BREXIT and The BLT saga

Posted in the Guardian today:

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In response to hilltop

The Tories have mis-managed the process of Leaving, the EU has been obstructive, behaved like a sovereign empire rather than enabling civil servants, so it is not an ideal situation.

I presume this comment is in jest; if not, you have exposed your ignorance of European (EU) workings and can understand why you probably voted Leave.

The EU is the group of Member States, they are not civil servants. The institution of the EU, the Council of Ministers (all Member States) gives the instructions/guidance to the European Commission where the Commissioners and civil servants work.

The current negotiations are driven by a consensus arrived at between the Member States on what they want to see as the BREXIT outcome ( based on the legislative framework Treaties etc) and have instructed the European Commission on how to proceed. You are probably aware that there have been several meetings of the Council of Ministers over the past two years to discuss progress. Probably more detail than the potential demise of the BLT that seems to be the priority of the UK government.

The problem is that the British Government seems to have approached the negotiations with a high level of laxity and almost a gung-ho approach to “fulfil the will of the people” knowing that whatever they do (or don’t do) they will have the support of the mainstream media, who in the good old BJ syle will have headlines such as “Brussels wants to kill-off the BLT”.

The EU has obviously instructed The European Commission’s civil servants to stick to the rule book (which I’m sure they know inside out), although, despite various rumours to the contrary, they don’t specifically cover BLTs. That seems to be the main sticking point at the moment. The UK has decided it wants to leave the club; presumably, the EU’s position is that when the UK joined the club and during its subsequent Membership, it made a series of binding commitments, many of which contained financial obligations, others relationships with Third Countries, freedom of movement and the UK’s dependency upon their famous BLTs.

The EU and, thus the Commission, is very clear on what those commitments should be and future relationships based on the rule-book that the UK signed up to and also influenced its further elaboration e.g. The Single Market. So they are basically saying “you can’t have the Club’s sandwich or your BLT and eat it”.

The problem from the UK side is that, if one uses a football game analogy, they are using the approach of a referee to decide a dubious off-side position whilst munching a BLT; whereas the EU is using the VAR approach.

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