EU’s Good Cop Bad Cop Game

Last night in Berlin, Angela Merkel made surprisingly positive noises towards a surprisingly diplomatic Boris Johnson, that surprised even Number 10 in their warmth. Despite this morning the PM’s team playing down their significance, Merkel told a press conference yesterday that:

“I see possibilities… It was said we will probably find a solution in two years, we can maybe find it in the next 30 days.”

Insiders are not expecting today’s “working lunch” with Emmanuel Macron to go anywhere like as smoothly, already briefing the meeting will be “frank”, a diplomatic word for frosty. The French President told reporters last night  “Renegotiation of the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists, and that has always been made clear by President Tusk.” Good cop bad cop…

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis told the Today Programme this morning that he recognises the thirty day timetable as an important timeframe as the UK Government does not expect serious crunch discussion until the end of September, after it can be proved to the EU that Parliament cannot stop No Deal. As long as Parliament doesn’t stop Number 10 holding its strong line, the Government expects the EU to properly engage until Conference recess towards the end of next month…

PM Boris Meets Chancellor Merkel

Boris’ German visit is already off to a better start to his predecessor, after May arrived too early in April, and her car door got stuck last December. Early days but smooth sailing for Boris so far…

Merkel: Backstop Can Be ‘Overwritten’

Merkel has given a strong hint that the EU could be prepared to move on the backstop, telling a German press conference that the backstop will be “overwritten” if alternative solutions can be found. This doesn’t actually change the EU’s position yet – as things stand the UK would still be signing up to the backstop in the legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement while the alternative arrangements would be in the non-binding political declaration. It’s still a significant softening of the EU’s rhetoric around the backstop after stonewalling the issue throughout the Tory leadership contest…

It’s good timing, the Alternative Arrangements Commission run by ProsperityUK, led by Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan, published their 268-page Alternative Arrangements Report and Protocols just yesterday. No solution for the Irish border is going to be perfect from day one but it does blow apart the fiction promulgated by May and the EU that the backstop is the only way to solve the border issue. The backstop remains by far the single biggest impediment to a sensible deal, no excuse for either sides’ negotiators not to be looking at alternative arrangements now…

Merkel Cancels Resignation, Decides Successor Not Up to Job

If the Tories thought they were having trouble getting rid of Theresa May, they should spare a thought for the German CDU where Angela Merkel has just announced that she won’t be resigning as German Chancellor after all. Heiliger Strohsack!

Merkel has reportedly decided that her chosen successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, abbreviated to slightly dubious acronym ‘AKK’, is not up to the job after watching her popularity slide since she took over leadership of the CDU. AKK led the CDU to its worst ever performance in the EU elections, which people actually care about in Germany. Merkel now wants to hang on at least until 2021. As long as Theresa May doesn’t get any ideas…

May Comes Too Early for Merkel

Oops. Guido can’t make his mind up as to whether this is an improvement on December when she couldn’t get out of the car:

At least the door worked this time…

EU Negotiating Intransigence Always Precedes a Flip-Flop

The British commentariat has for the past three years delighted in reporting EU negotiating position as if it is an immovable object, the revealed gospel itself. That’s not what their track record in major negotiations suggests…

In 2010 it was almost universally received wisdom in the media and markets that there would be no Greek bailout. All the top figures vigorously denied it was even a possibility, as the Maastricht Treaty specifically precluded such a rescue package. As the EU kept reminding us…

  • The European Central Bank’s chief economist Jurgen Stark said that Greece does not meet the terms for a bailout, and that “The Treaties set out a ‘no bail-out’ clause, and the rules will be respected. This is crucial for guaranteeing the future of a monetary union.”
  • European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia insisted there was “no special EU plan for Greece”
  • Angela Merkel said “We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bail out states.”

Of course, later in 2010, Greece received €310 billion in bailout money, despite that being illegal under treaty…

Guido would gently suggest to political pundits that negotiations are negotiations, and portraying the word of one side as if it is the word of the almighty, especially in the context of a contradictory track record, is beyond daft. The EU claims that the backstop is unlikely to come into play, so a time limit on something that is unlikely to happen is not a reason for the EU to force a disorderly Brexit. The EU consistently bends the rules when they come under pressure…

Merkel: Still Time For More Negotiations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there is still time for more Brexit negotiations to take place before the UK leaves the organisation. Contrary to what some proponents of May’s original deal have been trying to tell us…

‘AKK’ Chosen as Merkel’s Successor

The CDU has elected Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, to be its new leader. This puts ‘AKK’, widely seen as the continuity candidate, in pole position to succeed Merkel when she finally steps down as Chancellor in 2021, if not before. Will the Brexit negotiations still be going on then?

French Finance Minister Calls for “Europe to Become an Empire Again”

The French Finance Minister has told the French-German Business Forum that “Europe has to become an empire again.” Speaking candidly to the assembled delegates, the minister spoke to Macron’s vision of a united Europe, saying unification as an Empire has to occur “in the next 25 years.”

Describing a federal European empire as “European sovereignty” he told the conference that whilst it should be built “brick by brick,” “rapid progress” is needed. “We should be looking at weeks and months much more than years.” With Merkel announcing her support for a European army last week, the building of federal European sovereignty brick by brick looks well under way…

Read the extraordinary opening paragraphs to the Finance Minister’s speech in full below:

Continue reading

Merkel Calls For “Real European Army”

Angela Merkel, addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg today sung the praises of “European unification” and called for a European Army. She began her remarks by saying she was appearing before MEPs “with joy but also with gratitude, in front of the greatest parliament of the world.”

After calling Brexit “a deep wound,” the German Chancellor called on the EU to “work on a vision of creating a real, true, European army.” After shouts of indignation from predominantly UKIP MEPs, Merkel said “I am really pleased about this I’m annoying some people.”

Was Clegg lying, or just being incredibly naive?

Merkel Standing Down as Party Leader

Budget Day is threatening to be overshadowed by news from Germany, where Angela Merkel has reportedly told party colleagues that she will not stand for re-election as leader of her ruling CDU party after more heavy losses in regional elections in Hesse yesterday. Merkel has held the post of CDU chairwoman since 2000 – while she will remain as Chancellor for the time being, this will fire the starting gun for the race to succeed her. Against all odds, will May manage to outlast Merkel?

UPDATE: Merkel intends to remain chancellor until her fourth term ends in 2021, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

May Shows Merkel Customs Plan Before Cabinet

Theresa May showed Angela Merkel her customs plan before she showed her own Cabinet, it has emerged this afternoon:

The Cabinet are livid about this – why have Number 10 kept them in the dark while briefing the media and the German government? Who was told first, Dexeu or the Germans? First question for a reporter to ask May during her Berlin trip…

Merkel: “Absolutely No Doubt” There Will Be a Deal

These new lines from Merkel this morning that tell a rather different story to the narrative playing out in parts of the British media:

“From my point of view, there are absolutely no signs that we can’t succeed. If we are all clear in our minds, I have absolutely no doubt that we can reach a good result. What I find it hard to understand, when we need a result by March 2019, is why people are already talking in October 2017 about what might happen at the end of the process. I believe, in contrast to the way things are portrayed in the British press, that things are progressing step by step. We’re in a process, and if it goes on for two or three weeks longer, or even longer, that doesn’t stop us from working hard to reach the second phase. I very clearly want an agreement, not any kind of unpredictable solution, and we’re working very hard on that.”

Add that to Berlin’s talk of a free trade agreement and Sweden preparing to move onto the next stage and there is plenty of tangible positive news this week. Merkel is even admitting the EU has to compromise…

Hypocrisy of DUP-Hating Europhiles

Frustrated Remoaners have been decrying the Tory government-propping DUP as homophobic because they oppose gay marriage. Yesterday Angela Merkel voted against legalising gay marriage in Germany saying “it should be between a man and a woman”. Where is the outrage from the usual Europhile loudmouths? The virtue signallers who banged on about Trump? Has Chris Bryant tweeted his disgust? Silent hypocrisy.

Merkel Rejected Right to Remain Deal

Theresa May has been heavily criticised for failing to give an assurance that EU citizens living in the UK will be allowed to stay post-Brexit. She even refused to tell Tory backbencher Alberto Costa that his Italian parents could stay in the country, despite David Davis previously saying he was “100% sure” the situation would be resolved amicably. Why? Politico reports that May tried to secure an early deal guaranteeing the right to remain for Britons living in the EU and EU citizens living in Britain, but it was rejected by Angela Merkel. May wanted to announce the guarantee this month, Merkel said “nein“. If you’re an EU citizen worried about your status post-Brexit, you have Merkel to blame for the uncertainty…

EU Leaders Discussing Brexit Without Britain, Again

merkel hollande

Leaders of every EU member state bar Britain will meet in Bratislava in mid-September to “continue a political reflection” post-Brexit. The event, which was scheduled after the last meeting in Brussels, is ostensibly for the leaders to debate “further reforms in line with our strategic agenda”. This will almost certainly include extensive discussions around Brexit. Frustratingly both Merkel and Juncker don’t want to engage the UK in any of these negotiations until Article 50 is triggered, that the meeting is happening in the first place should be an encouraging sign to Brexiteers worried about a betrayal. Presumably MI6 will be earning the taxpayers’ shilling and the Foreign Office will still be fully aware of the EU’s strategy… 

Verboten: Dave Asks Merkel to Stay Out of Referendum

merkel

IDS is giving a speech at 10 a.m. in which he’ll elaborate on his claim – on the front page of today’s Sun – that Angela Merkel blocked the key immigration emergency brake in Cameron’s renegotiation:

“I saw the draft. I know that right up until the midnight hour, there was a strong line in there about restricting the flow of migrants from the European Union – an emergency break on overall migration. That was dropped, literally the night before. And it was dropped because the Germans said if that is in the speech, we will have to attack it. The whole thing was shown to them. The Germans said from the outset, you are not getting border control. Full stop.”

Which makes this little nugget from a source in Downing Street very interesting. Guido understands that in a recent phone call between the PM and Merkel, Cameron is said to have asked the German leader to keep out of the referendum campaign. The source says a heated Cameron argued that an intervention from her would not help his case to the British people. Downing Street would of course deny any such conversation took place. Though the sceptical reaction of voters to Obama, and the potential for a migrant crisis-mired Merkel to bring toxic contagion, mean Dave probably had a point. The Remainers have made a big play of their support from the global elite – it would seem that when it comes to Merkel, they don’t want her public support…

Friday Caption Contest (Check The Lining Edition)

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The winner of today’s caption contest will receive a copy of Matthew Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo’s:

UKIP: Inside the Campaign to Redraw the Map of British Politics

“A must-read book for all those interested in Ukip’s quest to redraw the map of British politics. Based on unprecedented access to the party and its key players – including Nigel Farage, Douglas Carswell, and Mark Reckless”

Entries in the comments please…

Reform In Good Time: PM Reneges On Christmas Promise

EU REFORM

How’s that whole renegotiation thing going? Well, David Cameron has just admitted that he won’t be getting a deal before Christmas, as previously promised. This is Downing Street’s summary of his phone call with Angela Merkel today:

[The Prime Minister] noted that the scale of what we are asking for means we will not resolve this is one go and consequently who did not expect to get agreement at the December European Council. Instead, we should keep up the pace of discussions and use the summit for a substantive discussion of the proposed changes in each area.

An early Christmas present for the Leave campaign…

Flashback: Farage Predicts ISIS Will Pose As Refugees

Readers may remember Nigel Farage warning the European Parliament back in April that ISIS could sneak terrorists into Europe posing as refugees. His speech was roundly condemned at the time.

There is a real and genuine threat. When Isis say they want to flood our continent with half a million Islamic extremists, they mean it.

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Boris responds to Tusk…

“I don’t want a No Deal Brexit but I say to our EU friends if they don’t want No Deal they have got to get rid of the backstop from treaty. If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down in history as Mr No Deal Brexit then I hope this point will be borne in mind by him too.”

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