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Britain, EU play game of chicken in Brexit countdown


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Britain, EU play game of chicken in Brexit countdown

By William James and Gabriela Baczynska

 

2018-10-08T153921Z_2_LYNXNPEE970KL_RTROPTP_4_BRITAIN-MARKETS-REGULATION.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags opposite the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

 

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it could not agree a divorce deal with the European Union without a framework pact on future relations, throwing down the gauntlet to the bloc which also says it cannot move on talks until London does.

 

Both sides are eyeing significant progress at an Oct. 17-18 summit in Brussels but in different sequences - Prime Minister Theresa May wants to see the EU's proposal for post-Brexit ties while the EU seeks a new offering from her on the Irish border.

 

What is up in the air is timing - who plays their hand first, and after several days of positive noises about movement at the next summit, both sides are now tempering expectations.

 

May's spokesman repeated Britain's line on Monday that Brussels should budge first and that "there can be no withdrawal agreement without a precise future framework".

 

"There's a difference between people talking optimistically about a deal, and a deal including both the withdrawal agreement and the future framework, actually being agreed," he said.

 

The 27 remaining members of the EU might delay work on fleshing out their proposal for strong trade ties afterBrexit and will instead focus on their own preparations this week, including contingencies for a "no-deal" scenario - given the profound divisions within May's camp over the terms of Brexit.

 

Negotiations on ending four decades of Britain's membership in the EU have entered their final stage, more than two years after Britons voted narrowly for Brexit in a referendum.

 

Top EU officials sounded upbeat last week about chances for a withdrawal deal as soon as next week's summit.

 

But London has yet to present in writing a new proposal for the biggest hurdle in talks now - how to avoid extensive, post-Brexit checks along the 500 km (320 miles) of border between EU member state Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland province that will become the only EU-UK land frontier.

 

EU officials and diplomats say the bloc will not put forward its proposal for future trade before reaching an agreement with Britain on an emergency fix that would keep the Irish border open - preserving a key aspect of a 1998 peace treaty that ended decades of sectarian bloodshed - regardless of how Brexit goes.

 

"Joint priority: ensuring the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom to protect the rights of citizens, investments and geographic indication (locally made products protected by EU law)," chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday after meeting the Italian prime minister.

 

"This is the basis of trust for an ambitious future economic and strategic partnership (with Britain)."

 

But Britain wants Brussels to first propose its vision of a future trade relationship. "There remain big issues to work through," May's spokesman said.

 

"CARROT AND STICK"

Given May's struggles in swinging her divided Conservatives behind her negotiating approach, any final withdrawal agreement may well have to wait until a special EU summit in mid-November.

 

Barnier was to present his "Outline of New Relationship with the UK" at the bloc's executive European Commission on Wednesday. But EU diplomats and officials said on Monday the focus of their session would instead be on the EU's own Brexit preparations, including for a "no-deal" outcome.

 

That could upset London by offering up dire examples of the potential collapse in transport and other economic ties in case the sides fail to agree on a managed divorce - although May's government has itself released reports attesting to the likely disruptions of Britain crashing out of the EU.

 

"It's a carrot-and-stick approach - we are trying to push them into a deal," a senior EU diplomat said of the change of tone from talking up progress last week to returning this week to no-deal preparations.

 

The EU insist Britain come to terms on its withdrawal treaty, notably now on the Irish border "backstop", before Barnier enters into talks on a future trading relationship.

 

The bloc's negotiators believe abandoning this sequencing would allow Britain to stall on the Irish issue. They are only expected to present to member states their outlines for future ties early next week.

 

London, on the other hand, has long been keen to do withdrawal and subsequent trade deals in parallel, arguing that the solution on Ireland lies in future smooth EU-UK trade.

 

Barnier's boss, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, acknowledged at the weekend that it was hard to keep the two issues - Ireland and future trade - strictly separate.

 

(Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-10-09
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15 minutes ago, alant said:

Why is he flying the union flag upside down? Does he even know it is upside down?

Technically flying your (maritime) flag upside down is a distress signal (which wouldn't work here in Thailand of course), which has rather been superseded by radio, distress flares and so forth.

 

Maybe, just maybe, he is aware of that and is making an ironical comment, or maybe, just maybe, he is a plonker who neither knows nor cares...

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1 hour ago, alant said:

Why is he flying the union flag upside down? Does he even know it is upside down?

Ye. Perhaps he flying it up-side down because the negotiations are the same.

Not a lot know that the white stripe should be the thick stripe on top flying from the mast.

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1 hour ago, alant said:

Why is he flying the union flag upside down? Does he even know it is upside down?

As it's also at half mast I suspect he does know. His mistake is assuming Brexiters understand irony

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15 minutes ago, Grouse said:

As it's also at half mast I suspect he does know. His mistake is assuming Brexiters understand irony

 

Hello Grouse, you've been quiet recently. Hope you are well?

 

The dude in the pic looks like the kind who's skiddies would be at half mast as well!

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1 minute ago, nauseus said:

 

Hello Grouse, you've been quiet recently. Hope you are well?

 

The dude in the pic looks like the kind who's skiddies would be at half mast as well!

Ha! See PM

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Before Eire joined the EU, there was a border between Northern Ireland (in the EU) and Eire (outside the EU). I recall some farmers in Eire made small fortunes playing games with EU rules with livestock crossing back and forth over the border.

 

So what is the issue in there being a border once again????

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Will the EU miss the UK?

It seems lots of companies are annoyed about the cost that now they have to relocate factories from the UK to somewhere else in the EU. But after that is done life goes on.

I guess in a few year people will ask: The UK? Does anybody miss them?

 

On the other hand I am pretty sure lots of people in the UK will think about the good old time when they were still part of the EU...

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2 hours ago, nauseus said:

 

Hello Grouse, you've been quiet recently. Hope you are well?

 

The dude in the pic looks like the kind who's skiddies would be at half mast as well!

Grouse has been quiet recently because he is beginning to realise that an agreement between the EU and the UK will be reached, after all the posturing on both sides over the past two years.  He ought to have known that the EU always comes to an agreement on anything only at the eleventh hour.  I only hope that he will be gracious in defeat, as I feel sure that he would be happier if there was no deal and his predictions of doom and gloom for the UK came to fruition.

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I'm going to be happy when this is over as it will free up an extra line in the newfeed for some different 'news'.  This particular horse has been beat to a gooey, steaming pulp.

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57 minutes ago, Retiredandhappyhere said:

(...) the EU always comes to an agreement on anything only at the eleventh hour. (...) I feel sure that he would be happier if (...) doom and gloom for the UK came to fruition.

How does the first rule out the latter? There are not one but two things that need to happen for no “doom and gloom”: an agreement (at the eleventh hour or earlier), but one that actually prevents “doom and gloom“. That’s two quite big assumptions. 

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5 hours ago, alant said:

Why is he flying the union flag upside down? Does he even know it is upside down?

Flying any flag at half-mast (as he is) & upsidedown is an internationally LONG recognized sign of distress. Which, on the whole, seems entirely reasonable to me: O woe O woe is me! I am suffering through my own folly! What can I do?

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Britain, EU play game of chicken in Brexit countdown

 

"Some chicken! Some neck!" An inspirational blast from a more glorious past from the incomparable Winston Churchill, socking it to a feeble French government cowed by threats from the Fuhrer.

 

If only brandy-swigging, cigar-puffing Winnie were leading our Brexit negotiations instead of a vicar's daughter and a bunch of weak-kneed nellies!

 

(You may need to turn the sound up, as the quality is not good. The subtitles are a hoot!)

 

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2 hours ago, Belzybob said:

Before Eire joined the EU, there was a border between Northern Ireland (in the EU) and Eire (outside the EU). I recall some farmers in Eire made small fortunes playing games with EU rules with livestock crossing back and forth over the border.

 

So what is the issue in there being a border once again????

There was a small local difficulty. Protestants and Catholics; republicans and loyalists; green and orange; loyalist paramilitaries and the IRA. General peace and tranquility since the "Good Friday" agreement. It's a matter of balance you see. A border would upset this and no sane person would risk that. Irish reunification and/or remaining in the customs union would both be sensible. However, reunification MIGHT upset the DUP slightly. 😉

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1 hour ago, Retiredandhappyhere said:

Grouse has been quiet recently because he is beginning to realise that an agreement between the EU and the UK will be reached, after all the posturing on both sides over the past two years.  He ought to have known that the EU always comes to an agreement on anything only at the eleventh hour.  I only hope that he will be gracious in defeat, as I feel sure that he would be happier if there was no deal and his predictions of doom and gloom for the UK came to fruition.

Au contraire! I was on a compulsory 3 week holiday!

 

I do not expect no deal. The UK will either remain or there will be soft Brexit based on a Nash equibrium which I will discuss elsewhere 

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These negotiations are not 1 on 1, but 27 nations against 1 nation. While David has tried to find Goliath's achilles as breaking point, it haven't found one.

 

It's likely that EU-27 and UK-1 will manage to get a deal, but it's more unlikely the deal will pass UK's parliament. What then? General elections and Labour in power? Who knows what they really want, if they form the UK cabinet?

 

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1 hour ago, Retiredandhappyhere said:

Grouse has been quiet recently because he is beginning to realise that an agreement between the EU and the UK will be reached, after all the posturing on both sides over the past two years.  He ought to have known that the EU always comes to an agreement on anything only at the eleventh hour.  I only hope that he will be gracious in defeat, as I feel sure that he would be happier if there was no deal and his predictions of doom and gloom for the UK came to fruition.

 

Your assumption has been proven wrong by the old bird himself (Grouse) who is still in season and who was winged mid-flight but will survive and probably break from the heather-cover soon! I agree that it looks like some kind of 12th hour deal will be made but I'm not so sure that all parties will accept it. I expect that pressure from the big industrial businesses will prevail over any possible EU decisions, as usual!  

 

Oh look below, there he is in recovery!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMKcx3wkNes

 

Ah, just looking at recent posts it looks like he's airborne again. 

 

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6 hours ago, tebee said:

What's the betting the UK blinks first...

You wouldn't know as you are not a Brit...The Brits didn't blink to help your lot out  did they chummy...🤔

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10 minutes ago, transam said:

You wouldn't know as you are not a Brit...The Brits didn't blink to help your lot out  did they chummy...🤔

Je suis Anglais
 

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3 hours ago, Grouse said:

There was a small local difficulty. Protestants and Catholics; republicans and loyalists; green and orange; loyalist paramilitaries and the IRA. General peace and tranquility since the "Good Friday" agreement. It's a matter of balance you see. A border would upset this and no sane person would risk that. Irish reunification and/or remaining in the customs union would both be sensible. However, reunification MIGHT upset the DUP slightly. 😉

Aside from Afghanistan, the armed forces aren't doing much these days. Should be able to sort out a few dissenting tims.

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On 10/9/2018 at 8:30 AM, oilinki said:

These negotiations are not 1 on 1, but 27 nations against 1 nation. While David has tried to find Goliath's achilles as breaking point, it haven't found one.

 

It's likely that EU-27 and UK-1 will manage to get a deal, but it's more unlikely the deal will pass UK's parliament. What then? General elections and Labour in power? Who knows what they really want, if they form the UK cabinet?

 

GE is pretty much nailed on imo,and Labour pretty much nailed on to win it...oh dear,thanks leave voters

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On 10/9/2018 at 2:39 PM, transam said:

You wouldn't know as you are not a Brit...The Brits didn't blink to help your lot out  did they chummy...🤔

Yes, those Brits didn't. And if those Brits are as virtuous as you would have as believe, they wouldn't be expecting gratitude for services they never personally rendered. Unlike some currently existent ones.

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21 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

Yes, those Brits didn't. And if those Brits are as virtuous as you would have as believe, they wouldn't be expecting gratitude for services they never personally rendered. Unlike some currently existent ones.

Given that my dad was (just) too young to get called up in the war ( yes I am British) and I'm on cusp of retirement now, any brits who did play an active role in the war  are going to be very old now !

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On 10/9/2018 at 8:39 AM, alant said:

Why is he flying the union flag upside down? Does he even know it is upside down?

Look at it from the other side it will be the right way up...boo hoo to those that dont know

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