Britain misread the EU’s resolution to settle the Northern Ireland dispute
The author is the managing director of Europe and Asia Group Europe
Threatening the EU Northern Ireland Agreement, Britain once again risked mistaking its wishes for reality. There may be different opinions within the EU. There won’t be—if forced—the kind of obvious division that London imagined.
Despite promises to strengthen negotiations and Slightly softer tone Last week, Lord David Frost, the Brexit Secretary, and Marros Sevkovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, said that Brussels was worried that the British government might notify it of its intention to suspend some of the agreements in December.
The British calculation is that member states will unite and make a fuss in public, but in practice it will be much less aggressive. London believes that Ireland and France are isolated, and the Netherlands, Germany and Poland will oppose any suspension of the British-European trade agreement.
Although the ongoing Brexit issue does bring the risk of “Irish fatigue”-but Dublin It is acutely aware that the British government’s assessment of the potential EU split is wrong.
First, its description of the positions of Germany and the Netherlands is completely wrong. second, Poland Understand that it cannot expect the EU to provide support on the border with Belarus, nor can it support Ireland on the border with the United Kingdom.
Have a strong Trend of Thought In Whitehall, the member states are not particularly worried about Northern Ireland-certainly not enough to risk commercial interests. British officials believe that if unchecked goods flow into Northern Ireland from the UK, many EU countries believe that the single market has little objective risk. There are also people in London who believe that the European Commission’s failure to establish the constructive strategic relationship they seek with the United Kingdom is frustrating the member states.
The government is betting that the transactions it can obtain through Article 16 notification will be better than any transaction without notification. It wants a controlled explosion, allowing an agreement to be reached in negotiations 30 days after notification.It never has to pause protocol It claims to be causing “serious economic, social or environmental difficulties” and “trade diversion.”
This is a huge gamble.
The EU will regard the government’s use of Article 16 as the culmination of a “malicious” process that began with the Internal Market Act, which is a unilateral extension Grace period Ease the trade between the UK and Northern Ireland and Order paper In July, a plan for the UK to rewrite the agreement was drawn up. EU officials believe that the latter needs to be fundamentally rebuilt-far more than the “renegotiation” requested by Lord Frost, which the EU refused to accept.
Brussels doubts that Britain’s ultimate goal is to establish facts on the ground. The purpose is to show that if goods from the UK are shipped to the EU single market, there is little risk to the integrity of the EU single market. Northern Ireland Not subject to customs and regulatory control.
Since the Commission will not force Dublin to set up a border on the island of Ireland, over time, there will be increasing pressure to carry out inspections on goods shipped from Ireland to other parts of the European Union.but EU has determined Never let Ireland be separated from the single market. It will face what it considers to be British blackmail-the risk of being forced to accept the unrestricted and open borders of Ireland or endangering Ireland’s position in the single market.
The EU will not allow any party to create a new reality that the member states believe to be Against their interests ——Especially if the UK’s regulations and standards differ from the EU’s regulations and standards in the future.
Start the process to terminate The post-Brexit trade agreement -Or announce that such a move is considered-it is possible. However, although this has been a useful call in recent weeks and the reason many in the European Union believe that Lord Frost is participating in negotiations in a more constructive manner, reaching a consensus on a complete termination of the negotiations is not easy. Partial termination of trade agreements-except for the chapter on social security and police cooperation-is more reasonable.
Brussels and member states are also exploring smarter and more legally creative ways to strike the UK immediately without waiting for months of arbitration or a European Court of Justice ruling.This may involve Impose tariffs on sensitive UK goods, Leaving London under pressure to respond in kind. The explosion may be difficult to control.
British officials argued that they would not Break the agreement If they issue an Article 16 notice. But the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union is very bad. The EU will treat it as hostile and respond quickly and forcefully.this needs A brave and perhaps stupid prime minister, Betting is the opposite.