Where are we now after Salzburg?

Let’s just step back a bit, straighten our posture and think about what has happened after the EU negotiators on behalf of the family of 27, rubbished our Prime Minister’s Chequers plan .Besides being thoroughly rude and disrespectful to Theresa May, Michael Barnnier and co. , other than sticking by now to their well-worn out mantra that the Chequers plan will not work, failed to to suggest any counter -proposals. To cap it all, these EU negotiators gave our PM 10 days to come up with a better plan . So what is to happen if that time limit is ignored ? Nothing is the answer.

The Prime Minister has now hit back (for the first time showing some teeth), and told the EU negotiators the Chequers plan is the only way to a reasonable compromise, that will prevent a hard border between northern and Southern Ireland. She has told Brussels basically ‘ take it or leave it’, calling the EU’s bluff that Britain is prepared to walk away with no deal if necessary.

Whilst I am still hopeful that there will be a last minute “court door settlement” as often is the case in litigious disputes, (as the alternative will hurt the EU states as much as it would the UK), we need to step back a little and consider what has been the result of the Salzburg debacle at home since our Prime Minister returned somewhat wounded.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid since Salzburg is considering moving the goalposts that in the event of a no – deal Brexit, the Government should grant limitless access to EU migrants for more than two years whereby they could come and reside in the UK with no strings attached . It is assumed they will work but interestingly this is not a condition of the entry proposals .Before Salzburg, the proposal following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), was to allow EU migrants to the UK up to the end of the transitional period 31st December 2020, where after they will be subject to visa conditions for entry like any other non- EU nationals. The goal posts are proposed to move that transitional period to end of September 2021.

The above step back by the Home Secretary has of course angered Brexiteers who argue that Britain needs to take back control of its borders as soon as possible , and it does not take a further 30 months to put matters in place.

Our government seems to have knee -jerk reactions at every new phase in these negotiations, which smacks of inexperience and weakness of its leaders, as opposed to its well-seasoned and experienced European counter-parts who seem to be able to run rings around our leaders and bluff with impunity. Nothing has been said about the millions of British ex- patriots living in the 27 member states with families , and about those who regularly travel to Europe for work. There seems to be chaos with our government and opposition leaders, some calling for a second referendum or a snap general election this year. There is panic all round !

Furthermore, with the greatest of all possible respects, Brexit seems to have consumed the minds of our ministers to the extent that managed migration from outside the EU, seems for the time being to have been placed on hold or taken second stage. That in fact is the real problem the Government needs to sort out in tandem with EU migration after Brexit.

Since our Prime Minister has now started to fight back after Salzburg, I see no reason why as part of her negotiation tactics , she does not step up trade talks with countries such as the USA, India , China and the African subcontinent generally. There is nothing legally wrong in Britain commencing trade talks now with potential trading partners .

# Britain is one of the strongest economies in the world, with a brand name for business success , a system of justice and democracy which are the envies of the world. Our monarchy if nothing else, and whether one agrees with it or not , is steeped in pomp and ceremony, traditions that attracts millions of foreign visitors every year , come rain, hail, storm or sunshine . Who would not want to do business with Great Britain?

I hope that the shockwaves of a no – deal Brexit are now beginning to sink into the minds of those smug EU negotiators who acted with contempt in Salzburg, and that ambassadors from the EU 27 states will immediately hold talks to salvage a deal which they did their best to try and wreck at Salzburg.

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