The EU has now set out its negotiating position with Britain and it’s not pretty.
It’s demanding that the terms of exit are finalised before a trade deal is discussed, that Gibraltar is not covered in the negotiations, that Spain has an effective veto on the Rock, that we pay a hefty exit fee on departure, that we do not conclude trade agreements with other countries, that we negotiate for our air base in Cyprus, that we cannot cut corporation tax, and that we continue to provide security and military support for the EU.
The EU can demand what it likes. I’d prefer our government to tell the EU to get stuffed rather than give in to these demands. We have a strong hand to play.
Firstly, if Gibraltar is not included, then no deal is possible. We cannot subject Gibraltar to exclusion and Spanish demands.
Secondly, our base in Cyprus is off-limits.
Thirdly, the EU knows that Britain has a powerful nuclear option in cutting corporation tax. If this were used, the EU would face losing plenty of companies who could move to Britain to enjoy lower taxes and less red tape, especially as the £ is now lower.
Fourthly, the House of Lords has concluded that Britain doesn’t owe these large sums of money that have been bandied around, something in the region of £50bn. It certainly shouldn’t be paid.
Fifth, the EU has no right to demand that Britain continues to provide security and military support free of charge. It’s demanding that we continue to provide support because it’s morally wrong to endanger the lives of European people. Whether it’s wrong or not is not the issue. It will cost money. The EU should pay. The British government is demanding a free trade agreement as the price. The ball is in the EU court.
Of course, the EU doesn’t have to pay the price. It can say thanks, but no thanks, but unfortunately for them, they have nothing like the same capabilities as we have. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has already indicated Britain could deny its resources to Europol. This would cause huge problems for the EU. And what would be the effect if we also pulled our military out of eastern Europe? What if Britain also persuades the Americans to do likewise? It wouldn’t take much. The American president is not a fan of the EU. It would leave the EU eastern border dangerously exposed to an unpredictable Vladimir Putin. Still, the EU has France and Germany, and of course the much vaunted EU “army”.
The fools in Brussels will have to come to their senses. We have a huge trade deficit with the EU, and any tarrifs raised can be used to offset any tarrifs imposed. The security and military angle will be enough to frighten eastern European countries into action. It should also frighten western European states who are grappling with mass immigration and terrorist threats.
The negotiations will turn nasty. Let’s hope our negotiators have the traditional stiff upper lip and play hard against these bastards.