Brexit talks: Today the world to hear of a predictable failure

Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator and Head of the taskforce of the EC for the conduct of the negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the TEU (on the right) receives David Davis, British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Date: 17/07/2017 Reference: P-034995/00-01 Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus.

Last Monday’s events in Brussels were very characteristic of how perilously the Brits take the Brexit or more precisely how unripe they are to discuss this precarious question. When the two negotiating teams sat down for the first time to produce some tangible progress, the leader of the UK side, Brexit Secretary David Davis and his two aides appeared with no papers in their hands. Another indication about the British attitude or rather stupefaction in confronting Brexit is that the BBC’s internet home page carried no news about it.

The public British news group preferred to inform its world readership about a “Baboon who caused mass power cuts in Zambia”, but didn’t spare any space in the opening page for a title about the Brexit game. Readers had to search for it in the UK page and again it was not the first story, just the third or the fourth title there. In view of all that, no wonder if a lot of people say that PM Theresa May has no concrete plan to negotiate the most important problem Britain has to confront in the last decades.

What about the citizens?

The first subjects to be discussed and hopefully but not very probably to make some progress are the citizens’ rights, the financial obligations of Britain and the borders between the Republic of Ireland (the Eyre) and Northern Ireland. After those issues are settled, London and Brussels can start discussing trade a future trade deal. The citizen’s rights refer to the position after the Brexit of the 3.5 million of mainland Europeans who live and work in Britain and the 1 million Brits who are settled across the English Channel. The financial obligations of Britain are related to the cost the country has to pay for getting the divorce. For example, thousands of British nationals who worked for the European Union and now retire will continue to get their pensions from the EU.

This cost has to be borne by the UK, along with other major EU projects that Britain has approved and will continue being financed by Brussels. The third urgent issue that has to be tackled is the border dividing the Eyre and Northern Ireland. It’s politically too risky for Ireland to be divided by real borders enacted suddenly after the Brexit in the middle of the island. Today there exists nothing like a boundary between the two parts, Northern Ireland a part of UK, and the Irish Republic in the south. Both as members of the EU have long ago forgotten there is something like a frontier line between them.

The Irish question

This unification has in practice helped Northern Ireland overcome three decades bloody civil war and to get along peacefully with the Eyre during the last ten years. After the Brexit, Northern Ireland and the Eyre must continue be interconnected as today, despite the northern part having abandoned the EU and the Eyre still being a member of the Union. Both sides Brussels and London have recognized this necessity, but the legal and the trade questions which arise are of paramount difficulty to settle.

Those key three questions then have to be tackled first, despite Downing Street’s insistence that the future trade deal should be negotiated in parallel. The European Union’s persistence prevailed, and the future trade agreement between the UK and the EU will be addressed only after the Brexit topics are more or less agreed. Obviously, EU’s determination won this first confrontation. At this point it must be mentioned that the negotiations are conducted in English, after a large number of EU countries rejected a proposal about the use of French. In any case the ‘lingua franca’ in Brussels will most probably continue to be English even after the Brexit, because it suits very many EU country members as well as the translation and the interpretation functions.

The negotiations table

Coming back to the negations table, it was very interesting to watch David Davis returning to London in haste, after meeting Michel Barnier, his EU counterpart and chief Brexit negotiator for the Union, for less than an hour. Of course, some tens of British officials stayed in Brussels and sat down with around 40 EU bureaucrats to tackle a number of subjects. The two teams are expected to work for three days, divided in a number of groups, each addressing a main issue. The largest assemblage is the one to tackle the many and troublesome legal matters, arising with the Brexit.

Barmier and Davis are to hold today, Thursday 19 July, a joint Press conference in Brussels to report about the progress made. However, the fact that until yesterday afternoon there was no news or leaks coming out from the 13rd floor of the Commission’s headquarters, the famous Berlaymont building, is not a good omen about the advancement of the talks.

Strong opposition in Britain

The opposition parties in Britain accuse May’s government of having no clear directions in the Brexit talks, because of the internal divisions haunting the Tories. The fact that Davis met Barnier for just 40 minutes, with no papers in hand was greatly mocked in Britain, and was interpreted as a strong indication of paralysis in 10 Downing Street. As things stand now, the most that can be expected today from Barnier and Davis is an approach to settle the Irish question. Also a few good words for citizen’s rights may be uttered but nothing more. Last but not least, any information today for the world on the details of the method to estimate the divorce cost for Britain is out of question.

 

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Threat from petty criminals who turn to terrorism, a growing concern, Security Council hears

1st Exclusive High Level Dialogue: China-EU Cybersecurity and 5G Cooperation

With science ‘held back by a gender gap’, Guterres calls for more empowerment for women and girls

Security Union: Commission receives mandate to start negotiating international rules for obtaining electronic evidence

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

State aid: Commission approves Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in coronavirus outbreak

Technophobe or technophile? We need more conversation about digital transformation

A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

EP’s MFF negotiators disappointed by failure of EU budget summit

State aid: Commission approves German scheme for very high capacity broadband networks in Bavaria

Cyprus Parliament says no to blackmail

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

Samsung’s profits fall as cheaper smartphones gain market share

The 5 mistakes we’re making in the fight against global energy poverty

Denouncing attacks against Baghdad protesters, UN warns ‘violence risks placing Iraq on dangerous trajectory’

B-I-R-D: 4 digital technologies that can help supply chains take flight

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

Unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Mali revealed in new report

‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains, says new UN agriculture agency report

5 reasons why reading books is good for you

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

‘No justification’ for attacks against civilians, UN envoy says on mounting cross-border violence in Gaza

Why education and accountability are important for developing countries?

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

The world’s economy is only 9% circular. We must be bolder about saving resources

US migrant children policy reversal, still ‘fails’ thousands of detained youngsters: UN rights experts

The price of centralization of human resources for health

Reparations for sexual violence in conflict – ‘what survivors want most, yet receive least’

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea

Restore hope that peace will come to the Middle East, UN negotiator urges Security Council

Nauru President warns of possible climate change ‘economic Armageddon’

“We are in Europe, but not of it”, from Churchill to Cameron: British Exceptionalism now threatens the entire EU Edifice

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

Here are three ways blockchain can change refugees’ lives

UN ‘comes together in sadness and solidarity’ to honour staff who died on board Ethiopian Airlines flight

Foreign investment to be screened to protect EU countries’ strategic interests

EU budget: Commission proposes €1.26 billion to reinforce the European Solidarity Corps

Davos participants call for digital trade deal

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

The world’s largest bus system is starting to go electric

A critical European young voice on Net Neutrality: the distance between Brussels and Washington

Coronavirus emergency: here’s what we know so far

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

Amsterdam is getting a 3D-printed bridge

Economy and living standards of Gaza ‘eviscerated’ by crippling blockade – UN trade and development report

Governments must act to help struggling middle class

Will satellites destroy our view of space?

Commission refers Denmark to the Court for failing to fulfil its obligations in relation to the name “Feta”

A quarter of Americans have no retirement savings

As children freeze to death in Syria, aid officials call for major cross-border delivery boost

Combatting terrorism: Parliament sets out proposals for a new EU strategy

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity: Why consumer products must be looked at urgently”, by BEUC’s Deputy Director General

The secret to Bangladesh’s economic success? The Sheikh Hasina factor

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. Anthony Chambers says:

    Complete garbage opinion piece. Maybe put some facts in next time.

  2. An estimate based on facts

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s