Editorial – Why is May insisting upon Britain banging its head against a brick wall?

It is becoming patently obvious that the EU has no intention to hold constructive talks on trade relations with Britain following Brexit.

Barnier does not have a mandate other than to insist upon talks only consisting of  ‘the rights of EU Citizens post Brexit’. the question of the Irish Borders and that Britain should be forced ‘to buy a pig in a poke’.

The Rights of EU Citizens in Britain;

This includes a demand that the ECJ should have jurisdiction in matters to do with EU Citizens in Britain post Brexit.  This demand is not only ludicrous, it is beyond the pale.

Very few countries that have any National Pride could even consider such a proposal, to share it jurisprudence with another, totally unelected and undemocratic, regime.  It is true that Iceland agreed to this condition on its secession from the EU, but then, there has been little mention in the news of Iceland having trouble from its ‘hundreds of thousands’ (sic) of EU residents.  Mainly because it has so few.  Britain on the other hand, has 3.4 Million EU Citizens and to accept even an ‘independent’ body to oversee such a situation is an insult to the British People and its sovereignty.

It is generally accepted, World wide, that immigrants are required to follow the Law of the Host Country.  Indeed, Article 2 of the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Refugees states quite categorically that:

Article 2
general obligations:
Every refugee has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which
require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to
measures taken for the maintenance of public order.

This must, logically, have the same general principle for economic migrants to Britain from the EU.  They must simply, whilst living in Britain, be subject to the same laws as other residents.

The Irish Borders

Even though Theresa May has controversially agreed that the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland will remain open and that free movement of Irish Citizens to the UK will be maintained, Barnier is insistent that any agreement must conform strictly with EU requirements.  The two scenarios are mutually inconsistent.  Neither Britain, nor the EU, can maintain border security against illegal trade, migration and terrorism.

Even should Britain make the concession, the EU will, no doubt place their own impediment on this and insist that Frontex, the EU Border Agency will make their own demands which would, naturally, be an impediment to the whole agreement.

The Pig in a poke

Britain has been a nett contributor to the European budget, both in the EEC and the subsequent EU. the EU insists on a ludicrous demand for even more money when Britain leaves for the ‘privilege’ of allowing Britain to trade at a massive deficit with the EU.

Britain has been the second highest nett contributor to the EU budget after Germany.  France pays in more than Britain, but because of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) receives more than half of its payments back to subsidise inefficient French farmers.  This is despite the fact that CAP was reduced from 71% of the EU budget in 1984 to a ‘mere’ (sic) 39% in 2013 still means that Britain is more than paying for the French farmers inefficiency. CAP also has the effect of preventing third world countries being able to compete in the European Market and thereby work themselves out of poverty.

Despite this; the EU insists that we agree to pay in an unspecified amount that has varied, according to various EU  commentators, up to 100 Billion Euros and that the UK must continue to pay its previous annual contributions up to 2025 in ADDITION to the capital sum.

It has become quite obvious that Barnier has no other mandate than to insist on these ‘conditions’ as a precursor before the EU intend to make any serious trade negotiations in the hope that Theresa May in her weakness will capitulate to them.

Most negotiators would consider these demands to be quite out of the question.  Unfortunately, so far, the EU has been given considerable succour by the fact that May has, indeed, wavered and is prepared to listen to these demands.

The following is an article from the French ‘France 24’ News Channel of the 22nd of May, 2017 that perfectly describes the fact that the EU Parliament took only 4 minutes to agree Barnier’s mandate at the advice of EU Ministers:

EU gives Barnier mandate for ‘very difficult’ Brexit talks

© Emmanuel Dunand, AFP | European Commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations Michel Barnier (L) at the European Council in Brussels, on May 22, 2017


Latest update : 2017-05-22

EU ministers on Monday unanimously gave Frenchman Michel Barnier the green light to start what they warned would be “very difficult” talks with Britain over its exit from the bloc.

Negotiations are not expected to begin until mid-June after the British general election, but the two sides are already at loggerheads over key issues including the cost of Britain’s departure.

Former European commissioner and French foreign minister Barnier will conduct negotiations on behalf of the remaining 27 EU member states for the coming two years.

He will lock horns with Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis who warned at the weekend that London could walk away from the talks if Brussels pushes a reported 100-billion-euro ($112-billion) divorce bill.

 “EU 27 just adopted at unanimity decision authorising Article 50 negotiations. Strong and clear mandate for Michel Barnier,” Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand tweeted.

German foreign ministry state secretary Michael Roth said as he arrived for the meeting in Brussels that Brexit was a “lose-lose situation” for everyone.

“We all have to prepare for very difficult negotiations,” Roth told reporters. “We have two years time, the clock is ticking and we have to start working focused.”

Barnier’s Brexit mandate on Monday comes from “negotiating directives” approved by the EU 27 ministers.

They were based on guidelines that EU leaders adopted in just four minutes — one for each decade of Britain’s membership — in a rare show of unity for the often divided bloc.

The EU insists on making “sufficient progress” on three key divorce issues before talks can start on a future UK-EU trade deal.

These are the rights of EU citizens in Britain and British citizens on the continent; London’s exit bill; and arrangements for the border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Britain however wants the divorce settlement and the future relationship to be discussed in parallel.

Barnier told EU colleagues on May 3 he does not expect negotiations to begin until mid-June when he hopes Britain’s post-election political climate will be more favourable to reaching an agreement.

Threat to walk away

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who triggered the divorce process on March 29, said “the next five years will be among the most challenging in our lifetime”.

May took over from David Cameron who resigned after a slim majority of British voters shocked the world last June when they chose to leave the bloc over complaints on immigration and other issues of sovereignty.

But the most contentious issue threatens to be the exit bill.

Brexit minister Davis reiterated an earlier threat to quit the talks if the EU does not moderate its demands.

“We don’t need to just look like we can walk away, we need to be able to walk away. Under the circumstances, if that was necessary, we would be in a position to do it,” he said.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn warned Britain that while it will leave the EU in 2019, it could be paying up for years more on financial obligations it agreed to while a member of the EU.

“That goes until 2020 and of course beyond,” Asselborn said, referring to the seven-year budget Britain agreed to with the other EU states in 2014.

Barnier has already outlined a provisional timetable leading up to the formal exit in two years.

He hopes for an agreement on the first phase between October and December 2017, then a launch of the second phase between December 2017 and spring 2018, then finalisation of a Brexit deal towards October 2018.

The aim would be to have the ratification process for the deal completed by March 2019, three months before the next European Parliament elections.

We are NOT supplicants

Whilst it would be extremely beneficial for Britain to keep trading with the EU even under WTO Rules, we can, if forced, do without that trade.  Especially so as we will be rid of the restrictive trade practises of the EU that deny us the right to make our own trading agreements outside of the EU.  There are already many countries that have indicated that they wish to trade with Britain outside of the EU and are unconcerned with Brexit.

The EU, on the other hand, is already in dire economical straits and cannot afford to do without that trade.  The loss of Britain’s contributions risks completely destabilizing the whole political construct which includes the Euro currency.  The thought terrifies them.  What is even more terrifying is the thought that Britain will be seen to prosper and other Member States may follow.

David Campbell-Bannerman MEP in his recent speech in the EU Parliament pointed out that the EU was, once again, breaking its own rules because Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states that:

“2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”

But it goes much further than that.  The EU have a treaty obligation to conclude an agreement with neighbouring European States under Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty:

Article 8


1. The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.

2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation.

It is written within the treaty that the EU must enter into an agreement with Britain to include whatever reciprocal arrangements are needed to make that agreement, yet they strenuously deny that such reciprocity is possible and that they are determined to portray Britain as the enemy in order to garner support from its Members.
It is entirely in the interests of the EU to prolong the exit process in the hope that subversive influences in Britain will derail Brexit but should we ever reach the doubtful occasion when Britain and the EU actually indulge in meaningful negotiation, it is inevitable that negotiators on both sides would attempt to play ‘hardball’.  The EU out of fear and Britain because it holds most of the good cards.  
However, such tactics require considerable nerve with each side waiting for the other side to ‘blink’ first.  Despite having the stronger hand, so far, it has been the British Government under Theresa May that has ‘blinked’ so often, it is a wonder that May does not need a white stick to move around.
We need to be rid of May and have a Prime Minister that is wholeheartedly in favour of Britain’s interests.




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Agree 100%, perhaps Rees Mogg?

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