the real negotiation starts now

As of today, it may seem early to examine the consequences of new Trade and Cooperation Agreement to which the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) have signed. This agreement, which is lengthy in details, nevertheless authorizes some preliminary reflections.

It is the agreement that we all expected. Not the one we wanted, but it is the only one that could reasonably be achieved. The alternative was to have no agreement. The treaty is not a surprise for those who have followed the endless Brexit itinerary since its germinal hour, that is, when former Prime Minister David Cameron, after his negotiation with Brussels in February 2016 in which he demanded limitations on the freedom of movement, called the Brexit referendum for June 23, 2016. The EU, already back then, although it was pragmatic and made some concessions, reminded him that the four communal freedoms were indivisible. With a conservative party divided on the issue and David Cameron playing offended, like Prefect Renault, he exclaimed smugly and with a serious face “scandal, I discovered that it is played here”, as if he did not know in advance the answer from Brussels. The rest is well known.

The same red lines That Brussels reminded him of David Cameron in 2015 and 2016, and that the European Council itself demanded the EU negotiating team in its session of April 29, 2017, have determined a good part of the negotiation. What the Council came to say is that a third State could not enjoy the benefits of the single market without accepting the indivisibility of the four freedoms. For its part, the United Kingdom has also seen its most important aspirations fulfilled: the end of the jurisdiction of the CJEU, complete control over immigration, the end of the common fisheries policy and the absence of an express obligation to converge with the EU on regulation matter, which has allowed it to reach the end of its negotiation without concessions that affect its sovereignty (except in the particular case of Northern Ireland).

The agreement is, therefore, the only one that could be reached after the overwhelming victory of Boris Johnson in December 2019, with some conservative deputies and a united government cabinet with hardly any fissures around the same idea: andhe transition period was to end with few concessions on December 31, 2020. And so it has been.

The paradox of this agreement is that, being a free trade agreement, it inevitably is intended to create barriers in the trade of goods and services. This was always the metaphysical drama of this negotiation. No deal was going to match the benefits of the single market without crossing the British red lines.

An agent reviews a trucker's documentation upon arrival at the port of Dover.  (Reuters)An agent reviews a trucker's documentation upon arrival at the port of Dover.  (Reuters)
An agent reviews a trucker’s documentation upon arrival at the port of Dover. (Reuters)

The agreement is much broader than it seems, as it regulates the trade of goods between both parties, digital trade, public procurement, fishing, energy, intellectual property, climate change, transportation (land and air), coordination in matters of social security and visas, and, finally, cooperation on criminal justice. It rests on a touchstone that will sustain the building of the new regulation: the commitment to maintain equal conditions (‘level playing field’) so that free competition is not distorted, although it is true that neither party renounces altering the regulatory framework.

Regarding goods, as expected, the agreement contemplates zero tariffs and fees, provided that the certificate of origin guarantees that, in fact, such good comes mostly from the United Kingdom or the EU. Likewise, in key sectors for Spain, additional measures have been agreed to facilitate trade in: chemical products (cooperation in regulatory matters), came (simplification of certificates and common principles on labeling), organic products (equivalence of the legislation of both parties), pharmaceutical products (recognition of the other party’s inspections) and, especially, automotive (use of international standards, application of the relevant UN certificate and cooperation on security standards).

Inevitably, the deal involves more bureaucracyIt will be necessary to comply with British regulations, which has not been done to date. For example, a key sector for Spain such as agri-food it will be affected by the divergence of regimes for sanitary and phytosanitary measures, although some measures have been introduced to alleviate these discrepancies.

Nacho Alarcón. Brussels

In its attempt to “regain sovereignty” by leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom has ended up seriously wounding it.

The agreement is first and foremost a goods agreement and, predictably, does not regulate services broadly. Although it covers more aspects than those included in the model of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS, for its acronym in English), does not include mutual recognition to facilitate the provision of services. It is the sector most affected by the treaty and will affect, above all, British companies, which will have to adapt to the regulations of each member state.

In financial services matter, the situation is one of uncertainty. Especially for the UK, which has not achieved mutual recognition for the City and is now awaiting a decision on EU equivalence. Such decision, which depends exclusively on the Commission, is independent of the agreement and is defined as being revocable in 30 days, with what is not a long term solution. Both parties have given themselves until March 31 of this year to reach a memorandum of understanding on the matter. For its part, London has granted equivalence to European entities in certain aspects of financial regulation. In the case of the non-European banking sector based in London, the main financial institutions have carried out their contingency plans, that is, replicate equipment in a European city to access the community market.

On the principle of equal conditions, true Gordian knot of this system of balances that is the agreement, although the obligation is not imposed (but the commitment is), corrective measures have been included in the event that one of the parties distorts this principle through, for example, the concession of public aid. By last, on public procurement —Essential for Spanish direct investment in the United Kingdom—, the agreement (very ambitious in this matter) foresees that European companies will be able to tender under equal conditions in a good number of sectors.

We are before a text that it will be subject to continuous review and interpretation and that it will be very actively nourished by the experience of both public and private institutions. This extreme is essential to begin to understand how the future of the relationship will unfold. The agreement itself is subject to an Association Council led by a representative from the EU and another from the United Kingdom, both – please note – with ministerial rank.

The negotiation is not closed with the agreement; the real Brexit negotiation begins ‘hic et nunc’, and it is precisely this Association Council – co-chaired by two politicians – that will administer the new economic and commercial model. Its powers are broad and include taking decisions on certain matters of the agreement, making recommendations and, especially, agree modifications to the agreement in the anticipated cases. There is also a trade association committee, 10 committees specialized in trade affairs, eight committees specialized in other matters (energy, fisheries, security, etc.) and up to four working groups.

The ideal agreement never existed because we came from a perfect situation

This institutional scaffolding (which ironically reminds the European Commission) is essential to understand how Brexit will unfold and run. Not only because the decisions adopted by the Association Council or, where appropriate, by a committee will be binding on both parties, but because the agreement will be in constant motion; the text continuously refers to modifications, rectifications, consultations, revisions, decisions, transition periods, etc. Thus, Brexit does not end with the signing of the treaty, but rather on the contrary, it will be a gradual, dynamic process that will change over time.

The new agreement stands before us as a point of departure, not of arrival. It is an open agreement and its practical implementation – yet to be defined – will differ from the literal text.

The ideal agreement never existed because we came from a perfect situation. The business model has changed and needs to change with it. Faced with this new reality that the treaty imposes on us, it is time to move away from the skepticism that unwanted changes usually generate. Although with more barriers (to which we will adapt), the British market will continue to be attractive for our companies. New rules, but same market. Being successful will require effort and the ability to adapt, qualities that Spanish companies are not unaware of.

* Eduardo Barrachina is president of the Official Chamber of Commerce of Spain in the United Kingdom, ‘solicitor’ and lawyer at White & Case.


LSE receives green light to buy data giant Refinitiv for US $ 27 billion

The authorization from the European Union was the last major obstacle to a transaction that will create a powerhouse in the financial data industry.

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) purchase of Refinitiv for US $ 27 billion was approved by European Union regulators, overcoming the last major hurdle to creating a financial data powerhouse.

The LSE made “commitments that will ensure that markets remain open and competitive and that the purchase will not lead to higher prices or fewer options and innovation,” the European Commission said Wednesday.

Obtaining EU approval ensures a transformative deal for The 300-year-old London Stock Exchange, with a global scale as companies compete to meet the growing demand for data and analytics in increasingly computerized financial markets. The news is also a boost for one of London’s flagship financial companies, as the post-Brexit era begins to affect the sector’s role on the world stage.

In a statement, LSE said the transaction still requires a “small amount” of regulatory approvals and would be completed in the first quarter. Its shares rose 1.9% at 1:20 p.m. in London.

You may also like: European Union stock deal flees London on first day after Brexit

Divestments and guarantees

LSE will sell Borsa Italiana, including its MTS European government bond trading platform, Euronext and two Italian banks. The EU said this removes the overlap with Refinitiv’s activities in e-bond trading.

LSE has also committed to continue to offer OTC interest rate derivative clearing services through LCH Swapclear on an open access basis for ten years. This will keep you subject to EU regulations on transparent and non-discriminatory compensation despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

The company undertakes not to discriminate between Tradeweb and other trading venues and middleware providers. It will also provide access to LSE Headquarters data, FTSE UK Equity Indices and WM / R Currency Benchmark Indices to all competitors existing and future later.

He vowed not to degrade technology anymore maintain an information barrier between LSE clients and some Refinitiv companies to avoid a negative impact on other providers. These commitments also have a duration of ten years.

New container

The post-merger company will combine the trading of stocks, debt and swaps and LSE derivatives compensation with data and indexing businesses that will compete with companies ranging from MSCI to Bloomberg. The parent company of Bloomberg News competes with Refinitiv to provide news, data and financial information.

The transaction also helped drive consolidation among the financial industry’s largest data providers. In November, S&P Global agreed to buy IHS Markit for about $ 39 billion. That same month, LSE’s biggest European rival, Deutsche Boerse, bought a majority stake in Institutional Shareholder Services, the corporate governance advisor.

The Refinitiv deal has come under a lot of scrutiny. Regulators pointed to potential problems with the company’s combined market share in European government bond trading, interest rate derivatives trading and clearing, real-time data feeds and index licenses, citing the possibility that historical LSE rivals could be excluded from access to significant Refinitiv bonuses.

Failed precedents

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also raised concerns about the way some companies accumulate data.

If the agreement is finally finalized would mark a turnaround after a series of failed transactions involving major stock exchanges. In 2017, a plan to combine LSE and Deutsche Boerse was aimed at creating a European champion that could compete with the largest US exchanges, but was vetoed by European regulators for lessening competition.




when nostalgia becomes a political weapon

“What scares me about nostalgia is that it has become a political weapon. The politicians have created nostalgia for an England that never existed. And to which they sell as something we can return to, ”explained the recently disappeared John le Carré in an interview with the BBC last year. The British novelist, whose real name was David Cornwell, was the spy who narrated the Cold War. He was always extremely critical of him Brexi. Is it nostalgia that has brought us here?

This December 31, it will finally be executed for practical purposes the UK’s disconnection from the EU. After years writing about this daily, believe me when I tell you that today everything seems strange to me. Like that morning of June 24, 2016. He still had the words – and especially the tone of voice – of the legendary journalist David Dimbleby recorded: “Gentlemen, we are out.”

He had internalized so much that “the relationship between the UK and the EU it wasn’t love, but it wasn’t bad enough to end in divorce ”which I had come to believe. I wanted to believe it. In my head, somehow, Brexit had been cornered as a long shot. But it was not like that: 51.9% of the votes compared to 48.1%. By a difference of 1,269,501 ballots (or what is the same, 1.9% of the votes), it was decided to end more than four decades of stormy relationship with the bloc.

What would have happened if the 2008 crisis had not doomed the UK to an era of austerity What led many citizens to use the referendum as a vote to punish the Government? What if the populist-opportunist Boris Johnson would you have decided to campaign for permanence in the EU? What if the Labor opposition had a leader other than radical (and Eurosceptic) Jeremy Corbyn?

The cornerstone of any risk management system is the so-called ‘Swiss cheese model’. It was created in 1990 by the English James T. Reason, after studying the causes of various disasters. If we cut the cheese, it is difficult for any of the holes to coincide in each and every one of the slices. But that does not mean that it is impossible. And this is what has happened with Brexit. A singular concatenation of factors has brought us here.

Boris Johnson. (Reuters)Boris Johnson. (Reuters)
Boris Johnson. (Reuters)

Although, frankly, from the moment David cameron starred in a tremendous political miscalculation, the chances of avoiding catastrophe were reduced. Because it was all a political miscalculation fueled, among others, by a Scottish independence consultation in 2014, which the then prime minister won very tightly.

The promised land

Citizens were not asking for a plebiscite on staying in the EU. It was the Conservative Party that took their eternal dispute to the streets. Throughout history, the European question has cost up to six ‘Tory’ leaders their jobs. Johnson, however, hopes the disconnection will restore his reign to him. With popularity on the floor for his more than questioned management in the face of the pandemic, the Downing Street tenant now shows himself which messiah leading a ‘global Britain’ that Eurosceptics present Like it’s a promised land

The UK has already entered a recession and is on track to run a historic peacetime deficit of 19% of UK GDP. But that does not matter. For the ‘Brexiters’, their greatest treasure now is having regained sovereignty. And they are not aware that for any future pact, whoever it is, and even if it is only minimal, concessions must be made.

Pure sovereignty not only does not exist but is also dangerous, because it leaves you isolated. As has happened now. Because no matter how much people talk about the fact that the trade and cooperation agreement with Brussels finally bridged the abyss at the last minute, the United Kingdom is now out of the single market and the customs union. And this is the same as talking about hard Brexit.

The United Kingdom did not have a leading role in Churchill’s United States of Europe

It is true that the British were never quite comfortable in the community club. Many consider that the famous speech that Winston Churchill offered in 1946 at the University of Zurich, where he spoke of the need to build a “United States of Europe”, it was the first step towards integration during the postwar period. But the truth is that he saw the United Kingdom more as an observer than as an integrator of that process.

Europe was considered an inheritance of the empire. As great victors in their fight against Nazism, London wanted to help the Old Continent develop, but supervising everything from the outside.

After not one, but up to two vetoes from the French general Charles de Gaulle, the entrance finally arrived in 1973. But from the first moment, everything was exceptional. From Thatcher’s British check to exclusion from the euro zone. The United Kingdom always enjoyed a special status. And the rest of the Member States agreed with that. The benefit of the British presence in the European project cannot be minimized either. London offered the link to the United States, a different view of the process, and a counterweight to France.

However, the concessions that Brussels came to offer to Cameron in his attempt to avoid divorce can even be considered humiliating. Sometimes, we forget those negotiations prior to the historic consultation of June 23, 2016. The European Commission even proposed an ’emergency brake’ to stop the entry of migrants – suspending social benefits, even those to which they were entitled EU citizens – if it proved that the UK could not bear the migratory pressure. In short, a white-glove slap to freedom of movement, the cornerstone of the single market. But even so, Westminster didn’t buy it.

The ‘Tories’ were already very nervous about the rise of UKIP. With his anti-immigration speech, a then unknown Nigel Farage was gaining more and more ground. It was the British –in particular, Tony Blair– those who most insisted on integrating the Eastern countries into the EU. But then it turned out that their immigration bothered them. Ironies of this complex process.

“Regaining control of the borders” became the great emblem of the Eurosceptic cause. Farage refused to apologize after presenting a gigantic poster showing a long line of refugees crossing the border between Croatia and Slovenia. The politician was accused of adopting “Nazi-style propaganda tactics” to help win Brexit. Along with the billboard was the following message: “The EU has failed us all.”

The ‘Brexiters’ began to manipulate a speech in which, in the midst of the era of austerity imposed by the Executive after the 2008 crisis, they accused immigrants of stealing jobs from the British and collapsing public health, demonstrations that were demonstrated they weren’t true.

David Cameron.  (EFE)David Cameron.  (EFE)
David Cameron. (EFE)

It also coincided that in 2015 Germany registered a record 1.1 million refugees from the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia. Many Britons voted for Brexit with the conviction that they could reduce immigration from these countries, without being aware that the debate was only limited to the European countries of the bloc. They put an end to freedom of movement. Of course the door worked both ways. Community members will no longer be able to enter the UK freely, but British people will not be able to travel freely through the 27 EU countries either.

After the Brexit victory was known, Cameron announced his resignation and made it to Number 10 for the last time humming (literally). Theresa May took the baton and activated Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, when she did not even know how to define what it all meant: “Brexit means Brexit.”

What is the alternative to Europe? If we are honest, we must say that there are none ”, wrote in his diary in January 1963 the conservative British prime minister. Harold Macmillan, several days after General Charles de Gaulle vetoed for the first time the entrance of the United Kingdom to the then European Economic Community.

What is the alternative? I don’t have an answer for it yet. Therefore, I say goodbye as the President of the European Commission did on Christmas Eve, Ursula von der Leyen, quoting the poet TS Eliot: “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to finish is to begin ”.


EasyJet ready to defend its European nationality after Brexit

EasyJet has confirmed the lines of the contingency plan that will activate, if necessary, to guarantee before the European Commission (EC) the ongoing compliance with the control and ownership requirements of the European Union (EU), once the transition period of the Brexi December 31, 2020. That plan, approved on November 17, would imply the suspension of certain voting rights of British shareholders and could even force them to sell their shares to citizens of the EU bloc, in accordance with the provisions in force in the statutes of the company, so that the ownership of the EU is 50.5% or more. The airline registered an air operator license in Austria. The current level of ownership of the company by the EU (excluding the UK) is 47.02%; so it would not be on the side of the EU.

To prepare the implementation of this contingency plan, the company’s board of directors has adopted various resolutions in accordance with its statutes to ensure that it can be activated when needed.

Among these, it has made modifications to articles necessary for the airline and some of its subsidiaries to continue to comply with EU ownership and control requirements; has established measures to protect the group’s operational rights; and has established a Maximum Allowed of Relevant Shares at 49.5% (British property).

The current level of ownership of the company by the EU, excluding the UK, is 47.02%. Once the Brexit transition period is over, this would mean an ownership level of Relevant Persons of 52.98% (British ownership).

Foto: Simon Dawson/ Bloomberg

EU regulations require that all airlines with EU operating licenses (including easyJet) be majority owned and controlled by citizens of one of its member states, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, countries attached to the air market European.

If, at the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020, the ownership of the relevant persons (British or non-EU) is above the maximum allowed and there is no temporary waiver of the ownership requirements and control of the EU, the company anticipates that it would activate its contingency plan suspending voting rights with respect to certain shares held by Relevant Persons in accordance with Article 39.6.1, so that the majority of voting rights in the company are held by EU persons. The suspension of voting rights will be applied on a “last in, first out” basis.In other words, the shares most recently acquired by Relevant Persons would have their voting rights suspended first.

The Company expects to keep the ownership position under review after the end of the Brexit transition period. If the property of the Relevant Persons continues to exceed the Maximum Allowed during a sustained period, The Company reserves the right to activate the existing provisions of its Bylaws, which allow the Company to oblige Relevant Persons to sell their shares to EU citizens (see Note 4). . There is no guarantee when, or if, the Maximum Allowed will be removed.

The airline cautions, however, that this suspension would not affect any rights these shareholders may have to receive dividends from easyJet in respect of the shares subject to suspension.

A further announcement will be made of any decision of the Board to activate contingency plan.


Brexit: the key dates of the last year of negotiation between London and Brussels | WORLD

The European Union (EU) and the UK They reached a historic agreement for the relationship in the post-Brexit era, after almost a year of negotiation with a pandemic in between and only a week after Community legislation ceased to be applied in British territory on January 1.

“This moment marks the end of a long journey,” said the president of the European Commission (EC), Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen at a press conference, stressing that the agreement will give the new relationship with the United Kingdom “solid foundations”. “We can finally leave Brexit behind, Europe continues to advance,” he remarked.

“I know this is a difficult day for some,” added Von der Leyen. “And to our friends in the UK, I want to say,” he added, “that parting is such a sweet shame.”

The European negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, of France, also showed “relief” and “sadness” and indicated that the agreement reached, after a marathon final negotiation, “does not replicate the rights and advantages” that the United Kingdom enjoys until December 31 as a member of the Union and that “despite the agreement there will be many changes for citizens and companies.”

The negotiation, on the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU and the transitory relationship, first and on its future relationship, later, repeatedly missed the deadlines and was difficult and asymmetric between two blocks of very different weight: the population of the The EU has 447 million inhabitants, while that of the United Kingdom is almost 67 million.

In the last part of the negotiation, there were still substantial differences in competition, governance and fisheries matters, which were finally saved and made it possible to prevent relations between the United Kingdom and the 27 countries that make up the EU from being governed from 1 January 2021 simply because of the general framework of the World Trade Organization (WHO).

After officially leaving the European Union on January 31 of this year, after 47 years of membership, negotiations on the future relationship between both parties began on March 2, to be suspended just ten days later due to the coronavirus.

From then until now, the two chief negotiators, the Frenchman Michel Barnier and the British David Frost, had time to catch COVID-19, heal, meet by video conference and cross the English Channel several times, always in search of an agreement that it ran aground again and again on the same cliffs.

The chapters that got stuck and that the president of the European Commission (EC), Ursula Von der Leyen and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, tried to promote at the political level in recent days are the guarantees to ensure fair competition between British and community companies, fisheries and mechanisms to resolve disputes over the future pact.

These are the main moments that have marked the negotiations in search of a commercial agreement between the Twenty-seven and the United Kingdom, the first country to leave the community club:


January 23. The Brexit law is sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth II, and the following day Boris Johnson signs the agreement.

January 29. The European Parliament puts the final stamp on the Brexit agreement.

January 31. The UK’s last day in the European Union after 47 years of membership. At midnight European time, the official departure takes place.


February 1st. The transition period begins, during which the UK is no longer a Member State, but all Community laws still apply there.

February 25. The European Union agrees on its negotiating mandate for the future relationship with the United Kingdom.

February 27. The British Government publishes its negotiating guides to negotiate with the EU.


March 2nd. The first round of negotiations for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom begins.

March 12. Negotiations on the future relationship are suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic.

March, 19. The European chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, announces that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

March 20. British chief negotiator David Frost shows “mild symptoms” of the coronavirus and goes into isolation.


April 20th. The conversations are resumed by videoconference. The EU considers “disappointing” the lack of progress on several key issues, such as fisheries or fair competition between companies.


June 12. The United Kingdom officially notifies that it will not request an extension to the transition period, thus effectively limiting the negotiations until December 31, 2020.

June, 15. The European Union and the United Kingdom agree to intensify talks about their relationship after Brexit after a video call between Boris Johnson and the leaders of the European institutions. Negotiations resume, with several rounds during the summer months without significant progress.


September 6. Boris Johnson gives a deadline until October 15 to reach an agreement with the European Union on Brexit, after which, he said, “we would have to accept (the failure) and turn the page.”

September 7. The newspaper “Financial Times” reveals that the United Kingdom is preparing a draft Law on the Internal Market with which it can cancel the customs obligations that the United Kingdom acquired to keep the border between the two Ireland open.

September 8. The British Government acknowledges that the controversial clauses of the Internal Market Act violate the withdrawal agreement to which it had committed with the EU.


October 1st. The European Commission opens infringement proceedings against the UK for its attempt to deactivate parts of the withdrawal agreement.

October 2nd. The European Union notes “serious divergences” in the negotiation of the relationship with the United Kingdom.

October 7. London assures that the agreement is far away despite the supposed ultimatum set for October 15.

October 15th. The European Union expresses its intention to intensify negotiations with the United Kingdom with the aim of reaching an agreement around the end of October.

October 16. Johnson admits the UK is heading for a no-deal Brexit. Later the same day. Von der Leyen assures that the EU continues working to reach an agreement on the relationship with the United Kingdom.

October 22. The European Union and the United Kingdom restart the “intensified” talks with contacts almost daily, including on weekends.


November 9. The House of Lords withdraws from the controversial Internal Market law clauses designed to unilaterally break the agreement with the European Union (EU) on the border in Ireland.

November 19th. Negotiations in person are again canceled when a member of Barnier’s team tests positive for coronavirus.

November 27. Barnier announces that his quarantine has ended and that he will travel to London to continue the talks in person.


December 4th. Negotiations stop when it is found that they remain blocked on the same issues.

December 5th. Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson They talk on the phone and instruct their teams to meet again on Sunday the 6th.

December 7th. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron reject a three-way call at Johnson’s request, and refer him to the president of the European Commission. Von der Leyen and Johnson speak again on the phone and agree to meet face to face in Brussels two days later.

December 9. Von der Leyen and Johnson have dinner in Brussels and give themselves until Sunday the 13th to make a decision on the future of the negotiations. Both hint at the difficulties of reaching an agreement in 2020.

December 10. Brussels presents contingency measures for the fishing sector, connections and air safety and road traffic. At a 22-hour European summit, the leaders of the EU countries dispatch Brexit in 10 minutes, which Von der Leyen uses to explain the state of the negotiation.

December 13th. Von der Leyen and Boris Johnson announce that, despite having passed a deadline again, due to “responsibility” they will make one last effort and London and Brussels will continue negotiating.

December 20th. The deadline that the European Parliament considered the maximum for the European Parliament to analyze a hypothetical agreement before January 31 is over.

December 21. Negotiations between London and Brussels continue while most EU countries close air connections with the United Kingdom, and France also road transport, in the face of a new strain of coronavirus detected in England.

Dec. 24. Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom after a marathon meeting and a time trial to reach an agreement before Christmas.


A ‘minibrexit’ for Boris

Always with the permission of Trump, Putin, Orbán and the rest of the alpha males of the global nationalist gang, I think few will be able to argue that there is no better example of a populist campaign in recent times than that of the Brexi in the United Kingdom. Its strategists knew how to touch the emotional fiber of the British most allergic to the continent thanks to: 1º) their ability to combine the magical thinking of their proposals with a few fake news very effective and repeated ad nauseam and 2nd) his nose for finding an imaginary culprit for all the ills of his empire: the Brussels bureaucrats.

“Boris Johnson’s bravado is just that, bragging about a leader who doesn’t know how to get out of a forward flight that no longer has exits”

Four years later, however, the Brexi It no longer resists the test of contact with reality and the English, far from finding themselves at the gates of the autarkic paradise where pounds would flourish and which would free them from perfidious Europe, no longer strive to break with their undesirable neighbors, but rather to try that the disconnection does not aggravate the hardships caused by the pandemic.

The bravado of Boris Johnson they are just that, boasting of a leader who does not know how to get out of a forward flight that no longer has exits. And an idea stands out that no one denies anymore: if at the end of the year we reach the traumatic Brexit, we Europeans will have a bad time (let them tell our agri-food exporters), but the British will have an even worse time. Therefore, this great paradox that we live now in which we are negotiating against the clock that there is a Brexi that does not look like a Brexi, a minibrexit with all his accoutrements to prevent an even greater disaster in the land of the Windsors. Anyway, Boris, the one you made.


What to expect from a government that trusts Boris Johnson’s good faith

15/12/2020 08:26Updated: 12/15/2020 8:45 AM

Unfortunately, we Spaniards prefer to fight our daily civil war rather than get involved in any world war. The great European political battles happen one after another without Spain ever playing a relevant role in them. We are more about shooting our neighbor in the name of holy values ​​than defending the sanctity of those values ​​by putting our own life at stake, if necessary.

More than three centuries without heroes of the Normandy, lethargic by isolationism and a feeling of inferiority, inevitably take their toll. Spain is a withdrawn and self-marginalized international giant. From a global point of view, Spanish politics is one of closure. At Congress of Deputies never, and I say ‘never’, a debate on international affairs is aired among the main parliamentary leaders and, when it is discussed on european politics, the European aspect of the discussion becomes the garbage part of the controversy because where you really spend your saliva is in the game of blaming the adversary. Yes, here the contrary is never simply wrong, in addition he must always be guilty of something unforgivable.

Leaving aside that our policy for Latin America deserves to distinguish itself from the rest of the international as we do with the European, which a regular debate with the Prime Minister on Latin America would be more than recommended, and that the appearances of the president would have to take place not only after, but also before the European Councils, The congress it should give the importance that corresponds to globalization. Each problem that we face today is more conditioned by the political, economic and social circumstances of the global space than by the accusations that some local Spanish parties cross against each other on a daily basis.

It seems a lie, but in Spain we politicians have abandoned international politics and we have delegated it into the competent professional hands of diplomats. It is the least state and most administrative policy that is practiced here, since it relies totally on the routine daily work of ambassadors and consuls, far from the ambition of politicians.

But if we even consider that a politician who is not a diplomat cannot do international politics and that it is an interference in the professional careers of these high-ranking officials for a politician to try to give some guideline! And let’s not say already represent Spain …

As in the Franco regime, international politics right now in Spain it is a manual, notes from an opponent of the diplomatic career; I mean, it’s not politics.

In the European Union, for example, Spain defends its interests, but never the interests of the European Union. It will be because that is the competence of the EU foreign service diplomats, I suppose with irony. We fight for our quotas and our funds, that’s fine, however, we are not heard to fight for this or that general policy on quotas or funds. It would seem that, beyond our little bag, the European interest is alien to us. Let them rule.

Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.  (Reuters)Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.  (Reuters)
Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. (Reuters)

Our country, by size, population, GDP, culture, history… It has everything to compete with France or Germany in the European leadership. Now, when you look at what has happened in recent months with the recovery fund, you see that Spain, apart from demanding solidarity, has not gone to Brussels with any proposal that was not complementary to another French or German, which has not played no prominent role in the negotiations and that has remained silent in the controversy with Poland and Hungary over the linking of aid and respect for the rule of law.

Have led to the president Von der Leyen to a videoconference with regional presidents is the stellar moment of our Government in this matter. Don’t tell me he’s not a villager.

Seriously? Does González Laya trust the good faith of Boris Johnson? It is naive. Let Brexit catch us confessed …

If we attend to Brexi, Three quarters of the same. Ignoring the fact that we signed tax agreements with the United Kingdom on Gibraltar before the negotiations with the EU concluded, that we are the biggest stake in fishing, that France has threatened to veto the possible agreement for this reason, but not us, or that the minister The Department of Transport deals with everything except what can happen with Iberia and our connections with Latin America. If this week everything went wrong, the message from our Foreign Minister yesterday about the consequences for the border with Gibraltar of a rupture without an agreement was: ” I trust in the good faith of the United Kingdom ”. Seriously? ¿Gonzalez Laya trust the good faith of Boris Johnson? It is naive. Let Brexit catch us confessed …

Laya, Foreign Minister, after her meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister.  (Reuters)Laya, Foreign Minister, after her meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister.  (Reuters)
Laya, Foreign Minister, after her meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister. (Reuters)

Last week, without going any further, the city of León lost the opportunity to host the headquarters of the future European Cybersecurity Center, a proposal inherited from the previous one European Comission and its president Jean Claude Juncker, the first to face the hybrid threat of fake news and misinformation on social networks and the attempts by foreign actors to interfere in the electoral processes of the continent. A Center that would work in close collaboration with the European Network and Information Security Agency, which is based in Greece.

Along with the Castilian-Leon city competed other European cities such as Munich, Warsaw, Bucharest, Brussels, Vilnius and Luxembourg. And it cannot be said that the Spanish candidacy was fragile. In 2006 the National Institute of Communication Technologies (INTECO) had been created there, which in 2014 was renamed National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE). Without a doubt this must be an incentive for León to be chosen, since it would allow creating synergies between the two centers, the national and the European, with the same priorities and same objectives.

However, against all odds of our Government, It’s not that Leon didn’t make it to the final round, but fell in the first phase with only two votes out of twenty-seven (one of the two the Spanish, of course). Once again, it was not the candidacy itself that failed, but the political and diplomatic management of it by the Government of Spain. One more notch in the long list of blunders that have gradually eroded our credibility within Europe and beyond.

The last great ridicule happened almost at the time that León was eliminated in the first round. The Government had to find out from the media, nobody considered it necessary to call Madrid, that the president Trump, in the last but feverish blows of his presidency, he had just recognized on behalf of the United States Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara.

If we dedicated a quarter of the energy we dedicate to solving our territorial fights to foreign policy, things would be very different

The decision to postpone the high-level summit between Spain and Morocco due to the coronavirus, scheduled for this Thursday the 17th, only shows how lost our leaders are when they move out of domestic waters. Does anyone think that the postponement of a meeting with a government whose vice president declares friend of the Polisario Front it has nothing to do with the North American recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara? Is this how we are going to solve the migratory pressure on the Canary Islands?

Diplomacy of Morocco He wins us all the games. This issue clearly highlights how insignificant Spanish bureaucratic foreign policy has become.

I refuse to accept the defeatism of those who say that Spain must settle for playing in the middleweight league. First, because due to our geographical location, our port and airport infrastructures, our historical, economic and cultural links with other important regions of the planet, we have the ropes to play in the league of the great powers. And second, because it is the duty of a government to aspire to offer the best version of ourselves, inside and outside our borders.

If we dedicate ourselves to foreign policy only a quarter of the energy and resources we dedicate to pay our territorial fights, the thing would be very different. The great sin of Spain is that we Spaniards have convinced ourselves that ours are not large international companies but internal purges.

Although, well thought out, if after forty years of approving the Constitution the Government is still wondering how to organize Spain territorially, who is not going to laugh if we propose to organize the EU? Can you imagine Pablo Iglesias giving lessons to European leaders? Well that, why insist.


A ‘minibrexit’ for Boris

Always with the permission of Trump, Putin, Orbán and the rest of the alpha males of the global nationalist gang, I think few will be able to argue that there is no better example of a populist campaign in recent times than that of the Brexi in the United Kingdom. Its strategists knew how to touch the emotional fiber of the British most allergic to the continent thanks to: 1º) their ability to combine the magical thinking of their proposals with a few fake news very effective and repeated ad nauseam and 2nd) his nose for finding an imaginary culprit for all the ills of his empire: the Brussels bureaucrats.

“Boris Johnson’s bravado is just that, bragging about a leader who doesn’t know how to get out of a forward flight that no longer has exits”

Four years later, however, the Brexi It no longer resists the test of contact with reality and the English, far from finding themselves at the gates of the autarkic paradise where pounds would flourish and which would free them from perfidious Europe, no longer strive to break with their undesirable neighbors, but rather to try that the disconnection does not aggravate the hardships caused by the pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s bravado is just that, bragging about a manager who doesn’t know how to get out of a forward rush that no longer has exits. And an idea stands out that no one denies anymore: if at the end of the year we reach the traumatic Brexit, we Europeans will have a bad time (let them tell our agri-food exporters), but the British will have an even worse time. Therefore, this great paradox that we live now in which we are negotiating against the clock that there is a Brexi that does not look like a Brexi, a minibrexit with all his accoutrements to prevent an even greater disaster in the land of the Windsors. Anyway, Boris, the one you made.


“Great Chance” for No Agreement Divorce, According to Boris Johnson

There is a “great possibility” that the United Kingdom definitively sever its ties with the European Union, on December 31, without reaching an agreement on their future relationship. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this after meeting on Wednesday in Brussels with the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen.

“We have to make it very, very clear that now there is a great possibility that we will have a solution more like the relationship with Australia than the one with Canada and the EU. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. There are many ways, like I said, to that we can turn that to an advantage for both parties “said Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“It is time for the public and companies to prepare for January 1, because there are going to be changes in any way”, has added.

Johnson has said he is willing to make _ “one last effort” _ before Sunday, when the deadline they set with Von der Leyen ends.

Brussels contingency measures

A few hours earlier, the European Commission (EC) presented a series of contingency measures, so that the community club is prepared, on January 1.

“Our responsibility is to be prepared for all eventualities, including the lack of an agreement with the UK on 1 January 2021. That is why we are presenting these measures today.”Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

Brussels and London continue to make no progress on issues such as fair competition between British and community companies, fisheries and mechanisms to resolve disputes.

According to Johnson, the proposals now on the table would leave his country “trapped in the orbit of the EU”.


The perfidious Johnson

At 6.30 am on Tuesday, December 8, a 90-year-old woman named Margaret Keenan entered the Coventry University Hospital where a Filipino nurse and a large group of journalists, photographers and television cameras were waiting for her. Mrs. Keenan is neither a veteran Hollywood actress nor a successful writer. Because she is not even English, but from Northern Ireland, but her graceful Majesty’s Government wanted her to be the one to inaugurate a vaccination campaign with which Boris Johnson intends that the citizens of the United Kingdomforget your erratic management of the pandemic.

Johnson, like other populists of his ilk such as Trump or Bolsonaro, proudly proclaimed his denial, letting “everyone get infected” to generate group immunity and give priority to the economy. He did not get off the donkey until the imminent collapse of the healthcare system It forced him to apply drastic measures when his country was already suffering from Covid until the bars.

“In the EU they know that Johnson plays dirty and they demand guarantees that he will comply with what is agreed”

These days, his entire hard core of Europhobic fools turned to stirring up pathetic patriotism by presenting the vaccination campaign as a great achievement by the British for the simple fact that their drug agency had given the go-ahead to the Pfizer vaccine and BioNTech before anyone else. In such delusion, their Education Minister, Gavin Williamson, dared to say that they are the first to vaccinate because both the UK and its regulatory agency are “better” than the rest. It so happens that the vaccine inoculated to the British was obtained in a small German laboratory of the BioNTech pharmaceutical company founded by a married couple of Turkish origin. Not only that, but each and every one of the first 800,000 doses that are being distributed for that campaign that they celebrate so much comes from a factory in Belgium, whose capital, Brussels, is the living representation of the evil one for its anti-Europeanism.

Anything goes for Johnson, especially at this critical moment in which the deadlines for the entry into force of the Brexi. Their blatant pretense of agreeing with the community negotiators on a kind of funnel law in which the United Kingdom maintains the commercial advantages of remaining in the EU without assuming its drawbacks has led the community partners to bet on the break before they did. give in to the joys of the English. Understanding that a fair and balanced agreement would be desirable, the European Commission is aware that Boris Johnson’s position has been greatly weakened after Trump’s defeat and that it is now as important or more important to understand with Joe Biden than with him.

The EU cannot and should not allow a country of almost 70 million inhabitants, separated only by the English Channel, to compete with the advantage of lowering labor and environmental standards.

Johnson and Von der Leyen agreed in Brussels to give themselves until Sunday to try to reach some kind of understanding. This occurred after the first British corrected the law that violated the previous agreement reached with the EU, a correction that, in some way, was presented as a gesture of goodwill but that shows the character’s low reliability. In the EU they know that Johnson plays dirty and they demand guarantees that it will comply with what is agreed and, if not, an abrupt exit would already be assumed.

That of the “perfidious Albion” that Napoleon Bonaparte disclosed, to emphasize the disloyalty that he attributed to England, returns two centuries later to make sense in the figure of Boris Johnson. He embodies today that perfidy before his own and before Europe.