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No Deal?

by Frank Schnittger Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 05:27:34 PM EST

This week-end is supposed to mark the final deadline for coming up with a post Brexit FTA between the EU and the UK. Brexiteers have always maintained they are relaxed about the prospect of no deal - if only to try and  bolster their negotiating position vis a via the EU. Boris Johnson has taken to calling it the "Australia Option" - in succession to the Norway, Swiss and Canadian options - despite the fact that ex-Australian Premier, Malcolm Turnbull has warned that Australians see their trading relationship with the EU as anything but satisfactory and are busily trying to negotiate a better one.

The EU, on the other hand, has consistently favoured negotiating a deal - as befits a multilateral and rules based organisation. But could it be that the EU has come to the view that a better deal might become possible after a period of no deal has brought the British to their senses? Certainly there has been no hint of the EU softening its negotiating stance as the hard deadline for an agreement approaches: member states have resisted all calls to modify Barnier's negotiating mandate, and expressed concerns he might be in danger of breaching their red lines.

Attempts by Boris Johnson to negotiate directly with Merkel and Macron have been rebuffed. Not even the UK's belated agreement, in the context of the N. Ireland protocol, to withdraw legislative provisions in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement and international law has elicited a more sympathetic approach from the EU. All one can hear is the sound of doors slamming shut. The EU has had enough of Brexit, and all bar a few emergency proposals to keep UK planes flying through EU airspace now seems to be approaching "take it or leave it" territory.

It doesn't help that Boris Johnson is the EU's bête noire and regarded as a figure not to be trusted. The UK exhausted its political capital in the EU a long time ago, and now not even face saving olive branches are being proffered. The scene is set for the trade war I predicted in The 2021-2026 EU UK Trade war. I am in agreement with the Irish and German foreign ministers who warn it is unlikely that, in the event of a no deal, the UK will come crawling back to the EU for a deal in an even weaker position after a few months of economic turmoil. They just don't react to disaster like that.

But perhaps there has been too much focus on the political needs of a Prime Minister leading a divided party and country. It's not all about the UK, you know. The EU, too, needs some issues it can agree on and rally around at a time of extreme economic dislocation and social trauma. What better way to demonstrate firmness of purpose and clear unified direction than to put it up to an unpopular British Prime Minister who has never wished "his friends in Europe" well.

This negotiating stand-off isn't about the clear economic benefits, for both sides, of reaching a deal, but about the political benefits of showing unity, coherence and resolve in the face of an external threat both sides might need to "big up" in order to distract from problems closer to home. The economic fall-out can be dealt with later, and if much of it includes the relocation of UK based financial services, manufacturing operations and the displacement of British brands from the EU Single Market, then, from an EU perspective, so much the better.

One of my first jobs in Irish industry was to conduct a post-audit of a very damaging strike which had just taken place in the business despite it being one of the best payers in the country. My conclusion: the Personnel Director has taken an overly academic and conciliatory approach to the negotiations, had promised to investigate and consider even the most hare brained union claims, and had thereby raised their expectations to entirely unrealistic levels. Various Union leaders were also seeking to outbid their rivals to boost their re-election prospects, and management had, unwisely, sought to indulge them.

Critical to any successful negotiation is the identification of the moment when the opposing side has moved beyond the rhetorical indignation stage to the actual "solution seeking stage." A proposal floated too early will be rejected out of hand while being lauded as a wise and clever compromise if broached at the right moment. In the ideal scenario, the opposing side even come to believe it was all their idea in the first place. That maximises the chances of it being accepted at a subsequent Union ballot on the settlement proposals. In the case I was investigating, management had gotten its timing wrong, merely raising union expectations that the longer the strike went on, the more they were likely to gain.

So far Johnson and Gove haven't moved beyond the rhetorical indignation phase of denouncing EU attempts to compromise British sovereignty. Their response to not getting their way has been to thump the drumbeats of war ever louder. Perhaps they feel they can rally the country behind them more effectively by denouncing EU intransigence, than by engaging in the messy business of compromise. Similarly, for the EU, the citizenry have long lost patience with Brexit, and would rather their leaders focused on other, more pressing, problems. Politically, there is little enough to be gained from making major concessions now.

The stage is set for a long trade war, where the common people, as ever, will serve mostly as cannon fodder. It will be the raw brute strength of a united continent against "plucky Britain", with the Scots branded as traitors and back-stabbers if they pursue the independence issue now.

In some ways, however, the UK negotiators have gotten their calculations badly wrong. Their divide and conquer tactics never worked. Merkel and Macron refused to be set at loggerheads. The German car industry never instructed its government to make a deal. Demonising Barnier and Van Der Leyen will merely increase their stature in Europe. The EU never blinked at the last moment, as Brexit folklore insisted they would. Even the strategy of using the N. Ireland border and peace process as a way of prising open access to the Single Market didn't work. The election of Joe Biden put the kibosh on that.

Post independence in 1922, the Irish economy and people suffered almost 4 decades of miserable deprivation and depression. A civil war, the Anglo Irish economic war 1932-38, WWII, and protectionist economic policies saw to that. It was only with the opening up of the economy to foreign investment, and, since 1973, the economic and social policies of the EU that Ireland prospered. The dislocation of any UK-EU trade war will pale into insignificance by comparison, and will not, contra the fond wishful thinking of leading Brexiteers, lead Ireland to shun the EU and re-join the UK.

If it's no deal the Brexiteers want, Ireland is all too familiar with that situation, through 30 years of Troubles up to 1998 as well. We will not revisit those times. The EU can count on Ireland as a firm ally, even if the fall-out from any UK-EU trade war hits us hardest.

But the time has come to deal with the fall-out of such a trade war. Shipping capacity avoiding the British "land-bridge" has already been increased significantly. Doubtless much produce will leak across the border into N. Ireland and from there to Britain as well. Farmers and agribusiness will be most badly hit by 50% tariffs on beef and other food stuffs. Irish exports to the UK have already reduced proportionately from 70% of total exports in 1973 to c. 10% now, and this decline will be accelerated. New markets, perhaps displacing UK exports to the EU will have to be found. Some reductions in output to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and animal feed imports may be required in any case.

But there is no doubt major adjustments will be required, and some rural areas, already suffering from below average employment levels and income will be the most badly hit. The €5 Billion EU Brexit relief fund, already being fought over by many member states will have to become much more targeted and enlarged. But the problems are not insurmountable and relatively specific compared to the widespread problems caused by the pandemic.

Irish consumers will see an estimated 3% increase in food prices as a direct result of Brexit, with low income families hardest hit. A fall in the value of Sterling could offset this, but make life for Irish exporters to the UK even more difficult. But what is the alternative?

Fintan O'Toole (subscriber only) has put the more general Brexiteer argument thus:

Shortly before the Brexit referendum in 2016, Michael Gove made a joke about the Irish famine. As co-leader with Boris Johnson of the Leave campaign, he was giving a major set-piece speech, one of the very few that actually made some effort to describe what would happen if they won.

Gove was mocking the Remain side's scare stories about the dark consequences of Brexit: "The City of London would become a ghost town, our manufacturing industries would be sanctioned more punitively than even communist North Korea, decades would pass before a single British Land Rover or Mr Kipling cake could ever again be sold in France and in the meantime our farmers would have been driven from the land by poverty worse than the Potato Famine".

Let us leave aside the news this week that British Land Rovers will, after Brexit, not just be sold in France - they'll be made in France. It was still quite some rhetorical feat to move so briskly from Mr Kipling cakes to the Great Hunger, which is the greatest human catastrophe in the modern history, not just of Ireland, but of the country in which it happened, the United Kingdom.

To manage it, you would need, not just a supreme talent for crassness, but a contempt for the whole idea of consequences. For, insofar as it constituted anything that might be called an argument, Gove's line of reasoning was: Brexit won't be as bad as the Irish famine, so let's not worry.

---<snip>--- [Gove continued...]

"The day after we vote to leave we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want." Britain would unilaterally "decide the terms of trade" with the EU. While there would be "some questions up for negotiation", resolving them "won't be any more complicated or onerous than the day-to-day work" of dealing with the usual EU bureaucracy.

The question of what the EU might think of any of this was of no account. It was overwritten, ironically for a reactionary Tory project, with a Marxist magic marker.

As Gove, and many of the other Brexiteers, explained, the German car manufacturers, the Italian fashion houses and the French wine makers would all demand continued access to the British market. Since governments are just fronts for the capitalists, their prime ministers would instruct the EU to accept whatever terms Britain demanded in return.


This was always the fundamental problem: the idea that the EU might have its own collective interests remained essentially incomprehensible to the Brexiteers. In another irony, their ignorance was one good argument for Brexit - it showed that, after nearly 50 years of membership, a large part of the British ruling class still did not understand the EU.

There were two big things in particular they did not get. One was the simple logic that if a country could leave the EU but still enjoy all the benefits of membership, there would be no EU. Giving Britain what it wanted would be terminal.

The other was that the EU has a lot of people who can read English and listen to what the Brexiteers were actually saying. What they were saying was that, as Gove put it in that speech, the economic point of leaving the EU was "shedding unnecessary regulation".

The Brexiteers were perfectly right to think that, if they could still have frictionless trade with the EU while allowing their firms to cut labour, environmental and safety standards, those firms would devastate their European competitors.

And so it has come to this: the interests of the EU and those of the UK as defined by Brexiteers are fundamentally incompatible. Ireland will just have to put up with the costs and inconveniences of Brexit, and if that means re-orientating large parts of our economy from Britain to the EU, then so be it.

Not only are the British unlikely to come begging for a deal post the economic devastation caused by a no deal Brexit, but the EU is unlikely to be particularly accommodating should they do so. This battle is for real, and it is for keeps.

As Boris surveys his options this week-end, it must be becoming increasingly clear to him that he doesn't have a good one. And no, deploying warships to demonstrate the UK has every intension of enforcing its exclusive maritime economic zone is not a good look, and most unlikely to make the EU any more inclined to compromise.

Just as a thought exercise, could the UK completely fold and say "the 'deal' is a carbon copy of the entire package of treaties that defined the pre-Brexit EU-UK relationship?"

Not that it has any chance of happening, but it would be an interesting response to claims that "there's nothing that can be done now."

by asdf on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 11:23:23 PM EST
AFAIK there was no "entire package of treaties that defined the pre-Brexit EU-UK relationship?". At the time there where only the original 6 EU members in any case, and most relationships between European states, were governed by bilateral agreements, where they existed. Other than that you had some generic international Treaties like the UN, Geneva Convention etc., but nothing much to do with trade, and the WTO didn't exist.

It has always been a Brexiteer wet dream to negotiate separately and individually with EU member states, where the UK can negotiate from a position of strength.  But trade and and many other competencies within the EU are pooled or centralised at EU level, and so individual member states can't go off and do their own thing. This means the EU-27, have, collectively, far greater bargaining power, and also consistent relationships with each other.

Many Brexiteers still don't get this, imagining they can do side deals with smaller countries like Ireland, in order to undermine the EU collectivity. The irony is that the expansion of the EU from 9 to 27 members was largely driven by the British, as part of their cold war endeavours, but also to slow the pace of integration within.

The world has changed dramatically since 1973. There is no going back to an imagined past where Britannia rules the waves and the odd show of gunboat diplomacy usually did the trick. No deal also means no continuation of UK participation in blue skies, Interpol, Euratom: Atomic energy treaty, intelligence sharing, research sharing, Erasmus student exchange etc. - more or less everything bar NATO lapses, unless some piecemeal agreements are reached in due course. The UK is literally going out on its own.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 11:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One small exception: The Common Travel between Ireland and Britain, which predates the EU, is being maintained. This means a passport isn't required for travel between Ireland and the UK and there is effectively no control on people doing so. This meant that Ireland, together with Britain, had to apply for a derogation from the Schengen Treaty on joining the UK, and that Irish and British people travelling to other EU countries always have to go through passport control.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 11:53:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I stated my hypothesis poorly. I was not meaning the "pre-EU/pre-Common Market" nirvana, I was asking about the treaties in place a couple of years ago when the UK was in the EU. Pre-Brexit. I thought there were a bunch of treaties, hundreds, that defined that relationship?
by asdf on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 12:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's called "EU membership". Having decided to leave, by definition the UK isn't going to have that.
by IdiotSavant on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 09:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK, as part of the EU, had dozens of FTA's with third parties, and the UK is busily doing copy&paste jobs on these to replicate them as an independent entity. It rather makes a mockery of the Brexiteer claim that independence would enable the UK to negotiate better FTA's on it own behalf, but provided (say) Japan is prepared to give the UK the same terms of trade as an independent entity that it enjoyed as part of the EU, then no problem.

However you can be sure if the UK does manage to negotiate better terms in any instance, the EU will not be slow to demand similar terms for its members. Also the EU has been known to drive hard bargains, so a third party unhappy with some of the terms of their EU deal are unlikely to offer similar to an independent UK.

So far the sum total of FTA's negotiated by the UK to replace their pre-Brexit FTA's as part of the EU have been insignificant in terms of the volume of trade they cover compared to the UK's trading relationship with the EU. The real jewel in the crown would be an FTA with the USA, and here the election of Biden doesn't help. The "Irish" caucus on Capital Hill will be sure to veto any deal if Irish/UK trade is still problematic or the "border down the Irish sea" isn't working out.

But a lot of this is almost by the way. The UK has had huge trade deficits in goods with almost all its trading partners (bar Ireland) for the past 40 years. The only way it has remained solvent is by having large surpluses in financial services exports. I cannot understand the Johnson government almost total neglect of this sector, which is so much more important in terms of employment and government revenues than fish. No deal on goods probably means no accommodation on services, and so with that goes the UK's last claim to be a world leading economy.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 12:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Treaty with Vietnam is in force, however ...

by Oui on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 09:37:52 AM EST
Dramatic shift in tone will persuade most that a Brexit trade deal is now on the cards
Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen's decision to carry on talking was, despite the sabre-rattling of the past few days, always more likely than pronouncing the negotiations dead. But the tone of their joint statement marked such a dramatic shift to persuade all but the most irredeemably pessimistic that a deal is now on the cards.

Describing their phone call as "useful", the two leaders acknowledged there were major unresolved topics but agreed that it was right "to go the extra mile" to reach agreement. Gone was the invocation of "remaining significant differences" and they set no new deadline by which agreement must be reached.

The talks in Brussels have focused on the level playing field guarantees of fair competition and specifically on how to manage divergence between standards as Britain moves further away from the EU's regulatory system. Both sides have agreed that they will maintain current environmental and employment standards but the EU has demanded a mechanism to deal with any competitive gap that opens up if one side improves its standards and the other does not.

Both sides appear to have moved with the EU accepting that any such mechanism must be reciprocal and Britain agreeing that there could be some "rebalancing" through the application of tariffs. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab suggested on Sunday morning that Britain was open to retaliatory tariffs on specific sectors affected by a divergence in standards but not to a "nuclear" option of blanket tariffs.

It is stunning the degree to which such an important agreement can be held hostage to some theatrics like deploying gunboats and bogus claims to absolute sovereignty. Fishing quotas can always be leased and tariffs can always be targetted at specific products where regulatory divergences appear.

None of this matters a whole lot in the grand scheme of things but appearances are all. Boris must be able to wave a "British" fish around his head in the aftermath of the negotiation and declare victory with a fish pie ready deal. Then he will renege and have to be brought in line again by punitive sanctions, but c'est la vie. No one trusts him anyway. There are consequences to electing a charlatan and congenital liar as the British are about to find out.

False bonhomie is about Boris' only M. O. His "friends in Europe" have had his number for a long time and are crushing him with their love of detail and his disdain for same. Later, a la Withdrawal agreement, he will discover his oven ready deal contains some ingredients he didn't bargain for and vexatious and frivolous (Trumplike) proceedings will ensue. But its all a display for the rubes. The UK will be a much diminished and fractured entity.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 02:19:01 PM EST
Macron's Take Away Fish Cake Dish Shipped to Downing Street 10

Tongue-in-cheek reaction from the Elysée on plans to deploy Royal navy ships to protect UK fishing waters: "keep calm and carry on," an Elysée official tells me ...

Elysée: "Keep calm and carry on."

by Oui on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 03:25:01 PM EST
by Bernard on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 09:25:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am trying to dream up how they are going to extend the 1 January "deadline."
by asdf on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 06:16:24 PM EST
A quick resolution passed by the EU parliament, before the end of the year, proroguing the Brexit transition for a month, would probably do the trick.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 06:58:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank: This negotiating stand-off isn't about the clear economic benefits, for both sides, of reaching a deal, but about the political benefits of showing unity, coherence and resolve in the face of an external threat both sides might need to "big up" in order to distract from problems closer to home.

For the EU, Brexit is all about damage control: protecting its members and the four freedoms, starting with the single market is plain vital. A country outside the EU cannot enjoy the same benefits as its members, period.

As Fintan O'Toole wrote in your quote: One was the simple logic that if a country could leave the EU but still enjoy all the benefits of membership, there would be no EU. Giving Britain what it wanted would be terminal.

If it works for the UK, fine. If it doesn't, tough shit. That the Brexit negotiations have come as an opportunity to rally round common goals and show unity is a bonus, not the main motivation which is preventing the EU from destruction.

by Bernard on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 06:29:56 PM EST
I've always been in two minds as to Boris's strategy... and completely appalled as to the non-transparence of his dictatorial powers over Brexit...

I have most often thought that he would hit the brakes just before the cliff edge, though I often entertained the idea that he would enjoy the freedom of soaring into the vacuum... But then again, perhaps the departure of Cummings and his lemmings enabled him to get a proper briefing from economists rather that electoral marketing men?

So he has finally acknowledged that he can't have his cake and eat it, and that it is entirely legitimate that sovereign entities may fix tariffs if production conditions are not equivalent (duh). Obviously, this boots major economic impacts down the road, and when it happens, Westminster will be in a position to evaluate the probable economic damage from diverging from existing, or not implementing new, EU standards.

No sovereignty lost, obviously. As for face... a little bit perhaps.

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

by eurogreen on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 07:07:54 PM EST
Colour me a little sceptical as to how much competitive advantage the UK could gain from de-regulation in any case. There is no EU minimum wage, so they can lower labour wage rates if there is large scale unemployment. Sterling devaluation will give them an added boost.

Boris claims to be committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in any case and being tied to EU quality standards could be a marketing boost. Think of the PR damage if they imported chlorinated chickens or hormone fed beef.

So a lot of this is about arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. UK manufacturing is almost dead anyway, and hardly a threat to EU industry. Key will be preventing (say) Chinese goods circumventing EU tariffs via the UK, but that is a customs control issue.

Fishing is even more irrelevant in the larger economic scheme of things. It would be easy to link how much British caught fish can be exported to the EU to the amount of fish EU boats can catch in UK waters. In cash terms, the volumes are miniscule.

So the bottom line is that there is a deal to be done if the parties really want one, what remains is merely the showboating and chest-thumping - "mine is bigger than yours"! A display of machismo over Christmas should do the trick.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 10:09:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Queen kicks for touch
Buckingham Palace has refused to deny reports that the Queen is delaying the recording of her Christmas speech until after a decision on a Brexit deal is reached.

The monarch usually films the annual address in early to mid December, but has reportedly pushed back the recording to next week due to uncertainty about the UK's future relationship with the EU, after the deadline for a deal passed.

I just wish she would wing it live and tell us what she really thinks.

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

by eurogreen on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 09:57:41 PM EST
Does it matter? She is a creature of the government for all the obsequious bowing and scraping.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 10:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, she made Thatcher back down on sanctions against South Africa. I saw that on the telly the other day (and now you're going to tell me that The Crown is a work of fiction...)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 10:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah but...

A lot of the stuff that controls the rights of parliament over the monarch was formalized in 1689, but Scotland and England only joined together a few years later. If Scotland gets independence from England, does that mean the clock goes back to 1707? If so, does it open things up enough for one of the current young grandchildren of Elizabeth to resurrect the monarchy the way it should be?

Maybe with some clever Tory support, England could recover its 17th Century awesomeness!

by asdf on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 12:09:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you and Eurogreen auditioning for the role of scriptwriters for the next series of the Crown?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 12:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think perhaps there is a tendency to stick with the old-fashioned ideas of "historical truth" and "established precedent" and "fair play." Some of us have had those fictions hammered out of us during the past couple of years. ..
by asdf on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 12:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A little less sovereignty ... some ties to our friends of Europe are just fine ... National Security Trumps all. A great relief for all once the deal is ratified by all parliaments ... Big Ben is sounding midnight. 🕛 🇬🇧
by Oui on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 12:40:54 PM EST
Norway's push for a change to `bad deal' with EU
Norway's agreement -- the European Economic Area Agreement -- allowed the country to retain more control over key parts of its economy, particularly its fishing grounds, but forced it to follow big chunks of EU policy over which, as a non-member, it has no say.

Meet the Center Party and its leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum:

In an echo of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's position, the Center Party wants something closer to a "traditional trade deal like Canada has," lawmaker Gjelsvik said.

But if it seeks such an arrangement, Norway will likely hit the same resistance in Brussels as Johnson has.

EU leaders hold that if a state wants access to the EU internal market it must align itself politically with Brussels and the EU has shown it is willing to risk a no-deal outcome rather than compromise on that fundamental idea.  

Norway's PM Sodberg wants to keep "market access":

"The Center Party wants to rip the foundation from under our market access," Solberg said.

Vedum stood his ground. "This is classic fearmongering," he said. "We are still going to have an agreement with the EU, a better agreement."

by Bernard on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 06:31:46 PM EST
Something the UK may not care about, but which must be uppermost in EU negotiator minds: any precedents they set in an agreement with the UK will be sought by EEA and EFTA countries and all other countries seeking a modified trading agreement with the EU. Thus the cost of any concessions will be multiplied, while the benefits of any UK concessions may not be.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 06:59:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vedum is lying, which is obvious because his lips are moving.  Senterpartiet has been opposed to EU involvement from Day One.  They equate "better deal" with "no deal".
by rifek on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 04:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

% of total Irish imports and exports

Part of Irish enthusiasm for joining the EU was to reduce our economic dependency on the UK which monopolised 70% of Irish trade when we joined in 1973, and has been on a downward trend ever since. I suspect these graph lines will take another swing downwards even if there is a deal, and certainly if there isn't.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 09:00:54 PM EST
An interesting thread about Erasmus and Brexit by a professor who benefited from it during his own student days. Spoiler alert: British students will lose out bigly.

by Bernard on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 08:37:11 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 07:04:54 AM EST
Even if there is an agreement, which I doubt, there are only 15 days left for it to be voted on and passed by the 28 countries in the EU and the UK parliament.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 04:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If a deal is agreed before January 1st., it can be allowed to come into effect "provisionally" pending parliamentary approval. This only becomes a problem if some parliament then fails to approve it, and in my main scenario, written over two months ago, it is the UK Parliament which ultimately fails to ratify it, resulting in a five year trade war.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 06:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not share your assumption the EU nations will rush through and automatically approve an agreement.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 08:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me there are several relevant time scales, regardless of the agreement status.

  • 1 January, chaos at the ports, no immediate economic effects
  • End of January, manufacturing problems due to delivery delays
  • A few months later, stability, with obviously unsatisfactory long-term conditions

The question is when the grocery stores are going to display significant shortfalls. Here in the US we recently went without paper products for a couple of months due entirely to hoarding.
by asdf on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 08:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris claims sovereignty ... let's not overlook Wallonia this December 🤣

CETA, Wallonia and sovereignty in Europe | EurActive - Oct. 28, 2016 |

by Oui on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 09:08:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was four years ago. This was last week:

Wallonia threatens to veto Brexit deal

Minister-President of the Walloon Region, Elio Di Rupo (PS), said he does not rule out blocking future trade agreements, such as a previous regional Walloon government did a few years ago with CETA.

"We've been living according to Boris Johnson's moods. His attitude does not allow us to see clearly in the future of relations between the EU and the United Kingdom," Di Rupo tweeted on Wednesday.

According to the former Belgian prime minister, a `no-deal Brexit' could lead to a loss of up to five thousand jobs in Wallonia.

"I will not hesitate to ask my parliament to use its right of veto, as was the case for the #CETA if future trade agreements with the United Kingdom cross the red lines set by my Government," he said.

Then again , the British tabloids are all about the threat of a French veto, the usual bogeyman. At least they can put us on a map (the duty-free booze store on the other side of the Dover strait), but the Express had a "Where is Wallonia? The tiny regional Parliament that is threatening chance of Brexit deal" headline.

by Bernard on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 09:22:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I make no such presumption for any parliament, although most, where the government has a stable majority, will probably endorse a deal if Barnier sticks to their red lines and it is agreed by the Commission and a majority of the Council on their behalf.

Macron way make a show of refusing to ratify if the fishing deal is not to his satisfaction, and Ireland may require a referendum, but for me the greatest risk of non-ratification comes from the UK, if the ERG don't get the pure Brexit they have insisted should be pursued.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 10:10:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland may require a referendum

There's exactly 2 weeks left.  No agreement has been hammered out.  Brits are making noises that talks will have to go on until after Christmas.

And Ireland may have to have a referendum?

I submit: the time; it has run out.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 06:14:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 06:54:42 PM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 06:56:04 PM EST
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I'm finding it hard to imagine a 2020 panto which doesn't end with the entire cast dead and hordes of zombies trying to eat the brains of the audience.

But - I don't know - maybe that's just me.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 08:03:33 PM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 08:07:09 PM EST
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Why - do you want to buy a ticket?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 10:25:05 PM EST
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Not to your Panto - thanks!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 11:51:39 PM EST
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... avoiding EU privacy rules

"Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc," the social media giant told Reuters, which first reported the story.

by Oui on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 07:27:29 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 10:50:48 PM EST
As I may or may not have mentioned I was in 2018 elected to regional council on the Green party ticket and from there to the county hospital board. Among other things, I have been making it a priority to ask questions about Brexit preparedness and apparently now it is clear how to stay in Sweden if you are a UK citizen:

Resi­dence status for British citi­zens

In order for you to be able to continue living in Sweden after the transition period, you must:

  *  be a British citizen, current family member of a British citizen, or former family member of a British citizen
  *  have been in Sweden in accordance with European Union law before the end of the transition period
  *  continue to live in Sweden after the end of the transition period and also continue to meet the requirements for the right of residence, meaning as an employee, sole proprietor, student, person with adequate funds or a family member of a person who meets these conditions
  *  apply for residence status or permanent residence status before the end of the application period on 30 September 2021.

Notice how this isn't dependent at all on any new deal, so in regards to people Sweden has the rules and legislation in place to handle a no-deal, indeed the planning is based on no-deal. The same is true since a year and a half - at least for our counties hospitals - when it comes to medicine and other equipment.

I would guess the same is true elsewhere, everyone should by now done their no deal Brexit preparations, which means it doesn't really matter for hospitals, and businesses etc if there is a no deal Brexit. Of course for countries bordering the UK the situation isn't the same but for the rest of the EU I suspect forcing everyone to plan for a no deal Brexit has made a no deal Brexit a default assumption in planning. And thus no threat.

by fjallstrom on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 12:21:02 PM EST
I didn't realise we had an exalted one in our midst!

As Ireland has a common travel area with the UK- which I think also applies to rights of residence, I doubt much will change her, either way.

This also applies to rights to medical treatment in public hospitals where the presumption is you are entitled to (relatively) free treatment if you live here.

Is there any change in rights to public healthcare for British citizens in Sweden?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 01:14:59 PM EST
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All inhabitants in Sweden with legal residency or EU/EES residency staying less then three months has right to healthcare in Sweden (subject to small user fees). Inhabitants without legal residency and age under 18 is also in this cathegory.

In addition inhabitants without legal residency has a right to care that "can not wait" (exactly how this term should be interpreted is somewhat of a mine field).

Tourists from countries without a bilateral treaty - and Sweden does right now not have one with the UK - gets care but pays the same rate as the counties charge each other (based on real costs, so probably much cheaper then say the US).

British citizens already here should fall within the first cathegory unless they don't meet the criterias or fail to register before the deadline, then they enter the second if they stay. Will be interesting to see if the far right rolls out the usual lines about illegal immigrants. British citizens coming as tourists next year is in the third cathegory.

I have pointed out - both last fall and this fall as Brexit has loomed - to the hospital heads to make sure the hospitals HR department makes a check-up on all affected employees. People can be brilliant in their profession and still forget to hand in forms.

by fjallstrom on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 02:44:15 PM EST
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Thinking these through I realise that as long as you can get a job here (or otherwise fulfill the third bullet point), if you move this year you are in. And that includes the rest of December.

Now Sweden also has a economic downturn but doctors and nurses could probably call around Monday and start on Tuesday. The IT-sector is also going pretty well. Or buy a farm or something. (Don't buy a pub or a restaurant)

by fjallstrom on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 09:54:06 PM EST
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Brexit: Rain blamed as Kent lorry park misses deadline - BBC
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed planned customs checks on the site at Sevington near Ashford will have to take place elsewhere.

The site will be available to park 1,200 lorries if needed but a customs controls area will not be ready.

Wet weather has been blamed by the DfT for work falling behind schedule.

Customs checks on HGVs will instead be carried out another site in Ashford, the government has said.

A spokesman for the DfT said: "From 1 January customs checks on HGVs will be taking place at the Ashford Waterbrook site before permanently moving to the Sevington site in February 2021 if not before

Rain? In England? In December?
Who Could Have Predicted?

by Bernard on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 08:46:31 PM EST
It's the wrong type of rain.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 08:56:25 PM EST
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It seems a pity to waste all these fine facilities if it turns out a deal is negotiated but the level of trade falls off so much that they aren't even needed. Kent can be so much more than a lorry park...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 08:57:31 PM EST
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The lorry park is also on a flood plain.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 09:54:58 PM EST
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Nobody could have predicted rain in Kent in the autumn.


by asdf on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 03:08:52 AM EST
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by Oui on Sun Dec 20th, 2020 at 03:24:55 PM EST
Reading the latest Brexit news it is readily apparent the Tories do not realize just how little the UK matters these days.  

And if the polls out of Scotland mean anything it won't be the United Kingdom for much longer.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Dec 20th, 2020 at 04:04:02 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 08:26:37 AM EST
EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his team ready for 15u update Brexit talks ... UK fisheries offer is inadequate ... the Tory Leave hammer will fall ...

Watch the drop in value of ££ 😠

by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 10:32:07 AM EST
Loss of £5m per day often for small family fisheries in Scotland.

Tonnes of Scottish seafood exports 'stuck at Dover'
Tonnes of Scottish seafood exports 'stuck at Dover' | BBC News |

Covid mutant?
Or preparation for a no-deal Brexit?

by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 10:38:59 AM EST
Close the borders!

The Brits are worse than influx of immigrants ...

Coronavirus: EU urges countries to lift UK travel bans

On Tuesday, the European Commission recommended countries lift restrictions and allow essential travel to resume.

But EU member states are free to set their own rules on border controls and may continue with their own policies.

France and the UK are trying to reach a deal to end disruption in the Channel.

by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 03:03:03 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 04:13:17 PM EST
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"Farage campaigned to reopen Manston. Brexit has kinda done that"

by Bernard on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 06:39:38 PM EST
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Dover: Agreement 'reached with France' over UK border | BBC News |

Secretary Shapps promised more details on hauliers later, but urged them not to go to Kent where about 2,850 lorries are stranded.

Meanwhile, French authorities said some journeys would resume on Wednesday.

Residents and nationals will be among those allowed to return if they have a recent negative test.

French authorities said planes, boats and Eurostar trains would resume services on Wednesday morning.
This is available to French nationals, EU citizens and people with residency in France.

by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 08:57:17 PM EST
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If anything, this dress rehearsal of Brexit seems to have shown Johnson and gang who holds whom by the "baubles".

by Bernard on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 09:38:51 PM EST
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"You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning." [😑 not Boris Johnson]

Pakistan joins global ban on UK travel over new virus variant | Dawn |

'Out of Control' Covid Strain Makes UK a Global Pariah as Countries Impose Travel Bans | CNBC |

Brexit BoJo U-turn

by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 07:38:42 PM EST

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