Wednesday, May 03, 2017

British government hard line on Brexit talks = failure of the Brexit negotiations.

We have been hearing for years that what’s wrong with the EU is that it is a political project. If only, they have been saying, it stuck to just being a free trade agreement. Of course, European Unity has never been simply about free trade- its main aim is to ensure that there is never again a war in Europe – an essentially political aim. In that it has succeeded – wars have occurred withing the geographical region of Europe (Bosnia, Ukraine) but only beyond the borders of the EU. Now, however, everything has changed. The Brexiters now tell us that the EU needs Britain as a trading partner and for this reason will be forced to accept a deal favorable to Britain so long as Theresa May stands firm.
The truth is the reverse. The remaining EU leaders see no reason to give Britain the economic benefits of membership if she is no longer wants to be part of the political project. They would like to keep good relations with Britain. They are aware that many voters still wish to be part of the EU and even after exit there is the hope that a future government may again seek membership. But the truth is that they aren’t that bothered. If Theresa thinks that being a bloody difficult woman is a good negotiating strategy she will discover that the EU leaders will decide they have better things to do than trying to get an agreement with a British government lacking any wish to compromise. The result will be Britain crashing out to the EU with no deal. But perhaps the extreme Brexiters with their ultra free-market dogma want just such an outcome with the possibility of a zero regulation bargain basement Britain?