Secret look at the place where the Mandate was written
It’s the way they tell it … or even not tell it at all: a scan of today’s front pages shows that yesterday’s publication of the government’s negotiating mandate was of scant interest to the dear authors in the MSM. That the EAW will be gone: not important unless you’re a Remainer. Never mind – we can make up our own minds very well without the MSSM, can we not!
So first of all, here’s the actual government paper, titled “The Future Relationship with the EU – The UK’s Approach to Negotiations” (link). It’s not that long, a bit over 30 pages. The ‘government sources’ who told the MSM on Wednesday evening that ‘Boris will walk away’ if there’s no progress by June 30th were correct. There are however other items which are important. More on all that below.
This Mandate was presented to the HoC by Michael Gove – here’s a video. No, I’ve not watched this – and nor, from first impressions, did a lot of MPs. There’s one other rather interesting item: relating to the negotiations: on July1st it’s the turn of Germany, i.e. Ms Merkel, to take the helm of the good EU ship “Brussels”. The EU’s ‘premiership’ is run along the lines of ‘Buggins’ turn’, rotating every six months.
Nobody here dare ask if Ms Merkel will still be in her job by then, given the huge turmoil her party (CDU) is in. They are in the throes of selecting a replacement leader right now. Still, as Joe Barnes writes in The Express:
“he German Chancellor wants to play a leading role in bringing the European Union and Government back to the negotiating table when she takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency in July. EU sources claim the bloc is planning for a huge trade row to explode in June and would use the moment to help focus both sides’ minds. An EU ambassador said both Berlin and Paris expect trade talks to miss the summer deadline set out in Boris Johnson’s lead negotiator David Frost’s mandate.” (link)
If, as this EU ambassador thinks, the deadline of June 30th is missed, what makes him believe we’d still continue with the negotiations? Hasn’t he heard that Johnson is prepared to walk away in that case?
Personally, I think it would be the crowning glory of Ms Merkel’s EU Emperorship should the negotiations fail and we’re out on WTO terms on December 31st. As Germany will have their GE in September 2021 the whole EU edifice may well start crumbling even faster.
But that’s for the future, let’s look at that Government document in more detail. The one overarching theme which struck me is this: in contrast to what M Barnier has told his audiences about providing us with a ‘tailor-made’ agreement because of ‘proximity’, ‘level playing fields’ and ‘respect’, because this is something totally unprecedented and needs years to negotiate: balderdash, Michel! Piffle. Claptrap.
The realité is that there’s precedent for all our demands, in the trade agreements the EU has with other, non-EU nations. Fisheries: Norway; ‘Rules of Origin’: Japan; regarding the prevention of ‘dumping’ of which the EU is so afraid, or the ‘maintenance of standards’, WTO rules exist for that already.
I didn’t know that, for example, in regard to pharmaceuticals there are already agreements in place between the EU, Switzerland, the USA and Canada, nor that the EU has such agreements in regard to animal and plant life and health even with New Zealand.
The list goes on and on: Trade Agreements already exist, covering the whole gamut of ‘problems’ raised by Barnier. Our Trade Agreement could indeed be ‘done’ by June 30th – with good will from the EU. That, as we all know, will however be in short supply.
Here then is the official warning by our government:
“Timing and pace of the negotiations
- The Government will not extend the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. This leaves a limited, but sufficient, time for the UK and the EU to reach agreement. The UK is committed to working in a speedy and determined fashion to do so, with an appropriate number of negotiating rounds between now and the June high-level meeting foreseen in the Political Declaration. The Government would hope that, by that point, the broad outline of an agreement would be clear and be capable of being rapidly finalised by September. If that does not seem to be the case at the June meeting, the Government will need to decide whether the UK’s attention should move away from negotiations and focus solely on continuing domestic preparations to exit the transition period in an orderly fashion. In so doing, it will be necessary to take into account in particular whether good progress has been possible on the least controversial areas of the negotiations, and whether the various autonomous processes on both sides are proceeding on a technical basis according to agreed deadlines.” (link)
There is one point even more important which we all wanted to read – see the last sentences in this quote:
“Chapter 32: Managing the Agreement
- The Agreement should include provisions for governance arrangements that are appropriate to a relationship of sovereign equals, drawn from existing Free Trade Agreements, such as those the EU has with Japan and Canada. These should be based on a Joint Committee to support the smooth functioning of the Agreement, and provide mechanisms for dialogue, and, if necessary, dispute resolution. The arrangements will reflect the regulatory and judicial autonomy of the UK and accordingly there will be no role for the Court of Justice of the European Union in the dispute resolution mechanism. This is consistent with previous Free Trade Agreements concluded by the EU.” (link)
These last two sentences are crucial: no role for the ECJ in any trade dispute, as Brussels demands – and the EU was perfectly content without that ‘ECJ oversight’ in the other Trade agreements they negotiated with other nations.
Following these detailed items in regard to trade are chapters on Fisheries, Energy, Aviation etc. The one of interest for us is that on ‘Law Enforcement and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters’. It has many important subsections and hopefully some legal eagles will home in on it, just as I assume our friends at Fishing For Leave will dissect the subsection on Fisheries. This is the relevant quote which I mentioned at the beginning:
- The UK is not seeking to participate in the European Arrest Warrant as part of the future relationship. The agreement should instead provide for fast-track extradition arrangements, based on the EU’s Surrender Agreement with Norway and Iceland which came into force in 2019, but with appropriate further safeguards for individuals beyond those in the European Arrest Warrant.” (link)
Well! That is clear-cut, isn’t it! No more EAW! And note that other European countries manage without it! Now see what RemainCentral has made of this paragraph in their article:
“The government has also conceded that it cannot be part of the European arrest warrant after Brexit. […] Downing Street said that the government was seeking a better arrangement than the European arrest warrant.” (link, paywalled)
RemainCentral obviously believes that the EAW was a very good thing and by using the expression ‘concede’ they imply that Brussels has somehow beaten us. This is Remain propaganda because we saw that other European countries have, surprise surprise, agreements in place already, without having ‘conceded’ that they sadly cannot ‘participate’ in the EAW.
RemainCentral doesn’t even notice any longer that they are openly showing their desire to keep us shackled to Brussels – nothing is too farfetched in their Remain battle:
“The prime minister has also rejected European demands to submit to independent oversight of Britain’s laws. […] The tougher stance will exacerbate fears in Europe that “populists” in the government are winning the prime minister over to collapsing the talks and blaming Brussels.” (link, paywalled)
Remainers still believe that we need Brussels’ ‘independent oversight’ (independent? Hah!) that we’ll be lost without the EAW. The last phrase is breath-taking in its insinuation that “Europe” is fearful of ‘populist’ Johnson ‘collapsing’ the talks and ‘blaming Brussels’.
Yes, it’s in the way they tell them: Brussels, Barnier, Merkel: the generous, well meaning negotiators with their special, tailor made proposals to keep us chained to the EU are to be revered. ‘Blaming Brussels’, all evidence to the contrary: omigawd, how crude!
So there we have it – a proper mandate where our negotiators seem to have the whip hand for once. I expect Barnier is trying to come back swinging, but frankly, I think this document has cut him off at the knees.
The next weeks will be fun to watch and I expect to see gallons of blood on the Brussels floor – hopefully not ours!
Photo by UK Prime Minister