Richard North, 07/06/2013  
 

We've been watching the growing trade dispute between the EU and China over the solar panels, with China retaliating by launching an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation against European wine.

Not too much should be made of this - we've had this sort of thing before – remember the "bra wars"? But what is so very different this time is the attitude of China. Some may call it arrogant, but instead of being cowed, the Chinese government has warned Europe the EU that "its failure to recognise its power is declining" is inviting even more retaliation from Peking.

This comes from China's People's Daily, the ruling party mouthpiece. It says, "The change of the times and the shifts of power have failed to change the condescending attitude of some Europeans", adding that, "China doesn’t want a trade war, but trade protectionism cannot but trigger a counterattack".

So much for the "soft power" of the European Union, and the greater world influence we gain from membership of the EU. The reality, though, is that we are shackled to a corpse. The decline of the EU is now a fact of life and, when the Chinese make it so plain, it is irrecoverable. 

We have nothing to lose by detaching ourselves.

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