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If we had businessmen negotiating we would have had a deal by now

Glasgow Fish Market Suffering Due To Covid 19 As Brexit Looms
Fishing rights is one of the key issues still to be settled in a post-Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU. EPA-EFE/Robert Perry

A well written piece by Alper Riza which strikes the right balance, both at law and principle on the one hand and practicality and common interest on the other.

If Britain is prepared to be bound to current EU market and competition rules only, this is much as can be expected from a sovereign state that is departing the Union. And to allow some fishing rights to EU countries post Brexit is a small price, in the context of the miniscule contribution the fishing industry makes to British GDP., While at the same time appearing to make a big political concession, especially to the French and Spanish.

For the sensible outsiders looking in, it is so frustrating to watch the brinkmanship, bloody mindedness and failure of statecraft (to quote Boris) at play here. It is mind boggling to watch two parties that have far, far more in common than what separates them, to allow these negotiations to fail. If we had businessmen, instead of politicians, negotiating, we would have had a deal a long time ago. How difficult is it understand that there a common market of almost 500 million on each other’s doorstep, making trade so cost effective and efficient? Why is Britain wishing to enter new trade agreements with Australia, Canada , Singapore, the US, Japan etc when 50% of its trade is on its doorstep and functioning satisfactorily? And how much more of an attractive deal can a Britain outside the EU, with its 60 m market hope to achieve than being part of the much larger EU common market?

And why is the EU so inflexible towards a large, and strategically important neighbor? We only need to remind ourselves that had the EU Commission under Juncker been a little more understanding of Britain’s very real concerns and sensitivities as pertaining to immigration when Cameron asked for some leeway over control of its borders, we would not be in this Brexit mess now.

Let us hope, especially for the many Anglophiles among us, that some common sense prevails, even at this very stage. Let us hope that the politicians, on both sides, place rationality and mutual interest above petty politics and reach a compromise.

If not just for economic reasons, but to retain the Good Friday agreement and the seamless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland intact. We certainly do not yearn for the days of ”troubles” again there.


Britain and the EU: avoiding failure of statecraft 

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