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The British calculation is that member states will be united in making a fuss in public but much less aggressive in practice. London believes that the Irish and French are isolated and that the Dutch, Germans and Poles will oppose any suspension of the UK-EU trade deal.

While it is true that persisting Brexit issues create the risk of "Irish fatigue" -- something that Dublin is acutely aware of -- the UK government's assessment of potential EU splits is mistaken.

First, its characterisation of the German and Dutch position is simply wrong. Second, Poland understands that it cannot expect the EU's support over its borders with Belarus and not support Ireland over its border issues with the UK.

...

Brussels and member states are also exploring more subtle, legally creative ways to strike immediately against the UK, without waiting months for arbitration or a European Court of Justice ruling. This could involve tariffs on sensitive UK goods, putting London under pressure to respond in kind. An explosion might be difficult to control.

I have seen a lot of that "French/Dutch isolated in EU" stuff in the British English press. Heck, even within the supposedly pan-European Politico.eu, the London based staff doesn't have the same reading as the Brussels based one about possible EU retaliation, should the UK pull the trigger on article 16.

But the EU institutions and meetings are in Brussels, not London. And the EU has proven to be strongly united in the face of an existential threat.

by Bernard on Wed Nov 17th, 2021 at 06:58:04 PM EST

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