Thu May 4th, 2017 at 12:25:49 PM EST
After the Juncker leak of his dinner with May, I think it is the Republic of Ireland that should be filled with a sense of foreboding.
The odds of no deal being reached just shot up considerably.
The EU had earlier made it known that its negotiating priorities were "People, Money, and Ireland". Note that money comes before Ireland. And the insistence on the UK paying an "exit bill" and just this week apparently raising it, stands in the way of a deal on Ireland.
The Irish government considers the Juncker leak "unhelpful":
Leaked details of an allegedly disastrous dinner between Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May in London are “not helpful,” Irish government chief whip Regina Doherty said on Tuesday. The comments set the “wrong tone” as Ireland wants a “vibrant” trade relationship with the U.K. after Brexit in 2019, she said in an RTE radio interview.
If Brexit happens without a deal, Ireland faces a logistical nightmare as most of its supplies come overland through the UK. It also faces problems over the customs border with Northern Ireland. Even with a deal, this will be a problem as May's stated goal is to have the UK outside
the customs union.
On the other hand, the political problem Ireland faces over Northern Ireland appears to have been diminished or at least postponed. it appears that May will drop her insistence on taking the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights, which removes a key threat to the Good Friday Agreement which is underpinned by the ECHR.
Mrs May, who served as home secretary from 2010 to 2016, said last year she wanted to quit the ECHR, which for a time frustrated her plans to extradite the hate preacher Abu Qatada.
She was expected to write the commitment into the Conservative manifesto meaning that Britain would be committed to withdrawing by the end of the next parliament, in 2022.
However, senior Government figures have told The Telegraph they expect Mrs May to drop the commitment because it would be a major distraction for her Government from the Brexit negotiations.
The other threat is that the GFA gave natives of Northern Ireland the right to British Citizenship, Irish Citizenship, or both. This involves the European Court of Justice in Northern Irish law, and May will continue to insist on leaving the jurisdiction of the ECJ.
Now, it is all very well for the EU to say Ireland is one of its negotiating priorities, but if the negotiations fail Ireland will need a lot of support from the EU which cannot be improvised. I wonder if anyone in the EU is making contingency plans, or they are just gambling with Ireland and possibly sacrificing it to spite the UK.