It looks as if those all-important negotiations between the UK and EU over their future relationship are not progressing at all well, after the No10 Press Twitter feed put out a European Commission presentation slide with the comment “In 2017 the EU showed on their own slide that a Canada type FTA was the only available relationship for the UK. Now they say it’s not on offer after all. [Michel Barnier] what’s changed?”
That bit of bluster wasn't true, either
This was meant to be the UK talking tough, showing those Rotten Foreigners™ that we weren’t just going to stand there. We were also going to stand somewhere else! And we might sit down or jump around! The problem with this cheap propagandising is that the Government knows full well what the EU is offering. Here’s how the Guardian put it.
“Michel Barnier has rejected British demands for a Canada-style trade deal that would free the UK from EU rules [my emphasis] … [he] noted that the prime minister had agreed only six months ago to stick to the EU’s state aid rules and current social and environmental regulations after the transition period”. The EU was not being distracted.
“The British government seized upon a change to the EU’s draft negotiating mandate, leaked to the Guardian, which sources in Downing Street suggested was an attempt to win back the Parthenon marbles for Athens … One senior EU source likened the row as throwing a ‘dead cat’ on the table”. The EU saw us coming. So what’s the reality?
Dave Keating spelled it out. “A Canada-style FTA *is* on offer, but with extra guarantees for a level playing field because of the UK's geographic proximity. The EU27 have made this very clear for three years, first in Council Conclusions adopted shortly after Theresa May triggered article 50 in 2017 … the *exact* FTA that the EU has with Canada, without regulatory alignment guarantees, cannot be replicated for a European country. No country in Europe has tariff-free access to the EU's market without regulatory alignment”. Quite.
The Guardian’s Brussels correspondent Jennifer Rankin added “Senior EU officials angered by this slide, which they see as deeply disingenuous and a bad sign for negotiations to come. The idea of a level playing field was in the EU's first Brexit guidelines in 2017. Boris Johnson signed up to LPF in the political declaration [my emphasis]”.
Former Australian trade negotiator Dmitry Grozoubinski asked: “Who is this FOR? No. 10 knows what the EU meant with these slides. The EU knows what they meant. It's not complicated. The campaign is over. Government has a huge majority. There is no opposition. Why continue debasing the discourse [for] retweets from UK MAGA-hats?”
He went on “Each step on the ladder represents a TYPE of EU relationship, not a commitment to copy paste an existing treaty. EU Membership … EFTA Partial SM … Swiss Piecemeal SM … Ukraine AA … Turkey Partial CU … Free Trade Agreement. Each step required individual, bespoke negotiations. Same as now”.
They all know what Barnier meant. The UK negotiators know what Barnier meant. An increasing number of voters know what Barnier meant. This is just pointless bluster.
The bad faith negotiation-by-Twitter has to stop. Before it really fouls up the UK.APPEAL The Legalballs Fund: I made a mistake. Now I need to raise £16,500 to cover a legal bill. You can chip in to help me HERE - all help is gratefully received. Thanks for reading this far!