A pre­dic­tion on the fu­ture of the EU...

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

JUST for a few days, Brexit has taken a back seat. Although the Speaker made it clear he was per­fectly prepared for Par­lia­ment to sit right through the fes­tive sea­son, there was a dis­tinct lack of en­thu­si­asm from MPs to take ad­van­tage of his generosity.

So per­haps time away will con­cen­trate minds on the press­ing prob­lems, not only in the first three months of 2019, but on the even more dif­fi­cult trade ne­go­ti­a­tions that will have to be un­der­taken whether we adopt WTO rules or get a con­sen­sus for some sort of Brexit.

Bear in mind that we are deal­ing with un­elected Euro­pean bu­reau­crats who have been man­dated to en­sure Bri­tain will suf­fer in or­der to en­sure no other mem­ber of the “club” is so fool­ish to ever con­sider fol­low­ing us. This has been ex­em­pli­fied by the way in which both David Cameron and Theresa May were treated when they tried to rene­go­ti­ate. The for­mer lost his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer as a di­rect re­sult and the lat­ter is in very hot wa­ter with her party, and will there­fore not lead them into the next gen­eral elec­tion.

Messrs Barnier, Juncker and Tusk have pre­sented a united front and have not budged from there stated poli­cies.

It should there­fore be un­der­stood that any trade ne­go­ti­a­tions to fol­low will be far more dif­fi­cult as vested in­ter­ests ex­ert pres­sure to se­cure their par­tic­u­lar ob­jec­tives. These are such mat­ters as the French fish­ing in our wa­ters, and Spain wish­ing to have joint sovereignty over Gi­bral­tar.

I have in­di­cated in this col­umn from day one that we should sign up to WTO rules, and then ne­go­ti­ate with Europe, for they also need fric­tion­less trade, sell­ing more to us than the re­verse. I firmly be­lieve that this would force Europe to be­come more re­al­is­tic and put be­hind them this de­sire to pun­ish us.

Look­ing at Europe in the long term, I be­lieve that in the not too dis­tant fu­ture, other coun­tries will also opt to leave and the EU will dis­in­te­grate. Ed­ward Heath promised a level play­ing field. It has never – and will never – hap­pen. Rus­sell Luck­ock is chair­man of Birm­ing­ham press­ings firm AE Har­ris

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