Jonathan Powell writes in an editorial printed in Politico that the post-Brexit commerce settlement concluded on Christmas Eve is the worst efficiency of the British authorities he has seen in his 40 years of expertise in worldwide negotiations.
It refers back to the negotiating strategy of the British authorities which left a lot to be desired and which resulted in an settlement alongside the strains of the EU’s beginning place. Britain has made solely small concessions – these on aligning state support and the position of the European Court docket of Justice, whereas the EU has acquired the whole lot it desires in all main financial points, together with fisheries.
For 5 causes, says Powell.
1. Bargaining energy
The UK has overestimated its negotiating place with the EU, as the 2 should not equal companions regardless of the sovereignty of each. Britain is able of dependence on commerce, not the opposite manner round – that is why it needed to again down at each step and comply with a divorce settlement at the beginning – specifically by inserting a customs border with Northern Eire. accepting a single treaty and ultimately Boris Johnson giving in earlier than the deadline.
2 Britain didn’t know what it needed
The UK gave the beginning sign with out clarifying its inside negotiating place, permitting the EU to impose the deadline.
Britain has wasted two years in inside negotiations whereas EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s clock was ticking. The launch of Article 50 – the authorized mechanism that triggered an exit course of – earlier than the UK was prepared meant that it continuously confronted a self-provoked deadline assuming that it both yields or submits to financial and political prices. extreme.
He needed to wait till he realized what he needed and the place he needed to go earlier than he began and jumped ahead. Political leaders have had this accountability, it’s not the fault of the negotiators.
3 Prioritizing the ideas of sovereignty
The UK put the ideas of sovereignty first, preferring them to financial pursuits, the end result being that it took defensive measures with a purpose to defend them and thus privileged an idea over sensible advantages.
Sovereignty is an obscure idea as unwittingly demonstrated by an analysis report lately printed by pro-Brexit British Conservatives within the European Analysis Group – the place a distinction is made between theoretical and sensible sovereignty: in any worldwide settlement, be it NATO or in any other case, a state limits its personal sovereignty in trade for sensible advantages.
Or, via this commerce settlement, the UK did the precise reverse – it defended a theoretical chance to do issues it doesn’t need comparable to reducing environmental requirements or supporting unproductive industries in trade for abandoning measures that might improve the nation’s prosperity.
He has spent the previous couple of weeks combating and dropping on fishing, which accounts for 0.1% of the UK economic system whereas accepting the exclusion of providers – accounting for 80% of the economic system and the place he has a aggressive benefit.
Consequently, the UK ended up concluding a a lot worse substance free commerce settlement than many others lately concluded by the EU with different international locations. As well as, it didn’t safe “duty-free borders” in any respect, as Boris Johnson claimed.
4. The UK has destroyed the EU’s confidence
Confidence is essential to profitable negotiations, or the UK has intentionally destroyed the EU’s confidence within the dedication it has already made to implement the divorce settlement by threatening to unilaterally cancel the Northern Eire Protocol. Downing Avenue thought it might provoke a disaster and thus safe its place of energy because the EU panicked. As an alternative, the EU has gone forward undisturbed and achieved its targets. All this time Britain was losing its time with infantile techniques. The end result was that she was compelled to again down earlier than the free commerce settlement was signed, so she had no substantial achieve, and the value might be paid within the subsequent negotiations with the EU on monetary providers, justice and inside affairs. they are going to unfold on the background of a misplaced belief.
5. The UK went to negotiations with none plan
The unforgivable truth, nonetheless, is that he had no negotiation technique – a very uncommon factor, as a result of nobody is conducting a army or election marketing campaign within the absence of a plan. Nevertheless, the British authorities believed that it was all proper to current itself in negotiations with empty palms, hoping that issues would work out on their very own. Consequently, the UK solely got here to react to EU positions all through the talks and even agreed to start out with an EU textual content and never its personal. In these circumstances, it’s not in any respect shocking that the settlement was finally formulated largely because the EU supposed.