Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Brexit: There's a Deal

by Bernard Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 04:12:03 PM EST

Looks like there will be a Brexit deal for Christmas, after all.

Brexit: EU, UK clinch trade and security deal - DW

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference that the two sides "finally" reached a deal.

"It was a long and winding road, but we have a good deal to show for it," she said on Thursday.

She added that the UK and the EU will continue cooperating on areas of mutual interest, naming climate, energy, security, and transport.

"I believe, also, that this agreement is in the United Kingdom's interest. It will set solid foundations for a new start with a long-term friend. And it means that we can finally put Brexit behind us, and Europe is continuing to move forward," she added.

Frontpaged - Bernard


Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator said "the clock is no longer ticking" -- a reversal of his warning in August after a round of trade talks left the two sides exasperated.

He said the EU will support fishermen. Fisheries had been a key sticking point throughout Brexit talks.

He said he regrets that the UK had chosen not to participate in the Erasmus program student exchange program. He also said the agreement reached on free movement was not a sign of historically close ties.

(Too bad for the British youth)

UK, EU agree a Brexit trade deal  - Politico

Negotiators had been under huge pressure because of fears there wouldn't be enough time to turn any agreement into law before the end of the transition period on December 31, meaning the two sides could end up trading on unfavorable World Trade Organization terms.

The deal will be a boost to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders, all of whom were anxious not to be blamed if the U.K. crashed out without some kind of agreement.

"Negotiations were difficult ... but it was such a wide-reaching agreement ... that it was worth fighting for it," von der Leyen said.

"Competition in our single market will be fair and remain so. The EU rules and standards will be respected. We have effective tools to react if fair competition is distorted and impacts our trade."

Details are still very scarce, especially on the fisheries that were a major sticking point. See Oui's diary:Fisheries To Be Sacrificed for A Deal

Display:
As mentioned by Oui, Boris Johnson is already claiming "victory over the EU".

Of course, the Eton educated toff is not known for his attention to details (nor for his close relationship with the truth).

Johnson Claims Brexit Victory Over EU as Spin Battle Begins - Bloomberg

However, a simple tally of the negotiating issues doesn't account for their overall importance, and some of the issues where the EU is deemed to have "won" are economically sensitive for Britain. Workers in the services industry, which makes up 80% of Britain's economy, won't have their professional qualifications automatically recognized in the EU. That means professions such as architecture, accountancy and consulting will be harder to sell in to the bloc.

And what happened to "cherry picking"?

JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s chief U.K. economist, Malcolm Barr, offered a different assessment from the British government.

"The EU appears to have secured a deal which allows it to retain nearly all of the advantages it derives from its trading relationship with the U.K., while giving it the ability to use regulatory structures to cherry pick among the sectors where the U.K. had previously enjoyed advantages in the trading relationship," Barr said in a research note.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 04:21:20 PM EST
I wouldn't get too excited.  The various countries have to sign-on and the UK parliament is in recess until Jan 5, 2021.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 04:43:29 PM EST
I for one look forward to sideshow  "third-country" disputes at WTO over this arrangement < rubs palms > diplomatically officiated by M. Macron, should he survive COVID-19, and worldwide antitrust litigation of FAANG business practices blows over.
by Cat on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:14:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Step One has been done:

UK parliament recalled to vote on Brexit trade deal

Britain's parliament has been recalled to sit on Dec. 30 to debate and vote on legislation implementing the government's trade deal with the European Union.

Source at cite thinks both the Commons and Lords will approve.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:18:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Ireland require a referendum?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know.

Frank has previously written they might.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No word on that. It all depends on whether the Treaty goes beyond the powers already ceded to the EU in previous referenda. I wouldn't be surprised if Sinn Féin or other interested persons launched a High Court Action to demand a referendum, if the detail can be said to have departed from the Good Friday Agreement.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In private the Sinn Fein must be jumping up and down with glee and popping champagne corks at the mess NI Unionists are facing.  NI is cut off from England by the Irish Sea border.  NI will lose EU CAP and other subsidies.  It would be hard to come-up with a worse result for the Unionists. DUP simply has to vote against agreement.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is another way of looking at it.

The peace process was achieved and has survived so long because the Good Friday agreement guaranteed "equality of esteem" for those who aspired to Irish unity and those who aspired to British union, and was conceived in the context of both Ireland and the EU being in the EU and of national borders and differences becoming ever less significant in the context of "an ever closer union."

In that context 56% of the people of N. Ireland voted to remain in the EU. Instead, with Brexit, they are out of the EU and its ever closer union between states.

What they get instead is a free trade deal on goods, some regulatory alignment, and a customs union with the EU.

Nothing on services, and everything else the EU stands for is gone. No Fundamental Charter on Human rights, no recourse to the ECJ. As the UK and EU diverge in the future, so too will N. Ireland and Ireland. Erasmus is gone too unless N. Ireland citizens opt for Irish citizenship. and apply through the Irish scheme.

So basically a unionist minority got the Brexit they wanted bar some compromises on trade in goods - which is a far cry from equality of esteem in all its respects guaranteed under the GFA. Instead there will be all sorts of divergences between the rights of Irish and British citizens in the North.

So I don't count this as a win for anyone in the North - just another element in a long, slow and painful economic and political decline.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 07:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 05:05:12 PM EST
  • EU only has to give up 25% of its fishing revenue, and that is phased in over several years?

  • New arbitration mechanism that is completely separate from the existing EU system--but made up of the same players as the existing EU system?

  • EU can arbitrarily decide if the "Singapore on Thames" model is being used by the UK, and put on tariffs as a result?

Maybe I am reading it wrong, but it sure seems like the dodges for the three critical issues might not go over too well.
by asdf on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 05:07:12 PM EST
The Tories will swallow hard and agree. Easier to pretend and proclaim victory now and wait for the blow back later.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 07:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris and Jacob don't have to agree ... there is no opposition in the Labour ranks under Keir Starmer ... he will vote for the deal and tell BoJo the Tories bear responsibility for any and all failures.

by Oui on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 07:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
aaaand Here we go again with anglophone press "filtering" EU-UK "future partnership" ahhh transparency, of which Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom (UKTF) with infographics!

Factbox-Brexit and the City of London: what changes and when
"It is a far cry from continued 'passporting', or full access, that banks lobbied for in the aftermath of the 2016 British referendum vote to leave the EU."
archived Tue Jan 23rd, 2018

by Cat on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 05:18:42 PM EST
<script
by Oui on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 05:27:01 PM EST
Brexit is finally done. It will leave the UK poorer

Trade barriers

UK companies are losing unfettered access to the European Union. While a deal means that exporters have been spared the pain of having costly tariffs slapped on their goods, new import and export declarations alone will cost UK companies £7.5 billion ($10.3 billion) annually, according to Britain's revenue authority.

Missing the cigar, whiskey and top hat

A triumphant British PM Boris Johnson with the V for Victory ⁉️

To convince himself and Jacob Rees-Mogg ...

by Oui on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:19:12 PM EST
UPDATE 2-EU Parliament says it will decide on Brexit deal in new year

The European Parliament said on Thursday it will analyse the post-Brexit trade deal clinched by the EU and Britain in detail before deciding whether to approve the agreement in the new year.

If the EP approves all 27 member states will also have to approve.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:37:34 PM EST
If the EP doesn't approve, then there will be another deadline set.
by asdf on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 06:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New deadline:

"EU states are now working to implement the deal by Jan. 1 through a fast-track procedure known as "provisional application". However, the European Commission said in publishing the treaty that the fast-track approach would hold only until end-February as the European Parliament's consent - expected in the first weeks of 2021 - is still needed to permanently apply it."

by asdf on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 08:06:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In their own words: how Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson signed off

BJ: "Although we have left the EU, this country will remain culturally, emotionally, historically, strategically, geologically attached to Europe."

With climate change and rising sea level, a geological bridge to the Isle will not happen for eons.

by Oui on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 09:09:17 PM EST
Common Judeo-Christian values??

 Fortunately the US is an exception and will solve their own major problems in due course ... president Biden is just sufficient to rid America of the very bad taste. No, the "New World" hasn't shown leadership for half a Century ..,

What will Biden's policies on Middle East look like? | Al Jazeera |

by Oui on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 09:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 10:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dropping off the Erasmus program is especially bad for the younger Britons. This is probably the EU program that has done the most to create a European identity for several generations of Europeans who have studied in another country. Not to mention the thousands of bi-national families: another side effect.

A few months ago the UK government was still promising that access to Erasmus would be preserved:

The proposed replacement (named after Alan Turing) doesn't have the same breadth:

by Bernard on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 07:21:22 PM EST
'European identity' baaad. Anglo good. The end.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 04:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland to fund Erasmus scheme for Northern Irish students
The Irish government will fund Erasmus+ grants for Northern Irish students so they can continue to participate in Europe's flagship student exchange program after the United Kingdom pulls out of the scheme.

Dublin agreed "to extend the benefits of Erasmus+ to students in Northern Ireland even after Brexit," the country's Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris told broadcaster RTÉ late on Saturday, adding that this was "a very practical example of us wanting to continue to collaborate with Northern Ireland post-Brexit."

Harris said it was a "permanent commitment" that would last as long as students wanted to make use of it. "The cost is relatively low ... But it's not a cost, it's an investment," he said, adding the estimated cost would be around €2 million per year.

by Bernard on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 01:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A diabolical scheme by Ireland: educate the brightest of the coming generation; then they will want jobs commensurate with their education, so they will mostly leave for Ireland or the rest of the EU. Take that Unionists!


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 06:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The devil is in the details. Lots of details.

by Bernard on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 07:42:36 PM EST
by Bernard on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 07:32:38 PM EST
And now the Tories are moving on to the next atrocity:
by IdiotSavant on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 09:32:16 PM EST
Violence, making war, cult of death ... an uncivilized nation, return to the Wild West  ... a perfect match with exceptionalism of the United States of America ... reverting to an historical Old World mentality of inequality and a new Colonialism. So sad ... as the planet burns.
by Oui on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 10:26:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"new colonialism" is the old colonialism; the difference that distinguishes one generation from the next is SCALE of volume and value of economic resources expropriated  from the target population by the leadership, if you will, of the homicidal population.
by Cat on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 05:04:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A little bird at the @ukhomeoffice
 tells us @pritipatel has asked Civil Service to scope a policy paper on the restoration of the death penalty in the #NewYear2021 and the #Tories have the majority to do just that. #DeathPenality

And they also have the majority to make that penalty apply to everyone who is not an Ox-bridge graduate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 11:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit trade deal means `freedom', but at a cost: the arguments will be far from over - Sam Lowe - Guardian
Where the UK did attempt to maximise trade opportunities, its efforts largely fell flat. British negotiators failed to convince the EU to reduce the frequency of border checks on food products imported from the UK (such as langoustines and lamb); failed to ensure that UK professional qualifications would be recognised across the EU; failed to include provisions allowing UK-based testing centres to continue certifying products for the EU market; and failed to win the argument in favour of allowing imported foreign parts (such as car components) from Japan and elsewhere to count towards the agreement's rules-of-origin thresholds, which determine whether a product can be traded tariff-free or not.

... greater liberalisation of services trade, for example, would at the very least require the UK to accept freedom of movement. And negotiating with the union from the outside will remain an unpleasant experience: just ask the Swiss.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 05:13:55 PM EST
The UK Falls Into an Elephant Trap of Its Own Making on Brexit - Anton Spisak
That the UK is prepared to drop most of its offensive interests in the hope of getting away with fewer obligations reflects a deep hostility in Downing Street towards any agreement that would tie Britain into constraints on its regulatory sovereignty.

... Worse, this strategy will put the UK in a very hard position in the endgame of the negotiation. If there is one lesson that the prime minister and his advisors ought to learn from the tortuous saga of the Brexit years, it is that Brussels excels at dominating the process. It will shy away from making any big concessions until the clock runs out. Then, when it confronts the prime minister with an oven-ready treaty text prepared in advance by EU lawyers, Boris Johnson will find himself facing a stark choice between accepting a bare-bones trade deal--asking the UK to commit to rules on state-aid but without any quid pro quo on the UK's offensive interests--and a disruptive no-deal. Having abandoned his offensive asks by that point, he will have little bargaining power at that crucial phase of the negotiation.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 05:33:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I surely can't be the first to say...

"So long, and thanks for 25% of the fish"

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 10:28:06 AM EST
but seriously...
"We are leaving the EU THEREFORE we are taking back control of our fisheries" is one of the biggest fattest non-sequiturs of the whole circus...

The UK has had arrangements with its neighbours for centuries about fishing boats in its sovereign waters... including the centuries when Brittannia literally ruled the waves. The neighbours are now all in the EU (except Norway and Iceland), but the idea that Brexit puts them in a stronger position in these negotiations is a bit odd. Boris putting the issue front and centre for the do-or-die cliff-edge negotiations was always a bit risky... and  now he has effectively died, without a wimper, on this issue. Very Boris of him.

As for the UK fishing people crying ruin... I find this odd, they certainly haven't lost anything. One supposes that some have made big investments to increase their capacity, based on a Boris promise. They should have bought Boris insurance.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 03:30:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is not the UK taking back 25% of the quotas allocated to EU members - spread out over 5 years? That's an extra 5% p.a. and may be all that the UK fleet has the capacity to absorb. Given that most of this fish will be sold back to the EU in any case and the UK s incurring the costs of catching it, all that's left for the Brits is whatever profit margin is made on the fish which is a small % of a small %.

Not v. significant in the grand scheme of things especially if an independent Scotland takes much of it away with them in due course.

What the agreement does do (besides saving Irish agricultural exports) is ensure that any UK decline will be a slow burn rather than an abrupt collapse. I'm sure the French won't make it easy for non-essential goods to pass through Calais, but that's another story. UK manufacturing is dying on its feet in any case, and and can't see the EU granting equivalence for UK services any time soon.

But most Brexiteers I have blogged with seem happy to move on at this stage. I'm not sure they realise just how profound the long term cumulative effects will be.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 04:20:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the most English fishing boat?

It is comparable to the argument over here about what is the "most American car." It depends entirely on how you measure it: the brand, the location of the corporate headquarters, the location of the assembly plants, the location of the supplier factories...

My guess is that a bunch of French fishing fleet owners will work out how to leverage the new system so that they can still catch fish and sell them to the fish and chips shops in England. Maybe at a higher price as the rules and regulations are clarified.

It is a bit nuts to expect prices to stay the same when you pull out of a free trade agreement and enter into an agreement where trade costs increase.

by asdf on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 07:55:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 03:24:54 PM EST
by asdf on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 08:26:55 PM EST
Is the protocol(s) to re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Austro-Hungarian Empire also included?

(Asking for a friend)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 at 04:50:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does it mention the Auld Alliance (which would help Scots who want to keep EU citizenship)?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 at 05:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a mention of Mary, Queen of Scotland, as and EU ally could have been included in a "Scotland Protocol" - similar to the N. Ireland Protocol.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 at 07:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what about the 120,000 crowns France was supposed to pay for England giving up all rights to Calais?  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 at 10:20:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention the annual fee England owes Genoa for the use of their flag.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 at 10:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if we go back that far in time, let's talk about fishing rights for Flanders:

Flanders holds 1666 charter in reserve to fish in English waters

Flemish trawler men have less to fear than most if no deal is reached thanks a privilege granted to fifty Bruges fishers in 1666.  Under this privilege, `Privilegie der Visscherie' (Privilege of Fisheries), the Bruges fishers are granted the `eternal right' to fish in English waters. Flemish fisheries minister, Hilde Crevits, who also doubles as economy minister and deputy premier waved the document about on Flemish radio last week.
by Bernard on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 12:23:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
5 reasons the UK failed in Brexit talks - Jonathan Powell - politico.eu
First, we massively overestimated the strength of our negotiating position. ...

Second, we fired the starting gun before we had worked out our own position, with the result that we spent the first two years negotiating with ourselves ...

Third, we prioritized principles of sovereignty over economic interests and put defensive steps protecting a theoretical concept we don't actually want to use ahead of practical benefits. ...

Fourth, trust is fundamental to any successful negotiation. We willfully destroyed the EU's trust ... by threatening to unilaterally renege on the Northern Ireland Protocol. ...

Fifth, and most unforgivably, we never developed a strategic plan for the negotiations. ... the government seemed to think it was alright to turn up for these talks and hope things would work out.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 05:16:52 AM EST
Sixth, the entire idea was economically suicidal, socially ludicrous, and internally inconsistent from the start. No variety of clever or sophisticated or powerful negotiating position would overcome the stupidity of the basic underlying concept.
by asdf on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 04:26:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't make that sh*t up, episode MMXXXLLL:

Boris Johnson's father applying for French citizenship - Politico.eu

PARIS -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's father said on Thursday he wanted to become a French citizen to maintain his ties with the European Union after Brexit.

"If I understand it correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was totally French as was her grandfather. So for me it is about reclaiming what I already have. And that makes me very happy," Stanley Johnson, told RTL radio.

"I will always be a European, that's for sure. One cannot tell the British people: you are not Europeans. Europe is more than the single market. Having a tie with the European Union is important," he added in French.

Both father and son are fully fluent in French, BTW; not that this is unusual for the British upper crust (or the Royal family).

by Bernard on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 01:31:36 PM EST
The contempt of the UK government for its own citizens is breathtaking.

The whole cliff-edge scenario, the stop-start negotiations, the rhetoric that they would be happy with no deal... all bluff, all bullshit.

And it wasn't the EU they were bluffing... Barnier's crew were keenly aware of the weakness of the UK bargaining position, and of their absolute need of a deal. The exorbitant fisheries demands were a fig leaf : an excuse to leave the sign-off of the deal as late as possible, so late that there is zero effective parliamentary scrutiny...

And the general UK public, who are never going to read the deal nor any serious analysis of it, are suitably impressed by all the grandstanding... apparently.

And Labour, under the new boy, have decided to say nothing about all this, for fear of being labelled unpatriotic... and thus make themselves complicit with the lie.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 02:26:12 PM EST
Excellent!

The top ten or so European universities have now left the EU! The UK is free to find for example top Indian and Pakistani research talent without being hampered by EU rules.

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 7th, 2021 at 09:58:26 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]