Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
A Chara,- Newton Emerson appears to be labouring under the delusion that the dispute over the Protocol is all about what unionist do and do not want. He argues that the EU should bend over backwards to satisfy unionist demands in order to consolidate fragile unionist majority support for the protocol. (Unionist acceptance of NI protocol very close, Opinion, 11 November)

In reality, there are no concessions that the EU could make which would satisfy Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister et al. For them, any border down the Irish sea is a diminution of British sovereignty and their sense of British identity.  They are happy to accept the benefits of membership of the EU Single Market so long as there is no diminution of their access to the UK internal market, a classic "have cake and eat it" syndrome at a time when the form of Brexit Boris Johnson negotiated and they supported entailed Britain leaving the Single Market and Customs union.

But his almost exclusive focus on unionist sentiment also obscures another reality: This dispute between the British government and the EU is not primarily about "the border down the Irish sea" at all, but rather about "the border across the English Channel". The British Government still seeks to obtain all the benefits of EU membership without the costs and responsibilities associated with it. Hence the focus on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice which was never an issue in Northern Ireland until Lord Frost sought to make it so.

For the EU to concede control over the Single Market in Northern Ireland is to create a precedent for a loss of control over the Single Market in Britain as well, and if that happens the Brexiteers will have achieved their objective: The benefits of the EU without the costs, and with it the hastening of the end of EU itself.

From an EU perspective, the issue is not simply the peace and stability of Northern Ireland, but the peace and stability of Europe itself.  That can never be compromised, and that is why the EU is considering abrogating the Trade and Cooperation agreement with the UK if the UK fails to honour the Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocol.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 09:21:18 AM EST
UK-EU Non-negotiations and Non-papers

House of Lords: The Minister of State, Cabinet Office

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now make a Statement to update the House on various recent developments in our relationship with the European Union. The Statement will also be made in the other place in due course by my right honourable friend the Paymaster-General.

As noble Lords will know well, we have two principal agreements with the EU: the trade and co-operation agreement and the withdrawal agreement. ....

In my view, this process of negotiations has not reached its end. Although we have been talking for nearly four weeks, there remain possibilities that the talks have not yet seriously examined, including many approaches suggested by the UK. So there is more to do and I certainly will not give up on this process unless and until it is abundantly clear that nothing more can be done. We are certainly not at that point yet. If, however, we do in due course reach that point, the Article 16 safeguards will be our only option.

We have been abundantly clear about this since July, when we made it clear that the tests for using Article 16 were already passed. Nothing that has happened since has changed that. I can reassure noble Lords that, if Article 16 were to be used, we would set out our case with confidence and spell out why it was wholly consistent with our legal obligations. We would also be ready to explain that case to any interested party, not just the signatories to the treaty but those with a broader interest in relations with the EU and the UK.

However, the EU seems to be arguing something different at the moment. It seems to be claiming that it would be entirely unreasonable for the British Government, uniquely, to use these wholly legitimate safeguard provisions within the treaty, designed precisely to deal with situations like the current one. It also suggests that we can only take that action at the price of massive and disproportionate retaliation.

I gently suggest that our European friends should stay calm and keep things in proportion.

by Oui on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 10:35:44 AM EST
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I respectfully suggest there is nothing gentle or friendly in anything Lord Frost does...M'Luds

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 10:58:59 AM EST
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