In broad terms, it is possible to summarize the speeches from the EU27 side as having the usual hostile, anti-British content. And as is becoming usual, this is dressed up in language to convey the impression to EU27 citizens that the EU is being supremely reasonable with the UK.
For example, Michel Barnier has obviously been told to tone things down, because his speech yesterday continually referred to what a great country the UK is. Before anyone thought he had been at Herr Juncker’s cognac, however, he then re-stated that the UK must abase itself completely before the might of the EU ‘acquis’ – its body of law and procedures. All supremely reasonable – not!
The majority of content in the speeches was pure waffle as usual. Belgian waffles in the case of Guy Verhopeless of the ALDE group and Philippe Lamberts of the Greens group.
Overall no-one had anything new to say, but that didn’t stop the prima donnas of the EU preening and posturing for hours at your expense.
All you really need to know from yesterday is that all these folk are 100% agreed that the UK must be punished for Brexit (but no-one must use that term) and that any Transition Period will involve absolutely all commitments and liabilities of EU membership, but with no rights whatsoever.
Transition will be EU minus minus minus any benefits.
This last point is essential to understand. It really doesn’t matter what Mrs May or any of her ministers say. The reality is that the UK government has played a strong hand appallingly badly and has shown itself to be weak at every stage. As a result the EU keeps playing an ever harder hardball. Any idea of a sensible compromise from the EU on anything is so remote as to be completely implausible.
Theresa May and her colleagues can use whatever fudged form of words they want. In the end an agreement has to be put into writing. Already the so-called ‘Phase 1’ agreement which Theresa May triumphantly paraded before Christmas isn’t worth the paper it isn’t yet written on. That took 8 months to agree…and it’s quite obviously not even agreed.
Mrs May has rejected the EU’s document and the EU has rejected her rejection.
We have consistently argued from the beginning that no sensible deal would be done with the EU because for them this is ideological and political. The EU elites would rather see their own people suffer massive job losses and a loss of the UK’s security and defence umbrella, than negotiate a rational agreement based on sound logic and economic interest.
BACK TO SCHOOL
A couple of years ago we advocated very strongly that all schools in the UK should be made to show videos of speeches by Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, and others. In particular, regular readers will remember that we proposed that Juncker’s ‘State of the Union’ speeches should be compulsory viewing in schools, and that universities should also show these in lecture halls for those students who wished to attend.
We would now go one step further.
We believe that the entire House of Commons and House of Lords should be made to sit through one entire day of speeches from the EU elites – especially the unelected ones such as Juncker, Tusk, Mogherini, Barnier, and any Commissioners. The cabinet should be made to sit through two days, and the senior echelons of the Civil Service should sit through five days of EU speeches.
In other words, the closer to the coalface of decision-making and negotiating they are in government, the more they have to experience the mindset of the opposing side.
If that happened, we believe it’s inevitable that the government’s whole Brexit strategy would start to change in subtle ways.
We know the EU mindset because we study it. It is as plain as day to us that ministers and civil servants don’t. And that matters because they will never get the best outcome if they don’t understand something as important as this.[Sources: EU Parliament] 06.15am, 14 Mar 2018
Name: CliveB, UK Date/Time: 14 Mar 2018, 09.36am
Message: Do the EU parliament vote after such debates? How often has it voted against a bill? Does it have any real power to alter bills? I believe it cannot introduce nor retire legislation.
Reply: Hi Clive. It votes on things most days it’s in session, sometimes not. When there are votes they almost always vote FOR, in our experience, because these things are ‘carved up’ well before any debate takes place. The EU Parliament cannot introduce nor retire legislation, you are absolutely correct. Those things are the prerogative of the unelected EU Commission. This debate was to agree something to send to the EU Council before its summit on Brexit next week. Kind of a ‘this is what we think’ motion. This is a ‘in broad terms’ reply, because anything to do with EU internal processes is complicated!
Please note that the EU Parliament’s vote on any eventual Brexit deal does carry veto rights, so it matters what these people think.