Whatever Happened to Brexit?

So four months on from the EU Referendum where are we? Well no one really knows or are willing to say. The Government don’t seem to know other than want their cake and eat it, the papers still appear to be fighting the referendum and arguing about the size of children’s teeth, the Scottish Government are consulting on a future referendum for Scottish Independence and if Question Time is anything to go by, many in England are still afraid of foreign people or want parliament to ignore the referendum result.

French President Francois Hollande has intimated that Britain will be punished for leaving the EU, not exactly in those words once you dig a little, but the implication is still the same. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, wants a united front against the UK and it’s access to the single market and Malta have made clear that the four freedoms – free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – could not be decoupled, Muscat said. “that cannot be negotiated … these principles are the basis for everything the EU does.”

Basically it’s a mess. I have covered my leave reasons in previous blogs so won’t revisit them here in any detail. My views haven’t changed, in some ways they are more entrenched the more I hear what is coming out of the EU, but what do I think is going to happen.

I think that nothing much publicly is going to happen until Article 50 is put in motion, there are of course going to be discussions behind the scenes, anyone who thinks they are not already happening is deluded. I actually find myself agreeing with Conrad Black that once the dust settles a pretty much neutral deal will probably be found, especially once major EU elections are out of the way next year.

Punishing the UK serves no one’s purpose to be honest, yes the EU will want to be seen to be doing something but Germany is rolling back on it;s immigration policies and many within Germany are questioning the free movement of people, like wise in Holland , Spain and in France.

composite-euchart-landscape

While the free movement of people was not a huge issue for myself it is for many EU countries as we see above in the satisfaction levels on the EU, and it is growing. The EU in my opinion is on a knife edge, as I argued before, without fundamental change it will collapse, so my view is we may see the EU restrict the free movement of people, something along the lines of only those with a job offer or for education will be allowed to move and then they will come back to the UK before we actually leave to vote on a treaty change that will nullify the referendum result.

I might just be thinking a lot of crap, I don’t pretend to be an expert, this blog is purely my feelings and opinions on what I read and the research I have time to do, and is in no way pretending to be any more than that. What will it mean for Scotland is too soon to say. I do believe that we need to act in many ways as if we are independent now and having our own Brexit Minister is fine with me but we should not rush into another referendum, we still need the dust to settle.

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4 comments

  1. bjsalba

    Yes it is a mess but the mess is not in Europe, it is in Westminster.

    I have been reading up on the EU for quite some time including (and with the help of Google Translate) Foreign newspapers and blogs. From what you assert, I presume you get your information from the UK media. Have you learned nothing from the Indyref1 experience? Surely you should know by now that the information anyone gets from the UK media is seriously distorted if not downright lies.

    The four freedoms are and always have been indivisible. Freedom of movement is NOT generally a problem. Some EU states have problems with Refugees but that is NOT freedom of movement for EU citizens.

    What the UK Government (particularly the Tories) has never understood is that the Commission and the Parliament are as integral to the way the EU works as the member states, so they have always ignored these institutions – whilst railing virulently against the “unelected bureaucracy” and bemoaning the fact that the UK parliament was not sovereign in all things.

    Theresa May (and probably other UK officials) have trundled around the EU leaders trying to drum up support but what you see at any press conferences is polite platitudes and not much more and in some cases not even that. The UK Government has not even announced who their negotiators will be. From all I can gather they are still discussing “options and strategies” – in other words flailing around in a complete panic. Apparently in desperation the UK recently saw fit to send representatives around large Continental exporters to lobby their government to strike soft deal with Britain. That has been met with angry rebuffs from the Government concerned.

    If you imagine that “discussions behind the scenes” are going on you are very much mistaken. When Jean-Claude Juncker President of the EU Commission has explicitly forbade the Commission officials from conducting any pre-negotiations before the withdrawal submission is made under Article 50, one of the tabloids asserted that Juncker had been slapped down by Merkel and Hollande for exceeding his authority. That is a load of bunkum! Withdrawal of Membership is an EU wide matter and as such must be dealt with by the Commissioners (just as Trade Deals are). The EU Commission has got their negotiators in place and they are well prepared.

    After the negotiations are completed by the Commission negotiators, the deal will be reviewed and will need to be approved both by the member states (part of the function of the European Council), and by the EU Parliament.

    Now do you understand why all this bombast and bluster about Britain getting a good deal is to say the least not very credible if not totally ludicrous?

  2. Anonymous

    bjsalba

    I get my information from a wide variety of sources to be honest, including RT, Euronews, Republic etc, I also keep an eye on UK news but take a lot of what read everywhere with a pinch of salt as I don’t think the media in France are any more trustworthy than the media in the UK.

    As far as discussion behind the scenes, sorry but they are happening, we know they are happening because the Scottish Government for one have had them. Companies are having them, EU Governments had a special summit. It is being discussed, as is security and policing, refugees etc. They are taking place, remember the EU cannot pass much for the next two years if they don’t talk to the UK on top of their own internal problems in both Germany and France with Le Pen and the immigration party in Germany both leading in the polls. The situation will be very different next year with Merkel and Hollande both gone and May knows this, talks are happening, quietly, in the background, low level but they are happening. We know from the first indyref, which I learned and many others, that the EU works away in the background and also the President of the Commission while powerful is not a President such as the head of a country, he still answers to the national Governments of which the UK is one. If the UK asks a question of him, like any EU member state, he will respond. No what we are seeing is posturing and shouting in public that will settle down, esp in the new year once the other EU elections take place.

    I suspect the Americans are correct, some sort of compromise will be offered to the UK, as I noted a treaty change appears to be the way it may be done. The EU without it is at serious risk of failing within the next 10 years, the ECB cannot keep printing money to cover up the weaknesses of the economy, unemployment continues to grow everywhere while the markets continue to fall, we are on the brink of a another financial collapse and I don’t see the EU surviving the next one personally, but I am no expert.

    I didn’t say that the UK will get a good deal, I have never thought that, I think that what the UK might be offered, as many in America are thinking, is a neutral deal if it is not determined to leave, although I think May and the Tories are determined to leave, I suspect they would be happy to see the whole thing fail.

    Interesting times as they say.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Bruce

  3. Terry Entoure

    The EU is certainly talking amongst themselves about Brexit but there is no evidence they are talking to the UK specifically about Brexit. The UK is still in the EU and EEA so I would guess there is communication about ongoing matters. The UK is also a partner in many European partnerships that aren’t specifially tied to the EU or the EEA. Those are still ongoing, I would imagine. I don’t see any evidence of specific discussions about Brexit, though. The UK did give up its turn as president of the council of ministers. They must have talked about that, I suppose. It does present fewer opportunities to talk, though.

    The UK is still forming its negotiating position, as is the EU. Even informal talks at this stage would just be a waste of time. Perhaps meta-talks about the putative talks but certainly no evidence of anything more than that. Even the date when A50 is to be triggered is still theoretical and subject to change. “By the end of March” isn’t even a proper date. I wouldn’t plan my dental care on that kind of vagueness. Could you point me somewhere that suggests real, meaningful talks are underway?

    Could you explain a bit more what you mean by a “neutral deal”? You mentioned it quite a few times but I don’t understand what it means, I’m afraid. I’m not sure Conrad Black has his finger on the EU pulse, anyway. You do know he went to prison for three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice? Ask him about prison food and I bet he has an informed opinion.

    Francoise Hollande’s exact words were, “Britain has decided on a Brexit, I believe even a hard Brexit. Well, we must go all the way with Britain’s will to leave the European Union,”. This was reported as meaning that Britain must be punished. His words really don’t suggest that in any way. What he said was that a hard Brexit means leaving the European Union. For me, it’s more of a tautology than a threat.

    Angela Merkel said, “full access to the single market only in exchange for signing up to the four freedoms”. Again, this is no more than a reiteration of the founding principles of the EU. There is no implied threat here. She is simply reiterating the formal position dictated by EU rules. German businesses responded with a statement that to them freedom of movement was more important in the long term than UK trade. Again, no threat is implied here. They are merely setting out their position.

    If we see statements from EU leaders as a threat then that says more about our perceived weakness than anything else. Leaving the EU is a threat to the economic stability of the UK. I suppose when someone restates that fact it can seem threatening. The threat is implied but not necessarily inferred. This is an important point and I hope that the Prime Minister and her team recognise the distinction.

    Le Pen and AFD are certainly not leading in the polls. There is simply for evidence of that at all. I think what you’ve done there is extrapolate a single data point in each case. The Liberals did quite well in a recent by-election. Are they now the 2nd biggest party in the UK?

    I’ll just finish off by saying that support for the EU is not the same as voting to leave the EU (I’m referencing your graphic at the end). How much support does the current government have? I would guess less than 40% (I doubt any party has gained 40% vote share at an election for some time). Should we leave Westminster on that basis? “Support”is a very vague term, anyway. What does it mean, exactly? It certainly doesn’t correspond to a specific action. “Which party would you vote for?”, on the other hand, allows a clear expression of unambiguous intent. I typically try to avoid the kind of sophistry employed in the graphic.

    Cheers,

    Terry

    • Anonymous

      Terry

      Thanks for such a detailed response. As my blog is my feeling and opinions on what I might read, or hear I will try my best to answer your points as best I can.

      I am convinced that low level discussions are taking place as the Scottish Government has said they have had them, David Davis is currently having them, maybe not getting anywhere but having them. EU nations have already had a Brexit summit and the Council of Minsters met this week. I don’t expect them to admit what is being said or what level they are at but they are happening, esp given we are looking at just over two years for this to happen and no one knows what they are doing.

      By neutral deal I suspect that Conrad Black is on to something when he says that once the anger settles and the realities set in all sides will find a way to make the consequences neutral to a large extent, he also goes on to say that he expects a new treaty might be offered up and given the feelings riding high in the EU member states about the refugee crisis, high unemployment etc It would not surprise me if that came about. The EU is in a mess, satisfaction levels are not good and while that doesn’t mean people would vote to leave, it makes next years elections very interesting. I accept that Conrad Black is maybe not the best example, but I found his comments in Toronto and in the UK interesting and made sense in a lot of ways, he certainly knows more than I do and will be privy to information that most people won’t.

      The most recent poll, and most detailed to date I believe, has Le Pen ahead in the polls. Here is the link from the last thing I read on it http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/06/03/marine-le-pen-surges-french-polls/. If she wins she has promised a referendum on EU membership in France, now she probably won’t win but I don’t know enough about France to be confident of that. I agree that Hollande was mis-quoted, as I also noted he didn’t actually say punished, but has certainly been the most vocal on the news, Euronews for myself, regarding his feelings on Brexit.

      It is a mess, will it work out in the end, who knows. It hasn’t happened before so we are all going to have to wait and see, this blog is just my opinions and I don’t pretend it to be anymore than that, I also welcome comments at all points so thank you for your opinion and information, certainly food for thought. I don’t know what kind of deal the UK will get if or when it does leave but there will be other variables taken into account I suspect.

      Thanks

      Bruce

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