“Britain must not get a better deal than the members who stay fully committed – otherwise this is not punishment.”
What an extraordinary comment by Sylvie Goulard MEP who acts like some sort of haughty Au Pair, trying hard to play “Nanny”. She goes on to suggest that when we leave the EU, we must also shoulder a leaving bill of between £42 and £50 billion. It is outrageous to be charged for leaving the shop.
It is more outrageous to be told this by the Au Pair.
In Moscow, I found it hard when I went into a department store that I was obliged to go through the whole shopping-centre rather than simply exit by the door I had mistakenly entered. It is like being steered through duty free, or window-shopping in Amsterdam in the hope we will be tempted by something. But this is worse. And more than that, it is shameless when a gathering clan of European politicians are openly talking of “punishment”.
The “punishment” is already in the wording of the Referendum- we are to “leave” the EU club. I think that is punishment enough! But this ridiculous lady thinks we should have additional punishment as well, and that any payments that are demanded of us must also be couched in the language of punishment? It beggars belief!
If she wants to fleece a customer who says he will not return, at least try to do it with finesse. To bar the door and demand a ransom for leaving. That is frankly communist! It is the stuff of the old USSR!
For me, only one thing matters now- far more than posturing about what sort of “Brexit” we would prefer- that we behave decently and promptly to the EU citizens resident here, no matter what the EU politicians propose, and if this is a demonstration of their bilious response, we need to set the moral compass well and truly in advance. Let us not sink to this vicious nasty spiteful tit for tat. This is not a game anyone will leave with dignity. We must rise above it.
We have had a bad start, let’s be honest. And it will not get better if Brexit talks stall in the face of imminent French and German elections. We need to deal with our issues of regulating the British market to take over from what the EU market was once doing- and we need to do that quickly no matter what sort of Brexit we ultimately agree politically. We need to co-operation of both France and Germany to do this, but instead we are triggering article 50 when both these two countries could not be more distracted! What folly!
Yet that folly is not what Madam Goulard criticises. In fact, almost no one recognises this particular folly! Instead, the post-referendum language that both sides have continued to wield is of hostility and threats, a giant game of chicken that oddly people in parliament believe might have a set of rules. There are no rules or certainly none that favour us. And more than that, if just one of the 27 states objects to any deal we arrange, maybe because they do not, or rarely trade with us anyway, they have the power to veto the whole process. This is not a game of cat and mouse- this is about a rat in the lion’s den and the rat is trying vainly to dictate terms.
Yet…the EU is, without doubt, also behaving very badly.
I have said before that the EU should be ashamed of the Referendum vote- that it was reason enough to expect Mr Junker to resign. He failed to provide Cameron with enough leverage to take into the Referendum anyway. Yet he remains.
But there is much more to madam Goulard’s pronouncements that meets the eye. This is a woman who is keen on the ever-closer integration of Europe (she is already president of Mouvement Européen-France), was advisor to Romano Prodi when he was President, who wants, indeed, to be President herself of that EU, who is confident enough to write not only in French but also for the FT in English. This is an ambitious lady.
It is worth looking at m Goulard’s approach to other difficult EU states-
About Greece, she repeats the integrationist line: “I believe in the team game. We should not even consider the case of losing a member state. It is not in the interest of the Greeks. It is not in the interest of the eurozone. But this requires effort from both sides. The Greek government should admit that any decision taken must be passed in the Greek parliament as well as the German and the French parliaments. Perhaps Europe should make some more positive steps. Both sides should agree that their future is common and be prepared to correct past mistakes.” She has pushed for greater transparency in negotiations, seemingly a good thing, but when all is said and done, even her recommendations and good will come with an acidic put-down.
She wrote about and took a major role in reversing the Greek Referendum (and arguably Grexit would have been better for Greece and almost certainly for Europe): “Sur le fond, Tsipras est resté très vague”, she said and indeed, let’s admit it privately, he really was, but it is not something we should ever say in public, surely! What condescension! Quelle folie! Tant d’agressions! But while Tsipras could be bullied into remaining in the EU, Mrs May, who frankly has been even vaguer (-extrêmement vague) at least until yesterday, has made it clear she is off and that no deal is better than a bad deal. It is not that surprising that Madam Goulard has, therefore, hit the presses today. What a thoroughly disagreeable woman she is.