Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
May may be ending up playing a game of chicken - "save us from ourselves because our fall will damage you too" - but I don't think it's a deliberate strategy. It's the resultant of being caught in a number of double binds: Guaranteeing no customs border at the Irish border, while guaranteeing N. Ireland won't be treated any differently from the rest of the UK; Guaranteeing "a clean break" and the ability to make own regulations and FTAs, while remaining a part of the customs union; Guaranteeing control of immigration while having single market access; continuing membership of all sorts of related programmes - Galileo, Blue skies, European Medicines agency, European Arrest warrant, Interpol - which are only available to full EU members; Retaining control/influence over European defence while not being part of the EU.

All of these contradictions will have to be resolved, and not in a good way from the UK perspective. May is kicking the can down the road as much as she can as that is the only way she can survive the faction fighting in the Tory party. The British Mythology has always been that this will all come down to several overnight negotiating sessions around Christmas when the UK will call the EU's bluff. She would also prefer to be dealing directly with Merkel and Macron at Head of government level rather than with those Junkies in Brussels.

Unfortunately for her, the EU doesn't do business that way. For the EU it's about process, law, rules and regulations. It's about detail and paying for everything you get. It's about not creating precedents that could be exploited by Italy, Greece, Turkey or anyone else. It's about dealing with the UK as you would with any other medium sized trading partner. It's about demonstrating to everyone else all the advantages that only EU membership can confer.

Economically, there may be a lot of common interests between the UK and the EU and everyone can be a winner through ongoing cooperation. Politically, it's almost a zero sum game. There has to be a winner and a loser, and the UK can't be allowed to win. Even a little bit...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 02:54:26 PM EST
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