Spoilt Frenchman Barnier rants as he no longer gets his way with the UK
We look at the extraordinary ‘hissy fit’ from the EU’s Chief Negotiator on Friday
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org
A Brexit Facts4EU.Org opinion piece on Round Two of the talks – part-fun, part-serious – Part Two
Yesterday we published the first part in our review of the latest round of the Brexit trade talks which took place last week. Part One was very upbeat and covered the British summary. Today we cover the EU’s summary.
In a somewhat emotional and very long statement on Friday, Michel Barnier railed against the British for… well, for not agreeing with everything the Frenchman and the EU wanted. It seems that the man used to ‘Rollover May’ & ‘Remainer Robbins’ might have met his Waterloo.
In a splendid display of British sang-froid, and ‘steef ooper leep’, last week the UK’s Brexit team actually stood up for a free and independent United Kingdom at the end of this year.
It even looks as though the British might have used the word “non” to Monsieur Barnier and his disciples. Maybe even “Non. Non. Non…. Non-non… Ah non…. Ahhh
EU’s statement on Brexit trade talks – Round Two
The Brexit Facts4EU.Org textual analysis and summary
Monsieur Barnier’s statement on Friday was long – over 2,300 words. That’s approximately 2,000 words longer the statement from No.10 about the same subject.
Below is the video of the statement and here is the official version in text form. We have tried to summarise and comment on some of what Monsieur Barnier said, below the video.
1. Extending the Transition Period
These days, every time an EU official (including M. Barnier) opens their mouth about the Brexit talks, they mention extending the Transition Period. If the talks were going well for them, they would not do so.
2. Apparently we now have two Brexits
It seems from M. Barnier’s statement that the EU has just invented two new terms: ‘Political Brexit’ (which took place on 31 Jan 2020) and ‘Economic Brexit’ (scheduled to take place on 31 Dec 2020).
3. UK Government has rejected extension
M. Barnier confirmed that the UK Government has once again rejected any idea of extending the Transition Period beyond its programmed date of 31 Dec 2020. Yes. How many times do they have to be told?
4. Barnier’s “teeking clock”
Barnier introduced the next section with his famous clock. “More than ever the clock is ticking. More than ever.” It should be noted that Barnier does like to repeat himself. We know people who say that if they hear Barnier talking about his “teeking clock” one more time, they may have to clock him with it. (All PC snowflakes please note: This is British sense of humour and is metaphorical, not literal.)
5. The EU's strange priorities
Next, Barnier outlines the three priorities as he sees them, in order. This is where the real problems start to emerge.
a) “Ensuring the proper implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement;
b) “Preparing ourselves to the negative economic consequences that the end of the transition period will entail;
c) “Negotiating a future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom with a view to limiting those negative consequences.”
No Monsieur Barnier. You are supposed to be negotiating a trade deal. Let others worry about the shockingly-bad Withdrawal Agreement you were part of, and let even more people worry about the “negative consequences” for your EU at the end of the Transition Period.
You should just apply your mind solely to the subject of agreeing some sensible trading arrangements between the EU and the UK for the years to come. In an economic meltdown, surely that’s the least you can expect to do for your troubled Union?
6. ‘Hissy fit’
In the next stage of his statement Monsieur Barnier really starts to display his nervousness that things are not going his way. He wades into the UK on a variety of issues, in essence saying that the EU has behaved impeccably and the UK has behaved very badly.
“I regret that the United Kingdom refused to engage seriously on a number of fundamental issues”
“This document must be implemented seriously, precisely and objectively. I regret to say that this is not yet the case.”
“We cannot accept to make selective progress on a limited set of issues only”
“The UK cannot refuse to extend the transition and, at the same time, slow down discussions on important areas.”
As most readers will recognise, this is hardly the most diplomatic language. In fact we would go as far as to say that Monsieur Barnier is ‘in a right strop’. He then goes on to try to belittle the British, again.
7. Belittling the British - again
“The reality of this negotiation is to find the best possible relationship between a market of 66 million consumers on one side of the Channel and a market of 450 million consumers on the other”
Er… no, Michel. Those 66 million people you refer to buy far more from the 450 million (447 million in fact) than the 447 million buy from the 66 million. Your trade surplus with the UK was €18 bn in the first two months of this year, as you must surely know from your statistics agency?
8. Barnier wants the UK to act like it’s still under the EU’s thumb
“Guaranteeing high social and environmental standards… preventing unfair trade distortions and unjustified competitive advantages… The UK this week failed to engage substantially on these topics”
Excellent. This means the UK side rejected the nonsense of obeying all EU rules and laws, and can be competitive on the world stage after 31 December 2020.
9. That nasty British team…
“It argued that our positions are too far apart to reach an agreement. It also denounced the basic premise that economic interconnectedness and geographic proximity require robust guarantees.”
Naturally. For months the EU have been perpetrating the nonsense that they can’t give a sensible trade deal to the UK – as they have to other nations – because the UK is closer by. This was and is desperate stuff from the EU and they’ve been unmasked. We love it.
10. “Ze level playing field”
“There will be no ambitious trade deal without an ambitious level playing field on open and fair competition”
Fine by us. No trade deal then. For more than four years - since before the Referendum - we have written that the EU would never offer us a sensible trade deal because they’re extremist political ideologues.
The peoples of the EU27 member states may feel differently, but of course the EU apparatchiks don’t care about people’s jobs and livelihoods. They’re in highly-paid, protected jobs with some of the most generous benefits on the planet. They only care about their totalitarian, federalist dream.
“we need to refer to common values, such as democracy, rule of law and human rights, counter-terrorism or the fight against climate change as an essential principle”
“Our agreement must foresee the UK's continued adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights, which should be given effect in domestic law so that individuals can rely on it.”
“the UK recognising the role of the European Court of Justice when we use concepts of Union law”
Monsieur Barnier, the day we need any lessons in values and standards from the EU we’ll let you know.
As for your political court, you refer to this as “the European Court of Justice”. This is so wrong that even your Justices themselves now refer to their own court as “the Court of Justice of the European Union”. They recognised that they could not lay claim to being the “European Court” when so many European countries lie outside the EU. We suggest you do the same.
12. Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
“The UK refuses to provide firm guarantees – rather than vague principles – on fundamental rights and individual freedoms. It insists on lowering current standards and deviating from agreed mechanisms of data protection.”
Monsieur Barnier, sorry to ask but do you think anyone will believe this? You must know that when it comes to the British police, judicial and intelligence services, the UK makes your services on the continent look rather like Inspector Clouseau on a bad day. Many of us feel that standards over here have slipped and need to be tightened up again, but these standards would have to fall a very long way before they could trouble you.
When it comes to ‘fundamental rights and individual freedoms’, in WWI and WWII millions of British people lost their lives protecting these when your countrymen failed to do so. Together with our allies we reintroduced these to your continent. Indeed your own country’s various governments in those times had a shocking reputation in this regard. It’s just that normally we’re too polite to mention it.
“The EU will not agree to any future economic partnership that does not include a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution on fisheries. That should be crystal clear to the UK.”
In essence the EU wants the Common Fisheries Policy to continue. The answer to that is no, and David Frost and his team have made that perfectly clear.
14. Northern Ireland
At the end of your statement, Monsieur Barnier, you witter on about Northern Ireland yet again.
You may have succeeded in bamboozling Mrs May and her Remainer team – and thereby some of the British public - for years, but this is no longer possible. There’s a new game in town and it’s called realism. Your whole Northern Ireland issue was always a red herring and you know it.
Michel, we suggest you wake up and get with the programme. You’re now dealing with businesslike Anglo-Saxons who get things done.
We’re part of the Anglosphere of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and dozens of other countries around the world. We look outwards globally – we’re not “little Europeans”.
We are not interested in your charade of political power-gaming, nor in your obsession with ‘process’, nor in any of your weird ideological concepts. We live in the real world, where millions of people are losing their jobs because of a bizarre reaction to a public health event.
Michel, you should be focusing on one thing: trade
The EU should simply maintain the existing arrangements. It’s a very generous offer from the United Kingdom, given the fact that we’re your second-largest customer for your goods, and also given the massive trade surplus you make from us each year.
Then there are a few relatively simple side agreements on aviation, transport, etc. We might also let you have a few fish – but only a limited number - while we rebuild our fishing fleet which was decimated by your Common Fisheries Policy.
Oh yes, and if you would like the United Kingdom’s taxpayers to continue to fund the defence of the EU27 then we might consider it, if you ask us nicely. But it won’t involve being in your Defence Union.
Michel, do please come back to the next round of talks with a better attitude, or we might as well call it a day right now.
P.S. Michel, unlike you, none of us on our team enjoy a regular monthly salary of any kind - let alone one as massive as yours. Nor do we get driven around in limos, nor do we have expense accounts or pensions like yours which we can only dream of. We don't have plush offices and we don't have flunkies making us feel special.
What we do have is commitment to principles and values and we work very, very hard. In particular we would like to continue to fight for freedom of speech and for a fully-independent and free United Kingdom by the end of this year.
If the EU won't give us anything then we have to rely on the generosity of the British public. We hope some more of them will donate to us today so that we can continue fighting. Thank you to any reader who can donate something today.
[ Sources: EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 27 Apr 2020
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