New Brexit negotiations with the EU: High level of acting

In the Brexit negotiations, the climax comes at the end. It is a production with distributed roles.

Brexit opponents demonstrate in London during negotiations on Friday Foto: Henry Nicholls/reuters

How often has you heard it: “Time is of the essence” is always emphasized when a new round of Brexit negotiations begins. But it is already clear that there will be no “breakthrough” this week either.

The Brexit negotiations follow the classic rules of diplomacy: the climax comes at the end. It would be detrimental for all sides to come to an agreement now – although the final Brexit is due at the end of the year. Voters would believe that their governments did not fight hard enough. There must be drama. Negotiations are expected to run until just before New Year’s Eve, garnished with night sessions, and the EU Parliament will be torn from the Christmas break to ratify the treaty at the last minute.

The content fronts have been fixed for months. It is about three issues: fishing rights, “fair competition” and how disputes are resolved. An agreement is likely on the last subject, as various arbitration procedures could be envisaged.

The crux of the matter is fair competition: The EU must prevent Great Britain from gaining export advantages by fraudulent practice by tax dumping or subsidizing companies. The British have to obey the rules – what Brexit fans don’t see is their motto “Take Back Control”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson can therefore only accommodate the EU if he has a triumph to show. So the EU pumps up the issue of fishing rights – although almost no one lives from fishing. Johnson is said to be able to claim that he personally saved the British fishing fleet.

The fact that French President Macron pretends to be the chairman of the Normandy fishermen’s association and is completely uncompromising goes well with this EU staging. The brighter the “victory” of the British will shine. For Macron and his fishermen, a few EU billions are likely to fall off to sweeten their “defeat”. Nice too.

But who knows. The future is fundamentally uncertain, as a famous Brit named Keynes once stated.


The truth: flying barnacles –

Animals know no borders! Especially not geese. Not even the pious barnacle geese, they just fly in from Greenland.

Now they are attacking Islay again. Tens of thousands of barnacle geese and white-tailed geese fly in from Greenland every October to winter in the nature reserve of the Scottish Hebridean island. Bird lovers always get damp panties when the squadron approaches. The poultry is a nightmare for the farmers, because the geese plunder the fields.

Because the government has to pay the farmers a million pounds a year in compensation, it wants to contain the damage and has hired three snipers. Every winter they shoot around 3,000 barnacle geese, which are protected species, but the white-tailed geese are even more worthy of protection and must be spared. The barnacle geese take advantage of this. They mingle with the white-tailed geese and use them as a shield, as al-Qaeda did with the civilian population.

The aim of the “Islay strategy of sustainable goose management”, as goose slaughter is officially called, is to find a balance between the interests of the geese and the farmers. That the farmers survive is also in the interests of the geese, because without farmers there are no fields to plunder. It is a semantic masterpiece to depict the shooting of a protected animal species in a nature reserve as a blessing for the victims.

Speaking of semantics: the black and white barnacle geese have the same coloration as barnacles. The Catholics therefore claim that the geese are flying barnacles and can be eaten during Lent because they are not meat.

Greenland risk area

Now the geese face another danger. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared Greenland a risk area. Anyone entering from there must be in quarantine for two weeks. This also applies to geese, says Johnson. If the sociable animals don’t keep the distance rule, they just have to be expelled.

Apparently Johnson wants to use the geese as leverage: He is aiming for a free trade agreement with Greenland. The island left the EU in 1985, which was then called the EEC. Gröxit is the model for Brexit. At that time Greenland negotiated an association agreement and is considered an overseas territory of the EU. Johnson wants to unite Great Britain with Greenland and thereby benefit from the contract.

His advisors, however, believe he has gone crazy – apparently the aftermath of his corona infection from spring. He has made more than a dozen U-turns since then. Sometimes he likes strawberries with whipped cream, sometimes he detests them. Sometimes he wants an agreement with the EU, sometimes a hard Brexit. His offer to Greenland to allow the geese to enter the country in return for the merger with Great Britain should be treated with caution, even if he claims that he is “fit as a butcher’s dog”. A butcher dog is fat, voracious, and numb.

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Brexit and EU: “No Deal” is possible

The summit in Brussels does not bring about an agreement in the trade dispute with Great Britain. Although the ultimatum is running out, negotiations should continue.

The British Prime Minister has already left the EU. Will there be a deal now? Foto: Aaron Chown/Wire/dpa

BRUSSELS taz | Nine months after Brexit, Great Britain is preparing for a “no deal” and thus a hard break in the trade dispute with the EU. There can only be an agreement if the EU changes its stance “fundamentally”, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London on Friday. However, he did not slam the door for talks, despite a British ultimatum expired on October 15.

The EU is also trying to find a deal. “As planned, our negotiating team will go to London next week to intensify the negotiations,” wrote Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter on Friday. “The EU is still working on a deal, but not at any price.” Chancellor Angela Merkel made a similar statement at the EU summit in Brussels.

“An agreement would be in the interests of both sides,” said Merkel after the two-day summit meeting. “Time is of the essence here, too.” The 27 heads of state and government had previously tried to push the ball into the British field. After a tightly screened debate, they called on London to “take the necessary steps to enable an agreement”.

London reacted coldly. On Thursday evening, the British chief negotiator, David Frost, criticized the EU for misappropriating the tone and not offering more intensive negotiations. This raised concerns in Brussels that Britain could break off talks on Friday. It didn’t come to that.

Several times taken by surprise

“Come here, come to us – if there are fundamental changes in your position,” said the British Prime Minister, who has taken the EU by surprise several times with changes of position and ultimatums. The EU summit was not “very encouraging”. If the EU does not change its position, it will probably not be possible to reach an agreement.

Three areas in particular are still disputed. The EU calls for a “level playing field” in tax, wage and environmental policy, ie fair competition without dumping. Great Britain wants to break away from the EU rules and also make aid for Northern Ireland possible. There is also a dispute over who would monitor a trade deal and punish violations. In addition, both sides are fighting over fishing.

France in particular is demanding safe access to British fishing grounds. Head of State Emmanuel Macron rejected the impression that he could let a deal fail for that reason alone. “We argue about everything,” said Macron after the summit in Brussels.

But the EU leaders are not only at odds with London. There is also trouble with the European Parliament – because of the future EU budget and climate protection. Merkel refused to reopen the budget negotiated in July and to enter into negotiations with parliament. In her role as EU Council President, she also ensured that climate protection was postponed.

55 percent reduction

The Commission had proposed that the CO2– Reduce emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, instead of just 40 percent. The EU Parliament even demands 60 percent fewer emissions. However, the heads of state and government did not commit themselves at their meeting. This is a mistake, said the Green MEP Sven Giegold of the taz. “We cannot save the climate with adjournments,” he warns.

Giegold calls for a special summit so that the new EU climate law comes into force in 2020. “It is risky to wait until the next EU summit in December,” said Lutz Weischer from the Germanwatch organization. The EU risked slowing down the dynamic on climate issues.


The truth: asylum seekers in space

British Home Secretary Priti Patel has an idea how the motherland of democracy could keep refugees at bay: Distant islands.

The British empire has shrunk, but there are still a few remote corners. What do you do with it? Britain’s Interior Minister Priti Patel had an idea: You could just park asylum seekers on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The brittle volcanic island is more than 6,400 kilometers from the motherland of democracy – so far enough that these foreigners could not disturb anyone. The Royal Air Force attacked the Argentine bases on the Malwinen from there during the Falklands War in 1982.

St. Helena would also be an option, said Patel. The English had exiled Napoleon there after he lost the battle of Waterloo. He is said to have died of cancer on the island in 1821. Some scientists claim that he was poisoned on the orders of the English government. St. Helena would have the advantage of being even further from Great Britain than Ascension Island. The American entomologist EO Wilson once described the island as “only one step away from a satellite colony in space”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already called many bangbang bags into his cabinet so that he himself appears in a better light, but with Patel he shot the ball. She is more racist than all the racists in the Tory party, even if she claims to have been a target of racists in her difficult childhood because of her Indian ancestry.

Last year she made a suggestion on how to force the annoying Irish to give way in the Brexit negotiations. As experts had predicted food shortages in the event of a hard Brexit, the resourceful minister said that the Irish could be threatened with famine. Apparently, Patel did not know that the English government had already caused a famine in Ireland by the mid-19th century by exporting huge quantities of meat and grain from the Irish colony that would have been enough to avoid the disaster.

This time, however, the cabinet refused to starve the Irish, and it did not play along with the banishment of asylum seekers to the Atlantic Islands. But Britain owns more than 900 islands. One can be found there. It shouldn’t be particularly comfortable, you don’t have to pamper people, otherwise you won’t get rid of them.

The bass rock would be ideal for Patel’s purposes. It is uninhabited and is two kilometers off the Scottish coast. In the 15th century, Jacob I had already banished people who were not pleasant to him to the skirt, and in the 17th century it served as a prison. The Isle of Dogs, the dog island, would be even better. It’s just a peninsula, but it’s in the East End of London, almost within sight of the government district. So Priti Patel could keep an eye on the uninvited guests.

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