Every day we teach others how to treat us.
And the European Union has taught us that it’s fine with the UK breaking the rules of its own constitution in order to join the European Union; That it’s fine with the UK contributing hundreds of billions more to the EU budget than it got in return; That it’s fine that the UK has been allowed only a tiny say in the EU Parliament comparable to the influence that Sweden or Hungary have in the EU Parliament; And the EU has taught us that the UK can leave the bloc but that the EU will make all the rules about Brexit; And that Brexit must cost the UK taxpayer £40 billion for some unfathomable reason.
That’s it. That’s the entire point of my blog post today.
Suffice to say that the EU has had their way with the UK since 1998, and UK supplicants (oops, I meant to say UK Parliamentarians) have taught the EU that they were fine with that arrangement.
But since Britons showed some spine, voting to leave the EU in 2016, the UK supplication squad were forced to stand-up for UK interests, and EU heads don’t like that a bit.
And that’s why we’re where we are today in regards to the UK-EU relationship.
Angela Merkel, Germany’s formidable and long-serving Chancellor, said it all in today’s phone call to Boris Johnson, basically telling the UK Prime Minister that the EU already has the Withdrawal Agreement of their dreams (supplied by former UK PM Theresa May) and there’s no way that they’re willing to settle for anything less than that perfect (for the EU) deal.
And why would they?
Theresa May’s deal (with the Irish backstop) represents a complete and utter win for the EU side and the European Union heads would be stupid in the extreme to vote against her overly generous gift. I get that.
Imagine… Theresa May OFFERING to pay £39 billion TO LEAVE A BLOC (with basically zero chance of scoring a free trade deal) AND allowing THE BACKSTOP TO BE IMPOSED on some UK territory, AND allowing the UK constitution to continue to be contravened by virtue of continued EU control over various UK law, trade, and other governance.
I don’t blame the EU for wanting the best deal in history, nor do I blame them for wanting £40 billion for nothing (who wouldn’t want £40 billion for nothing?) and I don’t blame the EU for attempting to retain control of certain parts of UK sovereignty.
What I do blame the EU for, is that it refuses to accept anything other than a deal so biased in the European Union’s favour and so unrealistic that it failed to pass in the UK House of Commons, three times!
Instead of holding-on to an unrealistic deal that has absolutely no chance of passing the UK citizen ‘smell test’ nor of passing in the UK House of Supplication, EU heads should take their own advice and offer some compromise themselves — instead of continually telling the UK side that it’s the party that must make all the compromises.
Only then will the EU side be seen to be working in good faith towards an agreement. And until that happens, the EU will remain part of the problem instead of part of the solution in the UK-EU relationship.
The time for bluffing is over. Now is the time to work in good faith to get a deal that Europeans on both sides of the English Channel can feel good about!
Written by John Brian Shannon
John Brian Shannon serves on the Editorial Board at kleef&co. John has contributed to the United Nations Development Program and to corporate blogs. Presently writing about Brexit at: LetterToBritain.com