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I am leaning more and more to the view that the UK is only going through the motions of negotiating a deal with Brussels with an expectation that whatever they negotiate will leave a majority of Parliament unhappy with the outcome - the DUP and Hard core Brexiteers because of the compromises it contains, and most of the rest because the outcome is clearly less advantageous than the status quo.

The Tories would far rather negotiate with their "equals" - Merkel and Macron - in any case, rather than with some hated Bureaucrats in Brussels.  So their playbook will read: reject bad deal offered by Brussels, go to the country offering no deal but with a promise to negotiate a better one with Merkel afterwards, all the while ridiculing Labour for believing Brussels will ever offer a better deal.

In the meantime Brussels will fold its arms and patiently await the outcome of the election. If the Tories win, it's a no deal Brexit in March 2019, and very little prospect of any substantial deal afterwards - other than possibly an extension of "Open Skies" and Interpol cooperation.

If Labour win (more likely), the Commission will politely await their proposals for a different kind of deal, and perhaps be surprised that the Labour proposals include many ideas they are happy to explore further. But whether the European Council would be prepared to unanimously offer an extension of the A50 period is anyone's guess.  Mine would be a very limited extension, perhaps 3-6 months, after which time a new Brexit deal will be agreed - one which both the Commission and mainstream opinion in the UK are much happier with.

The DUP will be history, Northern Ireland (and perhaps the whole of the UK) will remain in the Single Market and Customs Union, regulatory equivalence will be agreed thus limiting non-tariff barriers, and little will change except that the UK will have to abide by EU regulations while having little influence on their ongoing development.  An annual fee for market access will be agreed at a level slightly less than the current net UK contribution to the EU together with a relatively small once off contribution.  

The UK will be free to pursue an independent foreign policy (as a vassal of the US) but not with an independent trade deal negotiating role. Everyone will agree the deal is better than what the Tories negotiated, but worse than the status quo. But with the A50 period having elapsed, agreement is in the gift of every single EU27 member and so most will be happy that at least some benefits have been salvaged.  The UK will deliberately diverge from EU foreign policy to emphasize its new found Sovereign independence and no one else will give a damn.

And everyone in the EU will breath a sigh of relief that the whole sorry fiasco of UK EU membership has finally ended.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 18th, 2017 at 01:17:51 PM EST
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