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Brexit negotiations make EU elite nervous

The third round of the negotiations over the UK’s exit cannot be called a success

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Monday, September 04, 2017

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It’s clear, the EU elite, still flabbergasted by the decision of the Brits to leave the EU, is in trouble. After the UK has left, there will be a big hole in the EU budget. The remaining net-contributors, most importantly Germany and The Netherlands, don’t want to fill the gap; the net-receivers with Poland by far on top of the list, insist that they want to continue with unchanged financial EU support. Trouble lies ahead. In this context, it was not very smart of President Macron of France, also a net-receiver, to set Eastern-European EU memberstates, also notorious net-receivers, against him.
It’s clear, the EU elite, still flabbergasted by the decision of the Brits to leave the EU, is in trouble. After the UK has left, there will be a big hole in the EU budget. The remaining net-contributors, most importantly Germany and The Netherlands, don’t want to fill the gap; the net-receivers with Poland by far on top of the list, insist that they want to continue with unchanged financial EU support. Trouble lies ahead. In this context, it was not very smart of President Macron of France, also a net-receiver, to set Eastern-European EU memberstates, also notorious net-receivers, against him.

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by N. Peter Kramer 

The EU’s demand for a €100 billion settlement was rebutted line-by-line by the UK, who concluded that EU preparation on the financial settlement was far from adequate. A UK source close to the negotiations said “the UK has very clearly and very robustly challenged the assumptions on which the EU’s position on financial obligations is based”. 

The same source challenged the EU view that UK negotiators were not taking the talks seriously, saying “the UK does not agree with what seems to be a view around this town (read: Brussels) that ‘serious’ means agreeing with the Commission”. Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe, quoted by Politico, said, “why would you as the UK capitulate on everything the EU wants now before receiving any guarantees of your own? It would be political suicide”.

Barnier, the inflexible chief negotiator, spoke of ‘some sort of nostalgia’ on the UK side. UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis replied, “I would not confuse a belief in the free market for nostalgia’.

It’s clear, the EU elite, still flabbergasted by the decision of the Brits to leave the EU, is in trouble. After the UK has left, there will be a big hole in the EU budget. The remaining net-contributors, most importantly Germany and The Netherlands, don’t want to fill the gap; the net-receivers with Poland by far on top of the list, insist that they want to continue with unchanged financial EU support. Trouble lies ahead. In this context, it was not very smart of President Macron of France, also a net-receiver, to set Eastern-European EU memberstates, also notorious net-receivers, against him. 

Contrary to predictions (and EU desires) the UK economy is mostly doing well at the moment: unemployment fell to the lowest recorded figure since 1975; there was an increase in the proportion of the workforce in secure full-time employment; and a rise in the number of jobs taken up by people from long established EU memberstates such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain who are supposed to be fleeing the country. Exports aided by the drop of the pound, have risen by 16%; manufacturing order books are at a 29 year high. And heavyweight companies such as Siemens, Toyota, Huawei and BMW have committed themselves to increase investment in the UK.   

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, following his counterparts of Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the US, said last week, that he has ‘trust in the UK economy after Brexit’ and agrees to ‘work quickly’ on a post-Brexit UK trade deal. 
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