Gerard Batten’s Plan For Brexit Part 1
I would like to draw your attention to UKIP’s plan for Brexit, as it has not been publicised nearly enough. It was published last June by Gerard Batten MEP, our new Leader, back when he was merely our Brexit Spokesman. Though the document is excellent, it is extremely long, so I am forced to cut it right down.
“The purpose of this document is to describe how HM Government and Parliament could and should fully implement the Referendum decision and leave the European Union as quickly and completely as possible.” “The European Union has spent the last forty-four years invading every nook and cranny of our national life like some kind of legislative Japanese knot-weed.”
“UKIP’s Six key tests to prove Brexit means Exit: 1 The Legal Test Parliament must resume its supremacy of law-making;” “2 The Migration Test Britain must resume full control of its immigration and asylum policies and border controls;” “3 The Maritime Test” “The UK must resume complete control of its maritime exclusive economic zone – stretching 200 miles off the coast;” “4 The Trade Test The UK must retake its seat on the World Trade Organisation and resume its sovereign right to sign trade agreements;” “5 The Money Test There must be no final settlement payment to the EU, and no ongoing payments to the EU.” “We must also reclaim our share of financial assets;” “6 The Time Test Brexit must be done and dusted before the end of 2019.”
The European Elections Act (2002) should be repealed “so that UK MEPs cannot stand for election in 2019.” The Interpretations Act (1978) should be amended to determine how past decisions of European courts affect the interpretation of EU-derived law. EU law would temporarily remain in force, to be repealed or amended by our Government. Upon Brexit, “HM Government should take immediate action to repeal EU-derived legislation most damaging to the UK’s interests.”
In section 4 of his plan, Gerard makes the best and most thorough argument for the legitimacy and validity of the referendum result that I have seen.
“Article 50 was created to put in place a mechanism that would impede, delay and hopefully, from the EU’s point of view, eventually prevent a Member State leaving.”
“The Member State has to enter into negotiations” for “up to two years.” If any agreement made is rejected by the EU’s European Council or Council of the European Union, “we are back to square one.” “For at least a full three years from the date of Referendum we will still have had to pay billions in contributions to the EU budget, obey EU law” “and have continued open-border immigration to EU citizens.”
The Court of Justice of the European Union may interfere with the Withdrawal Agreement. “Any dispute could take months or years to be decided. All this can be avoided by Parliament repealing the European Communities Act and removing the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.”
The EU: “Does not want Britain to leave;” “Has no incentive to offer us a ‘good deal;’” Hopes to delay us until “its collaborators in the UK” manage to reverse Brexit or “conclude a Withdrawal Agreement with the UK on the lines of the Norwegian or Swiss models.”
In section 6, Batten argues extremely convincingly that the Supreme Court’s decision on the case brought by Gina Miller was unjust.
Section 7 is an extensive criticism of “Theresa May’s Brexit Strategy” and Government White Papers. She will deliver Brexit in name only, with all EU law being absorbed into UK law – including legislature “for the ‘free movement of people’ to continue.”
Batten explains that treaties do not constitute international law. The Prime Minister, utilising The Royal Prerogative, can conclude treaties with foreign powers, but this is a little different to formulating actual law. Laws can only be written in Parliament. “International treaties do not become part of our own law unless expressly incorporated into it by means of an Act of Parliament.” Judges have no jurisdiction over international treaties.
“The only thing that makes the EU treaties part of our law is the European Communities Act (1972) alone.” “It follows that whatever the EU treaty may or may not say about withdrawal, Parliament can repeal the European Communities Act (1972) and by doing so we leave the European Union, according to our own law and, according to Article 50’s wording, our own ‘constitutional requirements.’”
“Parliament is sovereign; it cannot legally abandon its sovereignty.” “Under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties no provision of an international treaty overrides a fundamental constitutional principle of national law.” “It was Parliament that limited its rights by passing the European Communities Act,” “but it retained the right to take back those rights at any time.”
“Britain’s membership of the EU is unlawful:” “A fundamental principle of the English Constitution is that, ‘no Parliament can bind its successors.’ And yet the European Communities Act purports to do that;” “It created another legislature to rival the Queen in Parliament and enables legislation other than Acts of Parliament to prevail over the Common Law;” “UK membership of the EU purports to ‘transfer’ sovereignty to the EU,” “which is in breach of the English Constitution;” “The Treaty on European Union (1992) purports to make HM the Queen a ‘citizen of the European Union.’” “This was treason since it purported to subjugate the Monarch to a foreign power;” “By signing the EU Treaties, the Ministers responsible committed High Treason and breached their Privy Council oath of allegiance.”
“The UK has no legal or moral obligation to use Article 50 as its leaving mechanism. The primary concern of HM Government should be to implement the decision of the Referendum as quickly as possible, and by means that are in the British national interest.”
“By repealing the European Communities Act, HM Government would put itself in control of negotiations and not the EU.” Once this is done, “the EU is far more likely to accept reality and agree to an offer of continued tariff-free trade with the UK since it would be in its own interests.” “Failing that the UK can revert to trade on World Trade Organisation terms.”
“The forms of EU law currently in place in the UK take three main forms: Directives, which have been transposed into Acts of Parliament; Regulations, which automatically apply; and specific provisions of the Treaties.” “Nothing is being done to stem the tide of EU legislation even though we have decided to leave.”
We need to repeal the ECA immediately. This would “return supremacy of law-making to our own Parliament at Westminster.” “Article 50 becomes irrelevant.” “All EU Directives that have been transposed into Acts of Parliament would remain in place” “only on a temporary basis.” “HM Government should then begin to take immediate emergency unilateral legislative action to repeal or amend such laws.”
“The Interpretations Act (1978) should be amended so that UK law, derived from whatever source, is interpreted in UK courts.” “Parliament would also need to repeal the European Union Act (2011) which requires the UK to hold a referendum whenever EU treaties are amended to transfer further powers from the UK to the EU.”
Gerard explains exactly how powerless MEPs are in the European Parliament. They can, however, scupper the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, wasting 2 years on “negotiations” for nothing. “If a majority of MEPs vote to reject the Withdrawal Agreement, HM Government would then be in the position of instigating unilateral withdrawal, as its right under Article 50.” “It would be an interesting paradox if genuine UK MEP Leavers were unable to vote for the final Withdrawal Agreement because it did not deliver a fully unencumbered exit from the EU.”
UKIP would: Repeal the ECA and “withdraw all UK MEPs from the European Parliament; Repeal the European Elections Act (2002), which lays out the basis on which UK MEPs are elected to the European Parliament;” The Government and Parliament would decide the “redundancy and pension entitlements of all UK MEPs and their staff.”
Vote Leave caused unnecessary controversy by “using an incorrect figure in the Referendum campaign for the UK’s weekly gross contributions,” “£350 million per week.” “It did not deduct the rebate which remains in the Treasury.” “The real net figure” in 2015 “was almost £285 million per week. That is bad enough without needing any exaggeration. This figure includes the ‘public sector receipts’, which” “is of course our own money spent by the EU in ways it sees fit.”
The European Union’s current budget period ends in 2020. “Any figure published by the Treasury at any given time is only an estimated snapshot.” “The contributions from Member States are made according to complicated formulae,” “further complicated by the fact that published figures can be amended in retrospect by HM Treasury, which also publishes its figures according to the UK financial year” “while the EU uses calendar years.”
“Treasury figures for the money paid or to be paid in the current EU budget term are” £134.8 Billion gross or £67 Billion net. “It does not take much imagination to think how much better the outstanding monies could be spent in the UK on healthcare, education, transport, defence etc.” “The UK will continue to make budget payments to the EU until we actually leave.”
“There are 27 other EU member states, most of whom have never been net contributors to the budget. Shared between each one, that amounts to about £1.248 billion, or roughly £356.5 million per annum.” “The EU predictably wants a ‘divorce settlement’ payment. Its chief Brexit negotiator, Commissioner Michele Barnier initially put the bill at €60 billion, which subsequently increased to €100 billion.”
The UK is supposedly committed to spending another €38.1 billion by the end of 2020. “The EU’s assets are estimated to total €154 billion. The most the UK could hope to claim is about 15% or €23 billion.” “HM Government could offer to trade-off one against the other and just walk away, since neither party is likely to pay-up anyway.”
“The European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs issued a report in January 2017, in which it says” “‘The rearrangements of the financing will depend much on whether or not the UK continues to contribute to the budget.’” “‘It has been suggested that the simplest solution would be for the UK to continue to participate in the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework), which ends in 2020, and to meet its current commitments accordingly.’”
“The wording in this passage” “concedes that it is under no legal obligation” to contribute. “The ‘suggestion’ that the simplest solution is for the UK to continue paying comes from a report written by a Liberal Democrat Ex-MEP, Andrew Duff” who “is one of the most pro-EU enthusiasts.”
A March 2017 House of Lords report concluded that “‘If agreement is not reached, all EU law’” “‘will cease to apply, and the UK would be subject to no enforceable obligation to make any financial contribution.’” “‘It is questionable whether an international court of tribunal could have jurisdiction.’”
“UK nationals working in EU institutions have done so in good faith, and their redundancy and or pension payments form the only moral responsibility that HM Government should acknowledge.” “It is unlikely that the EU will want to make wholesale redundancies of British nationals” since their skills will still be required. “Surely it would be ‘xenophobic’” for EU institutions “to want to sack British nationals just because their country had left the EU” and “an arrestable offence under the European Arrest Warrant.”
“The UK made itself a party to the financial mechanisms of the EU.” “We are liable for a share of any costs or debts incurred by these institutions and mechanisms under ‘irrevocable and unconditional obligations to pay.’”
“The UK’s potential exposure to these liabilities is with: The European Union – The UK being a Member State, it has a joint obligation with other member states to cover any budget deficit;” “The European Investment Bank (EIB) – The UK is a shareholder in the EIB;” “The European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) – This was the first Eurozone bailout mechanism.” “It has a ceiling of €60 billion;” “The European Fund for Strategic Investments – Loans are made through the EU and the EIB; The European Central Bank” – “All member states are obliged to become shareholders.” “The Bank of England has subscribed €1.48 billion;” “The European Single Currency – Although Britain did not join the euro under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, we are liable to help support its economies” when the Eurozone collapses.
“The UK has roughly a 16% share in the EIB, and may be called upon to subscribe up to €40 billion in capital. The bank has leveraged its existing capital, creating contingent liabilities for the UK in the order of €500 billion.” “We should leave as quickly as possible, and seek to recover our £10 billion share of its equity.” “The potential extent of Britain’s liabilities, while still an EU member, has been estimated as high as £1.1 trillion.”
“HM Government should: Negotiate with the EU regarding the redundancy or continued employment and pension entitlements of UK nationals working in EU institutions; Immediately end the UK’s involvement with the European Central Bank and require the return of our subscription and callable funds; Under its rules, we would no longer be eligible to be shareholders in the European Investment Bank. On the ending of our association with the Bank we should require the return of our €3.5 billion capital; Immediately end our commitments to the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and the European Fund for Strategic Investments.”
“There are four key areas of policy that” “require immediate and emergency action to restore HM Government control, the TIFFs: Trade, Immigration, Farming, Fisheries.” We need to declare our intent “to restore national sovereignty and freedom of action” beginning with these areas, followed by “Police and Criminal Justice and Security and Defence.”
“Every one of the 164 member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have ‘access’ to the Single Market, they merely have to pay the Common External Tariffs to export to EU member states,” which “average about 4.3% and only about 2.3% on non-agricultural products.” Their goods must “conform to health and safety standards, set by the EU.” “Trade deals are not necessary.”
The purpose of the Customs Union “was to abolish tariffs for trade within its borders yet keep tariffs where possible to non-members. This has become less and less tenable because of WTO efforts over the last forty years to reduce trading barriers.” “It should be borne in mind that while 100% of UK business must comply with EU law,” “a very rough estimate puts our trade with the EU at no more than 12.9% of GDP.”
“Britain’s trade policy has been controlled by the EU since 1973.” “Few if any British civil servants have any direct knowledge of trade matters. These skills need to be acquired as quickly as possible.”
“It is calculated that if the Common External Tariffs were imposed on British goods exported to the EU this would amount to about 4% of their value. However, the current UK net contribution to the EU Budget amounts to an equivalent of 7.7% of their value.” “On leaving we would therefore be about 3.7% better off, or approximately £5.8 billion per annum” – “to which should be added the around £2.9 billion of customs duties the UK collects on non-EU goods from the rest of the world and which are currently sent to the EU directly.”
“The largest tariffs on non-EU goods are motor cars (9.9%), and agricultural produce averaging 15%. If these were applied to the UK this would adversely affect German car manufacturers and French wine growers.”
“UK business adversely affected by the Common External Tariffs could be compensated by money from a Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) fund.” “Outside the EU the costs of doing business could also be reduced, for example, by repealing the Climate Change Act (2008).”
The EU “cannot impose discriminatory tariffs on UK imports as a ‘punishment’ for leaving.” Under the most-favoured nation principle of WTO rules, “the same tariff must apply to a given product type to all countries,” except partners of trade deals.
“The UK’s export of goods, are in general, covered by Mutual Recognition Agreements, and BSI (British Standard Institute) standards. The BSI is an influential member of” European and international standardisation bodies. “Trade deals are not necessary for” international transactions. “We should be wary” of detrimental trade deals such as TTIP.
Aside from the burden of free movement, membership of the Single Market “has two main disadvantages for the UK: We have no ability to independently negotiate and sign trade agreements;” “We have to apply tariffs on goods from third-party countries where it may not be in our interests to do so.”
The single market has a protectionist quality. “This is particularly obvious in the case of the Common Agricultural Policy which particularly protects French farmers from the world market. It is estimated that the CAP increases food prices to British consumers by about 20%.” “The EU has Regional Trade Agreements that cover 58 non-EU countries. As with everything to do with the EU, this is a complex web of five different types of agreement.”
“The European Parliament’s Research Department confirmed” “that ‘each FTA is specific depending on the partner’” and indicated “that tariffs may or may not be included.” “‘Free movement workers, as defined in Art. 45 TFEU is never included in FTAs.”
The common external tariff of a customs union “is applied by product type and the figures agreed by the customs union members are registered with the World Trade Organisation.” “The EU is a member of the WTO and it has been steadily negotiating down tariffs internationally for the last forty years or more.”
In last year’s manifestos, “the Conservative and Labour parties made it plain that the UK will be withdrawing from the EU Customs Union as well as the Single Market.” “A worst case scenario would involve trading on WTO terms, which is obviously no impediment to” many large, prolifically trading countries.
We must leave the EEA – its agreement with 3 EFTA countries “provides for their acceptance of the full body of EU law” “and requires them to observe the EU’s four fundamental freedoms.” “The unfettered free movement of people is unacceptable to a majority of the British people.” EEA membership would also “prevent the UK entering into bi-lateral trade agreements.”
“Article 127 of the European Economic Area Agreement says that a contracting party may withdraw provided it gives at least 12 months’ notice.” “The Vienna Convention on Treaties states that no provision of an international treaty overrides a fundamental constitutional principle of national law,” including parliamentary sovereignty.
“Article 62 of the Convention says that withdrawal from a treaty is allowed if there is a ‘fundamental change of circumstances.’” “On leaving the EU, the UK must also unilaterally withdraw from the EEA without giving 12 months’ notice.”
The EU has free trade agreements with other countries. It would benefit these countries to continue the agreements with Britain. “We will be free to renegotiate the terms of these agreements for mutual benefit,” including extending them to include services. “If Britain were to join EFTA it would not entail accepting the free movement of people.”
“The EU has four sticking points, the UK has only one, the free of movement of people.” “Will the EU accept a deal with three out of the four things they want?” “The secret of success in any negotiation is to understand your own strengths” and to be overtly “prepared, if necessary, to walk away.”
“There are basically two options for HM Government: to offer a Free Trade agreement with continued tariff-free trade, but without freedom of movement of people; or if that is rejected by the EU, then to revert to trading on WTO terms.” If the EU reject this offer, they “would have to explain to their industries and businesses” “the imposition of the Common External Tariffs on their goods sold to the UK.”
“Article 24 of the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” “allows for an ‘interim agreement leading to the formation of a free-trade area.’” “A ‘reasonable length of time’ is allowed before the contracting parties have to impose” tariffs, “interpreted by the WTO as ‘not more than ten years.’”
“Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty states: ‘The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness.” “If we fell back on WTO rules this would not be the disaster it is painted as by Remainers.”
The “World Customs Organisation” “exists to simplify and resolve customs issues.” We “are synchronised with the EU’s regulations and standards” so “Rules of Equivalence will apply.” The “Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT) prohibits the EU from banning UK goods.” “The Trade Facilitation Agreement further increases trade cooperation.”
“If the UK trades with the EU using WTO terms the average tariffs are low – about 4.3%. This will affect EU businesses more than UK businesses since they sell us far more than we sell them.”
“Tariffs would produce a considerable extra tax income for HM Government.” “The money could be used to make UK business more competitive by such means as: Reducing corporation tax; Reducing energy prices;” “Improving the transport infrastructure. Over time, UK consumers would also find cheaper suppliers on the world market.”
There are 2 options for registering tariff schedules: “Adopt a copy/paste of existing EU tariff schedules. UK trade outside of the EU would continue as before. The adjustment of the pound exchange rate makes us more competitive;” “Adjust the WTO tariff schedule. This would give some flexibility and potential benefits.” “Abolish tariffs on commodities” “to encourage fair trade and economic growth with developing countries.” “Keep import tariffs on Bordeaux, but abolish it on grape varieties more commonly found in the New World.”
“The UK could reach an agreement on mutual recognition of standards as other nations have done. A refusal by the EU would be discriminatory under WTO rules, and Britain could take the EU to court.”
“London’s financial centre is one of the biggest in the world, matched only by New York.” “The City is the largest exporter of wholesale financial services.” “London was a world financial centre for centuries before the UK joined the European Union. International banks and financial businesses have set up shop in London for a number of reasons.”
“The EU has sought to regulate and control the banking and financial services industries.” “It has set up bodies such as: The European Banking Authority; The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority;” European Systemic Risk Council; “European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA);” The European System of Financial Supervision; European Financial Reporting Advisory Group. “These new bodies enforce the law of the European Union and have the power to close financial institution.”
“The EU rule that grants UK financial businesses passporting access derives from Article 46(1) of the Markets in Financial Instruments” Directive (MiFID). “It grants non-EEA (European Economic Area) based companies the right to provide investment services in the Single Market.” “The EU cannot afford to lose access to the City’s expertise since it raises 85% of pan-European capital financing.”
“The UK will be ‘equivalent’ the day after it leaves the European Union. The House of Lords reported that the UK has implemented 41 out of 42 financial services regulations.” “Many of these regulations originated not from the EU but from global bodies.”
“The Governor of the Bank of England” “has international influence in developing the global rules on financial services. The WTO, through its General Agreement on Trade in Services is seeking to create international agreements that will dramatically open-up access to service industries.”
“EU member states account for about 20% of the City’s business and it is questioned if this percentage justifies the blanket application of EU regulation across the other 80% of the City’s business.”
“Barnabas Reynolds has made proposals for two models that might be adopted:” “The Enhanced Equivalence Model would allow the UK access to the Single Market on existing terms under the EU’s pre-existing “equivalence” regimes.” “An agreement with the EU could also include notice periods for the determination and removal of equivalence, and the creation of a dispute mechanism;” “A Financial Centre Model would allow the UK to detach itself from the existing EU regimes and give it the freedom to legislate in accordance with global standards.” “This approach would be most likely to bring increased business and growth.”
“Our Government’s loss of control over immigration from EU member states brought home to most people” “that our government and parliament had lost democratic control.” “Dismantling national borders is one of the ways that the European Union set about creating a centralised political state.” “This was achieved by the EU Directive 2004/38/EC Free Movement Rights of EU Citizens, and various other Regulations.”
“When a large number of poor Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004 the whole situation changed. The Labour Government in 2004 predicted that about 13,000 people would arrive per annum from Eastern Europe. In fact, hundreds of thousands arrived in that first year, and millions continue to arrive thereafter.”
“It was a deliberate policy to collude with the EU in creating a borderless state.” Labour “set out to engineer the creation of a ‘multicultural and diverse’ society. This was revealed in 2009 when Andrew Neather” “claimed that there was ‘a driving political purpose’ behind Labour’s decision.” “Only since the 1950s, and particularly since 1997, have we seen immigration in such vast numbers that transformed the nature of our society. In some case the migrants have no desire to integrate in our society in the way past migrants did.”
“In April 2017, the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2016, 11.2% of the UK workers were foreign nationals.” “Meanwhile 112,483 British job vacancies are advertised on the EU job vacancy portal ‘Eures.’” “Many European countries” “have average wages which are a fraction of those of the UK, and they have no” decent “public housing or social benefits systems.” “This creates a tremendous economic pull-factor for migrant workers.”
Professor George Borjas, “a Dutch government study in 2003” and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development all concluded that immigration lowers wages. This was backed up by a 2008 report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs.
“An OECD report found that on average immigrant households pay less in taxes and received more in benefits than native born households.” “In addition to being eligible for benefits,” “migrants use the public services and infrastructure they have never had to contribute to.”
“The majority of migrants are in low-skilled, low-paid jobs, and therefore pay less in tax and take more in benefits than higher skilled and higher paid workers would.” “EU funded research by EUROFOUND published in 2015 showed that Eastern Europeans were more likely than any other group” “to claim working-age benefits.”
“In 2014, the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London produced a report on the overall cost of immigration between 1995 to 2011. They found that immigrants to the UK had resulted in an overall fiscal cost of between £114 billion and £159 billion over this period.” Migration Watch UK calculated that “the fiscal cost of all migrants for the year 2014-2015” was £17 billion.
An ageing population causes problems “but continued mass immigration does not provide a solution. Migrants themselves grow old and will live longer.”
Whether Immigration is good or bad “depends on the numbers, the purpose, and the appropriateness of the migration.” “Britain in the 21st century is an overpopulated and post-industrial country where most of our labour-intensive industries have disappeared.” “Britain is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.” “England’s population growth is mostly due to immigration and is simply unsustainable. Anyone in England who uses” public services “would have to admit, if they are honest, that our infrastructure is buckling under the strain.”
“We need an immigration policy that benefits our nation as a whole, not one designed in the name of a political ideology” “or one designed for the benefit of the migrant alone. We also need an immigration system that is fair and impartial.”
“Anyone entering our country must do so via an airport or a seaport.” “The various means of controlling immigration” include: “Passport checks – Passport and visa numbers and dates of expiry of work permits can be recorded on entry and exit from the UK;” “The Republic of Ireland ‘Common Travel Zone’ – The Republic of Ireland currently checks the UK entry certificates at their borders for non-EU nationals” and could “operate a similar system for EU travellers (excluding Irish citizens);” “Visas and Work Permits – Those EU nationals already working and residing legally in the UK” “would be able to apply for British residency” “without the need for a work permit, provided the other 27 EU states” reciprocate. “Those with less than five years’ residency would have to apply for a work-permit with employer sponsorship;” “Entry for Study Purposes – According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), in 2012-2013 there were 70,000 EU and 110,000 non-EU overseas students on undergraduate courses at UK universities.” EU students’ fees are “lent to them by HM Treasury. The repayment arrangements are so lax that it is doubtful whether half will ever be repaid;” “Immigration controls between Britain and France – One of the scare tactics used by David Cameron” was warning that France might pull out of the bilateral Le Touquet Agreement, which “has been in place since 1993 and allows Britain and France to establish immigration controls in each other’s territory.” It is in everyone’s interest to continue it – “especially given the continued threat of Islamic terrorism.”
“Vested rights could mean” that “every EU citizen born up until the moment the Withdrawal Agreement is signed could claim the right of freedom of movement to the UK.” “Given that the oldest EU citizen recently died aged 117, it could take well over a century for us to effectively leave the European Union. HM Government must reject the concept of vested rights.”
This part leaves off at the end of section 17 – Immigration, Border Controls and EU citizens vested rights. This article will conclude with Part 2.