Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It is easy to argue that the EU has a vested interest in offering a bad deal in order to avoid encouraging other separatist parties and also in the hope that a bad deal might encourage the UK to change its mind once the "have cake and eat it" promises of the Brexiteers are thoroughly demolished.

But I think the fuller explanation - which you have averred to elsewhere - is that the EU is an incredibly rule bound institution with very specific Treaty derived competencies which define very precisely what it can and can't do or offer to the UK. Unlike the UK government, it can't make up policy on the hoof.

Specifically it can't offer a deal which:

  1. Might fall foul of an existing Treaty or require a new Treaty to be enacted by all member states
  2. Provide the UK with benefits it might then have to offer all other trading partners under WTO rules.
  3. Undermine hard won trade deals already signed with other trading partners
  4. Might fail to gain the support of the EU Commission, Parliament, and at least a weighted majority of the Council some of which might in any case be already minded to oppose a deal for somewhat separate reasons - e.g. Gibraltar, military bases on Cyprus, treatment of eastern European migrant workers, prospective corporate tax competition, regulatory arbitrage, GFA in N.Ireland...

The UK has already ruled out all the EU's preferred options: continued full membership, membership of Single Market and Customs Union, Norway, Switzerland, Canada FTA, Japan FTA etc.

Sure, the EU can discuss a "bespoke" deal, because all those arrangements are in some sense bespoke. But they all took a very long time to negotiate and ratify.  If the UK wants any deal any time soon, it can't stray too far from an established template.

I think part of the problem is that UK commentators believe their own propaganda about an all powerful Brussels bureaucracy which can ride roughshod over member states - as they claim it has done over the UK. The reality is that the EU only has those powers specifically delegated to it by member states (including the UK) by unanimous consent. That doesn't include being very generous to third parties: ask other independent states about how easy it is to do business with the EU...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 21st, 2018 at 10:52:20 PM EST
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