Seems entirely logical to the rest of us

For this is what you do in a negotiation:

Brexit negotiations began with a blazing row yesterday as Brussels flatly rejected Theresa May’s negotiating position and accused the prime minister of living in a “parallel reality”.

The other 27 EU member states took just four minutes to agree a hardline stance on Brexit at a summit meeting in Brussels before Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the chief European Union Brexit negotiator, rounded on the prime minister.

They told EU leaders that May had used a meeting with them on Wednesday night to demand that a “detailed outline” of a future free trade deal be in place before the UK agrees to pay any money to Brussels as part of the Brexit divorce deal. An EU diplomat said: “This was a rather incredible demand. It seemed as if it came from a parallel reality.”

Everything’s on the table until nothing is.

They want 60 billion, eh well, we’d like free trade please. Hmm, no free trade? Then wave bye bye to the money. That’s just the way you do negotiate.

Think of trying to negotiate a software contract the EU way.

“We’ll settle the price first”

“Umm, the price for what?”

“Never mind, agree the price first”

33 comments on “Seems entirely logical to the rest of us

  1. That they say it took four minutes to agree suggests, in my experience, there is no agreement at all, just mumbled assent that the likes of Merkel think is agreement. This could easily unravel as the negotiations proper begin.

  2. We can hope it unravels. I like the way they have upped the pressure by promising a united Ireland can join with no problems. As if anyone but a small rump of the English population would even want Northern Ireland to remain.

    But if this was a government software contract it would probably go “Tell us how much it will cost you to do and we promise to pay 20% on top of that, plus whatever cost over-runs you might incur. Without question.”

    Software is such a poor example given the inability of the British government to manage anything connected to computers or IT.

  3. Well, no that’s another way to negotiate. Fix the price, and then we’ll discuss what you get for that price. A bit unconventional but it can be appropriate if budgets are a constraint​, but to talk about a parallel reality implies that someone is losing their sense of proportion.

  4. @TimN Agreed. If it took 4 minutes for 27 countries to agree something, that gave them an average of 8 seconds each to speak, or in other words to agree to something pre-prep.

  5. Two irreconcilable points of view. We think we should get some quid pro quo for any future payments, in their parallel reality they think we should agree to be taxed by them forever before we are allowed to leave. It’s a waste of time talking to them.

  6. Am I the only one thinking that if the whole shebang was over in five minutes, then it was rather a waste of taxpayer’s money to have a meeting in the first place? I’m sure that a videoconference would have done the job…

  7. I wonder whether there is any spying going on? Would be naughty … but stakes are high so the temptation is there. I can imagine a civil servant or two offering titbits for a price or a job or a blow.

  8. Having read AEP’s interview with Yanis Varoufakis in the Telegraph yesterday, I think the UK negotiators could do worse than get YV in as an adviser on the Brexit negotiations, he was very enlightening on how the EU work to grind their opposition down by procedural manoeuvring.

  9. Why is the dozy cow offering these EU scum any money at all?

    It would be better if these “negotiations” started with a large physical fight. A few fists put in Euroscum faces might wake the cunts up a bit.

    That SOS Verstadt (sic–and he is) has a forehead just the size for a US cop style sap-gloved fist to hit full out. That would give him a dose of brain damage to add to his existing quota.

  10. Two years is the maximum period for negotiations (albeit it can be extended by agreement). The negotiations don’t have to last two years. We should tell the bastards that their attitude makes it clear that negotiations are pointless so we’ll be leaving next week, no money for them, no free trade for us.

  11. “I wonder whether there is any spying going on?”

    An acquaintance of mine who Knows About Such Things tells me that every EU committee has a chap on it acting for German Intelligence.

    @Jim: I thought the AEP/Yanis Varoufakis material in the Telegraph today was even more of an eye-opener. Threatening the welfare of his seventeen year old son: ah, the European Ideal.

  12. Doc: In true EU fashion they will declare it still to be 29th March 2019 after midnight on that day so that negotiations can continue. Yes, if they can possibly do it they will spin things out to that point. If we’ve got any sense we’ll have told them to Foxtrot Oscar well before then.

  13. God, we’re going to have months of this dribble, aren’t we?

    What I can’t work out is why continuity Remain think pointing out what a weak position we’re in is such a winning argument. If they’re right then it only shows how inflexible and blinkered europhile policy has been for 25 years. We’ve never lost a war that made us supplicants to Luxembourg and Malta.

    Even if 90% of this country had voted to leave, we’d still have to go through this process. If the situation is as dire as people inisist then we should be readying the ostraka for Major, Blair, Brown, Lord Kerr etc.

  14. For those interested in how the bill breaks down – you can take a look at Bruegel.

    http://bruegel.org/tag/brexit-bill/

    A chunk of the bill represents commitments made for spending while the UK is still a member. The problem for the EU is that the UK could simply refuse to pay, at which point the rest of the EU would need to find the money. (Note that this includes spending pre 2019 when the UK is still a member, but where the money has yet to be disbursed).

    The EU wants the UK to guarantee to pay this for no return. The UK should make it conditional on a trade in goods and services deal being done. The idea that the EU just wants the money up front without any compensation is sensible from their view, but obviously stupid as far as the UK is concerned.

  15. We don’t have to be in past next Friday. We should tell them that our plan is we’ll be gone next Friday, but if they’ve got some serious proposals we may be disposed to listen.

    I voted for hard Brexit so I don’t give a shit.

  16. I hope Barnier & Juncker remain chief negotiators. Give one of them a mirror and the other a bottle of 18 year old and we’re laughing.

  17. If all 27 nations agreed in 4 mins that would include Ireland wouldn’t it.

    The border/custons issue will hit Ireland, North and South, far more than it will the mainland UK. We have Irish foreign secretaries and prime ministers lecturing us that we absolutely must not have a hard border. And yet they also insist that they must follow the EU’s arrangement with us, whatever that may be.

    Could somebody with Irish connections please explain what the bloody hell us going on in that little country over there?

  18. Ken,

    That’s a good link, thanks.

    I can see that it sorta makes sense from their side and as I’ve said before, we have to honour our contractual and legal obligations, if only to show those we wish to do trade deals that we are honourable. Its not clear how many of those commitments are contractual/legal though.

    This sticks in the craw though:

    3. Pension/sickness insurance liabilities related to EU staff: Employees of EU institutions and agencies participate in unique pension and sickness insurance schemes. Officials should contribute one-third to the financing of the pension scheme via a compulsory contribution from their salaries, while two-thirds comes from the member states, via the general EU budget. Member states jointly guarantee the payment of these benefits.

    In contrast to other international organisations, there is no actual fund behind the pension and sickness schemes, but the pension scheme operates as a notional fund with defined benefits. Since there is no fund, active EU employees pay their annual pension contributions to the general EU budget, while actual pensions are paid from the general EU budget. Pension rights are gradually acquired by the active employees, so at each point it time, an estimate can be made on the total pension liability towards current and former EU staff. The sickness insurance system of EU staff operates under the same principles. At the end of 2015, the consolidated accounts of the EU estimated this liability at €63.8 billion. We do not project the pension/sickness insurance liability, since its estimation is inherently uncertain (see our post on this issue) and depends on many variables (for example, the interest rates in December 2018).

    A long term commitment for them to get something that the rest of us can only dream of is not going to be popular, to say the least.

    And how typical of politicians to make long term commitments on behalf of our grand children who won’t get to have anything like that sort of pension.

  19. May – Divorce settlement and trade negotiations should take place simultaneously.

    Reaction – That’s totally unreasonable, she’s living in a parallel reality.

    EU – Trade negotiations can only take place after the divorce settlement.

    Reaction – You have to listen to the EU, they hold all the cards and are totally united.

    Fuck off. Everything I hear coming out of the EU tells me it is a self serving evil evil evil organisation that we and the rest of the world should stay clear of.

  20. Could somebody with Irish connections please explain what the bloody hell us going on in that little country over there?

    Ironman, as a resident of NI, I can safely say I have no idea what’s going on. Which is about as much as the useless politicians over here. They are much happier bitching at each other and playing the victim card for all it’s worth than actually doing anything concrete.

  21. “Could somebody with Irish connections please explain what the bloody hell us going on in that little country over there?”
    Not political connections – but I have been immersed in Irish Nationalist whining from both sides of the border since the vote.
    Ireland is terrified. Their actual interests are for the softest of soft Brexits, but there are internal and historical considerations that make them reluctant to admit even that much common interest. They will be the most desperate of the EU27 to give us a deal that we will accept.

  22. May should get Enda Kenny on phone immediately and ask if Ireland wishes to resurrect its claims to the province, and if so to formally announce it.

    By the way, can somebody answer something for me. I was once told ascension to the EU meant relinquishing any territorial claims against another member state. So how is it that Spain can continue to claim Gibraltar?

  23. @NDReader
    Agreed, Ireland has by far the most to lose if there is a hard border. I really hope there is not any sort of hard border, it’s in everyone’s interest to keep trade as free as possible.

  24. Agreed, Ireland has by far the most to lose if there is a hard border. I really hope there is not any sort of hard border, it’s in everyone’s interest to keep trade as free as possible.

    They’re fucked anyway: even having no border between Ireland and NI, most of their haulage will cross to the mainland directly. I grew up beside Pembroke Dock and not far from Fishguard: the number of lorries making the crossing is immense. They don’t really have the option of making a direct trip to the mainland.

  25. Seems to me the UK’s suffering from the legacy of an almost endless stream of supine politicians aiding & abetting a public “servant” class motivated to serve its own interests at the expense of the public. An unholy alliance. The question is; are any of the politicians & administrators currently in post any different? I see little evidence to believe so.
    I’m starting to think that the only hope for Brits are the French. The UK public is to habituated to deference to its self appointed masters. It’s unlikely to elect an extremest government of any hue. France’s FN seem like they’re willing to root out that country’s nest of vipers & good proportion of its electorate are willing to give them a chance. A Marine victory could really be the UK last chance & only hope.

  26. Whilst I’m all for us going for a trade deal with the EU we have to think long and hard about how much we want to invest in time and money getting one, bearing in mind the core members are hell bent on committing economic suicide in the Euro.

  27. @Jim, April 30, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Having read AEP’s interview with Yanis Varoufakis…

    You beat me to it.

    Yanis Varoufakis covered in today’s DM/MoS

    imho most revealing statement is: no point negotiating, EUcrats just lose their temper.

    Mrs May, walk away now instead of wasting time and taxpayer money.

    .
    @ken, April 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks

    .
    @Street Sparrow, April 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    +1

  28. I think it’s another public sector vs private sector thing. Basically the public sector are dumb ; they can be shmoozed a bit, we’re all friends, now just sign this contract. They don’t really care because as ever it’s other people’s money.

    This is the only conclusion I can come to ; because lefties seem to think we should be ‘realistic’ which appears to be code for “give in to their demands and see what they’ll let us have”.

    You only surrender in a negotiation if you have zero clout (so, say Tesco’s are your only purchaser … they have you over a barrel)

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