The FT reports that Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, has warned British chancellor George Osborne that Berlin would be a tough negotiator if the UK votes to leave the EU. He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund spring meetings.
Source: Wolfgang Schäuble warns UK of tough Brexit negotiations – FT.com
This warning is not really surprising.
The ‘Out’ arguments just do not stack up in terms of risk management.
It will be interesting to see the UK Treasury‘s Cost Benefit Analysis once they’ve been approved by the Select Committee. Then the onus will be on the Outs to justify the economic case and risks.
I’m hopeful that common sense will prevail and the Remain campaign will win convincingly on the day.
However, even if the UK votes to stay in the EU, I fear that there has to be a major government reshuffle – it’s likely to happen either way. Indeed feuding within the Conservative Party might even precipitate an early general election.
Wolfgang Schauble is not a man to joke so when he says that any potential Brexit discussions are going to be difficult I think we can believe him.
In this FT piece from Dr Alf we see the tactics of the obvious in that Germany as the driver and controller of the EU wants everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and he wants all member states to follow the German blueprint and pay their contributions without question.
The problem with this German blueprint is that it favours Germany as the main paymaster at the expense of everyone else who with the best will in the world cannot transmute themselves into Germans or pay more.
In addition, we have the intervention of President Obama who of course likes the German blueprint but wants “burden sharing” and EU enlargement right up to the Russian border which would trigger a response from the Russians up to and including war.
The Russians have fully cloaked stealth aircraft which could remove whole cities from the map and be invisible to radar and the naked eye plus space based weapons,super drones and fully automated tanks. They would be assisted by China and opposed by America within NATO so the outcome could prove problematic given China’s hold on American debt.
The UK has to decide where its best interests lie bearing in mind these momentous issues of war and peace, the potential population explosion that German centric EU policies are going to deliver as a result of botched negotiations with President Erdogan by Germany, David Cameron and Donald Tusk.
Dr Alf believes that we should remain in the EU and renegotiate improvements from the inside. This is a fair and logical position to take but to persuade effectively and get improvements you have to be charismatic and persuasive. Sadly, we sent David Cameron to do that job and in real terms the changes he came back with including the “Emergency Brake” are so miniscule that you would need an election microscope to see them.
The question then is would we do better by sending someone more effective to do some more persuading? The answer is yes but now it is too late; what we have is no change worth the paper it is written on, no prospect of a better deal any time soon, no delivery on what has already been promised and a hard set of negotiations if we remain in the EU.
In a situation of deadlock created by the ineptitude of Merkel, Cameron and Tusk, we have to find the “cojones” to be dispassionate and do what countless hagglers do in markets around the world, walk and not look back. This concentrates minds until the market trader blinks or you give in.
The UK needs to walk, by first giving 2 years notice and then cutting budget contributions in half to concentrate minds. If they are not concentrated, then further cuts should be made on the basis that we are not receiving any tangible benefits for money that we have already paid over the past 41 years.
Our doors should be closed to all unnecessary EU migrants and reclassified refugees.
Pensioners living in Spain and even Cyprus where Dr Alf has his home would be protected under existing treaties and in any case would be allowed to remain where they are because they contribute to the economies of the countries they live in and provide overall economic benefit.
UK workers with particular skills and languages would similarly stay in situ because to replace them would be problematic and because they too are covered by existing treaties.
At present the bulk of our overseas trade with the EU is with the Irish Republic and what money we get from them in foreign exchange is dwarfed by the money we spent bailing them out when they became bankrupt after the banking crisis and the Corporation Tax we lose as a result of foreign firms and UK based firms with offices in the UK, basing themselves in the Dublin Financial District and then “booking sales” through Irish subsidiaries.