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Q1. Good question. Last time around May could claim that her deal had been "improved" by the added clarifications in accompanying documents. This time around, there hasn't even been the pretence of further discussions with EU.

Q2. The truly remarkable thing is the degree to which they have been speaking with one voice until now, despite major differences on other issues. Some of this may be in solidarity with Ireland, a small member with most skin in the game, and a determination that no continuing member will be thrown under a bus - it could be them next time!

I'm inclined to give Varadker some credit for this, although others may have more knowledge/better perspective on this. He loves schmoozing at summits, and seems to have good relations with everyone (including Orban). Being a member of the dominant EPP helps (something the Conservatives never realized).

The EU's patience may not be limitless, but so far it may be a case of "never interrupt your enemy while he is busy making a mistake" (Napoleon). Some may be taking some vicarious schadenfreude at the UK's discomfort, but I am expecting a severe reaction if the UK does, eventually, go the no deal route.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 17th, 2019 at 10:56:13 AM EST
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