Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
UK has two options: a people's vote or Liechtenstein Plus
Liechtenstein comes into it because Plan B involves the UK leaving the EU but joining (in fact rejoining) the European Free Trade Association and, through EFTA, the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA is a kind of adjunct to the EU single market - its members are in the single market but not part of the EU's political structures. And the EEA has three members: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. They are equal partners - Liechtenstein has the same weight in these arrangements as Norway does. It has a veto over what happens in the EEA.

So first of all, Britain would have to get Liechtenstein's permission to join the EEA. And second, even if it did get into the EEA, it would need Liechtenstein's approval every time it wanted to do something important like having a new EU regulation transposed into EEA market rules. This is of particular interest to us because if we are to maintain an open Border, this procedure would have to be done on a regular basis to insure that market regulations in the North maintained their alignment with the South. A Liechtenstein veto could cause us big problems.

Now, let us push this just a little bit further. My vast knowledge of the Liechtenstein constitution tells me that it grants a veto over all laws to His Serene Highness Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg, sovereign of the House of Liechtenstein and Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. So here we are: having found it utterly intolerable to be "interfered with" by the EU and its Court of Justice, the British are wishing themselves into a situation in which their laws and regulations would be subject to the agreement of the hereditary owner of an Alp. Brexit finally becomes what JG Ballard, in refusing a CBE, called "a Ruritanian charade".

The truth, which will surely begin to dawn in the next few days, is that there is no way forward with the present deal, no chance of renegotiating it substantially

But the real humiliation here is not that this is likely to happen. It is that it won't happen because even Liechtenstein won't agree to it. Nobody - not Norway, not Iceland, not His Serene Highness Hans-Adam II - wants to be stuck with the Brexit mess. It has reached the point where in order to stay alive it has to swallow more and more absurdities. And it has led to the very thing it was supposed to overcome. It was fuelled by imaginary humiliation and it is creating the real thing. It was bad enough in the 1960s when Britain's desire to join Europe was rebuffed by General De Gaulle. Now it is getting the bird from Norway, Iceland - and Liechtenstein.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 12th, 2018 at 02:00:59 AM EST

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