Reality has dawned upon the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator – that the EU is running out of time.
Michel Barnier visited London this morning for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit Secretary David Davis. He told the BBC: “We have not a minute to lose because we want to achieve a deal. Once again, we have not a minute to lose. There is so much work, so we have decided for this reason to accelerate all the contacts.”
However, it was the EU who slowed up everything from the very beginning, possibly in the hope that Britain would baulk and change its mind.
The EU continued to control the timetable, events and debate, even thinking the European Court of Justice should have jurisdiction over European citizens living in post-Brexit Britain.
However, today Theresa May has announced that Britain has ruled out any form of ‘customs union’. This may have spooked Michel Barnier into realising that the EU playing hardball may result in ‘no deal’ at all, with disastrous consequences for European businesses. So now, he ‘graciously’ wants to speed up negotiations. Thank you very much, Monsieur Barnier. It is kind of you to tell us what to do – once more.
28 Feb 2018: Barnier calls upon Britain ‘to pick up the pace’ when announcing the EU attempted power-grab in Northern Ireland.
4 May 2018: a few months down the road, the Luxembourg Finance Minister tells the EU to hurry up.
8 May 2018: now the SNP is worried that we are running out of time. It is a pity that they never thought about this 18 months ago when the UK Government wanted to get on with negotiations. It is a feature of human activity that people leave things until the last minute and sometimes until it is too late. Jesus Christ warned about procrastination repeatedly and spoke a number of notable parables on the subject. He tells us to have our priorities right:
‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’ Mat 6:33.
Otherwise we will discover too late that the door into heaven is shut against us.
25 Aug 2018: further EU delays.
10 Sep 2018: Barnier thinks a deal is possible by November. Playing ‘hard to get’ has its limits. Theresa May’s domestic problems makes a No Deal Brexit possible, which will be so bad for the EU that some deal needs to be determined.
19 Oct 2018: Barnier playing catch-up.
22 Oct 2018: not to be outdone by Barnier’s 90%, Theresa May says that 95% of the Brexit negotiations are completed. Barnier warned that the Northern Ireland border might be a deal-breaker, but Theresa May outlines her four steps to the finishing line.
19 Dec 2018: now that the UK is playing hard ball and publicly preparing for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit after EU intransigence, the EU has been forced into doing the same and publlcizing its plans for a No Deal Brexit. All of a sudden the EU is unilaterally offering a transitional period on flights and haulier freight belying the ‘project fear’ scare stories of the EU Remainers. Trying to recover the moral high ground they are advising member states to be ‘generous’ about UK citizens in the EU “provided that this approach is reciprocated by the UK”. This qualification is rather disingenuous because the UK has already stated its generous approach on this subject. Does the EU not believe us? This has been its problem for a long time; it did not believe that the UK was serious about leaving the EU. However, in a mean streak of control-freakery, the Commission has said that such generosity should not compare with EU membership, or the transition period on offer in the Withdrawal Agreement. What if a member state ignores this and considers its own interests in interacting with post-Brexit Britain?
6 Feb 2019: President of the European Commission Donald Tusk is getting rattled and exposing his poor knowledge about hell. BBC’s Andrew Neil claims that a No Deal Brexit will tip the EU over the cliff edge.