Failed Mogherini’s bit of trolling May

It looks the EU top diplomat Federcia Mohgerini’s attempt to troll the UK Prime Minister May failed – there will be no ‘hung’ Parliament in the UK, and #Brexit talks will start in 10 days as foreseen due to the alliance between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), joining with 10 MPs. Apparently the heavy-weight in politics May is not an easy target even for mega-trolls:)

However it would be better for the EU executives to restrain from the trolling PM May in the future, because on contrary to Brussels, leaving without the Article 50 deal has a lot of political benefits for the Conservatives, delivering  the desirable STOP of paying Brussels all at once. The departure of the  UK being a second net contributor with full membership fee of £17.8 billion (the deduction of the Thacher’s rebate reduces it to £12.9 billion),  or £35 million a day, – this departure leaves the EU without an answer how to mend the giant hole in the pocket.

The chances of Conservatives oping for #hardBrexit in alliance with DUP loom large, envisaging the scenario of the UK leaving Brussels ‘elite’ insolvent, and immobilized to move forward their ultimate target of ‘more Europe.’

Tusk: ‘good will’ for Brexit

“…We confirmed our strong commitment to the transatlantic relationship, and to further strengthening security cooperation, including between NATO and the EU” – said President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

“… Let me make a general remark about Brexit. These negotiations are difficult enough as they are. If we start arguing before they even begin, they will become impossible. The stakes are too high to let our emotions get out of hand. Because at stake are the daily lives and interests of millions of people on both sides of the Channel. We must keep in mind that in order to succeed, today we need discretion, moderation, mutual respect and a maximum of good will.” – said President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

Brexit: unfair reciprocity

 

Workers

Anna van Densky OPINION The first set of Brexit recommendations presented by Chief negotiator EU27 Michel Barnier strikes even unexperienced in politics eye by its unfairness – there can not be a reciprocity between the population of the EU27 bloc and the UK as a major principle of talks, because of the differences in capacities both human and natural resources as huge.

Even at first glance the idea of reciprocity, put forward by Barnier is at odds with the concept of fairness. The offer of identical rights for EU27 citizens in UK, and vice versa looks just only in words.

According to the United Nations Population Division, the number of British people living in the EU is 1.2 million with the largest communities in Spain – 309,000, Ireland – 255,000, France – 185,000 and Germany – 103,000. Many of the British emigrants to Europe, especially Ireland, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, France and Spain, are self-sufficient retirees so the numbers in employment are fewer than the total number of residents.

Only in  2013/14 the UK spent £1.4 billion on state pension payments to recipients living elsewhere in the European Union, making the UK senior citizens an asset to local economies in Mediterranean countries.

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford underlines the fact of the UK being one of three countries which opened its borders straight away to workers from the new member states when the EU expanded to the East in 2004.

Subsequently over half of nowadays 3,2 million immigrants  – 1.6 million—of the EU nationals living in UK arrived between 2006 and 2014.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey estimates for 2015, there were 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK – 1.6 million from the EU14,  (ante 2004 enlargement), 1.3 million from the EU8 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia), 300,000 from Romania and Bulgaria and the remainder from the other EU countries of Malta, Cyprus and Croatia.

The simple arithmetics reveals that the idea of ‘reciprocity’ put forward by the EU27 does not correlate with the idea of justice, as  the UK would be obliged to give equal rights and access to its social system to more than three million EU27 citizens in exchange for their own roughly one million living abroad looks already as a disproportionate claim.

Especially with a close-up to the social profile of the residents, while the Britons in the EU are mainly highly skilled labor or retired, while the EU27 in majority represent low-skilled labor, and their dependents.

Clearly if this EU27 claim of reciprocity persists the leaving without a deal would be the best option. The British expats can continue their stay in the legal frame preceding the UK entering the EU under a principle articulated by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969, stipulating that the withdrawal from a treaty releases the parties from any future obligations to each other but does not affect any rights or obligations acquired under it before withdrawal. However in this case Briton would not be obliged to sign an asymmetrical deal, meaning they have to intake 2 million immigrants above the symmetrical 1,2 million in exchange for UK citizens wishing to stay in the EU.

 

 

Brexit day: farwell to Larry…

Larry the cat

 

In Brussels the triggering Article 50 day is a sunny for Sir Tim Barrow, who handed the letter, for the UKIP MEPs, for all those who voted #Brexit, and quite a grim experience for those who laments the departure of the UK, venturing how to remain in the European projet without its avantgarde.

The word whispered in Brussels corridors of power is the one Nigel Farage articulates aloud: would the European project exist in two-years time? And even if it does, how far its mutation goes?.. With Marine Le Pen as a front-runner of the French elections, and Geert Wilders promise to get 300 000 signatures to launch #Nexit referendum initiative for Dutch…

Whatever the way the project goes,  the moral blow of leaving the EU by Brittons is not to be recovered: feeling unwanted by the nation of so many virtues, the European adventure loses its glam and glitter, converting the remainers  into “down-shifters” on the ruins of the great ambitions, resembling the bunch of herders on the antiquities of Ancient Rome.

It looks like Europe once again remainers failed to get together into a powerful entity, so many times desired through its history, falling apart into ‘multi-speed’ congregation, looking different directions, without a rotational axis, replaced by spindles.

Me, I just suddenly realised that the moment Sir Tim handed The Letter, that my Brussels ‘capital of Europe’ habitat has been downgraded to a provincial one, with époque d’oré bygone.

But even worse than losing  the UK financial contribution, it will be a loss of British great sense of humour. It looks like without funny #Larry’s (pictured) tweet participation I have to get used to exist in quite bland space surrounded by the functionaries, devoted keepers of the acquis communautaire with a penchant for grey,  pushing our lives into the Procrustes bed of regulations and directives…

#Anna van Densky (this is a highly personal, apolitical note without any relation to my professional activities as a political commentator:)

 

Barnier: Brexit “reasonable negotiator”

barnier-negociator

 

“There are lots of people who are jumping up and down saying ‘Oh, we’ve got this dangerous Frenchman (Barnier – av) in here that’s going to undermine London’,” said Syed Kamall, pro-Brexit leader of May’s Conservatives in the European Parliament. “It’s not like that.

“He’s going to be a reasonable negotiator,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to agree at the end of the day. But I can think of few other people that I would want on the other side of the negotiating table.”

Barnier knows Brexit Secretary David Davis from their time as Europe ministers in the 1990s – part of a vast contact list of people from many walks of life that Barnier has built in four decades since he was elected to parliament aged just 27.

Not all who know Barnier share Kamall’s assurance he can keep talks civil. One City executive said Barnier won “grudging respect” from British negotiators for coming to understand their issues and improving his English. But he also came over as aloof and “patrician”, brusque with his staff and juniors, and “vain”.

Barnier  told French newspaper La Depeche he would go into talks “neither naive nor with preconceptions”, and recalled his last major negotiations:

“My strategy was to work with the British and the City … and not to pass laws against them or without them. So although we’re now in a different context, a deal on Brexit is possible.”

 

Treaty of Rome: balance sheet

 

Signature of the Treaty of RomeNext month the EU leaders will gather in Italian capital , 26/01/2017,  to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. However, in view of the UK imminent departure, and multiple crises the EU project suffers, one does  not expect any opulent festivities. The situation is aggravated by the banking crisis in Italy, considering the departure from the eurozone, and exhausted by invasion of illegal migrants from Africa.

According to the EU officials a new document expected to be signed by 27 EU leaders, committing them to a new concept for the bloc, without the UK. There is also some concern, or even fear of the UK government to trigger the #Brexit  article 50 the very same day to overshadow the symbolism of the date.

Initially anticipated as a huge celebration, the event will be reduced to a sober political meeting without red carpets and fireworks. No flamboyant declarations or promises will be made, awaiting the results of French elections in May with Marine Le Pen of Front National leading in polls, promising her electorate a referendum on the EU membership of France in six month after the ascendance to power.

UK to walk away without a deal?

 

trump-and-may

The UK departure without a deal as a concept appears persistently in different contexts, approaching the date of the triggering Article 50, promised by Prime Minister Theresa May in March, likely before the Treaty of Rome celebrations on the 27th, but after the Dutch general elections on the 15th. The UK officials do not wish to harm the fragile ties with the EU27, and complicate the situation of one millions of compatriots, chosen the continental Europe as their home.

The hostile rhetoric of the EU high officials, especially the Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, and the veteran of the EU project, made many politicians and experts to consider the departure without any settlement as a viable option, shielded by the WTO rules.

The perspective of the free-trade agreement with the US, opened after the visit of the PM May to the White House, makes ‘no deal better than a poor deal’ approach a leading trend.

Picture: US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May walking through White House gallery.