The new British Prime Minister Theresa May’s choices of Boris Johnson as Foreign minister and David Davis as ‘Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union’, in some respect can be considered as a declaration of a trade war on mainland Europe. The latter of the two despite being almost unknown to the wider public, is even more dangerous than BoJo. Davis will be the main negotiator for the Brexit and has already threatened Germany with trade barriers on car exports.
At times like this, after the carnage in Nice and the attempted military coup in Turkey, a UK – EU trade war is the last thing Europe needs. Davis didn’t lose his time though and launched the first missile in the direction of Berlin. He said that if Germany wants to continue selling Mercedes, BMWs, Audis and VWs to Britain, Berlin has better settle for a good trade deal with Britain.
This is not only an open blackmail to Germany but also an indirect disparagement for the other 26 member states of the EU. What he meant is that the other 26 countries don’t count when it comes to very important EU decisions. To make it clear for everybody to understand he said, “A German Chancellor would have to avoid this, particularly in an election year. In Europe, what a German Chancellor wants, a German Chancellor generally gets.”
Threatening Europe with a trade war
This is tantamount to declaration of a trade war against the EU. Davis cannot be pardoned for what he said, because he has a fair experience of how things work in the EU. He served as his country’s negotiator with the EU from 1994 to 1997. At that time he won the nickname of ‘charming bastard’ and seemingly this is what he is. He didn’t hesitate to imply that Angela Merkel is ready to ‘sell’ the other 26 EU member states and succumb to Davis’ ultimatum, just to win the next election in Germany and continue selling cars to the UK.
Davis forgot to say that the biggest stupidity a European leader committed to win an election after WWII is what David Cameron did. Undoubtedly, Davis was amongst those who pushed Cameron to stage the referendum, which proved to be politically fatal for the previous Prime Minister and the country. To be reminded, that Cameron in 2013 promised this in/out the EU referendum, just to win the 2015 legislative election. We all know the results. He didn’t just lose his job after his political capital vanished like a bubble in one night on 23 June, but also lost his dignity as an utterly wobbly politician. Winning a futile war is not a great honor, but declaring and losing it is quite frustrating and dishonorable.
Davis draws a gun
In any case, Davis seems to be the man for the job to try subduing the EU. BoJo will take care of the entertainment side of the affair. The Foreign minister will just rubber stamp what the new Secretary of State ‘for Exiting the European Union’ agrees with Brussels. Unfortunately, given the way the whole thing started, the day of such an agreement being signed is not yet marked in any calendar.
Prime minister May was probably obliged to take on board to her new government some prominent figures of the Brexit campaign. However, the choices of both BoJo and Davis plus some more prominent Brexit campaigners is already taken as a direct provocation to mainland Europeans. Probably being herself a tardily turned ‘remain’ advocate, she made the mistake to over – correct her own actions in view of the Brexit result and she ended up over-favoring the ‘leave’ side of her own party in forming the new government.
A ‘Charming Bastard’
The ‘charming bastard’ has acted as his nick name tells, that is like a snake in the grass. This kind of such poisonous attacks against Germany and the EU is not the way Europe does business. Davis obviously thinks that with similar tactics he can overcome the resistance of Brussels. He will, very likely, be surprised when he will be facing a solid wall, made of German, French and some other bricks.
Last Thursday Reuters reported that, “Branding him a liar, a coward or a joker, Europe’s political class greeted Eurosceptic Boris Johnson’s appointment as Britain’s foreign minister…”. This was the first reaction from mainland European leaders. Today there is an extraordinary meeting of the 28 EU Foreign ministers, the first to be attended by BoJo.
BoJo in Brussels
The bloodshed in Nice and the attempted coup in Turkey won’t offer any opportunities for jokes there. So, Johnson would rather sit tight and try not to be himself. The entire EU political universe will be focusing on what Johnson says, not says, does or avoids doing. The slightest irregularity or, on the contrary, excessive formalism by this unreserved character will not be forgiven and he will face massive attacks on the slightest occasion.
Al in all, Brexit was quite a tough exercise by any standard. Now, May and company seem to have made it all a ruinous affair.