Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 12:17:49 PM EST
I listened to and watched the brief press conference late last night of Tusk and Juncker. There were some words of annoyance, a personal grievance. I estimate Juncker was irritated by UK media and Tory criticism of his person. In addition, I do think PM Theresa May has never understood the internal workings of the Brexit negotiations and the EU. Last summer May went around Michel Barnier to talk to heads of state. On het way to Brussels, May talked to Dutch PM Rutte and German chancellor Angela Merkel. In the UK negotiation tactics, Theresa May changed her team leader as often as a FA Club releases a manager. These are not good signs of a well thought out process to get to a clearly defined goal. At this late stage, the EU 27 are really fed up with the shenanigans of UK politics at Westminster. Time has run out. The no-deal contingency plans are rolled out in a manner there will be no possibility to get the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons in time. May has not delivered. What she promised in her cabinet and in Parliament were no-go proposals for the EU. She should have known.
More below the fold ...
Brexit: Tory resentment of Irish power within EU | BBC News |
A Tory grandee recently sidled up to me to express grave reservations about the Brexit process.
"We simply cannot allow the Irish to treat us like this," the former minister said about the negotiating tactics of the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.
The Conservative MP was exasperated that the Republic of Ireland (population: 4.8m) has been able to shape the EU negotiating stance that has put such pressure on the UK (population: 66m).
"This simply cannot stand," the one-time moderniser told me. "The Irish really should know their place."
The remarks explained why Conservatives from both sides of the Brexit divide are so troubled by the negotiations. They also explain why Theresa May might find that any concessions from the EU over the Northern Ireland backstop may fall short of the demands of Tory MPs.
○ Theresa May says EU must offer backstop assurances to avoid no-deal Brexit | Irish Times |
Cold comfort for May at EU summit | BBC News |
One official once described the Brexit process as continually building more road ahead of Theresa May, to give her more time and space to navigate the political path. But with the EU's flat "no" on Thursday night and Parliament's rejection, they might be all out of new Tarmac.
This is Salzburg 2.0, when after months of being told a pick-and-mix approach to the EU was impossible, the prime minister insisted on pushing on, and presenting her Chequers plan to her fellow leaders.
But guess what? As they said they would, they said "no", leaving her frustrated, embarrassed and without a plan. That's what's happened in the last week - on fast forward.
She said she could get more guarantees from the EU. They have said no, leaving the UK, again, without a clear plan. Her many critics will ask - when does determination to achieve what seems impossible become a dangerous delusion?