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Post Re: EU

Sticking Points

UK-EU negotiations over access to the EU single market have reach end positions on 2 points; Fisheries, and the Level Playing Field which includes Governance.

Fisheries. I wouldn’t even entertain fisheries as a negotiation point. What the UK does in its waters, including who it lets fish in them, is entirely up to the UK and has nothing to do with access to the EU single market. It is purely a political and commercial matter for the UK. Being a commercial issue, it is not a matter of how big EU free quotas should be, but rather a matter of the EU paying for the quotas it is assigned.

To deny access to the EU single market unless the EU gets access to UK waters is like demanding money with menaces. Refusal to allow the UK to sell its fish in the EU will most likely result in a trade war as the UK will refuse access of EU products to the UK market in retaliation; which will no doubt lead to the EU expanding its list of banned UK products; will result in the UK expanding its list of banned EU products; and so on. This is likely to escalate to include the provision of services, and lead to breakdown of relations.

Level Playing Field/Governance. The EU Single Market must be the most heavily subsidised market in the world and yet the EU complains that the UK having left the EU and therefore no longer in receipt of EU subsidies, poses an unfair competition threat should the UK government continue to subsidies its industries to the tune of what it received from the EU.

The EU fears that the UK having such a large economy and being so close to the EU could flood the Single Market with cheap, sub-standard goods and therefore the EU must have regulatory over-sight and the European Court of Justice have jurisdiction. The UK is being treated differently from every other nation that deals with the EU, or indeed any other nation involved in a trade deal around the world. Can you imagine the EU making such demands of the USA, Japan, or China? The trade agreement with Canada has no such conditions and neither does the agreement being worked out with Australia. The UK may well take market share in the Single Market from other EU nations, but that’s not because there’s an unfair playing field; but because of UK exporter innovation, product quality, and competitive pricing, with or without comparative EU subsidies.

Is the UK a treat to the EU Single Market?

Actually, the UK has been a victim of cheap product dumping before the EU was born, not a perpetrator of the practice. The UK has historically been so anti-subsidy, anti-tariff, and pro-free trade that dumping has destroyed many of its heavy manufacturing industries, coal mining, and steel production. Back in the 80s the UK’s bearing industry was wiped out by cheap imports from Japan. It’s not as if the UK has a track record of doing what the EU fears. Furthermore, the UK has its own regulations to ensure standards of quality and safety, and its own enforcement procedures.

The UK is so obviously not a threat to the EU Single Market that it brings into question whether this whole Level Playing Field issue is actually genuine; or is this just an excuse to keep the UK out of the single market by making it uncompetitive through tariffs, because it dared to leave the EU? No sovereign country could possibly agree to the EU demands for foreign oversight of internal UK affairs and foreign courts overruling UK courts. What would France say if the UK insisted on the same for French imports with the UK demanding reduction of subsidies obtained under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, the UK demanding France improve working conditions and pay, and UK courts overruling French courts to enforce it?

What happens next?

My guess is;

- There will be a no deal BREXIT, but I could be wrong. It's hard to see how the EU can back down now having painted themselves into a corner, assuming of course that they would want to. I'm not entirely convinced these talks were ever serious. Maybe the EU's endgame was always to close the single market to the UK, teach it a lesson, and get it to return cap-in-hand begging to rejoin the EU in the future.

- Fisheries my well be the spark that ignites a trade war, where the EU and the UK do all in their power to bring the other down in a spiralling race to the bottom.

- There will be a souring of relations between the UK and the EU, in particular with France and Germany leading to significant reduction in trade.

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Wed Dec 16, 2020 3:21 pm
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Post Re: EU

Deal

Well, deal's on the table; will France veto it as they said they would? I doubt it, but we'll have to wait and see.

Details aren't out yet, but both UK and EU fishermen don't appear to be happy, and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon doesn't like it at all; preferring a no-deal BREXIT I guess.

Fisheries highlight the 2 aspects to the deal that some have mixed up;

(1) The right of the UK government to do what it wants with UK resources.

(2) What it actually does with UK resources.

The deal gives the UK the right to restrict access to UK waters, the right to sell access to its fish stock, and the amount of fish that can be taken under the terms of the sale.

The deal also grants a five and a half year transition period, at the end of which, sales along with terms and conditions will be renegotiated by the UK. The sale of access to UK fish to EU fisherman was always going to happen and most like will continue, certainly until the UK fishing fleet has grown sufficiently to be able to exploit the UK's entire fish stock. After 47 year of contraction it's going to take more than 5 years. The fisherman's beef is now with the government for selling the resource and undermining their industry; the EU is mealy the customer buying the resource. If the fishermen don't like the amount the government is selling off, then don't vote for them again.

There is also the issue that some products will be subject to tariffs and some will be banned. The deal is built on trust rather than EU scrutiny of UK standards and practices. The upshot of which is, should the trust be broken the deal is off, and this works both ways. The EU have straight away banned seed potatoes, which the Scottish potatoes industry is moaning about, and processed meat like sausages which the UK meat industry is moaning about. It's not clear if the UK will ban Bockwurst sausages or plant seedlings in retaliation, but if it escalates and spreads across products, the deal might not live long.

I think it's a case of all's well that ends well. It's better for the UK and the EU to be friends than not. It's better for each not to hurt the other's economy. My guess is the deal will get approved and the plan will probably survive first contact at least.

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Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:02 am
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What a Palarva

I went to buy something from Thomann UK and I just could not work out how much it was going to cost, who I had to pay, or how long it would take to be delivered. I had thought Thomann UK was a UK based subsidiary of Thomann Germany, so at first I thought I was getting a bargain, then I noticed the price was ex. VAT. After doing some digging, I found a FAQ section which talked about the new import rules for the UK, they couldn't have made it more difficult if they had tried (the EU and UK governments not Thomann).

If I understand it right (and I might not), the Courier invoices the purchaser (me) for the VAT once it enters the UK, but I'm not sure what they then do with it. I assume the payment goes to UK customs and excise and the package sits in a warehouse until the payment is received and acknowledged. It may sit there until the VAT ends up at its final destination; I have no idea how long all this takes, so have no idea when the package will be delivered. Thomann offer free shipping on items over £135 and give a delivery time of 3 to 7 days, but I suspect this is to the courier's warehouse to await customs clearance, as from this point, Thomann would not be in control of the delivery process. I have also discovered that the courier charges an unspecified handling and storage charge, so although Thomann offer free shipping, the courier doesn't. I think this is another £12, but again, I'm not sure.

It's no wonder Reuter's reported today that

Quote:
Brexit Triggers 30% Slump in German Exports to U.K. in January


Something has to be done to simplify this nonsense, or better still, EU companies need to set up UK subsidiaries.

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Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:38 pm
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Post Re: EU

Northern Irish loyalist paramilitaries withdraw support for 1998 peace deal

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While the groups pledged “peaceful and democratic” opposition to the deal, such a stark warning increases the pressure on Johnson, his Irish counterpart Micheál Martin and the European Union over Brexit.

Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal, known as the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, ended three decades of violence between mostly Catholic nationalists fighting for a united Ireland and mostly Protestant unionists, or loyalists, who want Northern Ireland to stay part of the United Kingdom. The loyalist paramilitaries including the Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association and Red Hand Commando said they were concerned about the disruption to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland due to the Brexit deal.

“The loyalist groupings are herewith withdrawing their support for the Belfast Agreement,” they said in a March 3 letter to Johnson from Loyalist Communities Council chairman David Campbell. Reuters has seen a copy of the letter. A similar letter has been sent to the Irish leader and copies were sent to the European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic. The paramilitary groups said they were determined that unionist opposition to the Northern Irish Protocol was peaceful but added a warning.

“Please do not underestimate the strength of feeling on this issue right across the unionist family,” the letter said.

“If you or the EU is not prepared to honour the entirety of the agreement then you will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement,” it said.

They said they would not return to the deal until their rights were restored and the Northern Irish Protocol - part of the 2020 Brexit Treaty - was amended to ensure unfettered trade between Britain and Northern Ireland. But, they said, their core disagreement was more fundamental: that Britain, Ireland and the European Union had in the Northern Irish Protocol breached their commitments to the 1998 peace deal and the two communities.

Asked about the warning, Johnson’s spokesman said: “We are fully committed to the Belfast, Good Friday, Agreement. We will continue to work to safeguard Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom ... We are determined to protect the agreement in all of its dimensions.”

PEACE IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Preserving the delicate peace in Northern Ireland without allowing the United Kingdom a back door into the EU’s markets through the 310-mile (500 km) UK-Irish land border was one of the most difficult issues of the Brexit divorce talks. The loyalist groups endorsed the 1998 deal and decommissioned their weapons in the years that followed. Residual violence since the accord has largely been carried out by dissident nationalist groups who opposed the peace deal.

Since Brexit proper on Jan. 1, 2021, Northern Ireland has had problems importing a range of goods from Britain - which unionists, or loyalists, say divides up the United Kingdom and so is unacceptable. The European Union promised legal action on Wednesday after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move Brussels said violated the terms of Britain’s divorce deal.

Ireland said Britain was behaving inappropriately. Johnson’s spokesman said the government had notified the EU and Ireland earlier this week of the move, which he described as being “common in other international trade agreements”.

“For the second time in the course of a few months, the British government has threatened to breach international law,” Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told Virgin Media television, referring to a similar unilateral move last year that London eventually dropped.

“This is not the appropriate behaviour of a respectable country, quite frankly.”

Joe Biden, while campaigning in the presidential election last year, bluntly warned Britain that it must honour the 1998 peace agreement as it withdrew from the European Union or there would be no separate U.S. trade deal. - Reuters 4 March 2021


This has got nothing to do with 'International Law'. It's the leadership of the EU being childish and petty; hurt that the UK left the EU and sulking over not getting their way in Brexit negotiations. They are out for revenge, and they are prepared to reignite the troubles to get that revenge. Ireland should know better, they claim the people of Northern Ireland as their own, but are quite happy to join the EU in their quest to inflict the misery of the troubles on them again. The EU and Ireland are playing with fire. Surely the solution is to operate a customs boarder like we have with France in Calais. Let Ireland host an EU customs boarder on their soil, co-operated with UK customs officials. It would be a EU /UK customs boarder therefore paid for and staffed by the EU and the UK.

Having the customs boarder in the Irish Sea is not working, because the EU doesn’t want it to work. They want empty supermarket shelves in NI as UK deliveries are stuck at EU customs who are delaying entry of goods into NI as much as possible; and so it would seem does the Republic of Ireland. The EU has been and still is dying to take the UK to court. What they don’t realise is the loyalists in Northern Ireland are not going to allow an international court to isolate a part of the UK from the rest of the country over some spurious argument over tariffs, and neither will politicians that oppose the break-up of the UK.

It will be interesting to see how the Biden administration act upon their threats against the UK to reject any US/UK trade deal. This would quickly lead to retaliatory action and a souring of relations. I think my previous statement on achieving a Brexit trade deal, that all’s well that ends well, was maybe premature. Now it’s a case of nothing’s over until it’s over, and it’s not over until the fat lady sings (what am I talking about?).

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Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:50 am
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The EU are at it again – First Northern Ireland, now UK vaccination

If supply problems for the UK weren’t bad enough, we also have to contend with the EU wanting to screw up the UK vaccination programme because they’ve screwed theirs up.

I watched the EU’s European Council president, Charles Michel, say last week that the UK had banned exports of vaccines to the EU. He then had to admit a few days ago that the Uk hadn’t actually banned vaccine exports at all.

Then Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said;

Quote:
if Covid-19 vaccine supplies in Europe do not improve, the EU will reflect whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate.


Now Ursula von der Leyen is saying;

Quote:
the EU is still waiting for exports from the UK, and there should be reciprocity.


https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-heal ... SKBN2BB0KZ

What is she talking about? Contracts have been placed with private companies for the supply of vaccines. If the company is unable to deliver on time, that’s not the UK government’s fault. Reciprocity is a government practice not a commercial one. No doubt the companies making the stuff are fulfilling orders in the order they received them, and if the EU was late to place them, then they can expect to be further down the queue to receive them. What’s that got to do with the UK government?

The irony of the EU complaining about lack of AstraZeneca vaccines being delivered to the EU from companies in the UK, that most EU countries have said they wouldn’t take anyway, is not lost on many people in the UK. The news today is that some EU countries (Germany, France, Spain and Italy) say they do want to take it now. Talk about ‘Carry on Vaccinating’, I wonder what they will say next week?

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Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:46 am
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Ursula von der Leyen wants to get her hands on an Englishman's sausage

What a disastrous G7. Poor old Boris. The US president travelled all the way to Cornwall to tell him about his Irish Catholic roots and how he's on the side of the EU and the Irish Republicans when it comes to Northern Ireland; pushing poor Boris into a corner with no obvious way out other than to suck up to Joe and tell him what a breath of fresh air he is. The EU were queuing up to slap their Boris bitch up. President Macron went as far to say that Northern Ireland wasn't really part of the UK anyway, suggesting I assume that the UK should hand it over to the Republic of Ireland as soon as possible to solve the EU-UK boarder problem. I don't think Angela Merkel said it out loud, so I guess that's a win for Boris.

The sausage crisis is just the latest in EU attempts to get the UK to follow EU regulations concerning food products, especially food products of animal origin, and the latest attempt to cause disruption of suppies to Northern Ireland from the UK mainland. If concessions were made, there would only be the next crises the EU would put the UK's way.

The position Boris finds himself in thanks to his wonderful BREXIT negotiating skills, is a choice between ripping up the Good Friday Agreement, or ripping up the EU-UK Northern Ireland Protocol. Much has been spoken about the Irish Republican red line of no hard boarder between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but little about UK Unionist's red line of not being forced out of the UK and into the Irish Republic due to empty shelves in food stores, or supply chain shortages in factories. No one at the G7 seemed to realise The Troubles could be reignited by Loyalists as well as Republicans.

In my mind at least, there is no choice, the Good Friday agreement must take precedence, even if that means a trade war with the EU. The EU leadership is clearly hostile to the UK and has been ever since the UK left the EU. Boris is saying he's looking for a compromise; some chance of that with the EU. Maybe the solution is to close the Northern Irish boarder to all EU goods and re-route them through the UK mainland. No hard boarder, but any lorry stopped and caught carrying EU goods in Northern Ireland would be confiscated and the driver prosecuted, fined and deported. This would be a bit of a problem for the Republic of Ireland; not so much for the rest of the EU. If the Republic of Ireland wanted to avoid this, they could always set up their own EU hard border in the Republic of Ireland. Any problem the Irish Republicans in Northern Ireland might have with that would have to be taken up with the government of the Republic of Ireland.

The EU is throwing accusations of untrustworthiness and disreputable behaviour at the UK, along with suggestions of legal consequences for breach of contract, which if anything illustrates that Boris wasn't the only incompetent negotiator in the room. Michel Barnier also agreed to Article 16 which allows for the UK or the EU to renegotiate or pull out of the agreement if it causes social problems in Northern Ireland. This is the same Article 16 that the EU triggered to stop EU manufactured coronavirus vaccines from being imported into the UK through Northern Ireland.

Here's what Article 16 says:

Quote:
If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures.

Such safeguard measures shall be restricted with regard to their scope and duration to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation.

Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Protocol.

If a safeguard measure taken by the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, in accordance with paragraph 1 creates an imbalance between the rights and obligations under this Protocol, the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, may take such proportionate rebalancing measures as are strictly necessary to remedy the imbalance.

Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Protocol.


So the EU need to go back and read what they have signed up to.

Then there's Article 6 which basically says the EU shouldn't obstruct trade in Northern Ireland's ports to such an extent that they don't function as well as ports on the UK mainland, so if the EU are looking to cast accusations of untrustworthiness and disreputable behaviour, they need look no further than their own 'go-slow' tactics at Northern Ireland ports.

I note post-G7 Boris's travel update is that UK citizens can only go on holiday to countries who voted for the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.

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Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:29 am
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