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It’s Not You Theresa May… It’s Your Brexit Deal!

by John Brian Shannon

Very Important People said it would never happen.

They said it would be impossible for Britain’s 1922 Committee to gather enough votes to call for a leadership contest in the Conservative Party. They laughed, they wrote Op/Eds mocking the UK Conservatives, and they called the European Research Group (ERG) a paper tiger — because word on the street was — they couldn’t muster enough votes to challenge Theresa May’s premiership.

Yet, within one week of Theresa May bringing home a substandard draft Withdrawal Agreement, the ERG and its friends gathered enough votes to call for a leadership review and they made it look easy. Well done!

Tonight, between the hours of 6:00pm and 8:00pm London time, Theresa May will be reapplying for her job, and if she loses, she will remain Prime Minister until the Conservative Party chooses a new leader. If she wins, the Conservative Party won’t be able to contest her leadership for 12-months no matter what good or bad she does during those 12-months.

So it all comes down to this;

Do you trust Theresa May with the reins of power for the next 12-months leaving the Conservative Party as mere passengers (accomplices?) in the Brexit bus that Theresa May is driving?


Theresa May Has Nobody to Blame but Herself

It’s the Prime Minister who has created this situation. When you’re driving the car and you don’t like where you’ve ended-up, it’s 100% your fault.

Theresa May lollygagged her way through the first 2-years of her premiership, and then suddenly returned from Brussels 2-weeks ago with the ol’ hurry up and sign this draft Withdrawal Agreement before-the-ink-is-dry gambit.

Which seemed a bit off to say the least. Uh, can we read it first, or do we have to vote on it… unread? British MP’s seemed taken-aback by this approach and it took a few days for them to respond. And respond they have!

The Prime Minister is going to hear loud and clear from her party tonight, and by the end of it she may be a lame-duck Prime Minister or she’ll win them over and be free of leadership contests for the next year.

Either way, it’s on her.


It’s Not Her Leadership – It’s the Substandard Draft Withdrawal Agreement

Theresa May has said all along that she wanted a real Brexit and made sweeping statements like, “Brexit means Brexit” and “No Deal is better than a Bad Deal” and “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and other, similar, strong statements which the UK public and media ate-up like chocolate. Oh, how we loved her!

But now that it’s time to deliver, the Prime Minister has fudged on one crucial part of Brexit and it’s arguably the most important part of all — the sudden appearance of a Northern Ireland ‘backstop’ — which could prevent the UK from ever arranging its own trade deals in the post-Brexit timeframe.

You can check for yourself, the words “Northern Ireland backstop” never appeared in the 2016 referendum on EU membership. And, as there wasn’t any other UK referendum on EU membership since the United Kingdom joined the European Union in 1993, that term never appeared anywhere else either.

It’s something that Brussels and Theresa May have dreamt-up because they weren’t committed enough to find a workable solution to an Irish border problem left over from a previous century. Disappointing to say the least — because to overcome political problems is what elected officials are paid to do and if they can’t do it, they don’t deserve their jobs.

The four pillars of Brexit were and are:

  1. Take back control of the UK’s borders and immigration
  2. Take back control of the UK legal system
  3. Take back control of the UK economy
  4. Take back control of UK trade

And Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement only succeeds on the first three due to the so-called ‘backstop’ clause in the draft Withdrawal Agreement. The backstop wouldn’t be required at all if a political solution had been found at any time over the past lollygagging 2-years.

Conceivably, the UK could lose all chance of ever making its own trade deals if the backstop kicks-in — which could easily happen if we are to judge it by the low-level of success we’ve seen so far in Brexit negotiations.

Therefore, having failed to agree an Irish border solution, the Prime Minister is asking for more time to arrange an Irish border solution — even though nothing on this brief has been resolved in over 2-years? Give me a break!

Rewarding mediocrity is not the way to deal with politicians.

Either Theresa May is complicit in trying to keep the UK (permanently) inside the EU Customs Union and Single Market against the instructions of 52% of UK voters (thereby giving up any chance of Britain ever signing its own trade deals, which strays dangerously close to becoming an act of treason for a sitting Prime Minister) or she is very naively gambling with the UK’s future by allowing the backstop to form part of a signed and therefore legal Withdrawal Agreement (thereby giving up any chance of Britain ever signing its own trade deals, which strays dangerously close to becoming an act of treason for a sitting Prime Minister).


Summary

If Theresa May continues to insist that the backstop must remain part of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the Conservatives need to cut her loose, fast. The backstop clause is just too dangerous for the country and if it ever did kick-in, it would prevent the UK from seeking its own trade deals — thereby dramatically limiting economic growth in the UK for the next 100-years. That’s treason and tragedy in one dose.

If Theresa May says she can remove the backstop or add an addenda to her draft Withdrawal Agreement with a guaranteed end-date to the UK’s membership in the EU Customs Union, then I hope UK Conservatives vote to keep her on and give her every opportunity to succeed as Prime Minister and importantly, every opportunity to succeed as the Prime Minister responsible for the UK’s exit from the European Union.


Notes:

  1. Calls by anyone for a 2nd referendum are premature at best, dangerous at worst, and it adds to civil unrest with real consequences for the country and the economy — and the poor losers of the 2016 referendum should realize the country already had a ‘People’s Vote’ on June 23, 2016 — and the government still hasn’t gotten the job done from that referendum. Adding more work to the UK government when they haven’t even caught up with the last referendum result is lunacy.
  2. Theresa May threatening to cancel Brexit is undemocratic. The People voted to Leave and the government is to follow their instructions with no departing from those instructions. She hasn’t the right, short of nuclear war breaking out, to cancel what her employers have instructed her to do. If she’s complaining the government has run out of time, let’s remind her that she spent 2-years lollygagging around doing nothing productive with Brexit. Yes, it takes both sides to make a deal, but there is much that could’ve been done that wasn’t; Like formulating a ‘No Deal’ plan to help ease the country through the immediate post-Brexit period in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. If she persists with her threat to cancel Brexit, she should be removed as Prime Minister and forced to resign her Member of Parliament seat in Maidenhead. That’s just too undemocratic to tolerate — for backbenchers, let alone for a Minister of the Crown, or indeed the Prime Minister of the country.
  3. Theresa May threatening to ask for an Article 50 extension is also a case of her wasting the first 2-years of her premiership, and then, not being able to get the job done on time. Again, if she persists asking for an extension to do her job when she should’ve been doing it all along, Conservative MP’s need to remove her from the PM’s chair.
  4. Apocalyptic cries about a so-called ‘No Deal’ Brexit should be ignored. The UK will begin saving money right away in the event of a No Deal Brexit: £39 billion on account of walking away instead of paying the EU for an Implementation Period, also, £12.205 billion (net 2019) will be saved by no longer having to contribute to the EU budget and £10.05 billion (net 2020) will be saved in FY 2020. Also, the obscene trade surplus that the EU runs with the UK of £95 billion per year will wither, perhaps by 50% per year until it hits zero. And in other ways, the UK will SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, money — beginning in the very first year of a No Deal Brexit. That’s a lot of money that the UK could put to better use than sending it to Brussels and hoping for morsels in return as the UK has done for decades.

Theresa May’s Brexit Letter to the EU

Originally Published by gov.uk 29 March 2017

Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50

Contents

  1. The process in the United Kingdom
  2. Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union
  3. Proposed principles for our discussions
  4. The task before us

“On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

It is in the best interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that we should use the forthcoming process to deliver these objectives in a fair and orderly manner, and with as little disruption as possible on each side. We want to make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values, leading in the world, and defending itself from security threats. We want the United Kingdom, through a new deep and special partnership with a strong European Union, to play its full part in achieving these goals. We therefore believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union.

The Government wants to approach our discussions with ambition, giving citizens and businesses in the United Kingdom and the European Union – and indeed from third countries around the world – as much certainty as possible, as early as possible.

I would like to propose some principles that may help to shape our coming discussions, but before I do so, I should update you on the process we will be undertaking at home, in the United Kingdom.

The process in the United Kingdom

As I have announced already, the Government will bring forward legislation that will repeal the Act of Parliament – the European Communities Act 1972 – that gives effect to EU law in our country. This legislation will, wherever practical and appropriate, in effect convert the body of existing European Union law (the “acquis”) into UK law. This means there will be certainty for UK citizens and for anybody from the European Union who does business in the United Kingdom. The Government will consult on how we design and implement this legislation, and we will publish a White Paper tomorrow. We also intend to bring forward several other pieces of legislation that address specific issues relating to our departure from the European Union, also with a view to ensuring continuity and certainty, in particular for businesses. We will of course continue to fulfil our responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the European Union, and the legislation we propose will not come into effect until we leave.

From the start and throughout the discussions, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK as we do so. When it comes to the return of powers back to the United Kingdom, we will consult fully on which powers should reside in Westminster and which should be devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it is the expectation of the Government that the outcome of this process will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration.

Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union

The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

If, however, we leave the European Union without an agreement the default position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side should seek. We must therefore work hard to avoid that outcome.

It is for these reasons that we want to be able to agree a deep and special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation, but it is also because we want to play our part in making sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats. And we want the United Kingdom to play its full part in realising that vision for our continent.

Proposed principles for our discussions

Looking ahead to the discussions which we will soon begin, I would like to suggest some principles that we might agree to help make sure that the process is as smooth and successful as possible.

i. We should engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a spirit of sincere cooperation

Since I became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I have listened carefully to you, to my fellow EU Heads of Government and the Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament. That is why the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single market: we understand and respect your position that the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible and there can be no “cherry picking”. We also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part – just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.

ii. We should always put our citizens first

There is obvious complexity in the discussions we are about to undertake, but we should remember that at the heart of our talks are the interests of all our citizens. There are, for example, many citizens of the remaining member states living in the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union, and we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights.

iii. We should work towards securing a comprehensive agreement

We want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. We will need to discuss how we determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the United Kingdom’s continuing partnership with the EU. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

iv. We should work together to minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible

Investors, businesses and citizens in both the UK and across the remaining 27 member states – and those from third countries around the world – want to be able to plan. In order to avoid any cliff-edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership, people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption if we agree this principle early in the process.

v. In particular, we must pay attention to the UK’s unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is the only EU member state with a land border with the United Kingdom. We want to avoid a return to a hard border between our two countries, to be able to maintain the Common Travel Area between us, and to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland. We also have an important responsibility to make sure that nothing is done to jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland, and to continue to uphold the Belfast Agreement.

vi. We should begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as possible, but we should prioritise the biggest challenges

Agreeing a high-level approach to the issues arising from our withdrawal will of course be an early priority. But we also propose a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. This should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as financial services and network industries. This will require detailed technical talks, but as the UK is an existing EU member state, both sides have regulatory frameworks and standards that already match. We should therefore prioritise how we manage the evolution of our regulatory frameworks to maintain a fair and open trading environment, and how we resolve disputes. On the scope of the partnership between us – on both economic and security matters – my officials will put forward detailed proposals for deep, broad and dynamic cooperation.

vii. We should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values

Perhaps now more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of Europe. We want to play our part to ensure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats.

The task before us

As I have said, the Government of the United Kingdom wants to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. At a time when the growth of global trade is slowing and there are signs that protectionist instincts are on the rise in many parts of the world, Europe has a responsibility to stand up for free trade in the interest of all our citizens. Likewise, Europe’s security is more fragile today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Weakening our cooperation for the prosperity and protection of our citizens would be a costly mistake. The United Kingdom’s objectives for our future partnership remain those set out in my Lancaster House speech of 17 January and the subsequent White Paper published on 2 February.

We recognise that it will be a challenge to reach such a comprehensive agreement within the two-year period set out for withdrawal discussions in the Treaty. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. We start from a unique position in these discussions – close regulatory alignment, trust in one another’s institutions, and a spirit of cooperation stretching back decades. It is for these reasons, and because the future partnership between the UK and the EU is of such importance to both sides, that I am sure it can be agreed in the time period set out by the Treaty.

The task before us is momentous but it should not be beyond us. After all, the institutions and the leaders of the European Union have succeeded in bringing together a continent blighted by war into a union of peaceful nations, and supported the transition of dictatorships to democracy. Together, I know we are capable of reaching an agreement about the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, while establishing a deep and special partnership that contributes towards the prosperity, security and global power of our continent.” — Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May.

Brexit Begins: March 29

by John Brian Shannon | March 20, 2017

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she intends to proceed to exit the EU on March 29. Brexit begins…

Theresa May will trigger EU withdrawal talks under Article 50 on March 29, Downing Street has announced

The Prime Minister’s letter officially notifying the European Council of the UK’s intention to quit will set in train a two-year negotiation process expected to lead to Britain leaving the EU on March 29 2019.

Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, informed the office of European Council president Donald Tusk on Monday morning of the Prime Minister’s plans.

The Brexit Bill – officially called the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – was given the green light last week after being signed off by the Queen. — metro.co.uk

First on the agenda will be whether May can negotiate unrestricted access to EU markets for Britain, and how much access European Union citizens and industry will have to the United Kingdom. It’s likely to require a substantial amount of time, patience, and great diplomatic skill on both sides of the negotiating table.

Of secondary importance will be the decisions taken on customs and immigration. The EU has lost control of its external border as the Schengen Area borders effectively collapsed when millions of Syrian, Middle Eastern and African refugees began streaming into the southern European Union.

And the third negotiating point will likely relate to the status of EU citizens who live and work inside the UK, and of Britons who work or retired in the European Union.

Brexit Begins in Britain on March 29, 2017...

Brexit Begins in Britain on March 29, 2017. Image created by Samankashwaha.

In total, some 3.3 million EU citizens live in Britain, but nobody has kept an accurate count of this (nobody!) nor has any government agency kept count. In the European Union it’s thought that 1.1 million Britons live or work on the EU side of the border. Except that nobody knows for sure. One side is just as broken as the other. Facepalm!

Experts and commentators unanimously agree that it will take years, perhaps 10-years or more to hammer out an agreement on all the current issues between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail and that we don’t add mountains of new issues to the existing list of items to be discussed and resolved. It’s going to be a monumental work as it is.

It’s important to remember that in a ‘Win-Win’ relationship, whatever gets solved, becomes a ‘Win-Win’ for the politicians involved. Which is handy, come the next election.

While the UK side has seemed apprehensive and tentative at times, particularly in the immediate aftermath of a June 23rd EU referendum result which saw 52% of voters choose to ‘Leave’ the European Union — the EU side has taken an increasingly hostile position — as if senior EU politicians have taken it personally that Britons voted to ‘Leave’ and as a voter attack on their cherished institutions.

However, if European Union membership were that wonderful, not one person would have considered leaving the EU… but the simple fact is, more than 17 million British voters elected to leave the EU governance architecture.

And no matter what — no matter what! — the will of voters always trumps the will of politicians. We’ve seen it time and again throughout history. Yes, totalitarian states can ‘hang on to power’ for a time using the full resources of the state, until such times as the state collapses and the strongman is overthrown, but such things are supposed to be impossible in democratic states.

Let’s hope that the European Union lives up to its high democratic ideals and allows nations to leave as easily as they join!

On the bright side, it could be that by voting to Brexit the citizens of the United Kingdom will have assisted the EU to take the concerns, disappointments and perceived slights of member-state citizens more seriously in the future. Otherwise, Brexit will simply become one part of a much larger process, resulting in the eventual dissolution of the Union. And that would be a shame.