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Interesting points on secret UK plans to monitor cross border traffic from/to N. Ireland & the Republic. Effectively the UK conducting mass surveillance on a foreign state (i.e. Ireland).

@fitheach Netherlands authorities already do this near "soft" borders with Germany, a combination of surveillance and boots on the ground but only operates within NL territory. recently even they are experiencing "mission creep" and doing things like busting pirate radio stations (rather than leaving it to Agentschap Telecom and cops) and pulling over Dutch citizens for traffic violations..

(the screenshot is stats from a border control with Germany)

nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobiel_T

@vfrmedia
Any idea what justifiction they use for this surveillance?

@fitheach @vfrmedia
Prolly the exact same justification CSIS and the RCMP use: fiat.

@gemlog @fitheach

enforcement of borders, taxes, nationalism, , fears of "cross border crime".

Eg 20 cigs cost about €6 in DE but about €8 in NL (maybe going up to €10 soon), there is obvious incentive here to bring some over the border.

the authorities do work together, I've seen paperwork from a Dutch pirate radio station being busted by BNetzA Germany within Dutch territory (there are various agreements to permit this)

when people protest "eigen volk eerst" this is what happens..

@vfrmedia
Yeah,the usuals.

Here is the thing I don't understand. The Single Market means people & businesses are free to purchase goods anywhere in the EU. So, if ciggies are €2 cheaper in Germany why should anyone be stopped from buying in bulk, even if they are filling a whole van?

@gemlog

@fitheach

I can't remember the exact name of the legal procedure (it might be called subsidiarity) but there are clauses which allow every member state to set its own tax rates for certain commodities and other social legislation can vary across soft borders (e.g traffic speed limits are different in NL and DE, which often catches out the Germans), and some things are illegal anywhere (drugs, unlicensed radio transmitters..)

@gemlog

@fitheach

I quit smoking last year and switched to vaping, and even though there are harmonised regulations for vaping kit (some of which are perfectly rational and discourage excessive nicotine levels, potentially toxic flavours or risky packaging that kids might accidentally ingest), every EU/EEA country now has its own variation on the rules, some tax vape supplies, some do not, its not always possible to send things across borders even if no duty is incurred etc...

@gemlog

@vfrmedia
Subsidiarity is exactly correct. It allows the individual EU states to operate differently where the actions do not fall within the competence of the EU. This, however, doesn't apply to goods moving within the Single Market. People should be free to move vans of cigarettes (or any other goods) between member states. However, I have seen cases reported where people have been prevented from "importing" goods. Perhaps, this sort of thing hasn't been tested in court.

@gemlog

@fitheach

there is a "guideline limit" for tobacco and booze brought in for personal use (reselling is verboden), it seems to be the same for UK and NL. this might be different because of health implications; I am not sure exactly what (if any) rules apply to items like computers, although from experience importing them from NL (duty paid there) they sit at Border Force bonded warehouse if the sender address is mislabelled.

belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/con

gov.uk/duty-free-goods/arrival

@gemlog

@vfrmedia
I'm aware of these government guidelines and that is why I wonder if anyone has tested these things in court. They seem to directly contradict the idea of free movement of goods.

How are you getting on without cigarettes?

@gemlog

@fitheach

I managed to use anomalies to my advantage when I ran an online radio station for a couple of years without registering for copyright; I didn't even try to avoid that but my server was in NL so I tried to use BUMA/STEMRA rather than PPL/PRS UK, the Dutch agency didn't recognise a UK address but PPL/PRS couldn't register a "foreign" server and I never got hassle (as it shows up a flaw in free trade)

I've found vaping to be just as good and it feels way less toxic..

@gemlog

@vfrmedia
Finding loopholes is always satisfying.

Do you think you will be able to give up the vaping one day, too?

@gemlog

@fitheach

I expect I probably will (I vape far less than smoke already) but want to deal with getting my driving license first 😉 (I'm about 50% of the way there but struggling on some situations like busy roundabouts)

@gemlog

@vfrmedia
So, you find driving stressful to the point that you need some nicotine?

@gemlog

@fitheach

not when driving (its not normally allowed in instructors cars any more than smoking) but it seems to help slightly just before (TBH its also my own frustration as I can do some things perfectly on one lesson but make silly mistakes the next and I get more stressed as I approach my test date)

@gemlog

@vfrmedia
Good luck for your test.

I can't imagine what it would be like not having a driving licence. On the other hand not having a car would save me a fortune. 😉

@gemlog

@fitheach

for most of my younger life I lived in London or SE England and didn't really need a car (I was also fit enough to cycle everywhere); but also I did *not* lead a particularly sober lifestyle during the 1990s and it was probably just as well for everyones safety I never drove (I know way too many people who did and came to grief in various ways during the hedonistic days of raves/Britpop etc)

@gemlog

@vfrmedia
I used to live in Wokingham, not far from Reading. Most public transport was terrible. Buses towards Reading or towards London were OK, but to anywhere else were terrible. The trains into London (rush hour periods) were in a poor condition and were always over crowded. Not that driving was much better, I seemed to spend half my life in traffic jams at Slough or on the M4 flyover section.

@gemlog

@fitheach @vfrmedia
An extremely long-running show on CBC Radio One always describes anywhere in England as its distance from Reading.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_It_Ha

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@fitheach @vfrmedia I walk to work a couple of times a week (only 30min each way), but this past month I let the insurance lapse on the car I was forced to do it each day.
Not having a car makes one think more carefully and make lists more often! :-)

@gemlog
My insurance company pester me several times in the month leading up to the renewal date. If nothing else it reminds me to check what the competition are offering. 😃

@vfrmedia

@fitheach @vfrmedia In my province we have govt insurance by law. They do send a letter out, but in the week my insurance expired I had H1N1 and couldn't be arsed to leave the house let alone go and re-insure the car!

@gemlog
Really? You have to insure your car with the government. What are they like when you have to make a claim?

@vfrmedia

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@StuC
Rigghhht... but is there anything in that document that says member states can prevent goods being moved from one country to another?

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@fitheach

Furthermore, the Court of Justice has recognised in its jurisprudence (Cassis de Dijon) that Member States may make exceptions to the prohibition of measures having an equivalent effect on the basis of mandatory requirements (relating, among other things, to the effectiveness of fiscal supervision, the protection of public health, the fairness of commercial transactions and the defence of the consumer).

tl;dr; if it's bad for you they can restrict movement ;)

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@StuC
Yeah, those are pretty broad definitions. However, the next sentence is also crucial:

"Member States have to notify national exemption measures to the Commission."

Presumably, these exemptions must be public.

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@fitheach

Presumably. These kinds of products are usually subject to excise ie. tax payable at the point of manufacture. There is a whole tracking system (EMCS) in the EU for these goods and regulations that exempt you from tracking and registration as long as the import is for personal use.

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@StuC
Thanks for the link. I'm not finding anything for this list at the Commission. I'll try again tomorrow.

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@StuC @fitheach @vfrmedia '
The thing is, if there is an opportunity for arbitrage the market will find it.
This isn't about capitalism. It's just normal business as has been done through the ages.
Moving a <something> from someone who values it less to someone who values it more *is* business. Making a profit works for serfs, salesman and lords.

@gemlog yes, so the EU offers a compromise differentiating between (generous) quantities for personal use or registered, export controlled "commercial quantities" for certain goods, anything outside that framework is illegal. @fitheach @vfrmedia

@StuC
Well, it doesn't really affect me as I don't smoke and only drink very small quantities. That said I'm not convinced the quantities are generous. For example: 10 litres of spirits would be less than 15 standard bottles of whisky. More than you would carry on to a plane, but a small quantity for putting in the boot of a car.

@gemlog @vfrmedia

@fitheach kind of subjective. I can drive from my city in
Germany to a favourite dutch town for the market in about an hour. @gemlog @vfrmedia

@StuC
In a similar manner when we go to the bright lights, big city (Inverness) we stock up the car until there is no room left. 😃 Journey takes about 1.5 hours each way, no borders involved.

We have friends in Aachen. For them five minutes to go to the barbers, and it involves two soft border crossings.

@gemlog @vfrmedia

@StuC
Following a couple of links from your page I came to this one:

europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/

Which is a reiteration of the statements found earlier (although this is the source EU definitions). I'm going in circles.

I'm suspecting the EU might have automatically included alcohol & tobacco in the Exceptions as they are such frequently "smuggled" goods.

If you crossed an internal border with a van full of Cheesie Wotsits instead of whisky would you get hassled?

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@fitheach probably no excise on Cheesy Whotsits (I really don't need to know what that is, I hope), so probably no restrictions.

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@StuC
You're better off not knowing Cheesy Wotsits (not cheesie, I see now). I use them as an alternative to widgets.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widget_(

@vfrmedia @gemlog

@StuC @fitheach @vfrmedia
Thank you - it's 'C' "Article 36 TFEU allows Member States to take measures having an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions when these are justified by general, non-economic considerations (e.g. public morality, public policy or public security)."

@fitheach @vfrmedia We just had a test case about the same thing with alchohol across soft borders within canada itself.
cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswi
We have trade restrictions between provinces on all kinds of stuff.

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