EU leaders want the UK to accept an agreement that would bind the country into the treaties that Brexit makes clear we should leave.
If the Prime Minister carries out his threat to leave the EU on 31st October (“No ifs, no buts”) even in the event of no agreement, the EU says that border checks in Ireland will be essential to preserve the integrity of the Single Market. That will endanger the peace in Ireland established by the Belfast Agreement, and it will be the UK’s fault, they say, dishonestly. EU leaders insist they can’t remove the border backstop because they can’t “throw Ireland under a bus” – why not, they didn’t hesitate to throw Greece under a bus, did they?
Here’s what Commission President, Junker, replied when asked in the Irish Parliament whether the EU could be trusted not to insist on border infrastructure under any circumstances:
Question: “Can we trust you; no border under any circumstances?” Answer: “Yes.” It is pretty obvious from Junker’s body language that he’d rather not have to answer but daren’t say the EU might require border checks in some circumstances, as he had agreed they would never do it. So he and the EU were lying, either then or now. No surprise there; we don’t trust them—neither should the Irish.
The EU says the Withdrawal Agreement ‘negotiated’ by Theresa May’s government cannot (by which they mean ‘will not’) be reopened. For the PM to sign that would be like accepting the Unequal Treaties imposed by the western powers on China in the nineteenth century. For example, the Treaty of Nanjing (1842) meant that Britons who committed crimes in China would be tried by their own consular officials rather than facing Chinese courts. What a comeuppance it would be if Britain was tried exclusively by the CJEU for crimes against the Single Market, Customs Union or anything under the Treaties of the European Union from which it had withdrawn. Tariffs were set by the superpowers to suit themselves, America also did this to Japan (that didn’t end peacefully). Britain extracted a 99-year lease on Hong Kong which lasted until 1997 (the last third of that period vitalised Hong Kong). It feels like what the EU plans for Northern Ireland or the whole of Britain unless we get back on the bus—our forecast in this case is that it would lead to mediocrity and decline, at best.
Before their meeting in France this month President Macron warned Prime Minister Johnson that Brexit could turn the UK into a vassal state of the US. Clearly Macron would rather we were a vassal state of the EU and will do his best to achieve this.
Why, in the spirit of “Whatever it takes” which the ECB uses (in violation of treaty rules if necessary) will the EU not agree to make smooth trading with a ‘dearly departed’ member a priority, after all both sides would benefit hugely? The answer is, of course, “to discourage the others”, to enforce an unfair treaty and to punish a heretic. These are all hallmarks of an ideologically-driven project, more concerned with abstract perfection than practical benefit.