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So, Eurocrats want the UK to agree a hefty ‘divorce settlement’ before they will proceed to trade talks. This reminds me of a scenario to which I have referred recently here on UKIP Daily. Very nearly 12 years ago, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair returned from meetings with various members of the Brussels elite, triumphantly proclaiming that he had persuaded them to review the Common Agricultural Policy. This is the one that at that time took up 43% of the whole of the EU budget, and of that sum, a quarter went to French farmers.

Much of the problem with French farmers, I believe, is that when the farmer dies, his estate is split between his children, ensuring every farm becomes smaller and smaller and therefore less and less efficient. Here in the UK, farms go to the next of kin upon the demise of the farmer, so it is often the eldest son who inherits the lot.

But back to Blair. He agreed to relinquish a billion pounds of the rebate hard won by Margaret Thatcher, which was at least a third of the amount we were paying the EU at that time. In exchange, the eurocrats said they would schedule a spending review four years later, in 2009, to which the French agreed. I don’t know if that spending review ever took place or whether they took one look at the CAP and decided it was absolutely fine as it was, but certainly no changes were made to it.

Why should they make changes? The inefficient French farmers were coining it in and the efficient British farmers got very little. That suited the French down to the ground, and the British? Who gives a toss about British farmers?

Back to the present. It seems Barnier and his team are saying they won’t even talk about a trade deal until we have committed to a multi-billion euro payment. So once we have said we’ll give them €100billion or whatever is the latest figure they have pulled out the hat, what’s to stop them offering us the most appalling deal ever?

They could say we can trade but we are not allowed to put any tariffs on our goods but they’ll slap huge tariffs on anything we buy from them, or some such other one-sided deal. And if we get narky about it, they’ll just refer us to the document they made us sign agreeing to pay the huge ‘divorce settlement’. “Well, you signed, Mrs May, and we didn’t promise anything but talks about trade,” they’ll say. “Take it or leave it.” They’ll have the UK by the short and curlies.

The EU negotiating team is very good at saying “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and yet they are insisting we agree upfront to this ‘divorce payment’ before they will agree to discuss trade. It seems there’s one rule for the EU and one rule for the UK.  Nothing new there then.

Mrs May has been reported as being ready to raise the £18billion she has already offered in an attempt to break the deadlock and it is understood that some leading Remainers feel this might be a small price to pay for trade talks, but it seems to me that the EU is asking us to pay for something we haven’t yet got and don’t know anything about, and might even not want once it is laid out before us.

But it’s not just the money Barnier is on about. The latest demand is for a ‘hard’ border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, and he’s also suggested Northern Ireland become a separate state, rather like Hong Kong. The temerity of the man! How dare he suggest the breakup of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom! Who the hell does he think he is?

And the third sticking point in the Brexit negotiations is the rights of citizens in each others’ countries. Mrs May has said she will protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK, even going as far as promising to take the rulings of the European court into account when decisions are made in our own courts, providing the EU reciprocates with UK citizens. No such reciprocal promise has been made and it seems that the EU’s negotiators are insisting that we not only take the rulings of the European court into account but promise to stick to them rigidly. Do we really want a foreign court having jurisdiction over the people of the United Kingdom? I know how I feel about that.

One wonders why the EU negotiators are being so intransigent. If Barnier and his team had made a few concessions, then Davis’ team – and the British people – might have looked upon them a little more favourably. Rather than make an outrageous demand about how much they want, if their demands were reasonable and they let us know how much they might accept for this deal we, too, could be reasonable, but it seems that every time Mrs May suggests a figure, it’s “Non!”, followed by “we want more but we’re not going to tell you how much”.  All this talk of ‘clarification’ – it’s not clarity they want, it’s just more money. Mrs May should tell them the situation is perfectly clear: this is how much we’ll give and no more.

I can’t see any move at all towards a settlement from the other side.  Barnier was quoted some time ago saying he “would not move one iota” from the demand for €100 billion euros. If that’s the case, we might just as well finish negotiations now.

Perhaps their intransigence is because they want to ensure we pay through the nose to trade with the bloc and get little or nothing in return, or because the just don’t want us to leave at all and are doing their damnedest to stop us. If that’s the case, they have seriously misjudged the British character. We Brits are at our best when we have our backs to the wall.

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About Debbie (722 Articles)
Debbie has been a journalist for longer than she cares to admit! She has been freelance for the last 15 years and is an associate editor on UKIP Daily, specialising in covering the morning press each day.

13 Comments on TALKS !

  1. Never mind the so-called divorce payment. What about the contribution to the EU financial institutions and extravagant EU buildings with their “essential” furnishings such as expensive art and wine collections?

    However, I would be happy to forego the return of that contribution if our weak negotiators were to walk away and tell them that we will pay nothing from the day of expiry of Article 50.

    Even better repeal all the treaties now under the Vienna Convention.

  2. Yes; and when they have conquered us our politicians will tell us they have achieved “peace in our time” and “it is good for the UK and the EU”. We have heard it all before I think.

  3. “They could say we can trade but we are not allowed to put any tariffs on our goods but they’ll slap huge tariffs on anything we buy from them, or some such other one-sided deal.”
    It’s important to remember that as the EU is itself a member of the WTO, under the WTO’s own rules, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to get a ‘bad deal’ with the EU, as WTO members can’t have trading agreements that are less favourable than those under WTO rules. That’s at least what I read elsewhere.
    The UK still does a lot of trading business with other countries from outside the EU that don’t have free-trade-agreements with the EU. Once we leave the UK I don’t see why those imports/exports won’t continue as they are, the obvious bonus is that the import tariffs will be going into our own Treasury coffers rather than the EUs, which can only be a good thing?
    Anyway, I am increasingly of the opinion that Free Trade Agreements are actually a BAD thing, as they inevitably only benefit big business corporations who increase their level of exploitation of people.

  4. If the general mood of the British people is of the mind that the EU is being intransigent, greedy and bullying (which they are of course) then this may embolden this government to walk away. Achingly slowly, this mood is developing but it is getting late in the day. We have a Tory government who feels that they are having to deliver Brexit rather than wanting to.
    James Dyson should be in charge of the Brexit team. This is his view and most Brexiteers would trust him to deliver more than any Tory politician.

  5. Maybe they are being obdurate because they know we are going to give in.

    • The government will never give in. They’ll present the deal, whatever deal they get, as a triumph. “We only had to pay them £80billion!” they might crow. Or “We only have to accede to European law for European nationals, not the indigenous Brits!” (Wasn’t that all the EU demanded?) Or “We have to let EU nationals in to the UK and they can bring their families, but don’t worry, not many will.”

      At what stage do we say: “That’s not good enough.”

      And what do we do about it?

    • That’s what happened to Heath.

  6. Next time I buy a used car I’m going to march up to the salesman and say “I’m here to buy a car. No deal is unthinkable. I’m not going to walk away without a deal”.

    I have a suspicion I might come home with an Vauxhall Viva costing £51,200,000 but if this negotiating tactic is good enough for the British Home Secretary, it’s good enough for me.

    “Walk away” is right. You won’t even get a car with wheels for that kind of money. You’ll have to pay twice that upfront, and agree to pay as much again over the next two years, just to get wheels. Maybe an engine if you grovel. No guarantees, mind – you’ll have to have made sufficient progress, and you can whistle for an MoT.

    And then having agreed to give you an engine, once they have your money you won’t get the engine.

    And you’ll have to let the salesman and his extended family live in your house for free

  7. The EU will not be happy until they’ve conquered us.

    This is an empire.

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