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The Council's Brexit negotiating guidelines

by Migeru Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 07:54:22 AM EST

We've had two front-page stories on Theresa Msy's Article 50 letter, so here is one about the EU Council's negotiating position (from Bloomberg, or did you think the Council would publish them on its website rather than leak them?).


You can watch Donald Tusk's press conference here (4 videos, there is an arrow to switch to the next one in the series).

Tusk summarised the main points of the guidelines thus.

  • The EU sees the Brexit negotiations as an exercise in damage control and aims to minimise uncertainty and disruption.
  • The EU seeks reciprocal, enforceable and nondiscriminatory guarantees for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.
  • The EU seeks legal certainty for EU companies operating in the UK.
  • The EU will seek that the UK honour the financial commitments made before the Article 50 trigger
    It is only fair towards all those people, communities, scientists, farmers and so on to whom we, all the 28, promised and owe this money.
    This is a nice way to turn the tables on the breathless "Brexit bill" reporting, not that the British press can be expected to carry Tusk's framing.
  • The EU will be flexible and creative to avoid a hard border in Ireland, and aims to avoid disruption of the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Only after the Council sees "sufficient progress" on the above will the EU engage the UK on trade arrangements after Brexit.
  • The EU, like the UK, professes to aim for strong trade and security ties after Brexit.

Some things that Tusk didn't emphasise in his opening remarks include that

  • the EU excludes bilateral agreements between the UK and individual member states; and
  • any transitional arrangement that involves a continuation of EU law implies the Union's regulatory, budgetary, supervisory and enforcement instruments and structures would still apply.
And, of course, until the end of March 2019, the UK remains a member of the EU with all its rights and obligations including "sincere cooperation".

The reaction to this in the UK's not-foaming-at-the-mouth press has been a shocked realisation that the EU holds all the cards and dictates the terms of the negotiations. So much for taking back control.

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And, of course, the Brexit agreement could yet founder on the Rock of Gibraltar.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 08:11:28 AM EST
Yes,
After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.
The point here is that Gibraltar is not part of the United Kingdom, it is a "territory for whose external relations the United Kingdom is responsible" even if Gibraltarians have British passports.

Spain has been willing to block an EU aviation agreement for years now, because of the dispute on the Gibraltar airport.

The reason Spain had to agree to Gibraltar being in the EU on an equal footing with the UK is that the UK joined the EEC thirteen years before Spain. But now the UK is out and Spain is in. No wonder 96% of Gibraltarians voted Remain. Brexit is a big fuck-you from Little England.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 08:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From The Guardian:
A senior UK source with knowledge of EU negotiations said the clause was extraordinary because it effectively signalled a lack of total British sovereignty over Gibraltar. It gave Spain a greater say over the future of Gibraltar than the British government was likely to be willing to accept, the source said.
Well, duh. Gibraltar is considered a non-self-governing territory (pending decolonisation) since the UK co-founded the UN in 1946.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 09:00:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So was Hong Kong, I assume. Can't really blame Gibraltars for being wary, even though Spain is not China.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 04:24:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hong Kong was - mostly - leased for 99 years, at the end of which Britain was much weaker and China much stronger. There is no similar timed bomb in Gibraltar.
by fjallstrom on Mon Apr 3rd, 2017 at 10:41:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nor am I saying there is.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 4th, 2017 at 01:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people are already bringing up the Falklands, as if Spain were about to invade Gibraltar.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 11:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Starts at 3'45"

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 07:45:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assertion makes it so, apparently.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 3rd, 2017 at 03:12:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the EU landscape with regard to Scotland has changed as well...
Spain drops plan to impose veto if Scotland tries to join EU
Spain has said it would not veto an attempt by an independent Scotland to join the EU, in a boost to Nicola Sturgeon's campaign for a second independence referendum and the clearest sign yet that Brexit has softened Madrid's longstanding opposition.

Alfonso Dastis, the Spanish foreign minister, made it clear that the government would not block an independent Scotland's EU hopes, although he stressed that Madrid would not welcome the disintegration of the UK.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 08:25:15 AM EST
That is not really news. Spain has always opposed secession of Scotland into the EU, but never accession by an independent Scotland.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 08:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but doubts created by the "Better Together" campaign as to whether Scotland would have difficulties joining the EU helped sway the vote against Independence last time around.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 10:08:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that wasn't Spain's doing, or was it?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 11:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The perception was that accession could be a problem because Catalonia, and Spain didn't explicitly say that it wouldn't have a problem with an Independent Scotland joining EU, or if it did, that position wasn't communicated well within Scotland.

The more general perception was that the EU, and EU countries generally, stayed studiously neutral on Scottish independence for fear of upsetting the UK government.  That reticence may be less pronounced next time around in the context of Brexit or even be replaced by pro-independence sentiment as Scotland is perceived as being pro-EU.

The formal diplomatic position will, of course, always be that Scottish Independence is a matter for the Scots to decide.  However that doesn't prevent pro-EU parties within the EU making common cause with the Scots Nationalist party.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 05:04:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How clearly has this position previously been made public?


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 04:26:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SNP members are already on it.

Spanish non-bombs:

A terrible article in today's Observer nevertheless helpfully provides the most utterly categorical refutation yet of the endlessly-repeated Unionist lie that Spain would veto an independent Scotland's membership of the EU.

...

Spanish government ministers have in fact been explicitly stating for more than HALF A DECADE that they definitely WOULDN'T veto Scottish EU membership provided that Scotland achieved independence by legal means ...



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 at 06:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Mon Apr 3rd, 2017 at 08:58:12 AM EST


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