Behold the Peacock Supreme – M Macron
Yesterday, the EU started their Budget Summit. The EU Leaders were also supposed to have rubber-stamped that Barnier Mandate, but money and talking about money, as we all know, is more important. Should we be concerned? We’re Out, or rather ‘out-ish’, aren’t we? Looking at today’s headline though we’re allowed to have our doubts.
We recall that the EU, under their new leader Ms vdLeyen, proposed to become as green as possible, with extra tariffs imposed on imports from non-green countries. We recall Johnson’s ‘green’ boasting, and above all we recall the repeated claims that our standards (work, environment) in the UK are better and higher than in the EU.
And so, in a pre-emptive act the burning of certain types of coal and wood in private homes will be banned (paywalled here and here). That’s sure to impress Barnier! I doubt however that our government will impose ‘green tariffs’ on all imports from the EU because their standards are lower than ours.
As for that EU Budget: it’s complicated, as our MSM report. Macron is full of it – hot air and bluster, that is – because Madame M is like a wounded animal. The situation in Germany, political as well as economical, is turbulent, to be kind. To make certain that there will be some result, the president of the Council, M Charles Michel, has left the talks open-ended, so the EU Leaders have to sweat it out until they get a result – perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow … and signing off on the Barnier Mandate is now postponed to Tuesday next week (link).
“Brexit cannot be used as an excuse to cut the EU’s trillion euro budget or limit the European Project, Emmanuel Macron warned his fellow leaders at an acrimonious summit in Brussels on Thursday night. Heads of state and government are bitterly divided over how to compensate for the loss of the €75 billion (£63 bn) Britain would have paid over seven years from 2021 if the UK was still a member state. “It is unacceptable to think that because the UK is no longer part of the EU, we need to give up on our ambitions,” Mr Macron said as he arrived at the first summit since the UK left the bloc on January 31.” (paywalled link)
Macron is however not really concerned about a shiny, prosperous new EU. It’s about the old, tawdry French demands for more money, as the next Macron quote shows:
“For me there is no compromise if we’re compromising European ambitions,” said the French president, who is resisting cuts to the Common Agricultural Policy. The French president’s suggestion that insisting on rebates or cuts to the new EU budget was anti-European angered other leaders, who appeared resigned to the tough negotiations ending in failure. Talks are expected to continue into Friday and possibly Saturday.” (paywalled link)
France needs more money because it’s about ‘European ambitions’ – and France = EU = Europe! Looking at the more measured report in the Financial Times, we read:
“EU leaders were deadlocked over the bloc’s next multiannual budget after lengthy summit talks on Thursday night laid bare rifts over how to fill the €60bn to €75bn funding gap created by Brexit. Charles Michel, the European Council president, spent much of the night locked in one-to-one talks with leaders as he attempted to end an impasse over the 2021-27 spending plans. However, a rebellion by Germany and other northern European countries over plans to slash rebates they receive on their EU budget contributions overshadowed the discussions. Britain’s departure has left the EU struggling to finance ambitious policies to fight climate change, aid poorer regions and subsidise farmers without placing heavier burdens on richer northern European countries that have baulked at proposals tabled by Mr Michel so far.” (link)
That’s sad, innit: our leaving is condemning the ‘poorer’ EU regions to more poverty, the EU’s ‘greenery’ will be in huge difficulties and the poor EU leaders will have to sit and talk and talk and talk. I hope you’ve noticed that ‘rebate’ are fine when demanded by Germany and others – but its’ ‘cherry-picking’ and of the devil when we ask for a rebate.
There is however another proposal by M Michel which was bound to cause frictions even though the EU, as we all know, prefers everything to be ‘frictionless’ The FT writes:
“Among Mr Michel’s pre-summit proposals was a plan to boost the capital of the European Investment Bank, the EU’s Luxembourg-based multilateral lender, in order to mobilise an extra €500bn of investment firepower. This idea was shot down by Ms Merkel during discussions with fellow leaders, as she reiterated her country’s longstanding concerns that the institution is not adequately supervised.“ (link)
Germany, bearing the largest financial burden of the EIB, was of course going to object. Others are also not keen on having to contribute more. The DT’s Brussels correspondent snapped up remarks by EU Leaders which show that these talks won’t be concluded quickly:
“We represent the interests of our taxpayers here,” Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s chancellor, said. “One is not anti-European if you want to save money.” Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, said he would not accept a compromise proposal put forward by Charles Michel, the president of the European Council. “I don’t know what I will have to discuss,” he said. “I cannot sign up to this proposal. I brought a new biography of Chopin with me. I’ll read a bit. What else is there to do?” (paywalled link)
A Chopin biography, Mr Rutte? I’m amazed! Is he trying to impress the Polish delegation? The EU leaders are clearly not aware of the economic impact an event in the real world will have. It’s only slowly getting attention: the serious effects of the Covid-19 epidemic on the world economy. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes:
“Container shipping from Chinese ports has collapsed since the outbreak of coronavirus and has yet to show any sign of recovery, threatening weeks of chaos for manufacturing supply lines and the broader structure of global trade. Almost half of the planned sailings on the route from Asia to North Europe have been cancelled over the last four weeks. […] Lars Jensen from SeaIntelligence in Copenhagen said the loss of traffic is running at 300,000 containers a week. This will cause a logistical crunch in Europe in early March even if the epidemic is brought under control quickly. “The dominoes are toppling through the whole chain. When ships don’t leave port in China, they don’t stop to pick up cargo in Hong Kong, Saigon, or Singapore either.” (paywalled link)
It’s not just the EU and, Brexit or not, the UK which is going to be affected:
“The US Agriculture Transportation Commission said the Pacific supply chain has been badly “compromised” and logistical headaches are building up as US ports as well. There will soon be an acute lack of containers in both American and European ports as the finely-tuned regime of world maritime transport goes haywire.” (paywalled link)
A petitesse, it seems, when you look at the EU Budget Summit and their leaders’ haggling. The economic effects of the quarantine in China itself is only slowly drifting into the sights of our MSM who are happily accepting the latest numbers from China even though the Chinese government has announced that they’ve changed their statistics yet again, to make the outbreak look as if its levelling off.
There’s one aspect to this which is of interest to the Brexit negotiations, to the Brexit talks in our MSM. As the numbers shown in AEP’s report illustrate: this is going to have a serious effect on the supply chains for our and the EU’s industries.
It therefore raises two questions: why is our Remain Big Business so agitated about assumed breaks in supply chains from the EU but dead silent about the actual breaks in such chains occurring right now thanks to the Covid-19 epidemic? And why is nobody here asking how the EU’s dependence on China, for example in regard to pharmaceuticals but also in regard to car parts, is going to influence EU imports to us after Brexit?
Shouldn’t this be debated rather than us being greener than anybody else, prohibiting the use of wood and coal in our woodburners and our traditional open fires? Will a prohibition on the use of candles indoors be next?
Never mind all that: according to our MSM we need to talk about Dominic Cummings and about the next item on the Remain Agenda: getting rid of Priti Patel. But don’t be afraid: Tony Blair is back – and he supports Johnson’s Brexit (link).
One thing is certain though: observing the EU Budget Summit must be worse for our Brussels correspondents than us having to watch HoC debates. Our MPs may be peacocks – Tony Blair certainly is one – but they’re pitiful mini-peacocks compared to the EU Leaders.
The effects of China on the future global economy has obviously not yet penetrated the minds of Brussels and the EU leaders as they haggle about distributing money they don’t have and probably now never will have. Meanwhile I herewith crown M Emmanuel Macron as Peacock Supreme, strutting the EU stage.