edited September 2020 in Speakeasy

I've been critical of Brexit, and I still think it's a bad idea, but on one thing Britain's position in trade talks with the EU is not unreasonable: it wants to regain control of its waters while the EU wants Belgian, Dutch, French and other fishermen to continue to be able to catch herring, mackerel and sole in British waters.

The UK has offered to hold annual talks to set fishing quotas, which again is a fair proposal. Current quotas date back to the 1980s.

The trouble is that Britain depends on the European market, which gives the EU leverage. Some of the most lucrative species caught by British fishermen, such as scallops and langoustines, are sold to continental Europe. In some cases the dependency is over 90 percent.

This was always going to be the issue, and it's not just with fish. There is an enormous imbalance between the EU27 and the UK. It seems to me Brexiteers never accepted this, imagining the EU needs the UK as much as the UK needs the EU. That's not the case.

Even if it were the case, the EU is willing to suffer some economic damage in order to defend the integrity of the single market. Something else Brexiteers never understood. To the rest of Europe, the EU is as much a political as an economic project. I don't think most Britons ever felt the same way.


  • One of my biggest frustrations with Brexit -- other than the thing itself -- is that Brexiteers never seem to learn.

    It's been three and a half years, and still they think the UK just needs to prove it's "serious", and "willing to walk away," in order to get a better deal from the EU.

    I've called it the Tsipras approach to negotiating with the EU, after the Greek prime minister who thought he could get his way by threatening to blow himself up.

    It didn't work for Alexis Tsipras, and it hasn't worked for Britain. Despite threats to walk away without a deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year agreed to essentially the exit agreement the EU had proposed all along.

    Now his government is unhappy with the agreement it made and, once again, threatening to walk away. 

    More: Britain still thinks it can bluff its way to a better deal

  • Germany's ambassador to the UK:

    In more than 30 years as a diplomat I have not experienced such a fast, intentional and profound deterioration of a negotiation. If you believe in partnership between the UK and the EU like I do then don't accept it.

  • One consequence of Brexit is that the roughly 15,000 Spanish residents who cross the border to work in Gibraltar every day may soon be out of work. (Some 9,000 are Spanish. The other 6,000 are British or EU nationals who can't afford housing in Gibraltar.)

    I wrote something for the Atlantic Sentinel about this today. Spain has proposed to pull Gibraltar into the Schengen Area, which would be an arrangement similar to Liechtenstein's, which is not in the EU but in the passport-free area. That would be an elegant solution, and it is supported by Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo.

    Will Boris Johnson and his government accept it, though? I'm not sure. So far, the language from him is more focused on what he doesn't want, promising “no sliver of Rock” will be traded away.

  • Brexit is an absolute nightmare. I understand that the UK wants more autonomy from the EU, heck, I support that idea, I HATE the EU the way it is. #notmyEU But the way they are going they'rer just dividing the country and making bad decisions all around. With a lot of people drawing a very, very short end of the proverbial stick.

  • Looks like we may be heading for a "hard" Brexit, which would mean major disruptions for travelers and traders.

    The problem, as I argued in my most recent post on this for the Atlantic Sentinel, is that Brexiteers never accepted the basic tradeoff, that the more access the UK wants to the European market, the more it will need to remain in alignment with EU rules and regulations.

    Which makes sense to everyone else, but somehow leading Brexiteers, including Boris Johnson, thought they could have the best of both worlds: unimpeded access to the European market without needing to accept EU rules, EU migrants and paying into the EU budget.

    Unsurprisingly, the rest of the EU said no to that - from the start! This has been clear for years, even before the referendum, and still the UK government and tabloid press complain the country is somehow being treated unfairly.

  • Here are my thoughts on the EU-UK trade deal, which was agreed at the last minute.


Sign In or Register to comment.