From The Evening Standard:
The EU chief leading the Brexit negotiations has painted a bleak picture of an “undoubtedly worse off” Britain if the two sides cannot agree a deal.
Good, start with some veiled threats.
Writing two days ahead of Theresa May’s expected triggering of Article 50, Michel Barnier said failure in the talks would lead to “severe disruption” at airports and “long queues” for tourists and lorry drivers at Dover.
He apparently wants to discourage British tourists from visiting France, ah well, plenty of other countries in the world. As to "lorry drivers", the French already treat them like shit, it's time we sorted out an alternative route via a country that doesn't go on strike every week and is prepared to police immigrants properly, maybe Belgium or The Netherlands?
In an article in the Financial Times he also warned business would be hit by “disruption of supply chains” that could even include “the suspension of nuclear material” to Britain, which gets around a fifth of its energy from nuclear reactors.
More open threats this time. He wants France/the EU to actually impose an embargo on us.
The 66-year-old Frenchman, a former European Commissioner, insisted the remaining 27 member states would find it easier to adjust as they would still benefit from the single market, the customs union and 60 trade deals with other countries.
As to the "60 trade deals", I trust he's aware that as a general rule of international law, those treaties will continue to apply as between the other countries and the UK.
He also said that the first phase of negotiations would be dominated by three “significant uncertanties” that need to be resolved before talks on a trade deal can begin.
Firstly, the rights of the 3.2 million EU citizens in living in the UK and the 1.2 million British born residents of Europe. Mr Barnier said EU negotiators were “ready to discuss this issue from day one.”
It's none of their business, that is the beauty of the system.
For the time being, there's some guideline of international law that says the rights of foreigners already living in a country aren't affected by subsequent treaty changes.
For the future, EU rules say that EU Member States have to treat each other MS's citizens the same, fine, but each MS is free to make its own decisions re people from non-EU countries. As the UK will soon be a non-EU country, we can discuss this directly with other governments, which will save a lot of time.*
And has bugger all to do with trade deals anyway.
Secondly, the need for Britain to “honour its commitments” to the European budget…
Blackmail. Their clever lawyers say we have to keep paying for several years after we leave, ours say we don't.
… and third, ensuring that peace and dialogue in Northern Ireland are not weakened.
WTF does that have to do with us leaving the EU? Is he just making up stuff?
* People genuinely appear to ignore this obvious point, e.g. PaulC in the comments:
[The UK government] may need to agree... the status of existing EU workers to even get to the point of discussing a future deal with the EU on more general trade terms.
From the day we leave, there is no such thing as an "EU-worker" from the British point of view. They are German, French, Polish etc.
To give an analogy, UK immigration rules do not recognise the status of "ASEAN worker", they are Malaysians, Filippinos, Vietnamese etc. The Malaysians get slightly more favourable treatment as it's a Commonwealth country; the NHS actively recruits nurses in the Philippines (shame on us); the Vietnamese get no special treatment etc. The UK does not care what sort of arrangements the ASEAN countries agree between themselves, that is not binding on us in any way, shape or form.
From the day we leave, the EU has no power whatsoever to negotiate with the UK as to what rules we agree individually with Germany, France, Poland etc.
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
From The Evening Standard:
My latest blogpost: Nobody move… or the French tourism industry gets it.Tweet this! Posted by Mark Wadsworth at 08:19