A gang of 27 EU nations hit the UK with a parade of impossible demands. All the countries demand the UK grant free movement of people, but that is why the UK left.
In addition, Spain wants joint sovereignty over Gibraltar, Malta demands the UK get an “inferior” deal, the Czech Republic says “Four freedoms or no freedoms”, and Lithuania says the UK should “pay if they stay.”
For its part, the gang of 27 believe the UK has an impossible demand on immigration control that they cannot accept. If neither side gives, and that is increasingly likely, a hard Brexit looms, very hard.
Gang of 27 Demands
- Four freedoms or no freedoms. The main sticking point is immigration.
- Pay to play. The EU wants money for access.
- Spain wants joint sovereignty over Gibraltar.
- The free movement of goods.
- The free movement of services and freedom of establishment.
- The free movement of persons (and citizenship), including free movement of workers.
- The free movement of capital.
EU Hypocrites on Free Movement of Capital
Curiously, the EU does not abide by its own rules. Greece is still under capital controls. Cyprus was under capital controls from 2013 to 2015.
Free movement of capital? Ha!
EU Hypocrites on Free Movement of Services and Freedom of Establishment
To understand the hypocrisy inherent in point number 2, Look no further than French rules on nearly everything. Businesses cannot fire workers, move elsewhere, shut plants, etc.
EU Hypocrites on Free Movement of Goods
Think goods move freely? Then think again.
Among the many wonders of the European Union was the creation of a vast, free trade zone in which member countries could more or less import and export goods with, er, impunity (not the right word, as it implies something negative about economic exchange).
French farmers, among the most-subsidized being on the planets, have long been mindful of any and all threats they believe might undermine their way of life. And so, this:
A group of French farmers stopped two Spanish trucks on Monday at the toll gate of Le Boulou in southern France near the border.
The farmers then dumped the wine the vehicles were transporting, according to the Spanish Federation of Freight Transportation (CETM).
The assault took place in front of television crews and French police who “allowed the demonstrators to act with impunity”, the CETM, which represents truckers, said in a statement….
“These events, which unfortunately occur regularly, are a cause of concern for the Spanish government, as they represent a flagrant violation of several basic principles of the European Union, such as the free circulation of goods between member states,” [the Spanish foreign minister] added.
EU Hypocrites on Free Movement of Persons
The EU “Dublin” rule requires an asylum seeker to register in the first country the refugee landed. How did that work out? And how many cascading walls in how many countries came about as a result? Is bribing a country with payments as Germany did Turkey in the spirit of the rule? What about the positions of Austria, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic?
Hard Brexit Looms
Bloomberg reports ‘Hard Brexit’ Looms as 28 Red Lines Turn Deeper Shade of Scarlet.
European Union governments are refusing to grant the U.K. any leeway on the link between immigration and trade as it prepares to leave the bloc, raising the likelihood of a “hard Brexit.”
Almost 100 days since a referendum signaled the end of Britain’s four decades of EU membership, a Bloomberg News analysis has identified a hardening of positions with even the U.K.’s traditional allies such as Ireland insisting it cannot “cherry pick” in the looming divorce talks.
Prime Minister Theresa May declares “Brexit means Brexit,” while arguing that publicly detailing Britain’s negotiating position would risk undermining her in the talks. She has said the new relationship will be bespoke and “will include control of the movement of people coming to the U.K.,” a signal that reducing immigration is more of a priority for her than ensuring access to the single market. She has ruled out an Australian-style points system for controlling labor flows.
Austria is pushing for more meetings to prepare for the Brexit negotiations, arguing they can’t be left to the leaders of the large economies. Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling says that “it’s worrisome” that May has signaled she won’t honor the EU’s “four fundamental freedoms,” adding that the U.K. can’t cherry-pick the benefits of membership.
“There is no way whatsoever for the U.K. to have the cake and eat it,” Czech State Secretary for EU Affairs Tomas Prouza said in an interview. “For us, it’s the four freedoms or no freedoms,” he said.
Lithuania’s red lines for the U.K. to stay in common EU market are free movement of labor and contributions to bloc’s budget, Deputy Foreign Minister Raimundas Karoblis said. “Our interests are immigration and EU budget contributions — they should pay if they stay in the common market,” he said on Sept. 27.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says any deal for the U.K. must be “inferior” to the benefits of membership. He wants the agreement “balanced and just for all sides.”
Spain Wants Gibraltar
That was just a representative sample. Every nation listed demands.
Spain has an atypical requirement: Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said this month that he aims to win joint sovereignty over Gibraltar as part of the Brexit negotiations.
My favorite ccomment came from Malta. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wants a “balanced and just” Brexit but one that is “inferior” for the UK.
Essentially, the EU is telling the UK, “you cannot leave”. However, the UK already made the decision.
The threat of a tit-for-tat trade collapse is already extremely high. A demand for inferior deal for the UK will seal the fate, because the UK won’t accept the deal.
Threat of Trade Collapse
- Draghi Increases Risk of Global Trade Collapse With Brexit Tough Talk
- Anyone Believe This? : Three-Quarters of UK’s CEOs Consider Moving Due to Brexit
- US-EU Trade Talks “De Facto Dead”
- WTO Slashes Global Trade Growth Forecast by 39% Since April: “Wake-Up Call” Says WTO Director
Nothing good can come from the EU digging in its heels like it has. Unless something changes, a hard Brexit is at the end of this road, and it will be far worse on the EU than the UK.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock