back to article EU negotiator: Crucial data adequacy deal will wait until UK hands in homework

The UK will only be able to get a data adequacy decision from the European Union once it has offered up its new legal framework – and won't get access to the bloc's policing and security databases, Michel Barnier has warned. In a speech in Vienna yesterday, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator once again emphasised the importance …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Requoting from another thread

    I am re-quoting what I said on the other thread where one of the commentards was accusing Mr Barnier of malice. He is simply doing his job - to deliver a VALID deal.

    Any deal which allows UK member-like privileges without any of the checks which are applied by the ECHR and ECJ to members will be successfully challenged in court and declared invalid.

    So, unless the UK comes up with some mechanics for checks and balances which are palatable to the EU, there will be absolutely no privileged treatment of UK in any area as there cannot be. Even if it is granted by the commission a Schrem will come along and blow a petard under it.

    I have said it before, I will say it again. Davis, May and Boris are trying to put the proverbial donkey behind the proverbial cart. The discussion should START with the definition of the final instance for conflict resolution and compliance checking. Once that is figured out the deal and its scope are plain sailing. If it is not figured out there will be no deal to start off with.

    So nothing surprising here and nothing will be fixed because the three blind mice and the one under the control of the potted plants are refusing to deal with the most basic reality of how to fix the whole mess.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Requoting from another thread

      Yes, he wants to deliver a Valid deal. i.e. Valid in the eyes of his masters in Brussels. He sees any deal where we aren't begging for forgiveness as a failure. He'll deal only after he's kneed David Davis where it really hurts.

      Our negociators are clearly not up to the task of getting us a good deal. They are starting from a position of real weakness. The longer this farce goes on, the more likely IMHO we will simply opt for a Hard Exit and suffer the consequences for 3 or 4 decades.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Requoting from another thread

        "Our negociators are clearly not up to the task of getting us a good deal.".

        No gunboats to send to Brussels, things change.

        PS. has David Davis not embarrassed himself at home already enough, still treated as a gentleman in Brussels.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Requoting from another thread

        >Our negociators are clearly not up to the task of getting us a good deal.

        Agreed, as clearly they aren't capable of negotiating. I suspect any one who has been on a business sales negotiation course could do a better job.

        >They are starting from a position of real weakness.

        Agreed, however we shouldn't forget the UK government did choose the time and place...

        So given the level of ineptitude being exhibited by the UK government, Mr Barnier doesn't have to do anything. In fact it might be helpful if he stopped trying to be helpful and pointing out the ball breaking obstacles, as it does seem that this is simply encouraging David Davis to bash his own balls on them,,,

        >the more likely IMHO we will simply opt for a Hard Exit

        I think we won't necessarily opt for it, the final whistle will go and David Davis will be left wondering what happened... Interestingly, Liam Fox is currently rubbing his hands in glee, as today's House of Commons vote has left the no deal exit option on the table...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Requoting from another thread

      I am re-quoting what I said on the other thread where one of the commentards was accusing Mr Barnier of malice. He is simply doing his job

      Of course, a job which consists of being as malicious as possible to the UK, to make sure that no other EU vassal state ever dares to even think of leaving the empire. If only the UK negotiators had a similar nasty streak...

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Requoting from another thread

        @AC

        "If only the UK negotiators had a similar nasty streak..."

        To be honest that is the only good thing I can see of our negotiators, not to sink to their level. The EU jumping up and down, public spiteful tantrums and leaking to try and gain popular approval may work for those taken in by such but not only are we watching but the world is too. Since we will both continue to interact with the world I do prefer that we can be trusted to assume some professionalism.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barnier ... is simply doing his job - to deliver a VALID deal.

      His job is rather to deliver a good result for the EU, just as the UK side has the job of delivering a good result for the UK, where presumably "good" also implies your "valid". Neither side has /necessarily/ to be malicious and/or incompetent for there to be differences of opinion about what "good" (or even "valid") means.

      Barnier, as a negotiator for the EU, will have very likely been saying that some of the things that the UK might (claim to) want are difficult or impossible, knowing full well that in the end some compromise will be reached, demonstrating that they were neither as difficult or impossible as originally claimed. But that's just an unremarkable negotiating strategy - he will get to make concessions & compromises that are in fact easier for the EU than has been publicly claimed. Presumably the UK has been doing the same.

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Requoting from another thread

      "Davis, May and Boris are trying to put the proverbial donkey behind the proverbial cart."

      Utter tosh!

      Why would the donkeys want to leave the plushness of the House of Commons in the first place?

    5. Paul Shirley

      Re: Requoting from another thread

      "should START with the definition of the final instance for conflict resolution"

      But that's a UK red line that guarantees no deal. If A50 allowed the EU to walk away or say no deal immediately the only 'negotiation' happening would be the technical details needed even for the no deal scenario. But they're forced to hang around listening to impossible UK scheming and there's no advantage in doing only essential detail work.

      This has left the brexiteers with the mistaken belief the EU is weak, just a matter of time and repetition before the EU abandons it's red lines. Worse it allowed the UK gov to avoid preparing it's voters to accept what must be done to achieve a deal.

    6. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Requoting from another thread

      The key thing to remember is that the EU isn't so much blocking the UK's access as the UK has unilaterally chosen to withdraw itself.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the American government security sharing agreement with the EU like considering they don't have any say in what the Americans do?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That was my first thought as well. I still don't understand why we're bothering with the EU. If we assume that all the doom and gloom is true and Britain will be screwed and Europe will be glorious, one of the 27 countries will veto any deal and we'll bounce out with no deal, rendering all this a pointless waste of time.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        @ ac - one of the 27 countries will veto any deal

        Highly likely

        Spain - because Gibraltar

        France - because, well we have history

        Any of the others - for the enjoyment of kicking one of the European big 3 in the fork

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As the only EU member of the Five Eyes alliance, won't withdrawal of EU data sharing with UK mean EU is cut off from the data that alliance delivers?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >As the only EU member of the Five Eyes alliance, won't withdrawal of EU data sharing with UK mean EU is cut off from the data that alliance delivers?

        Logic wrong way round!

        As it is the UK that is withdrawing from the EU, the only questions are whether the UK will continue to share Five Eyes data with the EU, however, I suspect the UK only shares data with the EU with the permission of the US - given the US is the senior partner ie. the UK is the US's proxy/poodle. Thus it will be up to the US to determine whether post-Brexit Five Eyes data is passed to the EU.

        The EU, on the other hand, is limited by it's own laws as to what data it can share outside of the EU. Because it was always recognised the UK had a 'special' relationship with the US, a certain amount of fudging went on, to the UK's (strategic) benefit. Brexit changes the playing field, I suspect an outcome will be the baking up of some more fudge to allow greater EU-US intelligence co-operation, probably via Canada.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    In his speech, Barnier claimed the UK needed to have more "realism" about what is possible in the Brexit deal

    That'll be a novelty.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      That'll be a novelty.

      Why? David and Co are realists. They have a realistic assumption of how what they do in Brussels will look on the first page of the Sun and that is ALL they care about. It is 100% for the UK PR and 0% for the interests of the country. That's all that actually matters to them.

      Compared to them Barnier does not have to deal with that. Nobody in European media follows what is happening in detail any more. It is a rear day when the news make page 5 or 7 of the daily edition of national broadsheets or the last odd-n-sods 2 minutes of filler before Sport and Weather on TV. It does not make it to the tabloids at all any more. That is the reality - it is 100% in the hands of bookkeepers and lawyers working for the commission now and the result will be what they say can be allowed and not what is "politically expedient" and appealing to a particular public audience.

      The results when these two approaches meet are all too well predictable. On a very good day, UK will just cave in to every Eu demand at the last minute (as in December). On a bad day - we are looking at a massive clusterf*ck in March.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        What Brussels will do...

        Why? David and Co are realists. They have a realistic assumption of how what they do in Brussels will look on the first page of the Sun and that is ALL they care about.

        Don't you mean the Dail Fail? That rag seems to be leading the anti-EU tirades these days.

        The Sun has gone downhill since the days of 'Freddie Star ate my Hampster' and alienating a large part of the country over Hillsboro.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        >David and Co are realists.

        I assume sarcasm here, having read their various thoughts on Leaving the EU before the Referendum - none of them had a clue - it was going to be so simple: hold referendum, hand in notice, leave at end of month, sign loads of trade agreements, and have it all sewn up before the summer (2016) recess...

      3. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        "UK will just cave in to every Eu demand".

        The EU is not demanding anything, just informing what is possible and not for Britain in light of May's read lines of today. Out means Out. The realism Barnier is asking for is to simply understand reality.

        (I do agree with your comment per se)

  4. MJI Silver badge

    Will EU miss GCHQ information?

    This is probably more of what matters.

    Will they be OK without our information?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

      This is the most obvious solution. Say 'Well sod you then', wait until the next terrorist attack on the continent and then say 'well serves you right, you idiots'.

      Security and defence should never have been taken off the table at the start of the Brexit process, and I'm really surprised that they were put back on the table by the EU. Now we can talk about how much the British contribution to NATO is worth and how much it's worth in Euros. A yearly contribution to the UK budget (and a higher one to the US budget) by the EU seems appropriate, given how the US, UK and France defend all of Europe. We could call it the Single Defence Market, and the EU can pay a fee to have access to it. You know, just like their opinion about economics.

      I voted Remain, and I think Brexit is a massive mistake, but the EU's utter intransigence is even more grating to me than the current UK government's inability to find its own arsehole with both hands.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

        "given how the US, UK and France defend all of Europe. "

        Lucky we French are still in the EU, then, and apparently not leaving anytime soon. That makes it another option to avoid going shopping out.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

        Say 'Well sod you then', wait until the next terrorist attack on the continent and then say 'well serves you right, you idiots'.

        And what if our choice to do that results in the next previously-avoidable attack being in the UK before the EU? Are you going to tell the families of the victims that they should blame the EU for the UK's intransigence on intelligence-sharing?

        This is the exact same problem that demonstrates the senselessness of the Hard Brexit position, the desire to say 'Well sod you then' and crash out, regardless of consequences. People with a lot of money in the bank will be sheltered from the majority of the effects over the next decade, and those with shitloads of money will even be able to make a profit from the disaster. The rest of us, however, will be fucked over good and proper. If you think the last ten years of pay falling behind inflation, lower employment standards and the results of government austerity has been bad, do you really think the ten years after a no-deal Brexit is going to be a picnic?

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

          "Are you going to tell the families of the victims that they should blame the EU for the UK's intransigence on intelligence-sharing?"

          It's the EU's intransigence! They are the ones saying 'no'!

      3. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

        >>EU's utter intransigence<<

        Barniers role is to provide the best results for the EU - Thats the EUs federal organisation (Brussels bureaucracy) NOT the individual EU states and the federal position is to keep the EU together at almost any cost. If the current british administration can be brought down by the tactics employed then the next one may be willing to agree to a better deal (for the Federal EU).

        What is guaranteed is another 9 months of UK political point scoring before all the 'we told you so' lines start. (from both sides)

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

          Barniers role is to provide the best results for the EU

          Precisely, and in this area what is good for the EU and good for the UK should be pretty closely aligned. We may argue a lot about politics & economics, but security is one area where things generally work well, with good co-operation between all the national agencies.

          The EU is saying "this will hinge on the UK gaining a data adequacy deal." and "The UK government has committed to doing so,". All that is obvious, since the UK has been a strong defence ally for other EU nations for a long time. It's in no-one's interests to break that, so this is just Barnier posturing on a quiet news day, trying to keep Brexit on Page 1 of the tabloids ahead of the World Cup. Maybe his boss has set him a target of at least three blog entries a week?

          Even his comment that "the EU would not be drawn into a 'blame game' about the effects of the EU's latest position statement." is a fairly clear admission that he expects his "position statement" to be seen as such, rather than as any useful negotiating information.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

            "Precisely, and in this area what is good for the EU and good for the UK should be pretty closely aligned."

            That is very, very unlikely, since Five Eyes stuff is by definition not for EU consumption. So there is good reason to demand data adequacy here, the UK already has its hand in another cookie jar, and can't share.

            On the regular military side, the Queen Elizabeth is going to do contracting work for the US in the Pacific.

            I believe that for somebody supposed to be posturing, Michel Barnier looks pretty relaxed. It's not him who's in a fight with his own MPs...

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

          "Thats the EUs federal organisation (Brussels bureaucracy) NOT the individual EU states ".

          No, the mandate is from the individual EU states. One of Davis dumbest claims was that all he has to do is to charm Germany hinting at the demise of the German car industry. Bojo has been running around (like Bannon) in the eastern part of Europe.

          Oh my dear Brits, how is it possible that you have ended up like this, run by a bunch of caricatures.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What is the American government security sharing agreement with the EU like considering they don't have any say in what the Americans do?

    A fig leaf.

    It was simply a fudge to allow TPTB on both sides to pretend everything was OK despite a clear difference in attitude between the two continents. It was never going to be able to withstand a serious challenge.

    By adopting the provisions of GRPR the UK should have been much better placed but HMG has insisted on providing itself with some exemptions and various iterations of introducing Investigative Powers Acts found to contravene the HCRE. The EU is going to be much less likely to admit such a fudge.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      The EU is going to be much less likely to admit such a fudge.

      I wouldn't bet on that. The whole EU is built on fudge, from the Parliament with two homes, to the Eurozone convergence criteria. No way would 28 countries agree on anything without fudge and ambiguity, and I'm sure they'll find more to make this work.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Plus, fudge is delicious. Especially if it's packed with vanilla and butter.

        But that chocolate coated banana fudge I got from a market stall in Brighton can fuck right off. It was one of the worst things I've ever eaten.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Joke

          I mean, it contained bananas so you were warned that it would taste terrible.

          1. yoganmahew

            I believe the bananananana was just for scale...

  6. Bernard M. Orwell

    Does anyone else notice how, throughout this technical and complicated international discussion about the future of border security, intelligence sharing and anti-terrorist initiatives that there is zero mention of things such as public safety, effective policing or common defence?

    Anyone would think that the PtB aren't concerned with such things really and that this is just another dick-measuring contest as they try to grab power over each other.

    People may think that they've expressed their will and that Brexit is now the implementation of that will, but they'd be wrong. Its just a vehicle for realigning power to suit those that wield power.

    It's not about us at all.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Does anyone else notice how, throughout this technical and complicated international discussion about the future of border security, intelligence sharing and anti-terrorist initiatives that there is zero mention of things such as public safety, effective policing or common defence?"

      That's because we've spent several decades with the EU as the vehicle for handling these at the European level and by leaving we exclude ourselves from that. It's up to the Brexiteers to explain how they propose to deal with the consequences - it was they who persuaded a small majority of those who voted to bring those consequences down on us. Or didn't they think it was important?

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        I'd guess a majority of EU public safety standards are based on previous British Standards

        We have had mostly effective policing in the UK long before joining the EU.

        We + Frogs & Septics provide the EU with common defence through NATO which was here first. (Germany seem to have given up after the russians took all their toys home)

        The IN/OUT vote was merely the dividing line across a very large grey area of assumed costs/benefits, I assume* that most people actually did some thinking before making their choice.

        *possibly incorrectly but I live in hope.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Doctor Syntax,

        The EU has never been the main vehicle for security in Europe. Certain people wished that it were, but mostly couldn't persuade people. And where the EU has done security things, it's had mixed success. Most EU thinktanks and policy wonks have agonised for decades over how the EU can be so effective as an economic power, while so ineffective as a diplomatic/military one.

        EU security cooperation has increased in the last ten years. Particularly over policing. But cooperation over terrorism has been pretty poor in places, and much of it has been done in ad hoc groups of national intelligence/policing agencies working together.

        The UK are leaving. This means making a new agreement. I don't really understand why the Commission are trying to make this an issue. When a few people around May starting hinting that a bad Brexit deal would mean less security cooperation there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from over the channel. This was apparently the UK being evil and should be stopped at once. Which it pretty much was. With the stab-in-the-back over Galileo and now this loud trumpeting of what are probably relatively minor difficulties in intelligence sharing, I'm not quite sure what the Commission think they're up to?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I don't really understand why the Commission are trying to make this an issue."

          They're not. They're clearly ready to negotiate a new agreement with a 3rd party, like they've done plenty of times before. It surprising that some UK politicians claim to not understand they can't keep their seat inside after going out.

          "Evil" is not the right word, but "unreasonable" definitely is. Galileo is an inside project reserved to insiders, the UK leaves, the UK is not part of Galileo anymore. That was glaringly obvious from the beginning.

          I'm really puzzled as to how it could feel like a stab in the back, after all the warnings that were given about the consequences of leaving?

        2. Warm Braw Silver badge

          This means making a new agreement. I don't really understand...

          Well, you got it in the first sentence.

          The UK has indicated it intends to leave the EU, which effectively means that everywhere in the EU treaties that the UK is mentioned, the UK is deleted. The treaties include provisions for other types of arrangements between the EU and non-EU countries, but the UK doesn't want to be part of any of those either. The scope for "new agreements" is pretty much limited by what can feasibly be neogtiated in 18 months and to which there will be no objections - not just from the other EU members, but from other countries who might feel that the UK may be getting special terms that weren't offered to them. Most of the time for negotiating with the EU has been wasted neogtiating within the British cabinet, so the scope for cutting "special" terms is pretty much zero by now.

          If we want a negotiated deal, we need to know what we want and be present at the negotiations - we have shown much progress with neither - and be realistic about what can be achieved within the very limited timescale of the Article 50 process.

          Of course, we have the option (with the agreement of the other EU members) of extending the talks, but that would presumably be an anathema to those who have bridled even at the prospect of transitional arrangements.

          You really can't blame the EU. We're the ones who said we were leaving, wanted no part of EU institutions and yet are continually whining, "but we didn't mean we wanted to leave THAT"...

        3. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          "'m not quite sure what the Commission think they're up to?"

          So just read the article. There is absolutely nothing surprising or illogical there:

          - the EU's chief Brexit negotiator once again emphasised the importance the bloc is putting on the UK's commitment to maintaining data protection standards, along with human rights.

          – and indicated this would hinge on the UK gaining a data adequacy deal.

          -There is no possibility for the EU to compromise on data protection

          -The UK government has committed to doing so, but has also sought a souped-up data adequacy agreement that would also see it involved in some EU-wide instruments and give the information commissioner a seat at the negotiating table – suggestions Barnier has previously knocked out.

          - a decision [on data adequacy] can only be taken once we are able to assess the new UK legal framework

          - The UK will not be in a position to shape the strategic direction of EU agencies... UK representatives will no longer take part in meetings of Europol and Eurojust management boards.

          Again, Barnier has to assume May is sane with her read lines. Barnier will never start a bazaar type of negotiation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      public safety, effective policing or common defence?

      The first two tend to be handled nationally, and the third via NATO.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        @AC

        "public safety, effective policing or common defence?".

        "The first two tend to be handled nationally, and the third via NATO."

        The topic here has been about sharing information to aide public safety and policing. Most countries have an army some belong to NATO, some more, some less. All are worried by the guy in the WH and his view of the twit.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Anyone would think that the PtB aren't concerned

      PtB in Europe work under the assumption that this contagion is not going to spread onto NATO.

      That assumption is not entirely warranted according to the current NATO secretary general writing in the Guardian.

      That is why these are not being discussed and UK's attempts to bring some of them into the discussion under the guise of security collaboration get only shrugs from Brussels. I am not sure that going down the line of dragging NATO into this contagion will be of any benefit to the UK. Just the opposite.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of the EU 'security' systems that rarely gets a mention is Eurodac. No access means no mechanism to implement the Dublin regs (which the UK may no longer be a part of anyway) to deport asylum seekers back to Italy or wherever their first port of entry into Europe was, or means to search

    fingerprints of illegal migrants following a terrorist incident or similar. https://brexit.law/2016/07/20/366/

    If there's another migrant/refugee surge the consequences could get interesting.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whichever side you're on wrt BrExit, it would have been nice if at least one of the two major political parties in the UK could have decided on what they actually want in the 2 years since the referendum.

    Its almost as though there are people who stand to make a lot of money from this mess.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Its almost as though there are people who stand to make a lot of money from this mess.

      One of them is married to the Prime Minister.

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