Inside the May/Juncker Dinner about Brexit

A German Newspaper FAZ has an extensive report on the meeting between the European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker and Theresa May just last week. It has been reported that the meeting did not go well but just how bad was not know until yesterday.

Jeremy Cliffe of the Economist in Berlin has very kindly transcribed the meeting on his Twitter feed and here are the total exchanges from the article as transcribed by Forbes where you can find the extensive report. I have hightlighted some of the key passages

Today’s FAZ report on May’s disastrous dinner with Juncker – briefed by senior Commission sources -is absolutely damning.

May had said she wanted to talk not just Brexit but also world problems; but in practice it fell to Juncker to propose one to discuss.

May has made clear to the Commission that she fully expects to be reelected as PM.

It is thought [in the Commission] that May wants to frustrate the daily business of the EU27, to improve her own negotiating position.

May seemed pissed off at Davis for regaling her dinner guests of his ECJ case against her data retention measures-three times.

EU side were astonished at May’s suggestion that EU/UK expats issue could be sorted at EU Council meeting at the end of June. Juncker objected to this timetable as way too optimistic given complexities, eg on rights to health care.

Juncker pulled two piles of paper from his bag: Croatia’s EU entry deal, Canada’s free trade deal. His point: Brexit will be v v complex.

May wanted to work through the Brexit talks in monthly, 4-day blocks; all confidential until the end of the process. Commission said impossible to reconcile this with need to square off member states & European Parliament, so documents must be published.

EU side felt May was seeing whole thing through rose-tinted-glasses. “Let us make Brexit a success” she told them. Juncker countered that Britain will now be a third state, not even (like Turkey) in the customs union: “Brexit cannot be a success”.

May seemed surprised by this and seemed to the EU side not to have been fully briefed. She cited her own JHA opt-out negotiations as home sec as a model: a mutually useful agreement meaning lots on paper, little in reality. May’s reference to the JHA (justice and home affairs) opt-outs set off alarm signals for the EU side. This was what they had feared. I.e., as home sec May opted out of EU measures (playing to UK audience) then opted back in, and wrongly thinks she can do same with Brexit.

“The more I hear, the more sceptical I become” said Juncker (this was only half way through the dinner).

Ultimately it will be shadow boxing until the French and German Elections are over, but if this is a taste of things to come,then the UK government should take off the rose tinted glasses and prepare a go it alone.

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  • Paul Hagan

    Very interesting David, also thanks for finding a version as bearla, saving me the trouble of getting my German dictionary out!

  • Nevin

    “Next morning at c7am Juncker called Merkel on her mobile, said May living in another galaxy & totally deluding herself. Merkel quickly reworked her speech to Bundestag to include her now-famous “some in Britain still have illusions” comment.”

    So, Juncker, President of the European Commission, is Angela Merkel’s doormat. I wonder how Enda Kenny feels about German austerity v UK austerity measures.

    Poor old Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has been in the wars.

    The UK certainly faces a formidable challenge from Germany and the Eurocrats – and Ireland has been thrown a few crumbs from the top table.

  • Obelisk

    For all my opposition to Brexit, for all my belief that the process will be a disaster, it sends a cold chill through my soul reading this article.

    That the people running the United Kingdom actually believed the nonsense they peddled to win the referendum is scary enough. That they are only NOW starting to grasp the full extent of how little influence they truly wield and have not prepared to face that reality is terrifying.

    This does not mean they will reverse course. Their pride and dogmatism won’t allow it. Brexit will mean Brexit, which means a low wage tax haven economy as the only viable path that doesn’t involve an immensely humiliating climbdown.

  • AndyB

    Entitlement culture. That’s all that needs to be said – “we’re British, so we are entitled.”

  • Madra Uisce

    You really arnt getting this Nevin. The Brits want out and the EU will do what is best for their members not what is best for Britain. They hold the cards, and this fantasy land the Brexiteers inhabit shows no signs of abating.

  • Timothyhound

    This reaffirms what we already know but is stark all the same. Having seen off UKIP, the Tories have an imploding Labour Party in their sights. May is making commitments to the British electorate she simply cannot deliver on while unionist politicians cheer from the sidelines. Northern Ireland will be caught in the crossfire and will be the most badly damaged as a result. The Republic will also suffer. Agribusiness in particular will take a huge hit. Meanwhile the North needs trade and inward investment to bring the economy to Western European structural norms – eg state, multinational and domestic. Brexit trashes this process. Such a shame that so many pro – Brexit MPs from NI look likely to be returned on June 8.

  • ted hagan

    What makes it more scary is that Theresa May apparently didn’t believe the nonsense that was peddled to win the referendum yet, being the opportunist she indoubtedly is, has taken the reins of the Tory Party to push Brexit through.

  • ted hagan

    And meanwhile the Stormont assembly corpse festers.

  • Barney

    Anything Tusk says or does will be attacked by PiS.

    Kaczynski, for example has not explained how his family came to own a rather large flat in a very nice part of Warsaw. For a PiS appointee to attack Tusk because the Germans forcibly conscripted his grandfather while ignoring the dear leaders Communist/collaboration roots is rank hypocrisy.

    To the brexit brigade’s chagrin the EU 27 have a united position, despite their wishes no other EU country wishes to self harm. Wilders was seen off, as will all the other rat-bag collection of extreme right anti Europeans. Using abnormal and irrational slurs from Polish domestic politics via the traditionally irrational Polonian brigade who collectively know nothing of Poland smacks of desperation.

    It’s perfectly simple No one else is going to join brexit, to believe so is an other fantasy.

  • ted hagan

    Well not quite fantasy. Macron, the likely French presidential winner, has warned that France faces Frexit unless the EU is drastically reformed, otherwise it will be an open door for Le Pen to eventually gain power. I wouldn’t be that confident.

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    Macron and Merkel/Schulz (depending on who wins the Bundestag elections) will likely be instrumental in cooking up a new European treaty in 2018/2019. There’ll be a fair amount of rejigging of the EU in that treaty to bring the EU into the 2020s.

  • ulidian

    Actually the EU is being utter delusional in much of this. Take the rights of remaining EU citizens after the UK’s departure (and I’m not even going to contemplate what sort of wishlist they come up with!). They appear to be expecting that these would be subject to Commission & ECJ oversight. Sorry, but no sovereign government would tolerate that degree of intrusion in its jurisdiction. If EU citizens wish to remain here, then they should be subject to the same laws and judicial processes as the rest of us.

  • Barney

    Reformation never hurt anyone;)

    I agree with him that the EU needs reforming but disagree that the FN will ever gain power in France.

    The wish list of the brexit brigade hasn’t materialised nor will it.

  • Korhomme

    What of the Brits in the EU, those living on the Costa del fish’n’chips, say?

    Those pensioners will find there income slowly diminishing as the £ falls; there might well be no more free health care for them, they might find if they have bought a house that the market is glutted and they can only sell at a loss.

    And if they return ‘home’ having been non-resident they’ll find the NHS doesn’t cover them (except a visit to A&E) for 6 months.

  • ulidian

    Did you even bother too read my post? It has nothing to do with the enumeration of rights – I’m talking about enforcement. Would EU governments accept the supremacy of the UK Supreme Court in all their dealings with UK citizens remaining in their territory?

  • ted hagan

    I agree with you but the percentage Le Pen gets in the second round on Sunday will be crucial to gauging her prospects in a future election.

  • ted hagan

    EU citizens who entered Britain before the referendum must be able maintain the legal rights accorded to them when they entered the country. That is only right and proper. And don’t forget, this runs in tandem with the rights of British citizens in other EU countries.

  • ulidian

    It may well be “right & proper”, but as I’ve pointed out to Korhomme below, my issue is with the enforcement of such rights. The EU position on this is frankly delusional – for anyone remaining in this country, the UK Supreme Court should be the ultimate arbiter. If they don’t trust it, then frankly it would be better for them to depart these shores.

  • Jim Jetson

    You need those 3 million EU citizens more than the EU needs them to stay in the UK. Many are working in the NHS or in high end industries like finance and tech which pay the taxes to fund your NHS. You have literally no hand to play in this, and just have to hope that the EU concedes.

  • Jim Jetson

    oh i just cannot wait for the delusion and pomposity of the Brexiteers to clear and for that moment when the penny drops, when they realise they cannot have their cake and eat it too, when they realise they will indeed be worse off, that there is no upside to Brexit whatsoever. I just hope i have my phone to hand to tape the look on their faces.

  • Katyusha

    Good politics from Macron. Everyone knows the EU needs reform and that its current structures are skewed towards German interests. Using the twin crises of Brexit and the rise of the FN to instill a sense of urgency about the reform process is a good play. Perhaps we’ll see the long-stymied plan for an EU treasury, for example.

    A Macron-Schulz Franco-German axis could be extremely positive for the EU.

  • the keep

    That in fairness has never held back the Irish.

  • George

    The EU doesn’t trust the UK and who can blame them if they don’t even see a reason to fulfill obligations they have already signed up to.

    What is wrong with the EU ensuring that its citizens retain the rights they currently enjoy in the UK? If I was an EU citizen in the UK I’d much prefer that situation than a British government saying “don’t worry you can trust us”.

    The UK is aware of the rights these people currently enjoy. A treaty can be agreed that for any issues regarding these people’s rights post Brexit, the arbiter will be the ECJ. It’s not only right and proper but also not difficult to enforce. All the UK has to do is agree.

  • Korhomme

    I did, you?

    Your point is well-made, but my point is that the reverse also applies. If the pensioner Brits want to stay in Spain, they might find they have no access to free health care. They will have to go through Spanish Courts and perhaps even the ECJ — and none of these will pay any attention to what a UK court might say. And the Courts might well think that people from the ‘third world’ have no automatic right to health care for free.

    And overall, this is one area where both sides must show willing to reach a fair and equitable compromise.

  • Korhomme

    But I had to get my dictionary out to find out what ‘bearla’ was, I word I”ve never heard 🙂

  • ulidian

    So you’d also accept UK Supreme Court jurisdiction re continuing rights of UK citizens in EU post Brexit? Sounds reasonable?

  • George

    The rights of UK citizens in the EU derive from being EU citizens not UK citizens so what does the UK Supreme Court have to do with it?

  • ulidian

    Care to retype that 2nd line?

  • George

    I don’t know what you’re trying to say.

  • ulidian

    I’m using a mobile phone. Your comment reads “being UK citizens not UK citizens”.

  • George

    Oh sorry, being EU citizens, have edited.

  • the rich get richer

    Can EU Voters Vote Out Juncker……..In democracies Politicians / Leaders are supposed to be accountable to the Democracy of the People……

  • ulidian

    But they’re not EU citizens. Unless they adopt the citizenship of a continuing member state, they’ll continue to be UK citizens. Your argument is akin to say US citizens living in Canada saying they “don’t trust” Canadian courts and demanding that US courts have jurisdiction over their rights. Would the Canadian government tolerate that?

  • Jim Jetson

    Yes they can elect Prime Ministers who are opposed to him, so they can get rid of him.

  • Obelisk

    If you wanted a scenario where voters could directly vote Juncker out, you’d need the EU to have direct elections. Direct elections that would give the EU institutions a greater democratic mandate and which could form the nucleus of a superstate. This is why sovereign governments within the EU will never allow this.

    Juncker’s mandate derives from his appointment by the democratically elected governments of the states comprising the European Union. For what the European Union is, good enough.

  • George

    The UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU are currently EU citizens and the rights they enjoy there are as a result of that EU citizenship (Article 20 TFEU). EU citizens currently living in the UK enjoy their current rights due to their EU citizenship.

    It makes total sense that any future treaty between the EU and UK would ensure that all these people continue to to enjoy these rights. It also makes sense that the ECJ ensures that these rights are vindicated across Europe in its entirety.

    I understand where you are coming from and that this is difficult for the UK to accept but from a legal and practical point of view it makes total sense.

    For example, who do you think should vindicate the rights of UK citizens in the EU post Brexit assuming there is a treaty in place addressing their needs? There has to be some legal structure in place to protect these rights so why not use the ECJ which is already in existence rather than creating a new one simply for these people?

  • Reader

    George: There has to be some legal structure in place to protect these rights so why not use the ECJ which is already in existence rather than creating a new one simply for these people?
    Symmetry – the rights of people living in the EU should be managed by the ECJ. The rights of people living in the UK should be managed by the UK Supreme Court.
    (The EU seems to be keen on building up the sort of extra-territorial entitlement normally associated with the USA. )

  • Reader

    Korhomme: …there might well be no more free health care for them…
    Haven’t we been here before? Health care isn’t ‘free’, someone pays. At present, it’s mostly the UK Government that pays.

  • epg_ie

    Yep, just as surely as voters could get rid of Theresa May if they wanted. I’m pretty sure that a Le Pen / Wilders / Orban EU would not nominate Juncker, but EU voters don’t seem keen on the Holocaust deniers and racists who comprise the backbone of anti-European feeling on the continent.

  • George

    The same rights are decided by two separate courts? So which one is the true arbiter of fact? Sorry but that doesn’t work from a legal point of view. You could have a right of appeal from the UK Supreme Court to the ECJ maybe but that’s where the UK has a problem.

    The alternative is an entirely new legal structure for all but I think the easiest answer is the ECJ rather than creating a new entity to exist for the lifetimes of these EU citizens.

  • ulidian

    No – their (EU citizens living here) current rights are entirely contingent on the UK’s continuing membership of the UK. Once we’ve left, an entirely new class of “citizenship” will have to be created for them, should they want to stay. This will be encoded in the withdrawal agreement.

  • ulidian

    Please see my reply above.

  • George

    Of course encoded in the withdrawal agreement but what body will ensure this citizenship will be vindicated? The UK says it will abide by this future agreement but at the same time are telling the EU it won’t abide by its current obligations?

    Meanwhile the EU says it is of the view that the ECJ should ensure that the rights of all the EU citizens currently affected by Brexit (UK in the EU and EU in the UK) will be vindicated. From what I can see, the EU’s position is that these people retain the exact rights they have now and the body that ensures these rights are vindicated now is the ECJ. The UK maybe wants to reduce these EU rights. Time will tell what happens here.

  • Korhomme

    We have been thee before, and of course someone has to pay for health care. At present, as I understand it, the Brits in the sun don’t have to pay, so in that sense it is ‘free’. And if they return, they will have to pay for 6 months in the UK.

  • Korhomme

    Juncker is the president of the EU Commission; that body is the equivalent of the civil service in UK. He may be a political appointee, so he can be removed by prime ministers and presidents in a way that the head of the UK civil service can’t.

  • Gopher

    Not quite entirely true. The U.K. Hold several cards

    1/ Their not inconsequential donative to the EU

    2/ The number of EU nationals working in the UK

    3/ The cash flow from UK to ex pats does not benefit the UK

    4/ EU workers send cash home which again does not benefit the UK

    5/ Coalition diplomacy is the hardest to achieve success with

    6/ The UK will have complete freedom of action.

    7/ Irish passports arnt that hard to come by for European Health Cover.

  • Reader

    George: The same rights are decided by two separate courts?
    No, they are different rights. I.e. (1) The rights of EU citizens in the UK, and (2) The rights of UK Citizens in the EU.
    For comparison, which courts decide the rights of (a) EU citizens in Namibia and (b) the rights of Namibian citizens in the EU? I suggest you wouldn’t expect the same court to judge both cases.

  • Reader

    So, getting to the meat of the issue, at present the UK Government pays, and the issue is whether the UK Government will continue to pay. That’s not going to be a matter for the ECJ though, is it? And if the pensioners return to the UK, it’s still not an issue for the ECJ.

  • George

    My understanding of the EU negotiating position is that UK citizens currently residing in another EU State and EU citizens currently living in the UK will continue to have the exact same rights post Brexit as they have now. Makes sense to me and seems fair.

    Now the question to be answered is how are these rights vindicated? There needs to be a legal structure in place. That structure is the ECJ as things stand. What structure do you suggest replaces it if the UK agrees to the EU’s position as I see it to be?

    As an aside, your analogy isn’t the same as they deal with different rights: rights of Namibians in EU versus EU citizens in Namibia. Completely irrelevant comparison to our discussion.

  • mac tire

    “1/ Their not inconsequential donative to the EU”

    Well, let them not pay it. Not sticking by previous commitments will not play well with those Britain wishes to make future agreements with.

    2/ The number of EU nationals working in the UK

    And expect British nationals living abroad to return home, if this is to prove a sticking point. A younger, generally well educated generation will leave to make room for an older, slightly píssed off generation returning.

    3/ The cash flow from UK to ex pats does not benefit the UK

    Probably not. That cash flow will instead stay at home with those newly arrived citizens. Along with everything else they will claim/put demands on. They will also have votes to register their satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

    4/ EU workers send cash home which again does not benefit the UK

    Not the cash sent home. However, to send any money home it has to be earned. Those earnings are taxed etc. I suppose some of those pensioners returning from Spain can earn that cash themselves picking spuds.

    5/ Coalition diplomacy is the hardest to achieve success with

    It can be but not always. So far that coalition has sung with one voice, despite Britain’s attempts to divide some members. I have seen nothing so far from the EU which confirms your contention.

    6/ The UK will have complete freedom of action.

    Yes. They will have complete freedom to accept a deal or not. I don’t see how this changes things.

    7/ Irish passports arnt that hard to come by for European Health Cover.

    Indeed. And anyone who is entitled to them are welcome to them.

    Those cards Britain is holding but they only have a pair – two Jokers.

  • The Living End

    “/ Irish passports arnt that hard to come by for European Health Cover”

    Wouldn’t you need a PPSN for health cover?

  • lizmcneill

    Let’s swap the young, working EU citizens in the UK for retired UK expats, I see no flaw in this plan!

  • Korhomme

    A UK citizen in the EU who works there and is resident there will pay taxes there; health care (insurance) may be provided by the employer or the person must arrange this themselves.

    An EU citizen who is resident in the UK and who works in the UK likewise, after a qualifying period, gets health care from the NHS paid for from their taxes and NI.

    That’s simple enough. It’s a bit different for Brits in the sun. The NHS will reimburse their health care costs — I don’t know if they also have to pay EU (Spanish) income tax etc. They don’t at present need, as I understand it, to take out supplemental private insurance.

    I can’t imagine that there are many EU pensioners who have chosen to live in the UK when they retire.

    It seems a rather asymmetric situation. And if it is a matter for the ECJ, after Brexit this is an irrelevant body in the UK. I guess a certain measure of goodwill and compromise is needed. (And if the reports that the UK ain’t going to pay the ‘divorce bill’ are true, then the UK can stall with the ECJ for a couple of years. But that is likely to sour relationships and discussions a lot.)

  • Korhomme

    And that culture is a product of, and reinforced by, Eton and Oxbridge.

  • Reader

    I don’t agree that my example was irrelevant. The UK will not be a member of the EU, and the rights of citizens of the other entity will be matter of negotiation.
    Secondly, there is an obvious exception to reading things your way – Irish Citizens already have more rights in the UK than any other EU citizens, as a result of UK law, not EU law. Everyone expects this situation to continue. Which court will have jurisdiction? Do you expect the ECJ to enforce better rights for the Irish in the UK than for the Germans in the UK?
    As for your direct question in your second paragraph, I have already answered that – the UK Supreme Court will judge matters relating to rights granted by the UK, the ECJ will adjudicate on matters relating to rights granted by the EU. I think your term “Legal Structure” is needlessly misleading – in practice these will be laws passed by sovereign states. The EU27 may each be obliged to pass enforcement of another one of their laws to the ECJ, the non-EU1 is unlikely to conform.

  • Korhomme

    As the equivalent of an NI number, yes.

  • George

    I’m pointing out the EU negotiating position as I see it. You see the rights of citizens of the other entity to be a matter of negotiation and obviously don’t see the EU’s position as acceptable. Let’s see what happens going forward.

  • the rich get richer

    I am not sure he is a Sober enough Appointment for an Important Job………

    Probably time to let him spend more time with his Wine Cellar………..

    Watch all the way through…I think He May be Tired and Emotional….at our expense……

  • Zorin001

    Churchill drank his way through the 2nd World War and was able to lead the war effort fairly successfully on the whole.

  • Gopher

    I understand it is an emotive need to underestimate the power 65 million consumers wield especially when they are relatively affluent but common sense dictates they would not be an inconsequential consideration for the EU

  • mac tire

    Ok, so the power of 500 million consumers wield means less than your 65 million?
    You are espousing British exceptionalism here, Gopher. Fine if it works as a comfort blanket.
    Great, now you have a comfort blanket and a pair of Jokers.

  • Gopher

    There is exceptionaism it’s pretty self evident Britain can find other nations to supply produce to consume and casualty number one is the Republic in that scenario. The customer is always right and Europe will soon learn the truth of that maxim if the EU want to go nuclear.

  • Madra Uisce

    Crack on then and see how the six counties fare in the event of a hard brexit

  • Gopher

    It will be an interesting scenario. 508 million – 65 million leaves you with 81 million German, 66 million French, 60 million Italians, 46 million Spainish. Good luck replacing the UK so if I was the Republic I would insure the UK get as good terms as possible.

  • Reader

    Korhomme: It seems a rather asymmetric situation.
    I think I lost a post here, even before I had a few drinks. The asymmetry, as I see it is: There are 3 million EU citizens in the UK, mostly working, mostly renting property, and mostly remitting much of their earnings to their own country. There are 1 million UK citizens in the EU, mostly retired, of which most own property and are spending their UK state pension and pension savings in their host country.
    That pattern may suit Bill and Doris in Benidorm, but mostly it suits Mediterranean retirement resorts and eastern European labour forces more than it suits the UK.

  • Philip Murphy

    We’re trying, or hadn’t you noticed the most friendly voice at the table? We know, apparently more than the average Brit, just how damaging Brexit will be to both our economies, ours perhaps even more so. Thank Christ we have at least managed to dramatically wean ourselves off our old dependence on the UK for trade (before the EEC it was almost 100% reliance, now we export just under 15% to you, but that is largely food, which suffers possibly the most under WTO rules with tariffs as high as 40% on meat). The Republic, to its credit has sought out new markets for its products all around the world, but mostly in the EU (as it’s common sense to trade most with wealthy nations on our doorstep).

    But it makes absolutely no sense to say that the UK is prepared to sacrifice a market of 500,000,000 people to “take back control” but the EU would not sacrifice a market of 65,000,000 to maintain the integrity of the EU (which seems a more concrete goal to me too). Merkel has already told the German car industry that the EU will not cut deals that diminish any of the 4 freedoms, just so that German car makers don’t suffer from Brexit and the vast majority of German voters agree that the EU is more important than VW or BMW (which will continue to sell into the UK anyway as they are premium products, unlike the Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans built in the UK and currently sold into the rEU)

  • Korhomme

    But it does suit the UK. EU workers in the UK often seem to do poorly paid work, though as it is more than they would get in eastern Europe, it suits them. Remove them, and there’s a problem. There are EU nurses in the NHS; replacing them would be difficult — and there is already a nursing shortage. But perhaps they will be made to feel welcome, their labour appreciated and feel no fear of being neglected or unwanted.

  • George

    I just saw this in the Telegraph:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/01/revealed-eu-has-secretly-plotting-block-theresa-may-eu-migrants/

    “Europe is making expansive demands on the UK to guarantee all the existing rights of EU citizens in the UK – such as healthcare, pensions and legal rights to appeal immigration decisions – and then to have the European Court of Justice (ECJ) oversee the deal.

    In some areas this would leave EU citizens with better rights than UK citizens, and it would force the UK Supreme Court to take dictation from the ECJ when it came to disputes over the Article 50 withdrawal agreement.

    British officials say that the UK is willing to rapidly guaranteed citizens’ rights, but the route to those rights must be via UK law with the deal adjudicated by an independent mechanism agreeable to both sides.”

    It seems the UK is going down the “independent mechanism” route which is the type of legal structure I said would be necessary if it wasn’t going for the EU suggestion of the UK Supreme Court being answerable to the ECJ.

  • Gopher

    The EU may well decide to sacrifice 65 million, that scenario has to be anticipated but the direct result will be no deal, the nuclear option.

  • Gopher

    Churchill’s CV was a bit more impressive .

  • hollandia

    French, German, Dutch, Italian etc. Whose big boys will want to sell to the US, Australia, NZ and so on. Oh yes, and Canada who have just concluded a trade deal with the EU. I’d say that’s fairly beneficial to an English speaking country which is in the EU. Unfortunately, there aren’t any now that the UK is leaving Europe. Oh, hold on a sec…

  • lizmcneill

    Santiago and Agnieszka spend money here, too, and Bill and Doris don’t currently have greater demands on the NHS and social services, they soon will.

  • Pang

    Spain surely doesn’t want the brits to stop retiring down there. They provide a year around economy in many costal provinces. Another collapse in housing prices would hurt badly too. Spain need a good deal too.

  • Pang

    Yeah, the satisfaction will make loosing our jobs all worthwhile.

  • Korhomme

    Doesn’t this show just how difficult this one issue could be to resolve? And it also confirms the emptiness of ‘take back control’.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Replace British with Tories … and you’d be a lot more diplomatic.

    The UK should be assertive, but sensibly so. As Michael Dougan said the UK’s centering point should be that its position is close to what may offer the greatest flexibility to both sides.

    Once the UK decides the option it wants to take and can own the consequences of that risk, then the European Union will adapt.

    A reasonable degree of good faith is needed on both sides since 48% of the UK voted remain, if the Brexiters want to limp on with just over half a country by barmy brinkmanship, then that’s the UK not keeping its own house in order, not the European Union’s fault.

  • Paul Hagan

    Don’t know why I used that given my very limited Irish!

  • Paul Hagan

    Well that’s what they voted for…

  • Paul Hagan

    Goes to show what little impact the Spitzencandidate process made back in 2014…Juncker was elected to the post of Commission chief partly as a result of his party, or rather bloc of parties, the EPP winning the European Parliamentary elections in June 2014. Juncker became the EPP’s candidate after beating his main rival, Michel Barnier, at their special meeting in Dublin before the election. So Fine Gael had a role in him becoming the big cheese. No-one whom I canvassed for votes in the UK seemed aware of this (as I predicted). Except one lady whose door I knocked in Hackney said “I hear if I vote Labour then Martin Schulz might become Commission president” I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. Needless to say the local Labour branch hadn’t briefed me on this!

  • AndyB

    Alas, the Tories are not the only ones with entitlement culture – see everyone else who told us we’d get a wonderful deal in negotiations if we voted to leave the EU, for no other reason… than “we’re British.”

  • AndyB

    7. You won’t get European health cover if you live in the U.K. and have an Irish passport. EHIC is only available to those who are already entitled to health care as residents or taxpayers in an EU country – if you live and work in Belfast, you can’t get an EHIC from the Irish Health Service.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I was feeling guilty for inferring all the Tories were, I feel genuinely sorry for those who have been roped along against their wishes here.

    Remember when Conservatives said they stood for meritocracy?

    Now they are listening to their grumpy B team from UKIP.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I guess Corbyn is too … perhaps both him and May are going on the Ernest Shackleton diet to try to eat the “guard dogs” of Brexit as Paul Nutall called his party.

  • Obelisk

    If Spain were that concerned about the British input into their economy they’d not be making as much noise over Gibraltar as they are.

    Britain has an incredibly weak hand against the 27 and trying to pretend it is anything but weak by mentioning this economic sector in Spain or that economic sector in Germany that ‘needs’ British input misses a much bigger picture, that British input can be survived without if necessary and especially in service of greater goals.

    The United Kingdom has made itself expendable. Only it deems itself essential. That arrogance is part of the problem.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oxbridge makes high grade textbooks (e.g. Cambridge University Press) and calculators (e.g. Oxford Instruments)… funny these politicians don’t seem to be able to use either.

    Or perhaps they were just stuck in their student days and got Drunker than Juncker … which to be fair is a bit of an achievement.