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A basic truth… April 7, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Not entirely sure about this piece by Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer at the weekend on how the negotiations around Brexit between the UK and the rEU (or should that be the rUK and EU?) are not going. But he makes an absolutely crucial point which is often ignored in all the rhetoric about the EU. Speaking of how Gibraltar has suddenly shot to the top of the agenda he writes:

Spain won’t be the only country which will see this process as an opportunity to promote its ambitions and interests. The only people surprised by this are those British politicians, British journalists and British voters who have always been hopeless at seeing the obvious. Other EU leaders have parliaments to answer to, media to worry about and voters to satisfy. The next two years are going to be one long education for Britain that we are not the only country with pride in itself and national interests to champion.

That last is crucial. It’s a real flaw in so much analysis out of the UK. Either the idea is that the flaws of the EU are self-evident to the degree that Britain leaving will see others follow and the EU collapse. Or they ignore the investment across the EU of many in its existence (which by the way is a problem where it is uncritical and simply europhiliac). Or as he says they don’t acknowledge that other nations are, in the EU – and we know this from our own, still nation states with all that comes with that.

Far too often the national character and needs and ambitions and constraints of EU member states are forgotten in the rush to present the EU as a sort of monolithic structure with but a single approach. There’s an element of truth in that last at times, but often the former overwhelms that dynamic. And as he says the national governments in every instance have to satisfy a range of requirements from those they represent. And all this in two years?


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