Think for a second. Imagine you’re the EU’s leadership. If one partner gets away with unilaterally rewriting a treaty, all the EU’s treaties are rendered worthless. The EU *has* to take a stand.
The scorn and bad faith shown by Johnson over years, decades, earn him zero right to goodwill or favours from Brussels. But even if the EU wanted to help him out, it couldn’t afford to. The price would be far too high. ‘Pacta sunt servanda’ is all that makes the EU work.
Fortunately, the EU is an economic superpower (which it is because of the international rule of law). That means it has teeth. It will use them if it has to, in defence of its most precious, most essential ideal: pacta sunt servanda.
It’s no exaggeration to say that, in 2020, together with key smaller international allies, the EU is the power keeping the international rule of law alive. It *has* to take a stand here. If it doesn’t, God help us all. We do not want to live in a lawless burning world.
As to why this UK government is so relaxed about breaking international law, it’s because they’re high on their own sovereigntist supply; they never had any intention of respecting the Withdrawal Agreement, & said as much. @fotoole explains it perfectly.…
Addendum to thread: the implication of the UK breaching the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement is not merely that the EU walks away from future relationship talks. The WA is the backstop to No Deal. So an unresolved breach would lead to No Deal *plus* active countermeasures.
Imagine Covid plus no deal brexit plus economic sanctions imposed by our largest trade partner plus other potential trade partners walking away or insisting on tougher safeguards because of our actions. Makes 2020 look like a cakewalk.

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More from @ottocrat

7 Jun
OK I've got room in me for one more thread tonight before I sit down with a glass of wine and my crochet. A few months ago I posted this thread where I described the steps taken for the EU to conclude agreements with non-EU countries. 1/
I'd like to expand a bit on the 'mandate' part of the process. This is where the Member States give their instructions to the Commission to negotiate an agreement on their behalf. It has the force of law - they adopt 'negotiating directives'. 2/
Whenever I go into a negotiating session, the one thing I always make sure I have with me is the mandate. It tells me what I must include, and tells me how much wiggle room I have. It's the blueprint for any agreement. 3/
Read 20 tweets
7 Jun
From Andrew Rawnsley’s Observer column. Look: everyone in the UK seems to think we are still in Brexit crisis mode, where the European Council would regularly step in to unblock things. We are not. Brexit has happened. This is now a trade negotiation with a non-EU country. >
> As such it has a completely different dynamic, one very familiar to the EU, we do this all the time. The UK has not remotely begun to digest the facts of life in this new reality. Whining about “sovereign equals” cuts no ice in the EU & sounds needy & desperate back home. >
> An EU-UK agreement is a big enough deal for it to reach member states’ leaders desks, for sure - but it is still an EU deal with a non-EU country. If you want to understand the politics of that, look at what happened with TTIP. >
Read 6 tweets

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