Clutching at straws

northern-ireland-customs-post-390x285Before German unification, the EU agreed a ‘GDR clause’, allowing easy access in the event of liberation. And now could N. Ireland be offered a similar deal when Brexit bites? Apparently the diplomatic community thinks so.

Just a couple of details to consider though. The province is fiercely British and unlikely to vote for integration with Eire; and Eire would be taking responsibilty for the N.I. economy – which is hardly high on their wish-list.

Recent reports however suggest that many EU leaders might be starting to see the folly of aggressive negotiations with London, perhaps under the influence of big business which will demand a seamless transition to the new order, and the growing threat from Beleavers in other EU states. Will they agree a strategy when they get together this weekend?

 

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  1. April 28, 2017 at 8:51 am

    The UK is a big part of the EU economy which the latter can ill afford to lose. Giving us a hard time would not be smart. Not that they won’t do that of course.

  2. April 28, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Germany was divided into zones of occupation following the end of the Second World War. The UK, USA and France restored sovereignty to Germany. The Soviets restored sovereignty to a pro-Stalin puppet regime. East Germany was always an arbitrary state. Ireland was partitioned because the northern six counties opted out of the Irish Free State. The lower 26 counties went one way, the northern 6 another. Decades of terrorism has only hardened these divisions. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have become too different, even most Northern Irish Catholics hold an identity distinct form that of the Republic.

    Ireland is still a poor country. Outside Dublin and Cork, there is precious little economic activity and until recently Ireland was reliant on European development grants. Ulster would, as you implied, break Dublin financially. Keeping the peace is a delicate balancing act as it is. The Gardai are not capable of it. They can barely manage the Republic. Ulster is a strain on the UK at moments. Ireland would collapse.

  3. Boadicea
    April 28, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I have a vague memory of a survey or some such in the Republic some years ago that asked whether the Southern Irish wanted to be reunited with Northern Ireland. As I recall, the answer was a resounding (over 90%) “NO”.

    I do wonder:
    a) whether it is legal for the EU to ‘offer’ N Ireland unification with S Ireland and / or vice versa? and
    b) just how ignorant is the EU to think that either the Republic or N Ireland would want unification?

    The Republic of Ireland really does not need an economic basket case on their hands… without all the other basket cases in N Ireland…

    The EU would stand a far better chance of getting the unification of Ireland if they offered mainland UK a referendum…

    As to whether the EU is coming to accept the necessity of dealing sensibly with the UK, I’m not holding my breath. The latest I read was that the EU are demanding that Britain pays “its bill” before negotiations start. Oh, yes! Sure – pay whatever is demanded and then accept whatever the EU wants to give?

    It’s probably as well I’m not leading the negotiations on this “divorce”. My philosophy on divorce has always been – hit the bank first, the solicitor next, and then negotiate.

    I don’t think, Janus, that the EU want to show that any country can leave their ‘club’ without suffering, and suffering badly.

  4. April 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Boa, maybe you are right – in which case it’s as well that Theresa May can get a bigger mandate in the House and decide on a ‘hard Brexit’. As I undersand it, while the EU can claim cash back for commitments made, the UK can claim cash back for investments made but not realised. However, we should not underestimate the power of the big exporters who demand stable markets and no surprises.

  5. April 28, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Boadicea: It is illegal under international and EU laws. Since the 1930s-1940s it’s been against international convention to decide the fate of territories without their consent. EU laws prohibit Brussels’s interference with the domestic, constitutional matters of member states. On the continent, at least, it’s growing both easier — and more difficult — to get a sense of what is coming; if that makes any sense. The EU is toning down its rhetoric, at least for now, but there is unlikely to be a substantial change in what it will demand or what it will offer. I’m rather horrified by it all. Like the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, the EU has forgotten nothing and has learnt just as much. There is precious little honest debate on the Continent, either. The tone is “What will we do with Britain after it leaves ‘Europe'”? When I ask “How will Britain leave Europe, by magically transporting itself to the Tasman Sea”? I get only blank stares in return.

  6. Boadicea
    April 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I don’t see that Theresa can do other than decide on a ‘Hard Brexit’. Despite what all the Remoaners claim, the question on the referendum was pretty clear cut: Remain / Leave. The 9 million pound leaflet made it pretty clear what “Leave” meant, despite all those claim that no one voted for a “Hard Brexit” – the choice was quite clear – In or Out – with no middle option.

    If that is not delivered – expect UKIP to make a big resurgence.

    As for money for commitments made – I rather like the analogy of a divorce.

    So a couple decide to fund a particular project and then they find they are incompatible and decide to go their separate ways. No court would determine that both should contribute to that project ad infinitum – there is even a cut-off point for the support of children. And courts now (sensibly in my view) have determined that no one capable of working can expect a departing spouse to support them for ever. The EU can hardly claim that it is too decrepit to manage without UK funds. They need to be told told to cut their garments according to their cloth – and the cloth no longer includes British contributions.

    The UK should most certainly demand refunds, or cash for all investments made and not realised, property owned, and other such items currently in ‘joint ownership’. to counter financial demands from the EU. Not a time to play ‘Nice Guy” and walk away!

    I’d like to think that the big exporters can reign in the power-crazy Brussels bureaucrats – but until the ink is dry on the negotiations I will still be holding my breath!

  7. April 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Boadicea: Under the laws of Castille assets are divided in half. The partner with the greater economy has to pay to maintain the poorer ex-spouse for a certain number of years. Perhaps the UK should bring this option up? Half the EU’s annual budget and, say, a quarter of it for the next 20 years?

  8. April 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    🙂

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