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Why I no longer trust the EU on the backstop


DavidCaldwell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
3,981
You may remember that Francois Hollande argued publicly that Britain would need to suffer from Brexit, otherwise "other countries might get the idea of leaving the EU." https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/07/uk-must-pay-price-for-brexit-says-francois-hollande

Although he did not explicitly say so (at least in what I have seen), his meaning seemed to be that if the consequences of leaving were not going to be sufficiently bad, then the EU should act to ensure that they were - i.e. should deliberately act to harm Britain and the British people.


After a little bit of thought, other EU politicians realised how unacceptable it would be to try to do such harm and there were several statements to this effect e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/18/not-punish-britain-shed-illusions-eu-fair-deal

I believed these statements and was happy with the talks and the eventual agreement, including the backstop - although in some ways it was an a unusual thing to ask in negotiations - "I want you to promise that I will not introduce a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" - and I did wonder about the reluctance of the EU to accept that technology could be accepted to be able to provide a good solution in the longer term

However, there remained in my mind the possibility that the EU (or elements within it) were trying to use the backstop as a way of making Britain pay a "suitable" price for Brexit - see https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/top-eu-diplomat-said-northern-ireland-the-price-to-pay-for-brexit-claims-former-minister-37608318.html

I now no longer trust the EU on the backstop. What has changed my mind is -

1) The EU claims that the backstop is intended to be temporary, but is reluctant to commit to this.

2) The EU claimed that the only motivation for the backstop was to prevent a hard border. But now that its insistence on the backstop seems to be increasing the risk of a hard Brexit and a hard border, the EU insists on sticking to the backstop.


In short, there seems to be a discrepancy between the EU positions in non-binding public statements ("backstop is temporary", "no wish to punish Britain") and the EU positions in legally-binding treaty statements ("backstop is time unlimited") and in private statements.

In consequence, my perception is that the EU is not currently fully trust-worthy on this matter.
 

livingstone

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
You may remember that Francois Hollande argued publicly that Britain would need to suffer from Brexit, otherwise "other countries might get the idea of leaving the EU." https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/07/uk-must-pay-price-for-brexit-says-francois-hollande

Although he did not explicitly say so (at least in what I have seen), his meaning seemed to be that if the consequences of leaving were not going to be sufficiently bad, then the EU should act to ensure that they were - i.e. should deliberately act to harm Britain and the British people.


After a little bit of thought, other EU politicians realised how unacceptable it would be to try to do such harm and there were several statements to this effect e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/18/not-punish-britain-shed-illusions-eu-fair-deal

I believed these statements and was happy with the talks and the eventual agreement, including the backstop - although in some ways it was an a unusual thing to ask in negotiations - "I want you to promise that I will not introduce a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" - and I did wonder about the reluctance of the EU to accept that technology could be accepted to be able to provide a good solution in the longer term

However, there remained in my mind the possibility that the EU (or elements within it) were trying to use the backstop as a way of making Britain pay a "suitable" price for Brexit - see https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/top-eu-diplomat-said-northern-ireland-the-price-to-pay-for-brexit-claims-former-minister-37608318.html

I now no longer trust the EU on the backstop. What has changed my mind is -

1) The EU claims that the backstop is intended to be temporary, but is reluctant to commit to this.

2) The EU claimed that the only motivation for the backstop was to prevent a hard border. But now that its insistence on the backstop seems to be increasing the risk of a hard Brexit and a hard border, the EU insists on sticking to the backstop.


In short, there seems to be a discrepancy between the EU positions in non-binding public statements ("backstop is temporary", "no wish to punish Britain") and the EU positions in legally-binding treaty statements ("backstop is time unlimited") and in private statements.

In consequence, my perception is that the EU is not currently fully trust-worthy on this matter.
Temporary doesn't mean time limited with a specific date. That sort of formulation would be impossible. How do you codify a temporary intention beyond what has already been done - specifically to commit both sides to trying to reach an agreement that renders the backstop obsolete?

Let's say you say it's temporary and give a specific time limit - say five years. Then you get into negotiations. The EU say the only way to avoid a hard border is a customs union and full regulation on goods - basically Norway+. The UK refuse to accept that. You end up with a breakdown in negotiations; or you wind up with some FTA that doesn't secure an open border.

What are the EU meant to do? Just leave a 500km border open to any goods, from anywhere in the world that the UK allows onto its own market, because the backstop has expired?
 

DavidCaldwell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
3,981
Temporary doesn't mean time limited with a specific date. That sort of formulation would be impossible. How do you codify a temporary intention beyond what has already been done - specifically to commit both sides to trying to reach an agreement that renders the backstop obsolete?

Let's say you say it's temporary and give a specific time limit - say five years. Then you get into negotiations. The EU say the only way to avoid a hard border is a customs union and full regulation on goods - basically Norway+. The UK refuse to accept that. You end up with a breakdown in negotiations; or you wind up with some FTA that doesn't secure an open border.

What are the EU meant to do? Just leave a 500km border open to any goods, from anywhere in the world that the UK allows onto its own market, because the backstop has expired?

Given five years to plan and implement it, the EU (and the UK in the other direction) could pass laws stating that any van or truck crossing the border has to submit an electronic customs form and either receive electronic clearance or drive through a customs centre 20 km from the border. I think that, given five years, both sides would be able to put in enough cameras and sensors to ensure compliance.
 

SideysGhost

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
17,716
Given five years to plan and implement it, the EU (and the UK in the other direction) could pass laws stating that any van or truck crossing the border has to submit an electronic customs form and either receive electronic clearance or drive through a customs centre 20 km from the border. I think that, given five years, both sides would be able to put in enough cameras and sensors to ensure compliance.
:roflmao:

There are not enough facepalms in the entire multiverse to respond adequately to this level of Stupid.
 

DavidCaldwell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
3,981
:roflmao:

There are not enough facepalms in the entire multiverse to respond adequately to this level of Stupid.
You are, as ever, the voice of reason. But please be patient with me and, remembering that what is obvious to you may not be obvious to me, could you explain what is wrong with what I have written?
 

SideysGhost

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
17,716
could you explain what is wrong with what I have written?
All of it? Every, Single. Word.

Frankly I could try to explain all the many factual errors, logical implausibilities, and multiple layers of pure distilled Wrong in your posts on this thread....but I just cannot be bothered. We both know I'd just be wasting my time anyway.

The burned hand teaches best.
 

livingstone

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
Given five years to plan and implement it, the EU (and the UK in the other direction) could pass laws stating that any van or truck crossing the border has to submit an electronic customs form and either receive electronic clearance or drive through a customs centre 20 km from the border. I think that, given five years, both sides would be able to put in enough cameras and sensors to ensure compliance.
Except that the commitment is to no new physical infrastructure at the border, which includes new cameras etc.

What's more, the various electronic/technological solutions you've outlined have been explored and found to be not suitable. For example, a requirement for every border crossing to be accompanied by customs declarations and checks would be a massive burden on small businesses, farmers etc. It ignores the reality of who crosses the border.

So it comes back to a simple fact: the backstop is necessary unless and until it can be superseded. The EU can intend that to be a short period, but it cannot guarantee it in legal terms in the absence of negotiations on the future treaty.
 

DavidCaldwell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
3,981
All of it? Every, Single. Word.

Frankly I could try to explain all the many factual errors, logical implausibilities, and multiple layers of pure distilled Wrong in your posts on this thread....but I just cannot be bothered. We both know I'd just be wasting my time anyway.

The burned hand teaches best.
You may find this article interesting - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/22/empathy-cycle-violence-israel-palestine

also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_space - in mathematics, metric spaces introduce the idea that there might be more than one way of measuring things.
 

statsman

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Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
56,230
Given five years to plan and implement it, the EU (and the UK in the other direction) could pass laws stating that any van or truck crossing the border has to submit an electronic customs form and either receive electronic clearance or drive through a customs centre 20 km from the border. I think that, given five years, both sides would be able to put in enough cameras and sensors to ensure compliance.
I'm going to take out life insurance, but only for the next five years, and then I'll stop. Because, you know, medical science or something.
 

recedite

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
1,407
I'd like to know who came up with the idea for the back-stop- was it Leo Varadkar or someone else from some other EU member state? It's a bit of a made yoke to have as a policy. Margaret Thatcher would never have accepted it.
I'd like to know too.
I'm guessing Varadkar, Coveney, Gerry Adams, or Juncker.
It has turned out to be a great way to disrupt any chance of an orderly Brexit.
It maximises the chances of a hard border between the UK and RoI, while giving the illusion of doing the exact opposite.
A truly masterful con-job, by whoever devised it.
 

CatullusV

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
4,550
I'd like to know who came up with the idea for the back-stop- was it Leo Varadkar or someone else from some other EU member state? It's a bit of a made yoke to have as a policy. Margaret Thatcher would never have accepted it.
The EU and the UK came up with it. Ireland, though Kenny had highlighted the border as an issue and the backstop as a mechanism to avoid a hard border was negotiated and originally agreed by the EU and the UK in late 2017.
 

Erudite Caveman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
7,470
I'd like to know who came up with the idea for the back-stop- was it Leo Varadkar or someone else from some other EU member state? It's a bit of a made yoke to have as a policy. Margaret Thatcher would never have accepted it.
The British came up with the idea of a backstop AFAIK.
 

NMunsterman

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2007
Messages
6,116
You may remember that Francois Hollande argued publicly that Britain would need to suffer from Brexit, otherwise "other countries might get the idea of leaving the EU." https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/07/uk-must-pay-price-for-brexit-says-francois-hollande

Although he did not explicitly say so (at least in what I have seen), his meaning seemed to be that if the consequences of leaving were not going to be sufficiently bad, then the EU should act to ensure that they were - i.e. should deliberately act to harm Britain and the British people.


After a little bit of thought, other EU politicians realised how unacceptable it would be to try to do such harm and there were several statements to this effect e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/18/not-punish-britain-shed-illusions-eu-fair-deal

I believed these statements and was happy with the talks and the eventual agreement, including the backstop - although in some ways it was an a unusual thing to ask in negotiations - "I want you to promise that I will not introduce a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" - and I did wonder about the reluctance of the EU to accept that technology could be accepted to be able to provide a good solution in the longer term

However, there remained in my mind the possibility that the EU (or elements within it) were trying to use the backstop as a way of making Britain pay a "suitable" price for Brexit - see https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/top-eu-diplomat-said-northern-ireland-the-price-to-pay-for-brexit-claims-former-minister-37608318.html

I now no longer trust the EU on the backstop. What has changed my mind is -

1) The EU claims that the backstop is intended to be temporary, but is reluctant to commit to this.

2) The EU claimed that the only motivation for the backstop was to prevent a hard border. But now that its insistence on the backstop seems to be increasing the risk of a hard Brexit and a hard border, the EU insists on sticking to the backstop.


In short, there seems to be a discrepancy between the EU positions in non-binding public statements ("backstop is temporary", "no wish to punish Britain") and the EU positions in legally-binding treaty statements ("backstop is time unlimited") and in private statements.

In consequence, my perception is that the EU is not currently fully trust-worthy on this matter.
Will you be staying in our country after Re-Unification - some Unionists have already decided they will leave after Re-unification.

How about you - will you decide to go back to Britain after the Re-unification of our country ?
 

recedite

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
1,407
Will you be staying in our country after Re-Unification - some Unionists have already decided they will leave after Re-unification.

How about you - will you decide to go back to Britain after the Re-unification of our country ?
Big into ethnic cleansing, are you?
 

Clanrickard

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Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
33,032

SideysGhost

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
17,716
You may find this article interesting - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/22/empathy-cycle-violence-israel-palestine

also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_space - in mathematics, metric spaces introduce the idea that there might be more than one way of measuring things.
Handlebars prevent fish, last Friday. Chimney spanners accelerate the ossification of Byzantine icons.

When turtles reboot small yellow thing that go ping, evoke great sadness and Mozart.

Chrysanthemum jellybeans.
 
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