Brexit war of words threatens to overshadow second day of talks

Speaking this morning, the Luxembourg politician hit out at the Government’s latest slew of position papers, describing them as unsatisfactory and claiming it was “crystal clear” that an “enormous amount” of issues needed to be settled before talks on a future trade deal could begin.

His intervention follow yesterday’s scathing comments from the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who used a joint press conference with Brexit Secretary David Davis to urge Britain to take negotiations more “seriously”.

This has drawn fierce criticism from British sources, who reportedly dismissed the comments as “inconsistent, ill-judged… and unhelpful”.

Read more at:

Meanwhile Labour are still trying to frustrate the ‘will of the people:

Labour Remainers Call For Permanent Transition to Reverse Brexit

Yesterday Labour’s Heidi Alexander, the MP who tried to block the triggering of Article 50 in January, confirmed that Remainers are seeking a permanent transition to prevent Brexit:

Read on…

Brexit: ‘No deal’ might soon be a real possibility

August 29 2017, 12:00am, The Times

When will the government start to talk seriously about leaving the EU without a deal? It’s hard to detect any significant progress in the five months since negotiations started formally and no one is expecting a big breakthrough in the third round of talks in Brussels this week.

The government is facing renewed pressure to pursue a “soft Brexit” after Labour’s decision to press to remain in the single market and customs union during a transition phase but there won’t be a period of transition unless there is agreement on the arrangements afterwards.

The government has sought to inject some momentum into the process, with a flurry of papers setting out its thinking on crucial issues including customs arrangements, judicial oversight and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It is easy to find flaws in the proposals: there’s a lack of detail and in many cases only a list of options. But they could provide the basis for further discussions. Instead, the EU has accused Britain of “magical thinking” on the Irish border, with officials showing a “lack of substance” and ministers accused of using the peace process as a “bargaining chip”.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is insisting that there must be sufficient progress on the Irish border issue, the rights of EU citizens in the UK and the Brexit bill before any future trade deal can be discussed. He says that he is bound by the mandate agreed with the other 27 EU states. Yet the EU’s own negotiating guidelines state that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, is pressing for more “flexibility and imagination” in the EU’s approach. There is a clear logic in his argument that it is impossible to resolve questions such as the Irish border without considering future customs arrangements.

Already sources are indicating that the prime minister may have to intervene to break the stalemate when she meets EU leaders at the summit in October.

If the EU is unwilling or unable to compromise even on the structure of the negotiations it is hard to see how real progress can be made.

Ministers are correct to say that a comprehensive deal with a period of transition is in the interests of both sides. The EU does have a tradition of finding compromises at the eleventh or even the thirteenth hour but we are constantly reminded that the clock is ticking and that the gulf between the two sides on so many critical issues remains as deep as ever.

Clearly there are huge risks in talking up the prospect of leaving without a deal. The opposition and some pro-EU Tories would accuse the government of disastrous failure. Businesses would warn of serious consequences and the pound would probably dive further.

But if the negotiations continue at the snail’s pace we have seen over the past five months we may well reach a point when it becomes obvious that we are nowhere near the smooth and orderly transition that the government is seeking.

If the government has laid the ground for such a scenario, it is just possible that it may be able to contain the fallout. It could set out contingency plans, talk up the prospects of global free trade deals and lay the blame firmly at the door of an intransigent EU.

Ministers may need to demonstrate that they are seriously prepared to walk away without agreement if they are to convince our European partners to rethink their stance and adopt a more flexible approach. Some in the cabinet would oppose such a move.

The government has always said that no deal is better than a bad deal. It may need to make it plain that this is not simply a hollow threat if the UK is to make any real progress in the complex and tortuous Brexit negotiations.

Carole Walker is a political journalist

51 thoughts on “Brexit war of words threatens to overshadow second day of talks

  1. Well according to the 17 million, No Deal thank you very much.

    What exactly is there to negotiate, out is out, unless people are considering a third umpire review.


  2. If, as the Commission assert, the UK owe the EU money, this they can demonstrate by press ting the UK with their audited accounts! This they cannot do as their accounts have not passed audit for decades.
    It now seems Labour seek to break the social contract and go and lick spittle up to the Commission, they are as usual devoid of any credibility.
    I voted against the United States of Europe in both referenda, and will do again if another is foisted upon us by oily politicians.


  3. One wonders how much negotiation is required? Some, not a lot. It’s a beauracrats and lawyers’ dream scenario. We are leaving the EU (which should cost a big fat zero, you pay to belong to things, you stop paying when your membership ceases). Our status and the status of trade and borders and citizens will be the same as the other over-a-hundred non EU states in the world. Let’s talk to Switzerland, Ukraine, Norway, Iceland, Belarus and see what arrangements they have. The only issue, requiring a bit of humanity, is the status of EU citizens here and UK citizens abroad. We have already made more than generous offers in these areas. If i was more cynical, I would suspect a conspiracy theory to delay the whole Brexit thing and make it unworkable to the point it would have to be reversed. Perish the thought! That would be a democratic disaster for the UK and other nations. I suspect the real reason is that no- one in the political elite expected a Brexit vote. They were unprepared…


    • “you stop paying when your membership ceases” , Not always, just think of pensions and BHS.
      If and when UK leaves the EU it will still have outstanding liabilities from its time as a member.


  4. Yeah and Jeremy Corbin and co want to remember who kept them ( Labour MP’s) in their jobs the majority of labour MP’s represent people who voted OUT overwhelmingly !! they need to remember OUT means OUT and if they keep insisting on thwarting the negotiations at every turn their electorate want to remember this at the ballot box but i won’t hold my breath the ” My grandad and dad always voted labour brigade ” will help them keep their seats come what may


      • MY PROOF !!
        Chris Hanretty
        Reader in Politics, University of East Anglia.
        Jun 30, 2016
        Most Labour MPs represent a constituency that voted Leave
        Yesterday I posted my analysis of how the declared results would map on to Westminster constituencies.
        I didn’t include in that analysis any reference to the parties which hold those constituencies. For completeness’ sake, here’s the cross-tabulation of (a) which party holds each seat and (b) my assessment of how that seat voted. Bear in mind that these results apply only to England, Wales, and selected Scottish seats.

        Proportion of constituencies held by each party according to likely referendum outcome
        shows, over three quarters of Conservative-held constituencies voted to Leave, and seven in ten Labour-held constituencies. Although Labour as a party is very much more favourable to the EU than the Conservative party, the same cannot be said of the voters in the constituencies it holds.

        I REST MY CASE !


  5. Negotiations with the EU?

    Fairy God Mother May is in Japan, negotiating with the Japanese, she’s negotiating for Japanese products being manufactured in the UK which in the law of probabilities will lose the EU passport of commercially certified goods.

    No longer will the UK be the sick man of Europe, writing on the cards probably more like sick man of the world.

    At least we are aiming high.


    • If UK does leave, we are unlikely to become the “sick man 0f the world”, but it is going to be very catastrophic for the country, imho. But at least the French Establishment will be very happy.


    • Is Aston Martin a Japanese car?
      As for sick man, worse than Dagestan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, East Timor, Somalia, etc..
      Doomsayer abound and are generally wrong.
      There is little gained in being Jeremiads.


      • Poetmorgan please;

        Is Aston Martin a Japanese car? Is the pope Muslim?

        Aston Martin built in the UK, sourced from China, I know it’s really that bad!

        Honda and Toyota are, Nissan by default is still Japanese (Sunderland Nissan historically coined as the most productive plant in the world). Majority of these cars make it into the EU uninterrupted, not to say Aston Martins don’t, it’s all about the numbers.

        Hitachi rail Europe in Doncaster, maybe most of these trains will be built for the UK market, but what is the long term strategy! How many pies do Hitachi have their thumbs in?

        Sony on the electronics front.

        They! Named as some have free trade to look forward to, and that will be on a golden platter given by the EU, I’m beginning to suspect probably the EU will be asking them for securities sake to come to Europe.

        I suppose she’ll be negotiating with the Indians too!

        Maybe I gave the wrong impression before ‘sick man of the world’, probably closer to the mark, sickest man of the Developed world! It still doesn’t look any better than close to relegation, and as if there’d be a difference between top of the bottom, and bottom of the bottom.


        • You can always move to the place where the grass looks greener.
          You think there are countries where the mesoeconomic sector (multi national corporations) has no influence!
          Dagestan would fit that.
          Economies are developed and maintained by adventurers and tinkerers, that is entrepreneurs and inventors and innovators.
          Can you predict future inventions? Can you predict future opportunities?
          I can’t. So I stay away from prophecy.
          However, I decline to act the Jeremiah.


  6. IMHO I do not prophesy the future as it is unknowable. However I do see deep problems in the Eurozone that have great potential for instability. Not as bad maybe as Korean region but none the less unstable.


      • The EU has a monetary North/South divide. For example:
        Germany protects its surplus and Greece is mired in debt. A single currency based on political and not on economic unity is unstable.


        • Foul ageist abuse, nothing hotshot in that, just nastiness from a bigot.
          There was no original leave campaign, we did not want to JOIN, silly child.
          I do mind you asking as it seems you wish me and people my age to DIE

          That is a hate crime

          I hope this website removes it!


        • PoetMorgan –
          I have a lot of time for Stiglitz, I have read the book, and have met him on several occasions over the years (I am ex-World Bank)..

          But I really think I am allowed my own opinion on the Euro:
          I was very involved in the matters that led up to the decision for the introduction of the currency having spent from 1992 supporting the Secretariat of the Committee of Governors of the Central Banks of the EU – they were hosted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – who employed me. I was also responsible for the ECU clearing system – that was run by the BIS.
          After the decision was made, I moved up to Frankfort with Baron Lamphalusy to set up the EMI – the precursor organization of the ECB and stayed on on-call to them as a consultant for the next 10 years, during which I worked for other major financial organizations on their planning for the introduction of the euro.
          When Greece was allowed to join – I worked on it for Reuters, still in regular contact with my mates at the ECB, and I do understand in detail both the swap deal Greece did with Goldmans and Benford’s law*. (…and I have never had much time for Eurostat).
          * Ben Goldacre explains Benford here:

          Stiglitz got some things right, but he got some things wrong.

          If you have any questions about what really happened I’ll try and answer them.


        • Well thanks for the offer. Banking and money are not my speciality. I was more into industrial economics specialising in the evolving structures, conduct and performances of the construction industries. Since 2007 I have been following banking and finance but do find it amorphous compared to laying bricks!
          I am not a great fan of Stieglitz but I did find that book readable.
          He is a Keynesian of sorts but like most has not started with Keynes’s important first work, his Treatise on Probability. Now that is a whole sphere worth visiting!
          Hence my aversion to prophesying. You may not think much of Naseem Taleb, but I find him stimulating if a little undiplomatic.
          My aversion to the EU is based on a very long term historic view and not current economic issues. I get the remain argument I just prefer a leap into the unknown to what is on offer from our continental neighbours. Yes, irrational no doubt!
          You have an interesting history. Have you thought of writing it up?


        • I am writing it, but it takes a lot of work and much re-thinking; I’m still working on my time for the World Bank: Ethiopia, Zanzibar, and Zimbabwe in the 1980’s.
          I am not a banker – just someone who had some detailed understanding of banking and the money and derivatives markets.
          Naseem Taleb is fine.


  7. We should have left on the 23rd of June 2016. All we needed to do was put EU law and trade deals under British law and change line by line. The most important first. There will be no deal and two years of wasted time.


  8. Poetmorgan, my prophecy Teresa May is not on a sushi exchange programme, now is she, in the law of probabilities she’s there to place guarantees for a post Brexit world.

    On the question of Dagestan, you are an impromptous supporter of the original leave campaign, I don’t believe it you haven’t left for pastures Green yet!

    When do you all sod off, iydmma!


  9. Britain wants an “impossible” Brexit deal where it retains the benefits of EU membership despite leaving the bloc, the EU’s chief negotiator has said.

    We simply don’t understand ‘FREE MARKET’!

    As if the rest of the world doesn’t protect itself from cheaper products, straight bananas spring to mind, apparently America has no such thing as banana tariffs or bent (Chinese dumping) steel tariffs for that matter.

    What model is the UK trying to create, indirectly trading other countries commodities as in the banking sector in the monetary department.


  10. Poetmorgan;
    ‘I do mind you asking as it seems you wish me and people my age to DIE’

    You brought up ‘Dagestan:! And the’ grass looks greener’.

    Me! Hotspot! Repackaged your deal back to you, ‘wish’ you read it properly though.

    When do you all sod off, iydmma! To Dagestan!

    Where did you get ‘people my age to DIE’.

    I don’t mind people calling me names, even if they are as detestable as Bigot and Troll, but please don’t play a warped ageist card with me, and somehow assimilating it to a hate crime.

    Back on topic, what prophecy do you hold to guarantee the future of our children is not as bleak as I’m suggesting.


  11. Snotspot,
    Twaddle, do not play games with me, not interested!
    “No man know what the morrow might bring”
    So stop asking me to prophecy, that is your profession.
    Ends with you for keeps.


    • The prophecy I’m calling you to is your opinion, since you don’t have one, Dagestan for you.

      “No man know what the morrow might bring”.

      Twaddle to your hearts content.
      Ask Poetmorgan, a wordsmith, and a master of none.
      If any word could explain my dear friend, then lo and behold that word would be ‘bent’.
      Reduces knowledge of his learned work to name calling then I am done.


  12. Pingback: The Week That Was – Last Weeks Top Ten 2nd September 2017 | Rotherham Politics

  13. Looks like Barnier is back tracking . Keep it up mr Davis …
    “We intend to teach people… what leaving the single market means,” he reportedly told the Ambrosetti forum.

    Responding to the remarks, a No 10 spokesman said “the British people have heard those arguments.”

    Mr Barnier tweeted on Monday that what he had said was that Brexit was an “occasion to explain single market benefits in all countries, including my own”.

    He added “we do not want to “educate” or “teach lessons”.


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