Opinion amongst EU diplomats is broadly that IF PM is talking about EU threatening integrity of UK endangering peace in NIreland etc IN ORDER to eventually sell idea to Tory party that doing a trade deal with EU this autumn is the best way to avoid all this .. then “so be it” /1
Say EU diplomats. General consensus here is that they’re not bothered how PM dresses up or presents a deal as long as there is one. EU has played hardball in trade negotiations and in the joint committee with the UK to work out how the Irish Protocol should work in practise /2
This, say trade insiders, should come as no surprise. In trade negotiations each side wants best deal possible for themselves. Each side- EU + UK - have sat on issues of importance to the other this year (tho they deny it) in order to create negotiating pressure on the other /3
Eg UK knows EU needs deal on fishing rights-so it’s playing hardball. EU knows UK anxious for its financial services to get a license to access Single Market after #Brexit.. so EU drags its feet.. EU has also played hardball in the Committee implementing the Irish Protocol /4
Regarding pinning down which goods are deemed at “high risk” of entering Single Market via NIreland. Tough negotiating is expected BUT PM threatening to break contract he signed with EU last year via the Internal Market Bill. That, for EU, isn’t trade negotiating hardball /5
It’s breaking international law. No-one I speak to in EU circles -on or off record -agrees with PM’s assertion that if Tory MPs vote against the bill, that makes agreeing a trade deal with EU less likely /6
EU attitude right now is to continue trade negotiations with UK to try to conclude a trade deal but if internal market bill becomes law in UK and is enacted by the government, then EU could suspend the trade deal - meaning imposing of tariffs and quotas - along with other deals/7
including financial services. EU warns this could be huge blow to UK manufacturing, automobile, agriculture sectors and city of London. It could impact NIreland hard on so many levels. Something UK and EU negotiators worked long and hard to avoid in drafting NIreland Protocol /8
NB Once again: the Northern Ireland protocol along with rest of Divorce Deal signed last year by Boris Johnson + EU leaders was designed as “all-weather agreement” ie to exist EVEN IF no trade +future relationship deal was agreed between EU and UK /9

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More from @BBCkatyaadler

11 Sep
However much EU wants a post #Brexit trade deal with UK - and it does - it’s also mindful of the bigger picture -its international reputation. EU wants to be seen to be taking a hard line on Johnson gov attempt to rip up parts of Withdrawal Agreement NOT ONLY.. /1
To make point to Johnson government but also as a „Don’t even think about messing with treaties you’ve signed with us“ message to other non EU countries the bloc has agreements with, or hopes to makes deals with -AND importantly for Brussels it also wants to send clear message /2
to EU members that break/threaten/dance around EU regulations and the rule of law .. eg Hungary, Poland. SO what action might EU realistically take against the government threat to Divorce Deal - IF feels necessary? (Spoiler alert: we‘re not there yet) /3
Read 11 tweets
6 Sep
Much like with David Frost’s interview today in @MailonSunday this evening’s news that the government is planning domestic legislation that would undermine parts of the Withdrawal Agreement incl Irish Protocol, now has EU figures asking “Who is this news aimed at?” /1
Both the interview and news of the planned legislation has irritated those in EU circles I’ve spoken to BUT they also wonder if the forthright Frost interview, the legislation leak and the PM’s statement that no deal is also a good option for the UK isn’t actually directed /2
More at a domestic audience.. specifically at ardent Brexiters, including backbench Tory MPs unhappy with government handling of exams and more this summer and worried government might be tempted to make concessions to EU to secure a trade deal /3
Read 4 tweets
5 Sep
„We are not going to be a client state. We are not going to compromise on the fundamentals of having control over our own laws,“ says chief UK negotiator trade talks with EU in @mailonSunday interview which -in Brussels- feels v much aimed at UK audience /1
This is David Frost’s first interview in UK since #Brexit on 31 January but this week will be his 8th round with EU negotiators. EU has heard his arguments many times before. In the interview Mr Frost says Brussels is struggling to accept UK as an independent sovereign state.. /2
Something EU figures always deny when I put it to them. They say what they can’t accept is UK freedom to undercut EU businesses in their own single market. That, they say, is why they’re insisting the UK sign up to agreed standards in environmental +labour regulations /3
Read 11 tweets
19 Aug
After short summer break, post #Brexit trade talks with EU have resumed. Don’t expect breakthroughs this week BUT do sit up and pay attention from now on. Remember those Brexiteer promises? If a deal is to be struck this autumn, compromises are inevitable - on both sides /1
Details matter. On UK truckers rights to work across EU, on chemicals, on cooperation to fight crime. State aid remains a big sticking point. Important for EU bc it doesn’t want to grant UK tariff and quota free access to single mkt IF /2
UK gov can prop up businesses at will, giving them a competitive advantage over EU companies in their own (single) market. On other hand, from UK gov perspective: wasn’t #Brexit about taking back control (ie not being attached to EU regulations)? Also gov repeats key priority /3
Read 16 tweets
28 Jun
Most EU members have now approved an initial list of “safe” countries whose citizens will be allowed to travel to the EU/Schengen area as of 1 July. US not on list. Australia and Canada are. China would be, I’m told if granted access for EU travellors #COVID19 /1
Criteria for EU access includes virus infection rate but also the efficacy of the non-EU country’s healthcare and test, track and trace system plus the transparency of its health data as well as reciprocity issue: ie if country allows EU/Schengen citizens to travel there /2
Issue is politically fraught. Complicated by fact that border control in times of crisis is for national governments to decide,even those in Schengen area BUT Germany which takes 6month rotating EU presidency on 1 July, believes EU needs to be seen to act together over pandemic/2
Read 9 tweets
5 Jun
“Plus ca change,” you could say. Round four of EU-UK trade talks: cue yet another downbeat assessment from both sides’ chief negotiators /1
“Progress remains limited”noted David Frost in his customary written statement. Michel Barnier said "I don’t think we can go on like this forever…on top of that as you know the UK has refused to extend the transition period in other words to allow more time for negotiations.“/2
BUT before you rush to join the “No deal is now the most likely outcome” school of thought: while both sides continue to insist loudly that they stand firm - on all issues linked to national sovereignty for the UK; on anything associated with the single market for the EU - .. /3
Read 7 tweets

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