yoctosecond? I thought the smallest unit of time was the onosecond, ie the time taken to realise one has accidentally deleted something very, very important on one's computamabob.;-) - despite the paperclip asking "You look as though you want to do something really stupid and expensive, are you sure?"

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Obviously the EU progrom for the 4th Reich is going to make NUTS of us all.

Damned if I can remember voting for any of this. But there again the EU doesn't 'do' democracy, does it!

subrosa said...

Thanks all for your contributions. I'm sure Edward will be pleased to note your comments.

Dioclese said...

I wnder if the UK is ever going to learn to ignore EU stupidity. It works for the French. They don't say no, they just don't do anything

Edward Spalton said...

Thanks for all the comments which I am forwarding to Sonya Porter.

I understand that she is working on another article in greater depth at present. This may be available in July.

I was involved in the campaign against the English Regional Assemblies. In our region (East Midlands) we registered a limited company called "The East Midlands Constitutional Convention Ltd" to forestall the campaign which, we knew, was coming to establish that there was a "demand" for " democratic regional government". Others did the same in their own regions.

The government/EU sponsored regional campaigns were mostly fronted by Church of England bishops as chairmen. I attended a meeting at Aston University which was to have been chaired by the bishop of Birmingham. He cried off at the last moment because of an illness but I was never sure how diplomatic that was. We had got a good number of dissenting letters into local papers. Nonetheless we had a presentation from Canon Kenyon Wright of the Scottish Constitutional Convention to tell the activists how to go about it.

The meeting was manipulated by the Delphi method but there were enough of us in the awkward squad to prevent it coming to the desired pre-determined conclusions. People are split into small groups with an unknown "facilitator" planted at each table. Ours was a suffragan bishop (from Hereford diocese if I remember rightly).

£500 million was spent on totally useless and never used regional fire control centres - essentially to give the Regional Assemblies something to do when they blossomed as "democratic" bodies.

The one referendum was held in the North East which does have a very distinctive regional identity. It was supposed that people would be looking enviously across the Border at all the glories of Holyrood. The proposal was roundly defeated, largely due to the redoubtable campaigner Neil Herron, whom also led the "Metric Martyrs" campaign.

Of course, the requirements for regional bodies to implement EU policies has not gone away and they are now buried even more obscurely under the guise of "Localism" in the present government's scheme. So whilst the English regional bodies lie a'mouldering in the grave, their soul and function goes marching on.

Grogipher said...

It's a wonderful rant but kind of misses one fact, that is rather important.

The EU doesn't dictate or decide how we elect our MEPs. There are rules, certainly, about proportionality and the like, but it is up to the member state to decide.

The UK could run a UK-wide list if it so wished. If it decides to split the elections down into "regions" then it can do that, and it gets to decide itself how to do that.

It's a lovely rant and I'll congratulate you on it, but it falls down at the most basic level. The EU can call bits of the country whatever it wants, but that has no impact on internal governance within the member states.

subrosa said...

I'm not expert enough to comment on your point Grogipher, but I will say the MEPs appear to have little influence. The unelected appear to be in charge.

Edward Spalton said...


Here are two quotations from people who are keen supporters of the single European state. Firstly, Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister and Vice President of the European Constitutional Convention in an interview with Barbara Spinelli in La Stampa of 13 July 2000, headed
"Europe does not need a Sovereign"

"(Amato) said that however daring a political project might be...it must be hidden, camouflaged. One must act "as if" in Europe. "As if" one wanted a very few things in order to obtain a great deal. "As if" nations were to remain sovereign in order to convince them to surrender their sovereignty. The Commission in Brussels, for example, must act "as if" it were a technical organ in order to operate like a government.

He said that sovereignty lost on a national level does not pass to any new individual. It is entrusted to a faceless entity... eventually the EU. The Union is the vanguard of this changing wolrd. ..The new entity is faceless and those in command can neither identified nor elected. As a matter of fact the metamorphosis is already here. All we need are a few corrections here and there along with a great deal of cunning"

Then, Mark Leonard, a europhile, in his article "How the EU deceives its way to power" - "Like an invisible hand, the EU operates through existing political structures. There are no European courts, legislatures or business regulations on display in London. The British House of Common, British law courts and British civil servants are still there but they uphold and implement European law. By creating common standards that are implemented through national institutions, Europe can envelope countries without becoming a target for hostility "(March 2005

And, going back to the Foreign Office's appreciation of the situation in 1971 (Ref FCO 30/1048)

"The transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feelings of alienation from government. To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic processes within member states and effective Community economic and social policies will be essential....there would be a major responsibility on HM Government and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular policies to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community".
You're doing your bit in respect of the last, Grogripher!
I translated the proceedings of an early high level seminar, entitled "European Economic Community" which contained an outline of regional policy
and much else with which we are now familiar. The seminar was held in Berlin in early 1942. For a more modern evaluation of the regional project by young, German journalists, go to
www.freenations.freeuk.com and click on the article "Nazi Regions". The project goes back a long way.

Rosie, You are right about the EU parliament. Its function is to advise and consent. The unelected Commission alone retains the power of initiative whether to introduce or repeal legislation. MEPs can suggest amendments in committee but, apart from that, have maybe 90 seconds to contribute to general debates.

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