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Labour grows up?

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 12:26:45 PM EST

At last the British Labour party has decided to do what oppositions are supposed to do and put clear blue water between its policy on Brexit and that of the Tories:

Labour is committing itself to continued UK membership of the EU single market and customs union during a transition period following the official Brexit date of March 2019.

In a dramatic policy shift, the party's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has announced that a Labour government would abide by "the same basic terms" of Britain's current EU membership during the transition, which some observers expect to last as long as four or five years.

And in an article for the Observer, he made clear that the party is open to the possibility of negotiating new single market and customs union terms which the UK could sign up to on a permanent basis.

At June's general election, Labour promised to seek to "retain the benefits" of the single market and customs union as part of a "jobs-first" Brexit, but leader Jeremy Corbyn has so far stopped short of committing to continued membership beyond the date of Brexit.


It remains to be seen whether Labour's policy shift is purely tactical - to wrong foot the Tories - or a long term change of policy. It is also questionable whether the EU would agree to the UK maintaining membership of the Single Market and Custom's union without considerable access payments - something not alluded to in Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer Observer interview.

What seems clear, however, is that Labour has now put itself in a position to unambiguously oppose the hard Brexit favoured by PM Theresa May and her Brexit team, which makes it more likely that a hard Brexit deal (or a no deal Brexit) would not be approved by parliament in due course.

In addition, by raising the possibility of an indefinite future membership of the Single Market and customs union, Labour puts the whole rationale for Brexit in doubt.  What is to be gained from having to adhere to all the same rules that it currently does, without having a direct say in their development?

At the very least, Labour's new position would, if adopted, by the UK, put any final Brexit beyond the term of the current parliament, and thus amenable to reversal by the next, always assuming the EU would agree to such a long term extension of the A50 negotiation period. Given that that would require the unanimous agreement of the European Council, the prospects of that scenario must seem doubtful at best.  

But what if the actual Brexit deal, approved by Westminster parliament and by qualified majority vote in the EU Council, provided for (say) 5 years continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union after which both parties could agree to "review" the deal, with the review including all options, including all options up to and including full membership of the EU? The UK would, in essence have left the EU for a trial period with the option of returning without having to go through the full A49 membership application process which requires unanimous EU Council approval.

There is a long tradition of Parliament not being able to bind future parliaments, so it could be argued that such a clause would simply keep all options on the table for a future Parliament.  The Brexiteers will scream betrayal, of course, and it is difficult to see how Theresa May's government could reverse course to such a degree without her losing the leadership, and quite probably, the Tories losing office.

So any scenario which might result in Labour's new position actually becoming a real possibility depends on the Tory's hard Brexit deal (or no deal) being voted down by Parliament first.  Closet Remainers within the Tory camp would have to grow some backbone and vote against to overturn her narrow majority. Sinn Fein are also coming under increasing pressure to end their historic policy of abstentionism in Westminster to tip the balance further towards a May defeat...

But Labour's new policy also has the potential to undermine May's negotiating position in Brussels.  Why should Brussels make concessions to May to make it easier for her to sell her Brexit deal to Parliament?  Best to be as hard line as possible, offer her a terrible deal, and wait for her slim Parliamentary majority to implode.  Force May to sell her self imposed "no deal" option to parliament, and if necessary to the British people in a new general election.  

After all, what has the EU got to lose? Worst case, the UK is gone anyway once the A50 period elapses, so give them as little as possible and make exiting the EU utterly unattractive for any future discontented EU member. Best case, when faced with the abyss, a chastened UK comes back into the fold. It's "have cake and eat it" strategy exposed for the utter sham it always was. What's not to like?

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makes it more likely that a hard Brexit deal (or a no deal Brexit) would not be approved by parliament in due course.

But wouldn't that just mean that the UK would be automatically out without a deal, with the Tories able to blame Labour for the consequences of rejecting the great deal they had negotiated?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 12:31:18 PM EST
Yes, that is a point, but is there really a significant difference between "No deal" and "Hard Brexit"?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 03:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A No deal Brexit could result in a situation where there is literally a no fly zone between the EU and UK as the "blue skies" agreement will lapse for the UK when it leaves. Michael O'Leary has warned precisely of this possibility, and says he will start pulling flights from the UK next year as airlines have to plan their schedule 6-12 months in advance. This would put huge pressure on May to come to a deal as the A50 period comes into it's last 6 months.

It will be like Dunkirk all over again - stranded British tourists and expats trying to get home while those nasty Germans, spineless French and back stabbing Irish betray Jonny English who is only exercising his God given right to travel the world...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 11:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
stranded British tourists

Can't they take the ferry or the train?. Which raises the question what rules govern them, and will they have to stop as well?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 11:38:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not many rules, but customs and immigration checks can be pretty arduous especially if you are waiting in the same line as all other non-EU nationals...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 06:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In is not the oppositions job to ensure the government can implement it's agenda.  If the UK Brexits without any deal it will be either because they have not been able to negotiate one, or secure the support of Parliament for one.  Many Brexiteers regard a "no deal Brexit" as probably preferable to any deal Brussels is likely to a offer, so they will be overjoyed and take ownership of that eventuality in any case.

Anyway, it will no longer be any concern of anyone else who cops the blame for Brexit in the UK.  Brexit means Brexit, after all, and words mean what Theresa in Wonderland says they mean.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 03:20:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Power corrupts, a truism.
That power could cause such hubris,rank condescension, and just plain appallingly bad manners boggles the mind, on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Anglo disease in all its horrible blowback, making governments go mad within their own halls.
If someone told me May was being paid to throw sand in every gearbox imaginable, it would ring truer than any other explanation.
Likewise with the Trumpephant, demolishing American institutions like a Gleeful Reaper from within its most exalted position of power.
It's all a bit Burning Man...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 10:48:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I read the situation, the tabloids will blame Labour any road.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 04:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the tabloids are losing traction as a medium for anthing beyond entertainment

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 04:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the opposition is passive, yes.

If the opposition is more active they should try to pass a motion that orders the government to renegotiate areas A, B and C to achieve X, Y and Z.

The goal should be to split of enough votes to defeat the government and get a new election. Therefore the issues should be chosen to appeal to members of the coalition that can be peeled off, as well as contain popular items among the voters.

by fjallstrom on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 10:11:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that Zoe Williams thinks that's exactly what is happening;-

Guardian - Zoe Williams - At last, Labour has wrested the Brexit debate from the Tories

Tory Europhiles could at any point find themselves in the ascendant again, and seek a more measured, single market-tolerant exit period for the sake of stability. But that territory now belongs to the opposition, and they will have to forswear it or defect. The scandalously long period when the internal divisions of the Conservative party could wreak havoc on the country yet force no bravery or conviction from the party's own MPs has come to an end. Labour has finally appropriated the Tories' wriggle room, and started to build on it.

The details of the UK's EU exit have yet to be even hypothetically resolved; the Labour party, plainly, has its own internal divisions, many yet to be said out loud. There is as yet no way of telling whether or not this consensus will hold, that Brexit is the overwhelming will of the people and must be performed at all costs. A decision built on unknowns and falsehoods is not one to which the label of democracy very durably sticks.

Yet the opposition has bought itself some time (as short as possible, as long as necessary), taken the territory of common sense for the transition period (which many remain Tories will envy), and written the opening bars of a progressive overture in which their divisions can be harmonised gradually, rather than having to be silenced by the cacophony of the Conservatives. The new distinction is not between hard Brexit and soft Brexit: it is between infantile Brexit and grownup Brexit.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:08:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally I was always a fan of the constructive ambiguity of Labour's previous position. It allowed all parts of the Labour coalition to criticize the Govt without any need to worry about going against the "party line".

Jeremy Corbyn has always had issues with the EU, especially viewing the euro and ECB having baked neo-liberal economic policy into its foundation. Equaly, having voted to Leave, Corbyn and many people in the party who genuinely respect democratically agreed decisions felt somewhat constrained in going against the expressed will of the people.

Now, we can argue till the ends of the earth about what it might have been that this "expressed will" actually, but in a Yes/No decision, it's hard to argue that, if the majority vote "no", then they really meant "yes".

So, this is actually a much more major step for the Labour party in general than many are willing to concede.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 03:26:15 PM EST
although some would suggest nothing's changed

Political Scrapbook - Mike Sivier - Why are people saying Labour's attitude to Brexit has changed? It hasn't

This is a public relations move.

With the Tories weakened, Labour is in an excellent position to exploit their divisions.

By acting decisively - setting out positive terms for forward movement that expose the Conservatives' "constructive ambiguity" as the waffle that it is - Mr Starmer and Labour have shown that they are prepared to make the decisions that David Davis and his ill-prepared negotiators won't - or can't, because their party is divided on it?

With the EU Withdrawal Bill back in the Commons for its Second Reading on September 7, Labour has a chance to woo pro-EU Tory MPs towards what is, let's face it, a clear plan for progress.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 03:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
During the referendum campaign, virtually all Brexiteers ruled out leaving the Single market, and argued that it was the EU's political move towards "an ever closer Union" that they were opposed to. They spoke of Norway,, Switzerland and Albania (!) as possible models to follow.

The notion of a hard Brexit, involving leaving the Single Market and customs Union only became Government policy some time after the referendum, and arguably May's failure to gain a majority in the subsequent general election meant she had no mandate for that change of tack.

So Labour is really only going back to the centre ground of UK politics, accepting the referendum result but insisting on remaining in the Single market and Customs union for at least a transitional period, and possibly indefinitely, depending on what deal they can negotiate.

And they now have a consistent basis on which to oppose Tory policy, and can't be accused of opportunism or a lack of patriotism if the Tories come back with a deal for anything else.

You are, of course correct that Corbyn was never an EU enthusiast, but the objections you cite relate primarily to the Eurozone of which the UK was never a member.

The UK has generally led the neo-liberal charge within the EU, so his objections were often as much against the UK's influence within the EU, as against the EU itself, and in particular the "social market" philosophies which used to be the characteristic input of social democratic parties.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 03:46:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When all this is over, we're gonna have cause to be jealous of the Albanian model

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 03:48:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour's policy shift
Labour's ambiguity on Brexit was driven by the political imperative before the election to avoid alienating supporters who voted Leave and to prevent the Conservatives from making Brexit the central choice in the election.

The strategy was successful, but political conditions have changed since the election, not least because of Corbyn's success in holding Labour seats in its industrial heartland and making gains in the southeast and in Scotland.

Most of Labour's gains - and its new target seats - are in areas which voted Remain, and recent polls show clear majorities among Labour supporters and members for a clear policy in favour of a soft Brexit.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the reasons I have consistently expected a hard or no deal Brexit is the Tory's complete lack of allies in Europe. The Tories aren't part of any major Christian, Social or Liberal Democrat party grouping within the EP and which make up the majority of governments in the EU.

Instead they are allied to the Law and Justice (PiS) of Poland who aren't exactly flavour of the month in Brussels or most other EU capitals.

Boris Johnson, Davis and Fox must be about the most unpopular triumvirate of ministers ever to grace the EU halls of power. Brexit minister Steve Baker has called for the downfall of the EU which according to him has "failed on its own terms". Nigel Farage is actually hated within the EP and his alliance with Trump feared as a potential major threat to the EU.

Theresa May herself has been spectacularly maladroit in her discussions with EU leaders and failed to build strong relationships with any of them. Even Ireland's normally obsequious Ministers have not been slow to express their exasperation with their UK counterparts.

Basically nobody in the EU of any significance owes these guys anything, or has anything to lose, politically, if Brexit is an utter shambles. They are best advised to steer well clear of any entanglement. (The potential economic/political fall-out is another matter, especially in Ireland).

Even in this technocratic age, negotiations are still all about relationships, trust, and a willingness to take risks for one another. You have to have a basic respect for your counterparts for the process to work well. That respect is lacking.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 04:08:27 PM EST
Basically a bunch of over-privileged amateur egomaniacs used to getting their own way less through competence and more through money and bluster are trying the same trick on a bunch of well-prepared professionals who are disclined to do them a favour.

As si usual with Tories of that ilk, they'll fuck it up and then run away to spend more time with their money and investments somewhere warm and sunny. The idea of responsibility and accountability are entirely alien to them.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 04:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abstentionism is a core policy of Sinn Fein, practically written into their DNA.  I don't see how Adams can change it without splitting his party.
 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 04:52:36 PM EST
Realistically, their 7 seats are meaningless.  So it doesn't matter re: UK although I grant it may mean something in NI -- I don't know


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 04:56:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's seven less "remoaners" who have to find a backbone or seven less bye-elections the Tories have to lose before they lose their majority...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 05:26:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The questions are:

  1.  Does Adams care if the UK goes to hell

  2.  Does it matter until it matters?  If I was him I'd be building support within Sinn Fein for dumping the policy under certain conditions.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:38:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adams doesn't care about the UK, but he does care about N. Ireland.  If he can put a spanner in the works of a hard Brexit, he can put a spanner in the works of a hard border and save the Good Friday Agreement he was instrumental in negotiating.

Now that Sinn Fein has replaced the SDLP as the main nationalist party, his only options for increasing his vote further (he came within 1% of the DUP and becoming the largest party in N. Ireland - which brings with it the "First Minister" role) is to pick off more conservative nationalists who currently vote SDLP, Alliance, Green and even a few Unionists.

That means adopting more mainstream "responsible" policies and practices - and that means no more abstentionism...

But he will bide his time, and strike when he can do most damage.  He doesn't want to give "remoaners" the excuse of not voting against the Government because that would mean voting with Sinn Fein.

There is a majority of 56% who voted against Brexit in Northern Ireland.  They have got to be his target demographic even if some of them will never ever vote Sinn Fein.

So the pitch will be that Sinn Fein will act decisively in the name of the majority of the people of Ireland, North and south, who are against Brexit, and against the Tories and DUP who are trying to impose Brexit on Ireland against the will of the vast majority.

What democrat could possibly object to that?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 07:30:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Fein has already abandoned its abstention from Dail Eireann in the 1980s and from Stormont in 1998. The party is in constant evolution and Adams is probably strong enough to carry it off, on a once off basis, just to defeat the Tories.  Sinn Fein already claim their Westminster "expenses" in any case.  

The main obstacle is the pledge of allegiance to the Queen which can be dismissed as an "empty formula" if required.  Sinn Fein would probably not object to the Queen remaining as titular head of state of N. Ireland, or to Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth, in the context of a united Ireland in any case.

So taking "the pledge" would just be a first step to that end you see....

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 05:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To my admittedly non-expert knowledge the usual outcome of "betrayal" (sic) of core Republican principles is faction fighting and a split in the organization.  From this spins what I said up thread about Adams needing to build support for such a move in SF.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:46:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Fein run a very tight ship when it comes to party discipline, and while there are still a couple of tiny dissident Republican groups who regard Sinn Fein as traitors, they are politically and militarily insignificant.

If the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Fein make the decision to end abstentionism, the decision will stick, although some may argue they won't make that decision until the IRA Army Council has endorsed it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 07:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The party of Corbyn had best get to picking through the EU's proposed (financial) settlement bill for UK. That is to  sort (1) existing "club" privileges from (2) unrealized, future, third-country "membership" loyalty points demanded.

iirc, EU demand for payment UK commitment to the budget (2014-2020) includes UK "membership" insurance --wide-ranging programmatic benefit coverage including but not limited to duty-free customs enforcement-- until 2021. That is two years from the date of withdrawal 2019. Call that "transition" already on the table, if you will.

Also the exercise may allow the party to situate its vision with a right to reserve membership in the EEA, now that dear leader has conceded the efficacy of free-flow of EU nationals into the UK but not ECJ supremacy. It's a big "fig leaf" of cetainty and UK declaration won't require EP approval ... o, wait.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 05:28:17 PM EST
Although their may be all sorts of rationales adduced for calculating the sums due, the bottom line is that the figures are entirely negotiable and dependent of goodwill and other concessions made. The figure will be miraculously reduced if there is a deal on the table the EU actually wants, and kept high if they are dissatisfied with progress.

The ongoing annual payment for access to the Single Market may end up being of more significance.  Here there are Norwegian/Swiss precedents for guidance although none are binding. Presumably it will have to be less than current UK payments (less rebate) to the EU budget, but who knows?  It depends on how bloody minded the negotiations get, and how much both parties want the deal taking shape.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 05:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norway is an EEA "Contracting Party." Switzerland is not.
In everyday language the latter three [Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway] go by the term "EEA EFTA States" in order to clarify that the other EFTA State, Switzerland, is not party to the EEA Agreement.

But the gov't of Switzerland knows how to behave itself with respect to VITAL private sector business in the EU.
::
"Congratulations, Swissair/Sabena!"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:28:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Position paper transmitted to the EU27: essential principles on the financial settlement (pdf, 24 May 2017)
2. This single financial settlement should be based on the principle that the United Kingdom must
honour its share of the financing of all the obligations undertaken while it was a member of the
Union. The United Kingdom obligations should be fixed as a percentage of the EU obligationscalculated at the date of withdrawal in accordance with a methodology to be agreed in the first phase of the negotiations.
  1. On this basis, the United Kingdom should continue to benefit from all programmes as before the withdrawal until their closure under the condition that it respects the applicable Union legal rules.
  2. Accounts shall be established in euro and all payments from the United Kingdom to the Union should be made in euro.

&tc.
See Annex 2. List of basic acts financed by the consolidated account

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 05:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the United Kingdom should continue to benefit from all programmes as before the withdrawal until their closure

So. Two (2) years from date of withdrawal is an incorrect statement. Programs' statutory periods to which the UK is already committed probably run longer than two years, or the end of the current EU budget year. Which ones?

I bet EU negotiators know. I bet Labour doesn't give a fig.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:02:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ongoing annual payment for access to the Single Market may end up being of more significance.

What is that figure? For "EFTA States" in the Single Market ... on average ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What the fall of the Sterling really means" is the longer the UK gov't ignores negotiating the bill the greater the price paid in sterling, silver.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
euro

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norway pays the same (per capita) as the UK for EU access
in net terms Norway pays a similar sum per person for its arrangement as the UK does for full membership.

To see why this is so, start with Norway's gross contribution. In 2016, Norway's payments in relation to its membership of the European single market and other EU programmes it takes part in will come to about £623 million* or £119 a head, according to an analysis by InFacts of data provided by the country's embassy in the UK.

Unfortunately, there are no public figures for the money Norway gets back from these programmes, making it impossible to be certain what its net contribution is. However, a generous assumption would be that Norway receives an amount per capita similar to what the UK receives from those parts of Europe's arrangements in which Norway participates--mainly the EU's science funding programme. (The UK has been notably successful in winning EU science grants.)

Britain's receipts from EU programmes that Norway also benefits from (again, using generous assumptions) come to £23 per person**. Subtracting that amount from Norway's gross contribution, we get an estimated net contribution of £96 per head.

What is the equivalent figure for Britain? As InFacts has previously shown, the UK sent £12.9 billion to the EU last year. After subtracting the money the EU spends in the UK and money that the UK would spend anyway because of its commitment to global development targets, the UK's net contribution to the EU comes to £96 per capita--by coincidence, exactly the same as our estimate for Norway.

With devaluation, the UK could end up paying considerably more than Norway in £ terms. But hey - Norwegian ministers don't have to attend all those boring EU decision making meetings...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Denominator
The population of Norway is 5.233 million (2016).
The population of UK is 6.64 million (2016)

What this statement, "Norway pays the same (per capita) as the UK for EU access", express to me is, Norway is willing and able to pay for Single Market access. And its esteem for that access is greater per capita than that of the UK.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:36:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The population of UK is 65.64 million (2016).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 06:37:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
>>UK could end up paying considerably more than Norway in £ terms

This statement is nonsensical. It's a canard. Krone devaluation greater than that of GBP "relative" to EUR --legal tender of EU gov't. -- was established ages ago.  GBP is not legal tender of EU gov't. Further, GBP:EUR has no parity. Were UK gov't to pay more than Norway in "£ terms", GBP not only would "break" EUR and NOK. NOK is cheaper than RMB "relative" to either GBP or EUR.

a/o today,
GBP:EUR, 1 pound buys EUR 1.08.
EUR:NOK, 1 EUR buys NOK 9.28.
GBP:NOK, 1 pound buys NOK 10.
NOK:EUR, 1:0.1078. 1 krone buys EUR 0.11.
NOK:GBP, 1:0.0999. I krone buys 10 pence.

US Treasury will never let that happen.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 02:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Y'all keep towing the zerohedge line, devaluation is great! (so long as nobody imports anything).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 02:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(and your gov't treasury is sitting massive reserves of foreign currency which it will lend to its natural and corporate citizens at low, low prices simply because it's fun to buy high risk, high gain "emerging market" bonds.)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 03:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My sense is that most people 'here' - i.e. ET - are quite skeptical about claims made by zerohedge and do not share their general libertarian outlook.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 04:43:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But what if the actual Brexit deal, approved by Westminster parliament and by qualified majority vote in the EU Council, provided for (say) 5 years continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union after which both parties could agree to "review" the deal, with the review including all options, including all options up to and including full membership of the EU?

This is a zero probability event. The UK is definitely leaving the EU, only the date may be uncertain. It is silly to think that everyone in the Council wishes to keep the UK in the EU, or that the UK leaving is prejudicial. A transition period may come to be, but it will not reverse Article 50.

Worst case, the UK is gone anyway once the A50 period elapses, so give them as little as possible and make exiting the EU utterly unattractive for any future discontented EU member.

Leaving the EU is not unattractive per se, it is leaving the EEA that is. What drives the Council is not the will to make it as bad as possible for the UK, but rather to guarantee that existing rules remain in place. Losing a member as important as the UK can not possibly justify a regression to the level integration achieved so far.  

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 03:34:23 PM EST
The deal suggested is most unlikely to be approved by this UK Parliament, but could conceivably be approved by this EU Council given that it requires only a qualified majority. What is unlikely, is that any such deal could be approved unanimously by the Council afterwards, as there are plenty of reasons why any one E27 member might veto it.  

The purpose of such a deal is therefore only to extend the period in which QMV is applicable on the EU side, and to give a future UK parliament the power to reverse Brexit, should it so desire. Of course such an outcome is possible on the UK side only if May looses a Commons vote on any other deal, resigns, and is replaced by a labour led government, probably after a general election.

The immanence of the March 2019 deadline makes such a sequence of events unlikely, to say the least.  As for the EEA, Norway pays roughly as much, per capita, for Single market access as the UK does for full membership. I don't see that as an attractive proposition.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 04:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Norway has about twice the GDP/capita of United Kingdom. I am sure there is a lot of politics in setting the fees, but GDP probably plays a role too.

Following your links:
InFacts Norwegians pay about as much as Brits to access EU - InFacts

As InFacts has previously shown, the UK sent £12.9 billion to the EU last year. After subtracting the money the EU spends in the UK and money that the UK would spend anyway because of its commitment to global development targets, the UK's net contribution to the EU comes to £96 per capita--by coincidence, exactly the same as our estimate for Norway.

This is not to say that Britain would have to pay the same per head as Norway if we quit the EU and adopted the Norwegian model. After all, the UK's GDP per person is lower than Norway's. Perhaps the UK could plead poverty and negotiate a lower contribution to the EU in a post-Brexit arrangement. On the other hand, if the split were acrimonious, things could turn out worse.

A search also yielded this:

LSE BREXIT - How much do non-EU countries give up for access to the single market? More than Brexiteers will like

While the UK's strategy toward access of the EU single market after Brexit is unclear, the experience of the four non-EU countries having access to it suggests that the conditions of access may involve:

    Sizeable net financial contribution to the EU budget (Norway pays similar amounts to current UK payments in relative terms, though Switzerland and Liechtenstein pay surprisingly small amounts.);

So Norway may not be a good comparison.

by fjallstrom on Tue Aug 29th, 2017 at 12:14:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt the EU will use indicators like Norway's contribution per capita which suit it's argument for a higher contribution, and the UK will use Switzerland or some other example to bolster it's case for a lower one.  The bottom line is that there is no universal rule for calculating the contribution and each case is a bespoke deal. The EU will name it's price and the UK theirs, and then the haggling will begin with absolutely no guarantee of a successful outcome but a likely agreement somewhere down the middle. This could take years...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 07:30:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suppose there is no deal, and a cliff-edge Brexit instead. What happens on the ground?

Who would police the movement of goods between the EU and the UK? The customs infrastructure would have to be large and sophisticated, and the motivation for black market operation would surge. Depending on the day-to-day relative currency values, money laundering and arbitrage opportunities would abound. If the availability of basic foodstuffs and household supplies were to decline, there would be a strong incentive for offshore suppliers (e.g., China, USA, Brazil) to ship directly to poorly-monitored distribution centers, bypassing monitoring stations. Industrial supplies might also be in demand, encouraging hoarding and under-the-table transactions. Labor migration might also occur to fill in the gaps left by the official system: is it better to have an "illegal" nursing staff at your hospital or "no" nursing staff? Or at your farm, or factory?

Just trying to visualize what would actually happen if people woke up in March 2018 and there is no actual regulatory environment and no capable regulatory agencies. Where would you buy your groceries if they are not available at the government-approved stores?

by asdf on Tue Aug 29th, 2017 at 01:15:13 PM EST
tbh it would be an absolute f...ing disaster, there is every chance that, for their own protection, borders would have to be closed.

It's possible that interim agreements might be thrashed out very quckly, but none of them will be on terms favorable to the UK, especially as sterling would nosedive

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 29th, 2017 at 07:26:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the UK makes up c. 6% of EU imports (I have seen various figures mentioned) and only some goods are taxable under WTO rules (if applicable), the marginal increase in customs infrastructure on the EU side would be relatively small - although heavily concentrated in ports like Calais and Rotterdam. I presume most international airports would already have the required infrastructure which could be extended to to cover UK imports.

On the UK side the problem is bigger by almost an order of magnitude because the EU27 makes up c. 45% of UK imports. And so a lot of goods could end up stuck in customs for lack of an infrastructure to clear them. I have written elsewhere of the consequence of a failure to reach a deal on a "Blue Skies" deal extension, as here there is no WTO fall-back. Flights between EU and UK will simply cease. Industrial production could collapse if supply chains get disrupted by goods stuck in transit.

All in all a giant clusterf*ck...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 07:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But I would be surprised if the EU side (and possibly the UK) didn't have a team working on contingency plans for just such an eventuality.  There is a non-trivial probability of it happening rising all the time as talks make so little progress...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 08:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there is no deal and no preparation on the UK side for increased custom inspections, I would expect the imports from the EU not to be checked. After all, customs inspections don't inspect every lorry today. If there's a toll to be payed and no inspections, maybe some people will be less than honest, but that is less of a problem than if food stores would go without supplies.
by fjallstrom on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 10:57:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You would expect customs to expand and adapt in the first few weeks and months after a cliff edge Brexit, but who knows? There is NO customs infrastructure on the Irish land border and no plans to build any...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 30th, 2017 at 11:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should there be a pressing need surely temporary structures could be delivered and set up while permanent structures were being built.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 03:30:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as the Irish government is concerned, there is a pressing need to find all manner of reasons why it simply can't be done.  Because doing so would be a political disaster...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 08:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has a new computerised customs system (CDS) scheduled to be delivered in January 2019. It is designed for 60 million (checks?) per year. The Freight Transport Association suggests that this would have to increase to 300 million [under WTO rules?].

Politico reported in March that even the initial delivery for Jan 2019 is in doubt, referring to the treasury Select Committee discussions.

Has the UK governement ever delivered a successful software system on time and to budget, never mind scaled one up by a factor of five during development

by oldremainmer48 on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 07:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this mean that they won't be able to handle even imports from the US, let alone the EU?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 07:05:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read reports of a scheduled live date in March 2019 which would leave virtually no time for debugging the software and any hardware glitches.  However provided Brexit doesn't introduce a whole new set of rules the actually scaling up from 60 to 300 Million transactions shouldn't present too much of a problem, given modern database and hardware designs, and provided there are enough physical bar code scanners and personnel to input all the data.  There is never a good time to introduce a major software change, but doing so at the point of Brexit seems to be just asking for trouble.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 08:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a mistype in the Politico Link which should be

Politico

by oldremainmer48 on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 09:59:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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