Should it really – intentionally exacerbate the damage Corona has done to Europe through an unregulated Brexit? The EU summit on Thursday is really the last chance to prevent that: by proposing in the negotiations with London on future relations how to break through the blockade. Are the strengths and goodwill enough, or are they exhausted after all the disappointments and resentments in the four years since the vote on departure?
In London, Brussels, Paris and other capitals, the forces are getting stronger and shrugging. “No more damage” is their motto. They want to use Corona as a cover and include the economic consequences that an unregulated Brexit would mean for British and continental Europeans in the calculation of the Corona recession. Your interest will not be held politically liable if no agreement is reached.
The federal government must counter this – with the opposite logic. Since Europe is already suffering from the effects of the pandemic, it would be irresponsible to call for avoidable additional burdens.
Outdated logic: don’t give the kingdom an advantage
Change your perspective and rethink: this can be liberating and helpful. The EU has committed too much to a logic that was understandable and perhaps even compelling at the outset of the talks: the British should not have the benefits of membership without the obligations. If it seems like leaving is the better deal, it can motivate others to do the same.
[Mit dem Newsletter „Twenty/Twenty“ begleiten unsere US-Experten Sie jeden Donnerstag auf dem Weg zur Präsidentschaftswahl. Hier geht es zur kostenlosen Anmeldung: tagesspiegel.de/twentytwenty.]
That is why the EU wanted to force the Kingdom to uphold the four fundamental freedoms (free movement of persons, goods, capital and services) and the standards of the EU. Where London demanded more sovereignty for itself, the EU negotiators demanded something in return.
Today it is clear: there are no followers. Brexit does not look attractive, certainly not economically. The EU could be more flexible without harming cohesion.
Treat the British like they’ve never been to the EU
Reconsideration would mean that a different standard is used in the negotiations. What would the EU pursue if it treated Britain as a partner who has never been in the EU and with whom it would like to conclude an agreement on free trade and close cooperation, as it has done with Canada, Tunisia or Ukraine, for example? ? It would not present EU standards as non-negotiable, but rather balance respective interests and take into account national peculiarities.
Many of the points of contention that stand in the way of an agreement with London would then no longer have the character of principle. Should the UK comply with EU environmental and social standards one on one? Can’t the EU allow more flexibility here?
London wants a different business model. Why not?
It is the British stated goal to compete internationally with a different business model from that of the EU. Less trade in goods, more in services. That’s legitimate, they should be allowed to.
Unlike Canada, Britain is, of course, a direct neighbor of the EU and much more competitive than Tunisia or Ukraine. Unfair competition through dumping standards must not arise. But between this extreme and the other – almost everything remains the same as in the EU – there is room for maneuver.
To meet Johnson? The common future is more important
Of course there is Boris Johnson. Should he be taken care of, even though he threatens unregulated Brexit as a gambler and questions agreements he himself has signed, such as the Northern Ireland regulation? Why contract with someone who is in danger of breaching the contract while negotiating? Yes, it is an imposition. But should the EU harm itself instead of looking for a solution to be able to say: we have not been blackmailed?
It’s not about winners and vanquished. That too would be a wrong perspective. It’s about Europe and Great Britain winning a common future.