So, this happened. EU lead negotiator for the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom is complaining in the press again.
“The United Kingdom cannot refuse to extend the transition and at the same time slow down progress in important areas,” Barnier said, expressing concern that Britain has not presented concrete proposals for certain contentious issues, but did not name the areas, according to DPA news agency.
For once someone is treating the EU the way it treats everyone else and they don’t like it. I guess Michel should change his name to Karen.
Except the problem here is there’s no manager to talk to because Prime Minister Boris Johnson isn’t listening.
The typical EU negotiations looks like this, according to former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
You walk in with a well thought out proposal, present it in detail thinking it’s the beginning of a negotiation only to find they aren’t listening at all and look at you like you’ve just sung the Swedish National Anthem.
Well it looks like Boris Johnson and the Brits are treating Barnier and the EU with the same vague contempt that he and the EU treat everyone else and guess what?
Karen doesn’t like it.
Remember, the Brits have ask for an extension by June 30th to extend this transition period they are in for another two years or negotiations end on December 31st.
If no trade deal is agreed to by the two sides by then, trade between them on WTO terms commences. Given the current state of EU politics and its sinking economic conditions the likelihood of the U.K. giving Barnier even the time of day at this point is pretty low.
He’s behaved appallingly at every stage of these discussions, going back three years, treating the Brits like a bunch of wayward children and the EU the assuming the role of the abusive, distant father.
If, at this late date, Barnier is accusing the Brits of stalling and complaining about it publicly then there is no deal and Johnson is dead set on a hard Brexit.
Because while Boris may look like a buffoon, he’s as shrewd a political operator as there is.
Because we all know what the real story is here, the EU wants to soak the U.K. for the next two and a half years while making them liable for hundreds of billions of pounds to bail out the European banking system.
That’s why they are pushing for an extension. That’s why they are putting non-starter proposals on the table, if any at all.
And there’s zero political will in the U.K. to give the EU another shilling.
Moreover, with Germany ascendant within the EU at the moment, since Chancellor Angela Merkel won the latest round against the Euro-integrationists resisting the call for debt mutualization and Eurobonds, Germany needs exports to the U.K. a whole lot more than the U.K. needs exports to Germany.
And that provides the dynamic to ensure there will be no tariffs put in place in the event of a hard Brexit. Because if they do it will gut what’s left of German exports to the U.K. and its now-suffocating automobile industry.
It means the Germans will set a ruthless agenda in the second half of this year in budget talks while it has the Presidency of the European Commission.
However, it also means that Italy will have a lot of leverage since the Germans don’t want to go back to the Deutschemark anymore than Italy wants to stay in the euro under the current arrangement. A new mark would be far stronger than the euro would be without Germany in it.
And that would also crush German exports.
I have to wonder at this point whether Merkel will reverse course on all of the terrible things she’s done to the German economy in the next six months. She has to realize, with her now commanding lead in the polls, she no longer needs the Greens to govern and doesn’t need to encourage them anymore.
Because their agenda is toxic in the post-COVID-19 world economy. German industry is now severely disadvantaged in a world of $15-20 per barrel oil and $1.50 mcf Natural gas.
Today the Green energy agenda makes zero sense.
No amount of stimulus or green spending as championed by ECB President Christine Lagarde will save the European economy and political system. Moreover, the harder ball the Brits play with Barnier over a trade deal, the more they play the Swedish National Anthem game the more countries like Italy will see Brussels for the inept, dysfunctional paper tiger it is.
And everyone may just get all those funny ideas the Brits had in 2016.
Republished by permission of Gold, Goats ‘n Guns. Subscribe!
Picture by European Parliament from EU – Brexit debate – Michel Barnier, EU Brexit negotiator, CC BY 2.0, Link.