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After Brexit? March 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Ray Bassett writes in the SBP at the weekend yet again about how…

…there has been no serious examination in Ireland of the alternative to the present strategy (of remaining fast to the EU), namely a bilateral deal with Britain, which perseveres as much as possible of the statue quo; and subsequent negotiations with the remaining 26 member states about retaining our access to the single market, either with a special status inside the EU, or, if that is not possible in some close association with the EU. Ireland needs to be keep its options open in an increasing uncertain environment.

Of course for Bassett it is cut to the chase:

One of those options has tone an Irexit, forced on us by the terms of Britain’s agreement with the EU, or alternatively by unpalatable changes internally to the operation of the EU. There is no good option or us from Brexit.

That last is true. But what does he mean by ‘serious examination’. I find it highly unlikely that the potential outcomes haven’t been considered in all this by the government, DFA, etc. But there’s a problem and this was articulated some weeks back in the same paper by another former diplomat. It makes no sense for this state to lay out its cards on the table at this point. Quite the opposite. A wait and see posture is vastly more sensible given the chaotic trajectory of the UK itself (and all the other issues relating to its coherence as a single state). Secondly does he mean that Irexit isn’t front and centre? Well that’s a different issue. He seems oblivious of the fact EU membership remains strongly supported by the population of this state. Overwhelmingly so.

Thirdly, and perhaps most oddly, there’s a further fact. It is generally acknowledged that in purely economic terms the exit from the EU by the UK is going to be profoundly negative. A self-inflected wound that will place barriers between it and key markets, isolate it politically and in other respects, and see an improverishment of its citizenry. Those who counsel that the ROI should follow that exit seem unaware at best and indifferent at worst of the implications of that. Why would we tie ourselves to a state that was doing any such thing? It makes no sense whatsoever – again whatever our feelings about the EU as an entity or how we can hope to move on from it in the future.

That indifference, that unawareness, is deeply troubling.


1. simonjkyte - March 30, 2017

Unfortunately, we are presumably barred from coming to any bilateral trade deal with you


GW - March 30, 2017

If ‘we’ means the UK and ‘you’ means the RoI, then yes, trade agreements are negotiated at EU level, not with individual member states.

And in the case of TTIP at least anti-democratic anti-environmental trade agreements can be opposed by concerted action of EU trades unions, activists and citizens.


simonjkyte - March 30, 2017

That was how I intended we / you. It’s a potential disaster for the RoI in that case – short to medium term anyway. But long term it matters less because all countries need to be more locally self-reliant.


WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2017

Even more unfortunately in a way is the fact that relationships that were considered perfectly equitable for four decades in terms of trade are now being superseded. I’m unsure about locally self-reliant. On one level yes. On another… it’s very difficult. Particularly for the UK.


simonjkyte - March 30, 2017

Yeah very difficult but eventually it will have to be done for environmental reasons if nothing else


simonjkyte - March 30, 2017

BTW the Atlee Govt of 45 specifically set out to make Britain agriculturally self – sufficient….. then the economists with their ideas of comparative advantage got in on the act…


2. makedoanmend - March 30, 2017

That didn’t take long:

Today I received an e-mail from my College (agriculture based in Scotland) with direct ties undergraduate-wise with the University of Glasgow and graduate-wise with the University of Edinburgh.

We have a large contingent of East Europeans comprising quite a few nationalities, and a few Irish. The take home quote for the short term:

“We welcome the recent announcement by Scottish Government that EU nationals enrolling in 2018-19 have been guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their entire course. ”

The principal has also advised all EU nationals, including staff who have partners, to contact relevant department heads if they experience problems in the mean time.

Every Scottish research institution receives a fair amount of research grants and stipends from the EU, and a break with this funding is a real concern now. The Universities are lobbying the government to cover grants that have been approved by the EU but which may prematurely end due to brexit. After that = ?

I’m starting to feel that the fall-out from brexit is going to be far reaching with many unforeseen ramifications for millions of people.

The euphoric brexit rhetoric is meeting reality very quickly.

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - March 30, 2017

We got an email yesterday from our VC seeking to reassure non-UK students and staff while saying virutally nothing.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2017

I’ve heard similar stories from third level institutions elsewhere in the UK. Not exactly heartening.


makedoanmend - March 30, 2017

Yep, much the same here except for the Scot govt. stumping up some tuition lolly.

Otherwise, everything is fine until it’s not. Uncertainty, itself, could become a major factor.

Spoke with a Scot Phd last year and she accepted a teaching/research post in Germany so that she could be well placed to operate outside the UK in the future.


Michael Carley - March 30, 2017



EWI - March 30, 2017

“We welcome the recent announcement by Scottish Government that EU nationals enrolling in 2018-19 have been guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their entire course. ”

Makes a welcome contrast with the Guardianista BLP scum (and their anti-emigrant mugs), who nonetheless recently claimed that the SNP are racist because they don’t want to be that most apolitical and baggage-free of identities, namely ‘British’.


WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2017

Great point EWI.


3. makedoanmend - April 1, 2017


Le Monde

“Brexit : les Européens sur une ligne très ferme” = The Europeans undertake a very firm line

This is article claims to be about a c. 6 page document which will be sent to all 27 EU members to provide a framework for negotiations. It can still be changed before the April 29th meeting of all 27 states.

Some takeaways:

“Concerning Ireland, the country most affected by Brexit, the document calls for a “flexible and imaginative solution” to avoid the return to a “hard border” with Northern Ireland which would jeopardize the peace agreements Of Belfast.”

Seems positive.

“As regards to the ‘future relationship’, the 27 specify that they will only negotiate a ‘fair’ deal between the UK and the EU, and that it should include guarantees against ‘fiscal, social and environmental” dumping. Europeans fear that the British, to compensate for the end of access to the single market, are tempted to become a vast tax haven.”

Seems very contentious since I’m assuming, given recent historical Toryism, that May and Co. are exactly aiming for these types of outcome.

However, one does not yet know what the UK is ultimately aiming to achieve. Can they really have no plan B, C etc.? It seems to me that a favourite UK negotiating position is to never declare what their final intent or aim is in any given negotiation. This allows them to “re-interpret” clauses and the spirit of negotiations post agreement. It’s a virtual unlimited options clause for the UK.

What does “dumping” actually mean?

Finally and most interesting:

“The document states that the 27 member states are ready to accept ‘transitional arrangements in the interest of the Union’, to avoid a legal ‘leapfrog’ between divorce and a ‘future relationship’. Be careful though: these transition agreements ‘must be clearly defined’ and ‘limited in time’. If ‘limited access to the European [as the single market] were to be envisaged, this would require compliance with the rules in force in the Union – in other words, compliance by London with the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, EU. This is a very sensitive point since Brexiters have claimed to be able to quickly escape the judgements of the Court of Luxembourg.”

Some might see this a ‘sop’ to the UK. I tend to interpret this ‘interim agreement’ concept as a way of 1) giving flexibility to businesses and govt. agencies to carry out future plans 2) to co-opt the EU courts as the supreme arbiters of negotiated decisions 3) to clarify that the UK is currently inside EU legal jurisdiction and must abide by EU rules.

Bottom line – divorce first, then post-relationship accords can be discussed.

The document apparently envisions 3 outcomes:

best: divorced by December 2017
medium: extended negotiations until 3/2019.
worst: no divorce agreement finally before dead line

But, as always, the devil is in the detail.


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