Reply to post: Re: "clarified once the uncertain situation caused by Brexit has been resolved"

Brexit Britain changes its mind, says non, nein, no to Europe's unified patent court – potentially sealing its fate

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Re: "clarified once the uncertain situation caused by Brexit has been resolved"

Killing Time,

Negotiation is a two-way street. The EU are now negotiating with Boris Johnson because they repeatedly and continuously shat on Theresa May. She was the one being restrained and careful in her language - they were the ones doing the megaphone diplomacy. Obviously there were Tory backbenchers making rude comments from the sidelines, but in general her government was reasonably disciplined as to it's message - at least for the first 18 months.

May offered a deal with level-playing-field terms in exchange for a limited tarriff/quota free trade deal. This was the so-called multiple trade baskets deal - which meant close alignement retained for areas of complex joint supply chains and less but some access to us into the market for services. It got round the Northern Ireland problem by having the kind of zero border infrastructure and checking scheme that Barnier at the time said was "literally impossible". And then they agreed it with Johnson in October last year. The EU have since admitted they didn't even do studies of this deal before rejecting it. It's like the sectoral deals that the EU has already agreed with Switzerland - which is why May selected it as a model. They rejected it.

So May suggested the so-called Chequers deal. Which split her cabinet. But again solved the Northern Ireland problem by basing a deal on the EU's existing deal that they'd already agreed with Turkey. So we would be a partial member of the customs union - but have much less freedom to trade in services. The EU rejected this. They didn't say what they'd prefer in its place, simply telling May to go and think again and offer them something else they might like better. While also saying that there was always the worse option of the free trade deal like Canada - if NI alone stayed in the Single Market.

So Johnson said, OK, we'll take the Canada deal on offer. We'll agree a deal where Northern Ireland stays in both the Single Market and the UK market - with processes yet to be agreed to make this possible. But with the Northern Ireland assembly able to withdraw at 2 years' notice - and NI able to benefit from UK trade deals.

And now the EU are saying that no, the Canada deal was never really on offer. When we said that we didn't quite mean it, for "reasons". Even though NI is now permanently in an arrangement similar to the famous backstop - it's just that now it's not permanent - and the NI agreement is totally not nailed down because the EU refused to negotiate on it until literally the last month - and then agreed something that's going to be impossible to implement in the year left of the transition period.

So the UK government has offered to take 3 different versions of what the EU has agreed with other third parties, in descending order of closeness of relationship - Switzerland, then Turkey and now Canada. And each time the EU has said no, given few reasons or alternatives and acted as if they've been insulted by the very suggestion!

And now the EU, who openly laughed at the non legally binding political declaration to the Withdrawal Agreement, are saying we must stick to that political declaration. The thing they stressed noisily and repeatedly was non-binding when they tried to use it to reassure May on the Norther Ireland backstop she couldn't get through Parliament. Well now the fucking chickens are coming home to roost aren't they! Now it's the EU who are demanding that we should do a new custom deal and that the UK can't select the off-the-peg deals the EU have already done with others. Despite the fact that basing their offers on stuff the EU have already agreed with others was the basis of May's negotiating strategy!

So no, I'm no fan of Johnson. He's a mouthy git, and negotiation needs level-headed people who guard their words. But hey! The fucking EU haven't been adhering to that, and being sensible and moderate destroyed May's political career. So why don't they expect the UK government to learn from the way they've behaved and do the same?

Statesmanship is often required on both sides, because both sides are under considerably political pressure. But May's government bent over backwards to try and accommodate the demands of the EU - even when they didn't actually make any. They simply rejected all offers she made and tried to make out that it was only them that were being grown-up and sensible.

Well now they reap the consequences. Because now even a shallow trade deal that's in both our interests looks almost impossible. Even though the UK are ready to agree it. And remember it's us who have a £90bn trade deficit in goods - and we're not even asking for much access for our services exports to them in exchange. They're already being offered a good deal for them, because for us the cost of avoiding disruption is worth doing that deal.

Even now a deal could happen. If we agreed as much level-playing-field as the EU has put into it's deals with Canada or Japan. But if they insist on us taking their regulations within out market, and their courts to enforce it and us having to comply with new laws they haven't yet written - then of course we're going to say no! Given our laws and standards are currently the same, a system that costs us in trade advantages to change stuff, if they believe the changes to be reductions in standards is perfectly reasonable - but the problem is they don't like the sectoral agreements they've already made with Switzerland that work like that - and would like to replace them with one overall deal. Which the Swiss won't agree.

It's a two way street. And any attempt to say that it's just the UK that are being unreasonable is bollocks of the highest order. I agree negotiating with Johnson is hard - would you trust him? But they just destroyed the political career of the trustworthy Prime Minister they had to deal with by being totally unreasonable. So tough shit!

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