Brexit: UK to suffer from EU’s uncompromising stance

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (second from right), and Michel Barnier, EC Chief negotiator for Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom (first from right), participated to the debate on Brexit during the European Parliament Plenary session in Brussels. Date: 30/01/2019. Location: Brussels – European Parliament. © European Union, 2019/Source:EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Etienne Ansotte.

Last Tuesday, 29 January, 317 British MPs voted for (301 against) the Tory Sir Graham Brady’s amendment, to replace the ‘Northern Ireland Backstop’ with elusive “alternative arrangements“. This NI Backstop is an integral part of the Brexit Agreement, PM Theresa May concluded with the other 27 EU leaders last December. It guarantees that, after the divorce, there won’t be a hard border on the island of Ireland separating the Irish Republic, a member of the EU, from Northern Ireland, an integral part of the UK. Other than this deal, the EU uncompromisingly considers no other option for a divorce agreement.

In any case, on 15 January, the Commons, the British Parliament, rejected altogether this kind of soft Brexit Agreement of May with Brussels. A round number of 120 MPs of her own Conservative Party defied their leader again, joining the opposition deputies, including the Labor Party, and all of them together voting down May’s soft Brexit proposal by 432 votes to 202.

Blocking the no-deal exit

Before that and envisaging the rejection, two pro ‘remainer’ deputies, a Tory and a Labor, proposed an amendment to forbid a Brexit without an Agreement with Brussels. This amendment was passed with 303 votes for and 296 against.

Obviously, the aim of the Parliamentary majority is to avoid a catastrophic no-deal Brexit at all costs. Everybody agrees that a no-deal Brexit will entail devastating effects for Britain in the coming decades. There is one incomprehensible exception to that. A round number of 120 Tory MPs plus a few other deputies think well about such a prospect.

A Parliament lost in amendments

Let’s try, now, to assess where the British Parliament stands. For one thing, many MPs are not any more afraid to ask for a second referendum, openly defying the result of the 23 June 2016 plebiscite. By the same token, there is a clear majority in the Commons against a wild divorce, even favoring a full revocation, or at least a deferral of the Brexit date well beyond the 29 March. Legally, though, for a real change in the Brexit path, the proposal has to come from the government and be voted by the Parliament. An MP’s amendment cannot do that and doesn’t bind the government.

As a result, only eight weeks before the exit day at the end of next month and the UK Parliament is lost in a maze of red lines and groundless aspirations. The latest vote, approving the completely vague Brady amendment, has perplexed things even further. As mentioned above, 317 MPs voted for it, but not all them come from the same party.

7+8 dissident MPs

This majority included seven Labor MPs, but eight Tories voted against their Conservative colleague’s proposal. Those 7+8 dissident deputies voting against their parties’ lines are proven hard rock antagonists to their party’s leadership. In the case of Tories, the eight rebel MPs are utterly opposing their party’s line for a Brexit, be it soft or hard. In the Labor camp, the seven contestant representatives fully support a full Brexit at any cost, against their party line which favors at least the participation in the EU Customs Union or a second referendum. Presumably, a second plebiscite will reject Brexit altogether.

As for the smaller parties, the Scottish National Party and the Liberals, they are in favor of a soft Brexit, or a no Brexit at all or even a new referendum. The Labor Party’s policy is not fully laid down and its leader Jeremy Corby by and large proposes to remain in the EU’s Customs Union, without however having a detailed plan for that. Understandably, the participation in the EU’s Customs Union doesn’t go for free. There are important obligations that go with it, and Corbyn remains very elusive about that.

A British colony?

In reality, there is not a solid Parliamentary majority for a clear cut solution to the Brexit conundrum. If May really tries to press mainland Europeans to serve her new offer, about “alternative arrangements” for the Irish Backstop as the Brady amendment demands, there will be grave repercussions for Britain. Already, Brussels have started to provoke the UK. A new Regulation is being currently being drafted by the European Commission which contains a phrase characterizing Gibraltar as a “British Colony”.

No matter how deafening the cries of the British Ambassador to the EU, Gibraltar remained a “British Colony” in the relevant text. Obviously, the rest of mainland Europeans have lined behind Spain, in her conflict with Britain about the ‘ownership’ of the Gibraltar Rock. This is a solid indication that the 27 EU countries will not concede to renegotiate May’s Brexit Agreement which they occluded last December.

Brussels will not blink

With mounting problems from the present full Brexit chaos upon the UK business sector, the consequences from a no-deal divorce on 29 March will inflict a historic trauma on Britain. In the latest incident, automaker Nissan is reportedly withholding a major investment in its Sunderland plant. The giant automotive company is about to cancel plans to produce the X-Trail SUV in Britain.

All in all, if some Brits think that the EU will blink before May’s new demands, they will learn the hard way, that in today’s world nobody will miss the opportunity to make a kill. Things are difficult for all and Britain is probably about to pay dearly for that.

 

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

Focus on EU’s external action and building our stronger inner core: von der Leyen at the Special European Council

EU to finance new investment projects with extra borrowing; French and Italian deficits to be tolerated

How responsible businesses can step forward to fight coronavirus

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Italy’s populist government appears determined to drive EU economy and markets into recession

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

4 ways governments can support start-ups and save their economies

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

The Indian miracle state pointing the way to global sustainability

How studying genetics and lifestyle can shape a healthier MENA region

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

EU Parliament approves CETA: the EU-Canada free trade deal sees the light in Trump’s gloomy era

Writing a new story in gender inequalities: women gaining space and respect in medicine

Asia and Pacific on course to miss all Sustainable Development Goals, says UN region chief

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Despite progress, companies face gender equality ‘backlash’: UN business body

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

We’re facing a ‘cold crunch,’ and it’s nothing to do with the polar vortex

How we can build our way out of the crisis

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Worldwide UN family celebrates enduring universal values of human rights

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

6.1 billion EUR for sustainable fisheries and safeguarding fishing communities

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

Coldplay stop touring to save the world: is pop music going sustainable?

These are the world’s most tree-covered countries

Pakistan: UN strongly condemns terrorist attack that leaves scores dead and wounded at election rally

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council

Women ‘vital’ to peace efforts and ensuring long-lasting stability in Afghanistan

Amazon wildfires are tomorrow’s breathtaker

UN chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe that injured dozens, including senior politicians

This incredibly detailed map of Africa could help aid and development

EU Citizenship Report: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

115 rejections and no pay. What it really takes to be an entrepreneur

What Mary Poppins teaches us about behavioural economics

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

Medical students and their ability to edify women’s rights

Reconciliation helps ‘repair fractures’, enable lasting peace, Security Council hears

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Drought in Europe: Member States agree on support measures proposed by the Commission

State aid: Commission approves €24.7 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

This is the world’s greenest football club – and you’ve probably never even heard of it

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

11 lessons the history of business can teach us about its future

The road ahead to building a more sustainable world

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Mental health and suicide prevention: the contradictory access in a reference city of southern Brazil

Coronavirus: a common path to Europe’s safe re-opening

UN launches innovative programme to detect and disrupt terrorist travel

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antibiotics

The World Bank’s 2020 country classifications explained

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