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Boris and Leo press conference

by Frank Schnittger Mon Sep 9th, 2019 at 04:43:35 PM EST


Please scroll to 44 minutes for beginning of Press conference


Opening remarks

Leo Varadker

  1. We respect democratic and sovereign decision of the UK to leave the EU
  2. Even a no deal Brexit on 31 Oct. is simply the start of the next phase
  3. No deal= severe disruption on these islands - less so on the continent
  4. All the same issues will still have to be resolved before we can even begin to talk about the future economic relationship
  5. All issues which had been resolved in deal negotiated in good faith (note to Mike Pence) with your predecessor will still be on the table.
  6. Negotiating FTAs with both the EU and USA will be a Herculean task - and can only begin with the EU once Withdrawal Agreement ratified.
  7. Cannot replace legal guarantees with promises
  8. Must protect peace and burgeoning all Ireland economy
  9. Haven't received realistic proposals to date
  10. GFA is a good example of how previously intractable issues can be resolved

Boris Johnson

  1. 50% of all cheese & beef consumed in UK produced in Ireland
  2. Must restore Stormont power sharing Executive
  3. Must complete Brexit by 31 st. Oct
  4. Brexit is not a problem of Ireland's making
  5. Will not institute border controls
  6. Can safeguard GFA
  7. Can protect all-Ireland economy
  8. Want to find a deal - no deal very damaging and a failure of statecraft
  9. Can be done by Oct.18th.


Questions:
Tommy Gorman, RTE; Have you been to border recently? Irish attitude to Direct rule imposed by UK? Boris - waffle, waffle, sanitary & phyto-sanitary controls, waffle waffle. Leo: Irish government would oppose direct rule. Would want east-west intergovernmental institutions established under GFA to be used to maximum effect to provide a cross-community element to all decisions made.

Emma Vardy BBC: Have you the power to get anything through Parliament? Boris - everyone wants to get this done

Kevin Doyle: Irish Independent - nothing of substance produced by UK to date; is today the start of serious negotiations? "Dead in Ditches" - do you understand what's at stake here? (Subtext - many people have been found dead in ditches there).  Leo: EU keen to get this sorted by October.

Karl Dillon ITV: Irish government still waiting for firm proposals? Is No deal not worse than no backstop? Boris: waffle waffle. Leo: In the absence of firm arrangement, no backstop is no deal.


---


Boris has been backed into a corner and has no option but to achieve a deal if he wants to survive beyond 18th. October. The Irish government has made it very plain that the only workable solution has to be an all Ireland one. Otherwise it would be prepared to wait until the formation of a UK government less dependent on the DUP. Over to you Boris.

I have my doubts whether the House of Commons will agree to Theresa May's deal reheated with an Irish rather than all UK backstop. The DUP and some members of the ERG will probably vote against meaning that even the vote of some dissident Tory and Labour MPs will not be enough to ensure it will pass.

But Corbyn can always end the impasse by agreeing to put the deal to the people in a second referendum where the other option will be Remain. This would require a further A.50 extension and perhaps precipitate Boris Johnson's resignation.

However the key objective for Corbyn will be to precipitate a split between the Conservative and Brexit parties, with the latter likely to campaign for a no deal Brexit. That should alter the political landscape for a post referendum general election in no small degree.

Display:
saving that for later, especially if I can't find a TRANSCRIPT.

needs more beer, possibly a litre whisky.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Sep 9th, 2019 at 04:48:40 PM EST
Do I correctly understand that is is quite feasible to have a customs border for the whole of the island of Ireland, with Northern Ireland, for world trade purposes, being part of Ireland? I don't see why not. And further, could, in this context, trade between Northern Ireland businesses and persons with the UK only be treated as an internal UK matter? If so, might this be a least bad resolution for Northern Ireland? Would Ireland accept such a solution? And could such a deal as the backstop be agreed by the UK Parliament and the EU?

No babies would be cut in half with this deal, IMO.

The problem, of course, is that such a deal would guarantee a Brexit, albeit with a deal. should the Schengen agreement be retained for persons of the EU and UK as a result of negotiations subsequent to the agreed Brexit many of the worst aspects of Brexit could be ameliorated.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 9th, 2019 at 07:56:26 PM EST
Effectively, if the Northern Ireland backstop is implemented (and remember it is only an insurance policy to be implemented if a FTA between the UK and EU or other arrangements result in regulatory misalignment or tariffs becoming payable) N. Ireland would remain both in the UK and within the Customs Union and Single Market (CUSM).

This would be analogous to Greenland remaining part of the Kingdom of Denmark but outside the EU (following a referendum in Greenland). The EU is agreeable to this and it is a sensible compromise in a situation where a majority in N. Ireland want to remain in the UK, and also in the EU.

If implemented all tariff and other checks on trade between the UK and Ireland will take place at air and sea ports on the Island. (This could result in EU Customs officers being placed at Belfast and Larne ports and Belfast airport or supervising UK customs officers to implement EU law). As a practical matter, this is a lot more doable than trying to put checkpoints on 300 road crossing points along the 500km IE/NI border.

For the purposes of trade N. Ireland will remain part of the EU and trade between N. Ireland and Great Britain will be treated in the same way as any other trade between Great Britain and the EU. (It will not, therefore, be treated as internal UK trade, which is why the DUP are so opposed to it.

However as the DUP has spent the last three years lecturing the Irish government on how new technology could make trade across the Irish Border seamless and friction free, it is difficult for them now to argue that customs controls at ports (which apply to third country imports already) will somehow be a constraint on trade.

Neither Ireland or the UK are part of the Schengen passport free travel zone and that will not change, so the Common travel area between Ireland and the UK will be maintained and travel from both to EU countries within the zone will require passports as before.

I doubt any deal negotiated by Boris Johnson will be approved by the House of Commons, and the only question is whether this results in a change of government without an election, a second referendum, or a general election in some combination or order.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 9th, 2019 at 10:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There could be one unified Republic of Eire.
by StillInTheWilderness on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 03:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't see that coming, did you.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 05:03:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not for a while, but some more economic convergence on the island of Ireland and more economic divergence between Ireland and Great Britain could be seen as steps in this direction, and for that reason are greatly feared by the DUP. But if they didn't want this to happen, they shouldn't have been cheer leading for Brexit against the wishes of the vast majority in N. Ireland...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 05:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North Ireland with one leg in EU and one leg in UK would have a good opportunity for building up their economy. And I'm not just refering to smuggling.
by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 08:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And one less reason to be in the UK.
One Ireland, economically integrated into Europe makes a lot of sense to me.

Disclosure: As a Chicagoan I was brought up on the idea of Irish Unity. I have no Irish ancestry but there are plenty of people in Chicago who are and they are/were very outspoken.

by StillInTheWilderness on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 09:16:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Within the Good Friday Agreement is the right to leave UK and join Ireland if and when the population of North Ireland so wishes.

And more people are so wishing.

The five most recent opinion polls taken in the North show similar results, with support for the North staying in the UK ranging from 45 per cent to 55 per cent, and averaging around the 50 per cent mark.

But the polls do show differences in support for a united Ireland (depending on the number of Don't Knows/Not Sures recorded in the polling). This doesn't mean the polls are wrong, it just shows the current situation is very fluid, and that there is a lot of "changing of minds", particularly on the pro-united Ireland side.

However, there is still a large rabidly unionist portion of the population, judging by the continued support for the DUP. And DUP has power in Stormont, the dead-locked Northern Ireland devolved government, which presumably would be the ones organising the referendum.

Also, if North Ireland joined Ireland now, there would be economic problems on both sides of the island. North Ireland's economy is propped up by large transfers from London, which Ireland could ill afford within the euro framework that prevents deficit spending. Also, with the large economic difference, the result has large risk to be like the German unification, everything in the North gets bought up by the southerners, leading to long term problems and resentment.

Both of these problems are likely to become less pronounced if North Ireland goes through a period of economic growth with North Ireland for all practical purposes within the EU. Being a border territory with access to both EU and UK would be a good foundation for that. Of course, if political actions are necessary to take advantage of the situation, the Stormont needs to stop being dead-locked.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 09:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stormont. Aye, there's the rub.
The fact that it was not restored during the period of a Con/DUP Westminster majority is proof that the DUP doesn't want it. Now they have less leverage, but can still refuse it... Leading mechanically to direct rule in November, if I have understood correctly.

It's hard to see the DUP in anything other than a wrecking role, if the Ireland economic zone goes through (as it must). Hard to see how either a Conservative or a Labour government could buy them off.

Troubles ahead...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 11th, 2019 at 08:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trade is not a devolved power, so Stormont would never have had a role in it anyway. The only reason it is being mentioned now is to give some fig leaf of "democratic accountability" to N. Ireland being subject to the rules of the CUSM, without having a say in their formulation.

But Stormont never had a say in their formulation as part of the UK in any case, so the more appropriate bodies, established under the Good Friday Agreement are are the Strand 2 (North South) bodies:
    North/South Ministerial Council
    North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association
    North/South Consultative Forum

And the Strand 3 (East West) bodies

    British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference
    British-Irish Council
    An expanded British-Irish Inter-parliamentary Body

These institutions have been criminally neglected since the GFA was signed and giving them responsibility for trade would give them some much needed relevance (without giving the DUP a veto).

The other advantage of this arrangement, from a UK government perspective, is that they could claim to have taken the Backstop out of the hated Withdrawal Agreement and come to a bi-lateral arrangement with the Republic of Ireland instead, via an amended Good Friday Agreement.

Of Course the Good Friday Agreement is an international Treaty, lodged with the United Nations, and no less binding on future UK governments than the withdrawal Agreement. The EU would have to agree or act as co-guarantor (together with the existing guarantors, the UK, Irish, and US governments) but that could be buried in the small print.

I don't think British people or their government have a problem with trade being managed on an all-Ireland basis and the GFA can provide a democratic and accountable framework for doing so.  But that would provide the DUP with a unilateral veto, and therein lies the rub...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 11th, 2019 at 09:13:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wouldn't rather than would in the last sentence...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 11th, 2019 at 09:16:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is only an insurance policy to be implemented if a FTA between the UK and EU or other arrangements result in regulatory misalignment or tariffs becoming payable

In other words, everyone who is opposing May's deal because of the backstop is envisioning the impossibility of agreeing a suitable trade agreement.

by asdf on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 09:49:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Why did Varadkar say he wanted to be Athena to Johnson's Hercules?

Hercules was obliged to perform the 12 labours as an act of penitence after he had descended into madness and murdered his wife, Megara, and his children. At the moment he was about to go on and kill the man who had fostered him, Amphitryon, Athena intervened. Seeing that he had gone mad, she struck Hercules down and knocked him out to prevent him causing more bloodshed and doing more damage than he had already done.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 01:40:55 PM EST
Athena for president!

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 01:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt this was intended as an in-joke between some classicist in the Irish Civil service and the classically educated Boris, but the message is pretty pointed...we will knock you out rather than let you do more harm... and by the way, that's some shit you're going to have to shift if you want FTA's with the USA and the EU. (Did I mention that Ireland has a veto on you getting an FTA with the EU???)...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 03:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And BTW, did I mention that Irish Commissioner, Phil Hogan, has just been appointed EU Trade Commissioner in charge of FTA negotiations???

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 03:17:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a friendly gesture towards Bojo.

Not that he cares. He probably doesn't have a working estimate of the mountain of negotiation ahead, and he'll take no part in it anyway, even supposing he is still PM in a few months time.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 03:37:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Letter to the editor...
Dear Sir, - May I make so bold as to elucidate for your readers a comment made by Leo Varadker in his speech of welcome to the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson? Leo offered to be  "your friend and ally, your Athena" to Boris as he undertook the "Herculean task" of negotiating free trade agreements with the EU and US and securing their ratification in less than three years.

For the benefit of those not classically trained, Hercules was obliged to perform the 12 labours as an act of penitence after he had descended into madness and murdered his wife, Megara, and his children. At the moment he was about to go on and kill his foster father, Amphitryon, Athena intervened. Seeing that he had gone mad, she struck Hercules down and knocked him out to prevent him causing more bloodshed than he had already done.

No doubt this was intended as an in-joke between some classicist in the Irish Civil service and the classically educated Boris, but the message is pretty pointed...we will knock you out rather than let you do more harm... and by the way, that's some task you are going to have to perform if you want Free Trade Agreements with the USA and the EU.

Leo also mentioned that any Free Trade Agreement with the EU would have to be ratified by 30 Parliaments within the EU. The inference was clear: Ireland has a veto on any Free Trade Agreement the UK might seek with the EU - oh and by he way, Ireland's EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, has just been nominated for the EU's Trade Commissioner role, in charge of all trade negotiations.

Now about that Northern Ireland only backstop I was mentioning the other day...



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 03:57:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did Boris get it? Or did Varadkar just show that Boris' alleged classical knowledge is a fraud, like everything about Boris?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 05:02:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see full text of Guardian article linked to by Helen...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 05:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Miriam Lord does her thing on the Boris visit and concludes: "Our eyes have seen the glory of the Cummings' stooge abroad.
Underwhelming".

Worth a read...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 06:12:36 PM EST
He is churning out the bullshit midst the people underawed
He has lost the the faithful button on his midriff way too broad
His pants have fallen down
Glory, etc

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 07:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are all Athena to Boris Johnson's Heracles
Still, there is the question as to whether she [Athena] should have helped him at all. Heracles's trouble started early when he failed to take account of his demigod strength - Eton will do that to a chap - and, frustrated at being unable to master the lyre, killed the tutor. Being the stepson of a powerful man, however, he was acquitted but the plain people were outraged, forcing him to flee. Rescued again, it wasn't long before he was sufficiently restored to impregnate scores of women and return to his old ways - killing a prince here, his father-in-law's cupbearer there and so on.

Writers of the time, enraptured by his masculine perfection, saw those breakouts as a rather lovely flaw. Just Heracles being Heracles, like. And naturally, a woman was to blame for driving him mad. Another view is that he could never settle for the simple life and liked to mix it up with outbursts of heroic carnage. One might conclude that Athena was merely enabling him and should have left him to his own devices. Then again, being family, she probably felt obliged to support him, even if the odd brother couldn't handle the shame.

So we have choices to make about this modern Heracles Johnson who came among us, hollow-eyed in his flapping, messy robes, trapped by hubris, seeking discreet salvation, possibly. A mortal man subject to bouts of shouting and red wine carnage, undone by decades of compulsive lying and careless destruction, a man who has no care for anything because he is spoilt (according to the latest woman in his life) and whose chief advisor is exposed as a disdainful, scorched-earth advocate with anger-management problems and the base campaigning instincts of Steve Bannon. A mortal man who has managed to lose more parliamentary votes in a week than Tony Blair did in 10 years.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 11th, 2019 at 06:52:09 PM EST
Irish Independent - THIRD LETTER DOWN
Varadkar has got it right about the Herculean task

May I make so bold as to elucidate for your readers a comment made by Leo Varadkar in his speech of welcome to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson? Leo offered to be "your friend and ally, your Athena" to Boris as he undertook the "Herculean task" of negotiating free-trade agreements with the EU and US and securing their ratification in less than three years.

For the benefit of those not classically trained, Hercules was obliged to perform the 12 labours as an act of penitence after he had descended into madness and murdered his wife, Megara, and his children.

At the moment he was about to go on and kill his foster father, Amphitryon, Athena intervened.

Seeing that he had gone mad, she struck Hercules down and knocked him out to prevent him causing more bloodshed than he had already done.

No doubt this was intended as an in-joke between some classicist in the Irish civil service and the classically educated Boris.

But the message is pretty pointed... we will knock you out rather than let you do more harm... and by the way, that's some task you are going to have to perform if you want free-trade agreements with the US and the EU.

Leo also mentioned that any free-trade agreement with the EU would have to be ratified by 31 parliaments within the EU.

The inference was clear: Ireland has a veto on any free-trade agreement the UK might seek with the EU - oh, and by the way, Ireland's EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has just been nominated for the EU's Trade Commissioner role, in charge of all trade negotiations.

Now about that Northern Ireland-only backstop that I was mentioning the other day ...

Frank Schnittger



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 14th, 2019 at 05:53:12 PM EST


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