An interesting report from Bloomberg News on the more strident tone that has been adopted by the United Kingdom in its delayed Brexit negotiations with the European Union. In recent weeks Michael Gove, the senior government official leading the UK’s talks with the EU, has taken to exercising some well-publicised megaphone diplomacy with his counterparts in Brussels, undermining the image of a slightly more pragmatic Brexiteer that he and his supporters had carefully crafted over the last year or so. The Bloomberg article seems to be a typical example of Gove’s sullen rhetoric and may be indicative of the Johnson administration in London moving towards an even more obstreperous line with Europe, a convenient distraction from the Covid-19 disaster at home.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove complained that the European Union isn’t treating Britain like a sovereign state in talks about the two sides’ future relationship, underscoring the risk of an economic shock at the year-end if they can’t reach a trade deal.
He told a committee of lawmakers in London that in areas such as fishing and the future influence of EU institutions the bloc is asking for more of the U.K. than it does of other independent countries, something that is unacceptable to the U.K. The government has called for “political movement” from the EU if the talks are to avoid failing.
“The EU’s stance is particularly difficult and challenging,” Gove said to the House of Common’s Committee on the Future Relationship with the EU on Monday. “I’m confident the EU will want to operate in a constructive way.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman called for the EU to modify its demands in two key areas: continued access for European fishing boats and the so-called level playing field.
These British complaints are interesting when one balances them with numerous reports that Britain is continuing to demand unfettered access to some of the benefits of European Union membership.
The United Kingdom government is trying to reach a divorce deal with the European Union, through which it retains most of its access to the EU and Schengen Databases, as the Europol and the Schengen Information System.
A leaked document on the assessment of the UK’s position in the final leave agreement, written by the German government and seen by the Guardian, says that the British negotiators are making impossible demands over access to EU databases in the negotiations over the future relationship with the EU.
The German government report which comments the talks on the future relationship between the EU block and the UK resumed this week through video calls due to the situation caused by the pandemic, shows that the British negotiators were against a proposal to extend the transition period due to COVID-19.
In addition, the negotiators insisted that the UK should continue taking part in EU-wide data-sharing arrangements and even expanding their reach, despite the EU exit.
Meanwhile, from the Irish Times:
The British minister leading negotiations on the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol has rejected a European Union request for what he described as “a mini-embassy” in Belfast.
The EU wants to open an office in Northern Ireland to monitor checks and controls on goods crossing the Irish Sea after the end of the current transition period.
But Michael Gove told a committee of MPs that Britain saw no reason for any permanent presence for the EU apart from its delegation’s headquarters in London.
As an indicator of future relations between the UK and the EU, and Ireland in particular, none of this inspires much optimism. And with the true figure for the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now running into the tens of thousands a timely bit of flag-waving might be just what the Tory doctor ordered.
While there’s no denying these shameless ghouls will employ any and every possible distraction from their monumental failure and gross negligence, I do suspect this crew of original hard Brexiteers have always wanted to engineer a hard Brexit once they won the election.
There have been signs but this refusal to allow the EU office in NI seems pretty definitive. If the UK’s negotiation position now repudiates the Withdrawal Agreement then the current negotiations with the EU on the future relationship grind to a halt. With the UK also refusing to consider an extension to the transition period. The prospect of a hard Brexit increases.
Remember, the July EU budget date is the go/nogo for the UK requesting an extension, not the end of Jannuary. If the UK continue in this vein, we are almost certainly looking at a hard Brexit. Which seems utter madness to me, in the context of a global pandemic and catastrophic economic depression.
Getting closer to Children of Men every day.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s some analogy… 😉
What can I say, I’m heavily informed by Kubrick’s decision to ban A Clockwork Orange from the UK during his life.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“We don’t want to fight but by Jingo if we do,We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too…” so the old English ditty went. In this nostalgic la-la-land a hankering after the good old days ( what ever they were). Gove is big on the Empire and when he was education secretary he hired right wing historians to rewrite history lessons that should “celebrate” empire. There is a strong core of Tory MPs
promoting CANZUK an acronym for the theoretical political and economic union of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, a union that it is a racist alt-right fantasy explicitly based on the completely incorrect notion that Canada, Australia and New Zealand are all mostly-white, mostly-British, and have some long-unrequited burning love for the “Motherland”. The Brexit zombies have long lost the plot and anything goes so long as it is wrapped in the Union flag.
Funny the UK increased their staff at their trade office in Brussels, time the EU took action in retaliation, The WA Treat states that the EU have a right to monitor UK imports etc to see they comply with EU law..
This is from the UK Gov. website “The UK Mission to the EU (UKMis Brussels) ensures the UK’s interests are promoted and explained to member states and the EU institutions on the full range of EU business.
UKMis Brussels is one of the UK’s busiest diplomatic posts, with a team sourced from around 20 UK government departments and talented locally engaged staff.Sir Tim Barrow, the UK Ambassador to the EU, has overall responsibility for the work of the mission.”
It’s likely, much of this stuff is ultimately symptomatic of the fact that Brexit won by such a narrow margin, that many Britons staunchly opposed it, and that a few of those who voted for it were doing a “protest statement” not believing it would win with many more as LIVs (Low Information Voters) who didn’t really know what Brexit would entail.
Since you have many loud and vocal factions of Britons who want to leave the EU and many other loud and vocal factions who didn’t want to leave the EU, the government is on the horns of a dilemma. The negotiating group has to say that it at least tried to get various benefits that both sides want.
I have a strong suspicious that many of these official know full well they aren’t going to get everything they asked for. However they want to be able to say to their superior and/or constituents that they at least ASKED for for all these things. Even if the demands were contradictory and sure to piss off many EU officials.
Another possibility is that they could be “working the refs”. Basically starting with outrageous enough demands that if you push them long enough, over time even a very favorable settlement for your side sounds more reasonable because even EU officials who know some things aren’t to the EU’s benefit would have been listening to much more outrageous demands so much it creates a skewed perception.
The Brexiteer brigade will cut their nose off to spite their face.
Already with the highest COVID 19 death rate in Europe, the UK out of Brexit spite refused to participate in an EU protective clothing procurement initiative. And now with front line medics dying through lack of PPE the Brexiteer Brigade seek to spin the death figures.
That they have wrecked their economy too is neither here nor their. Too many of the English nation would literally eat shite in the service of their fabled imperial superiority. Let them therefore eat shite. It’s just a pity for the rest of us who get dragged down with a hostile nuclear state heading to economic meltdown.
A humbling is coming and boy will they enjoy it. But watch out the scapegoats. The new Nazis need to blame someone.
LikeLiked by 1 person