In this file:
· Brexit back in crisis: EU warns UK over divorce pact
· A no-deal Brexit is back - with a vengeance
Brexit back in crisis: EU warns UK over divorce pact
Guy Faulconbridge, Elizabeth Piper and William James, Reuters
Sep 7, 2020
LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union told Britain on Monday that there would be no trade deal if it tried to tinker with the Brexit divorce treaty, raising the prospect of a tumultuous end-of-year finale to the saga.
In yet another twist to the four-year saga since Britain voted to quit the EU, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was reported to be planning new legislation to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement it signed in January.
That could jeopardize the whole treaty and create frictions in British-ruled Northern Ireland, where special arrangements had been made to avoid a hard border with Ireland to the south that could be detrimental to the 1998 peace agreement which ended three decades of conflict in the province.
“I trust the British government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law & prerequisite for any future partnership,” said Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU executive.
“Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island & integrity of the single market.”
Britain said it would honor the deal and was simply offering clarifications to avoid any future legal difficulties.
But the Financial Times newspaper cited three people as saying the proposed internal market bill was expected to “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” in areas including state aid and Northern Ireland customs.
EU diplomats were aghast, cautioning that such a step, leaked on the eve of new talks in London, would tarnish Britain’s global prestige and heighten chances of a tumultuous final disentangling from the bloc on Dec. 31.
‘REASONABLE STEPS’ ...
A no-deal Brexit is back - with a vengeance
by Alain Catzeflis, The Article
September 07, 2020
When a government is in trouble at home it goes to war overseas. It’s called a diversionary tactic. The rally round the flag syndrome aims to boost national fervour, distract people from troubles at home, mute dissent by playing the patriotism card and give a government more time to deal with its domestic problems.
Monday’s front pages had two contrasting headlines: “Boris Johnson to Argue that a No-Deal Brexit would be Good for Britain”. And “New Daily Covid-19 Cases Spike to 3000”.
This follows a summer of mishaps and U-turns by a government accused of a lack of grip not just by its opponents, but also by a growing number of its own supporters. For many Tories the recent U-turn over exam markings set off alarm bells. Rumblings about Johnson’s leadership from senior Tories have been growing louder. His lustre as a winner is fading.
So, who better to turn to for advice than Niccolo Machiavelli who said: “A battle that you win cancels all your mistakes.” It was advice well-heeded by Margaret Thatcher.
But to win a battle you need an enemy. Margaret Thatcher had a ready-made villain in Argentina’s General Galtieri. In 1982, she faced heavy criticism from both the public and her party for her domestic policies. Her future was in serious question. The Falklands War, which led to a swift victory, saved her and cemented her reputation as the Iron Lady.
Boris Johnson has Michel Barnier and the Brussels bureaucracy who, like General Galtieri, so the narrative goes, pose a threat to Britain’s sovereignty and self-esteem. After a summer during which the Brexit guns have been largely silent hostilities have resumed.
It’s a useful analogy even if the two situations are poles apart: the Argentines invaded British sovereign territory; the people of the Falklands were held to ransom by a dictator who ran death squads at home; and British servicemen died to retake the islands. History will judge whether the Falklands crisis could have been solved diplomatically. But the challenge to Britain was not manufactured. It just suited Thatcher to go the whole hog.
This crisis on the other hand does feel manufactured, or at any rate one which can be resolved without resorting to this kind of drama, which seems to be a hallmark of the Johnson/Cummings management style.
First the story itself...