The EU is facing a crisis like never before. Even its own fanatic supporters are talking about an end game after recent concessions over a corona rescue plan have exposed how little grip Brussels has left. It’s all hidden in the small print.
Failed talks with the UK over a Brexit deal are just one of a handful of examples of why now pro-EU experts are all sounding the alarm over the EU’s stability. Along with the Corona bailout, there is a new impetus of ‘euro-scepticism’ from many member states signalling the end of the EU as we know it.
Talks between EU negotiators and Britain’s Brexiteers might as well have collapsed. In fact, they haven’t, but in so many ways it would be better if they did. The EU is taking its largest gamble ever by playing a ‘last minute’ game of chance with Boris Johnson – a leader who has proven that he is determined not to be drawn into such a charade and will firmly stick to the December 2020 deadline of pulling the UK out, with or without a deal.
A big sticking point is fisheries of course. France is putting huge pressure on Michel Barnier to negotiate something for the French. Before joining the EU, Britain had more or less a monopoly of the seas surrounding its shores – which it lost when it joined the European Union with now other countries fishing six times more fish than the UK. The trade deal itself also has a number of difficult areas which neither side wants to concede.
Given the EU’s track record and what we know about its own style, everything points to a last-minute drama at the end of November this year when Barnier and his officials wake up to the reality that Britain really is going to adopt WTO rules and get out of the EU altogether with no deal.
Many hardcore Brexiteers even prefer this option to a present deal now – a point that Barnier seems to have not grasped – as they believe a second round of negotiations will put Britain in a much stronger position to cut a deal.