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Germany and Brexit… March 22, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Another piece in the Observer has some thoughtful points about just why Germany is likely to be uninclined to be too easy on the UK in relation to Brexit. Christian Odendahl writes that ‘for no other country in Europe is the European project more important than it is to Germany’ and hence the project will be protected over supposed immediate economic interests – and that in relation to those Britain often overstates the reality of how strong the links between the UK and Germany. But perhaps most important is a further perception on the part of Germans that:

Brexit undermines and distracts the EU at a time of internal and external crisis. To Germany, Brexit is geopolitical vandalism. Any attempt by the UK to use its security contributions as a bargaining chip will be seen by Berlin as a further threat to Germany’s core national interests – European security – and will lose Theresa May crucial political goodwill in the negotiations. Brexit is also seen in Berlin as an act of geopolitical self-harm, Trump’s election notwithstanding: Britain has become less influential and effective, and thus less attractive as a partner.

However one looks at it, Germany does not depend more on Britain than vice versa. Any such notion is a weak basis for a negotiation. The cohesion, unity and stability of the EU are more important to Germany than anything Britain has to offer. The sooner the Brexiters realise this, the more likely is a compromise in the Brexit negotiations.

Easier said than done.

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1. GW - March 22, 2017

The EU will not negotiate future trading relations until the divorce is finalised. From politico.eu:

While there would be a general conversation about how the U.K. envisions the future relationship during the initial talks, officials said there was no appetite in Brussels for detailed discussions until the more immediate issues are resolved — including a deal on the U.K.’s financial obligations, which some estimate at €60 billion, and agreement on the rights of the 3 million EU citizens living in the U.K. and the 2.5 million Britons living in EU countries.

And Little England will be very lucky to manage that within the timetable. Which is why they are quietly exploring the possibility of WTO rules in the event of no agreement.

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makedoanmend - March 22, 2017

This is core. Many, many people do not seem to understand that the 2 year deadline for Brexit is a “divorce” proceeding only – to see who gets the kids and who may get visiting rights; who gets the family home; and who pays alimony.

Since the UK is formally inside the EU during these proceedings, it cannot negotiate with the EU (or any country within the EU) on a separate basis on trade. This is pretty basic EU law. Any sniff of pre-agreement “concensus” could/would quickly be sent to the EU courts.

Time is on the EU’s side. (Timing of various stages of negotiation is another matter entirely.) The EU in not seeking anything from the UK and so does not need to be in any particular hurry.

Once all ties are severed then the UK may begin to negotiate a trade deal with the EU as a whole – if the EU wants to.

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Michael Carley - March 22, 2017

You can see just that kind of self-delusion amongst the people demanding a vote on the terms of a deal: they really think the EU27 will be obliged to renegotiate any agreement.

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WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2017

+1

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FergusD - March 22, 2017

There are no default WTO rules. Everything I have seen indicates that the UK will have another set of negotiations with the WTO to undertake this time with about 150 countries involved!

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2. Roger Cole - March 24, 2017

It does not make any economic sense for GB & NI or the EU states not to continue the same free trade area, by the UK either joining EFTA or agreeing a similar agreement directly. If this is not the outcome of the Brexit negotiations it will be because the German elite wants to create a European Army for a European Empire dominated by Germany like they had in 1940. I don’t accept that this is what the Germans want, it did not work in 1940 and it will not work out in 2019 and they know it. Of course there are leaders of the EU including our own who supported the Iraq war by turning Ireland into a US Aircraft Carrier, who want an EU Army to go to war to “defend Europe” but the EU Empire Loyalists face massive opposition from the people living in the existing Democratic States as well as those in Ireland whose mission statement is the 1916 Proclamation, myself included.

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WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2017

I genuinely cannot follow your logic above in linking very disparate phenomena, but just one point. I do not understand how it is the fault of the ‘German elite’ if Britain does not join EFTA or similar given that the British government itself has ruled out precisely that because they believe the terms of EFTA membership or similar are too onerous. That’s their decision, not the EUs or Germany.

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GW - March 24, 2017

A bit pointless in the context of RC, but indeed, it’s up to the Little Englanders to allow freedom of movement, recognition of a common judicial system etc. and they can apply for membership of EEA. The ‘German’ capitalist class and their political tools are highly unlikely to oppose that.

But that can only happen after the EU divorce proceedings are settled.

But in one respect RC is right – at least two-thirds of Germans oppose further military spending, in whatever context.

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3. Roger Cole - March 24, 2017

In some of the Brexit articles I have read includes a desire to punish the people of GB &NI for voting to leave by seeking to impose agreements not acceptable to GB & NI which is clear in the Odendahl piece that opened this debate. Both the German Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats in their last election manifesto’s called for the creation of a European Army, as has the President of the EU and the leaders of other states. The EU Parliament recently called for a massive increase in military expenditure by all EU states including Ireland. It is of course true that the English Tory Government opening negotiations bid rejects EFTA, but since a recent poll showed that vast majority of the people in the UK & NI want to continue free trade, I am reasonably sure that EFTA or some similar agreement will be the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Anyway, while the EU Empire Loyalists will still seek to achieve the EU Superstate, I think Brexit has been a blow from which they will never recover. I think a Europe, as a Partnership of Sovereign States without a military dimension is now a much more realistic option as the future of Europe and a good thing it it as well.

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WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2017

Ach all that punishment stuff is overblown, and something if a media myth, to say that if one is not a member of the EU one will get not as favourable a deal is not punishment but a statement of fact and entirely logical. But to skip from that to a European Army, I just don’t get the link. If you are correct thus will happen or not with or without British participation in EFTA or other. BTW I hope you are correct about the outcome ie UK membership of EFTA or similar. I’m of a mixed view re the outcomes, I think the possibility of it going both ways is fairly even but I’m not a federalist at least not short of a united socialist Europe so I won’t shed tears if the project stays as is.

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GW - March 24, 2017

Once again – EFTA membership can’t be an outcome of the Brexit negotiations because these negotions are about the dUK leaving the EU. The EU negotiators won’t be given wider terms of reference and will be subject to legal challenge if they wander off the terms of reference.

Only the EU divorce is settled can EFTA negotiations begin, providing the Tories change their stance radically on a number of issues.

As far as I know the EU parliament has never voted for an massive increase in military expenditure. There was a commitment to at most €100m in R&D some time last year. Really your assertions are on the Boris Johnson straight banana level.

EC officials can call for x, y and z as much as they want, but ultimately national governments decide on military expenditure.

Right – more than enough Bridiocy, for now.

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