I’m going to call bullshit on this:
European Union leaders have unanimously agreed on the guidelines that the bloc will follow when negotiating with the UK over its exit from the union.
The talks to approve the guidelines were chaired by European Council President Donald Tusk on Saturday. The special summit, which was attended by the leaders of the 27 member states, took less than 15 minutes to unanimously agree upon the guidelines, which Tusk issued last month.
Now obviously all 27 members didn’t have just 15 minutes to review the guidelines – they’d have been given a copy well in advance of this meeting – but I’m still calling bullshit on the claim that everything was agreed within 4 minutes. There is no way, none whatsoever, that representatives of 27 countries can agree anything in such a short space of time, it’s just not possible.
What has happened, and I’ve seen many, many meetings like this in my professional career, is that those attending the meeting have simply given their assent or refrained from voicing any objections. However, only somebody spectacularly inexperienced in high-level meetings would believe this means there is no disagreement and huge rifts aren’t going to open up later.
This whole thing was a PR stunt: the agreement was simply to act as if they are in agreement, and the entire British press has fallen for it. In that respect it has worked, but I suspect in the months to come the EU will wish it had spent more than 4 minutes thrashing out a sensible negotiating position from which to manage Brexit.
If – and this is a big if – the UK’s negotiators are halfway competent and the politicians in charge of Brexit are not a bunch of spineless charlatans who prioritise their own interests above those of the people they supposedly represent, the EU is there for the taking. They’ve walked straight into a hornets’ nest over Northern Ireland already: May should get Enda Kenny on phone immediately and ask if Ireland wishes to resurrect its claims to the province, and if so to formally announce it.
(By the way, can somebody answer something for me. I was once told ascension to the EU meant relinquishing any territorial claims against another member state. So how is it that Spain can continue to claim Gibraltar?)