By Dickson Igwe, Contributor
The hard facts of Brexit are beginning to appear. Brexit will not be a straightforward divorce. Brexit could turn nasty!
There was a meeting held at Downing Street-The British Prime Minister’s Official London Residence- on April 29, 2017 between Mr Jean Claude Juncker, the European Union (EU) President, and Mrs Theresa May, the British Prime Minister. The core issue was Brexit.
OK. Mrs Theresa May has stated that she wants a “deep and special relationship with the EU’’. However, her nuances say the opposite. In fact, recent developments look ominous.
The British Prime Minister told the Super Official from Brussels that Britain did not have to pay its outstanding liabilities upon departure. These monies could add up to 100 billion Dollars.
Then, the Prime Minister further insisted to the Official, that all Brexit negotiations should be kept secret.
Juncker’s response was cold and terse. He warned that: “If the UK left the Single Market, Britain would have a lower status than Turkey in the eyes of the European Union.”
He told the British Leader that “the European Union was a legal construct, not a golf club’’.
The very next day, Angela Merkel, the German Leader and Europe’s most powerful politician, told the Bundestag – the German Parliament – “that Britain suffered illusions over Brexit’’.
A European Official stated in Warsaw Poland to the Press, that, “Britain had to meet its financial obligations to the European Union before any exit deal could be agreed.’’
Britain could not just get up and walk out.
As far as Merkel is concerned, the Snap British General Election of June 8, 2017, will have no impact on the European position on Brexit.
In fact, one official stated that Brexit took up a ‘measly’ 30 minutes of official time. The Union was too busy dealing with myriad matters to be occupied with Brexit. Apparently, Brexit is viewed as a local difficulty by Europe’s “Top Dogs”.
More ominously, Portugal, a great friend of Britain’s, has stated that, despite that friendship going back to a 14th Century Treaty, that Lisbon now thought in terms of the EU27, and would stay loyal, to the EU. “With friends like Portugal —”
French officials have stated that, after Brexit, customs clearing centers will be set up in all French ports to control British Lorries and cars.
Another said that the 120 trillion dollar City of London business in Euros would have to move to an EU state.
In Dublin, Southern Ireland, after the UK leaves Europe, border controls with Northern Ireland will have to be instated.
But there is more. The EU President actually expects the Brexit talks to fail. It appears that Britain and Europe inhabit different universes over Brexit.
For example, European Leaders expect European nationals living in the UK to keep all their rights, even after Brexit. In the UK, this piece of prospective policy is clearly ambiguous.
There are technical challenges in a divorce. The UK does not believe that it will be under the jurisdiction of the European Court after she leaves.
However, exiting the European Union is not a unilateral affair. Brexit is complex and unwieldy. The UK will lose influence over how the process unfolds.
In fact, Britain has already lost that influence and, in the future, the UK will further have to follow rules agreed by European Institutions that the country is no longer a part of.
European leaders have stated that Britain cannot “cherry pick’’ aspects of the rules that favor the country after Brexit.
Now, Britain has said that it will be guided by 7 key principles in the Brexit negotiations: engaging in a spirit of cooperation; striking a deal for EU Citizens in Britain and British Citizens residing in Europe; achieving a comprehensive trade agreement with deep cooperation on security; minimizing disruption; maintaining the common travel area between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
However, the preceding depends on the goodwill of the EU 27. There is no guarantee the EU will play softball, and not play hardball.
In fact, speaking to an audience of diplomats in Florence in early May, 2017, Juncker described the UK’s decision to leave Europe as a “tragedy”. He went on to offer a further broadside stating that, “slowly but surely, that English was losing its importance in Europe”.
Then the Goldman Sach’s – the world’s most powerful investment bank – Chief Executive Officer warned, that “London’s financial center would stall due to the turmoil of the Brexit process’’.
Alex Salmond is a powerful Scottish politician.
Salmond has warned that with regard to Brexit that there is disunity across the UK. He has gone as far as suggesting that Brexit should be delayed. He describes Northern Ireland as deadlocked.
He has stated that Wales feels alienated in the process. His own Scotland is seeking a second referendum. England he says is “split down the middle.’.
For British Overseas Territories, and these Virgin Islands, the next few months will be uncertain, until a final Brexit Deal is ‘hammered out’.
Brexit is increasingly looking like a house of cards and Europe the strong fortress.
One wonders whether the axiom is appropriate for Britain over the Brexit matter, that, “when in a hole, stop digging’’.
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