Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

The British Prime Minister Theresa May on 9 October 2017 gave a statement to the British Parliament on leaving the European Union . (UK government work).

Last Monday the British Prime Minister Theresa May told the lower house of the Parliament, The Commons a no-deal Brexit is not ruled out. She clarified also that the government ‘is planning for all eventualities”, including the possibility the UK sails after Brexit as an “independent trading nation”. Then she concluded “The ball is in their court, but I am optimistic we will receive a positive response”. The EU’s reply was instant and tough. The European Commission head spokesman Margaritis Schinas reacted directly and strongly ,”the ball is entirely in UK court for the rest to happen”, he said.

If these are not utterly hostile exchanges between London and Brussels, then words have lost their meaning. However, apart the heavy artillery, both sides had aired some positive tracers. May, from the same Parliamentary tribune, when asked by a Eurosceptic Conservative MP, offered adequate clarifications about the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The question was what happens during the interim period of around two years, she proposed last week from Florence, Italy. May said “achieving no disruption (of trade) in that period may mean we will start off with the ECJ still governing the rules we’re part of for that period”.

Positive signs

She even went further and stated the UK will be obliged to apply all the new legislation the European Union may produce during that time. This is a major step forward and a friendly tracer by 10 Downing Street, solemnly accepting in Parliament the jurisdiction of the ECJ on the British soil after the exit. Until now this issue was a major obstacle in the Brexit negotiations.

By the way, the fifth round of talks in Brussels was in principle expected to start last Monday. No breakthroughs were expected from it. Actually it started badly, with the EU team accusing the Brits of not showing up in time at the ‘rendezvous’’. The chief Brit negotiator David Davis didn’t travel to Brussels for the customary Monday Press Conference with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier at the Commission building, ‘Le Berlaymont’. Davis flew to Brussels the next day Tuesday and summoned Barnier at the seat of the British mission in Brussels for…lunch. No statements were made afterwards.

Judging jurisdictions

Coming back to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the application of the EU legislation in Britain after March 2019, it’s an anathema for the hard Brexiteers. Their atypical leader, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a 4,000 words article, has termed the authority of the ECJ in Britain as a ‘red line’ for the likes of him. Boris has lately promoted himself as an aspiring successor of May, if his party chooses to take the hard no-deal way out from the EU. During the annual conference their Party held in Manchester last week, he more or less was accepting congratulations, as the next Prime Minister of the UK, God forbid. In view of all that, May’s statement about the jurisdiction of the ECJ was a brave step and an important concession the EU must greatly value.

A vague promise

However, from the Brussels side, the positive pointer is much less visible to the untrained eye, compared to the clear acceptance of the ECJ jurisdiction. It was all about rumors. According to a Reuters report, some anonymous “EU negotiators say that while they see no big breakthrough at the summit next week, they may offer May a hand by offering hope of a shift at the next scheduled meeting in mid-December”. Trying to decipher this ‘opening’, the sure thing remains that the 19 October EU Summit of the 27 European leaders will do nothing to ease the pressures on May.

On the contrary, Schinas asserted the Brexit negotiations have a set agenda. He said “There is a clear sequencing to these talks and there has been so far no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings”. Even before the Brexit negotiations talks started late in August, Brussels had insisted about the agenda; first the terms and the cost of the divorce and then the future trade relations. London demands the two subjects to be negotiated in parallel.

They may strengthen May

On this issue, the European Sting wrote on October 2 “Obviously, London counts on tough bargaining for a future more or less full access to the EU internal market, against a least costly Brexit for Britain in money and political terms”. As things stand now, a major help to May from the 27 EU leaders can only be an opening, smaller or wider about a parallel negotiation of the exit terms and future relations. If the 27 EU leaders offer the slightest hint on that, May’s position will be greatly strengthened in the British political chaotic universe. She will possibly at last be able to shush Boris Johnson. This is definitely not to happen though at the 19 October Summit but rather in the next one of mid December.

In this way Brussels and more precisely Berlin and Paris have a strong leverage on British politics. A positive sign from the Commission about easing the Brexit terms may stabilize the unbelievable shakiness of the British political scenery. By the same token, Brussels can also calm down the financial markets. The growing uncertainties of the past weeks and months about the future position of Britain in the world have perplexed investors and destabilized the money exchanges.

In conclusion, the possibility of a collapse in the Brexit talks and a disorderly UK exit from the EU still haunt the political and financial cosmos. Nevertheless, this week is producing some evidence that both sides will do their best to avoid that…but will it be enough?

 

the sting Milestones

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

Prospect of negotiated peace in Afghanistan ‘never been more real’ – UN mission chief

Trust is at breaking point. It’s time to rebuild it

South Sudan famine threat: UN food security agency in ‘race against time’

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health

A vaccination race between nations can have no winners

Independent Ethics Body: improving transparency and integrity in EU institutions

Is co-living an answer to the affordable housing crisis?

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Transgaz to facilitate natural gas exports from Romania

The ‘ASEAN way’: what it is, how it must change for the future

6 things to know about coronavirus today, 1 April

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

UN General Assembly urges greater protection for Palestinians, deplores Israel’s ‘excessive’ use of force

Coronavirus Global Response: WHO and Commission launch the Facilitation Council to strengthen global collaboration

Iraq needs support to ‘leave violent past behind’, says UN envoy as Security Council extends UN mission for one year

The circular economy could forever change how cars are made – here’s how

Anxiety disorders and their relationship with COVID-19

Tobacco in Pakistan: is it worth to burn your money?

European businesses must balance digital with sustainability. Here’s how

In Tokyo, UN chief expresses full support for US-Japan dialogue with North Korea

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

What the buoyant US economy means for the rest of the world

Tougher defence tools against unfair imports to protect EU jobs and industry

Can autonomous cars make traffic jams a thing of the past?

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

5 things you might not know about Leonardo da Vinci

Eurozone hasn’t escaped the deflation danger

Vendor Pulse – 2000

My experience living with depression and schizophrenia in Thailand

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

Draghi rehabs ECB into a tool to support growth and employment; a departure from Teutonic orthodoxy

To hope or doubt? The state of women’s progress in the world

India’s strategy in space is changing. Here’s why

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

It’s time for cybersecurity to go pro bono

We need to talk about how we define responsibility online – and how we enforce it

Road use charges: reforms aim to improve fairness and environmental protection

Investing in nature gives industry and business a competitive advantage. Here’s why

Public Policies for LGBT in Brazil

These are the world’s most positive countries

Does the sharing economy truly know how to share?

Commission presents EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements for signature and conclusion

European Commission Joint Research Centre opens world-class laboratories to researchers

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

6 ways data sharing can shape a better future

COVID-19: EU helps deliver vaccines to Kosovo

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

EU Parliament says ‘no’ to austerity budget

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

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

New General Assembly President brings ‘valuable insights’ into key UN challenges

Yemen blast kills 14 children, leaves others fighting for their lives in Sana’a

“Sorry mom it’s not our day”: the true refugee story of a young doctor and his family forced to flee their home

Why collaboration is key to global reforestation efforts

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

European Commission issues first emission of EU SURE social bonds

More Stings?

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

%d bloggers like this: