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EU chief negotiator Barnier has to turn the Brexit-tables

After the EU summit of the end of June, it was reported that some EU27 leaders were considering arranging an informal summit with UK Prime Minister Theresa May

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2018

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From the beginning of the EU-UK Brexit negotiations onwards, it was clear that Barnier and his cronies had no serious intention to compromise and showed an inflexible attitude; some UK proposals were shot down with lightering speed. They confused negotiating with dictating. The UK’s efforts were treated in the usual arrogant Berlaymont way.  A no deal Brexit loomed seriously: bad for the UK, less bad for the EU as a whole. The ultimate revenge of the Europhiles on a country that dared to vote to leave the EU.
From the beginning of the EU-UK Brexit negotiations onwards, it was clear that Barnier and his cronies had no serious intention to compromise and showed an inflexible attitude; some UK proposals were shot down with lightering speed. They confused negotiating with dictating. The UK’s efforts were treated in the usual arrogant Berlaymont way. A no deal Brexit loomed seriously: bad for the UK, less bad for the EU as a whole. The ultimate revenge of the Europhiles on a country that dared to vote to leave the EU.

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by N. Peter Kramer

After the EU summit of the end of June, it was reported that some EU27 leaders were considering arranging an informal summit with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

She could pitch her Brexit proposal directly to the member states. 

It seemed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others were seriously concerned that negotiations between the UK and the European Commission with chief negotiator Barnier had stalled. 

A source close to the Council was cited: “There is a sense of drift. It is time for leaders to have a serious discussion in the European Council “.  

Although during the Council meetings the leaders unanimous backed Barnier, it was clear that there was a growing concern among them about his way of working.   

From the beginning of the EU-UK Brexit negotiations onwards, it was clear that Barnier and his cronies had no serious intention to compromise and showed an inflexible attitude; some UK proposals were shot down with lightering speed. They confused negotiating with dictating. 

The UK’s efforts were treated in the usual arrogant Berlaymont way.  A no deal Brexit loomed seriously: bad for the UK, less bad for the EU as a whole. The ultimate revenge of the Europhiles on a country that dared to vote to leave the EU.

In the meantime, it is becoming more and more evident that the consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be disastrous for the economy of some member states, especially for Ireland, The Netherlands and Belgium; but also for instance for the North of France. 

In Germany, industry already heavily hit by the EU’s Russian trade boycott fears another big blow from a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Not good for Merkel’s position, who is already in heavy political weather.  

A few days ago, President Macron broached a new approach. After a meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, he wants to keep Europe, inside and outside the EU, together. The main subjects for him are the security and defence relationship after Brexit. 

Macron understands quite well that an EU without the UK will be strongly weakened on both points. This will give PM May ‘change’ for the negotiations on other subjects. 
Soon after Macron had spoken, EU chief negotiator Barnier made a U-turn and pledged that the EU was preparing a unique partnership with the UK. It is also remarkable, that his pledge came immediately after holding talks with German foreign minister Heiko Maas in Berlin. 

During a session of the EU Council in Salzburg on September 20, national leaders are expected to put themselves in the driver’s seat on Brexit negotiations, relegating the European Commission and Mr Barnier to a secondary role in the final months.   

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