Great talking to @Marthakearney & @MishalHusain on @BBCr4today this AM. In case you missed it, short thread on what I said. Let's not get carried away. Some Brexit drama was inevitable at this stage of the negotiation - & around EU summit. We shouldn't be surprised its arrived 1/
.@BorisJohnson was obviously unhappy at EU Council's conclusions. EU completely ignored his request that if a deal is not possible now, a concession could at least be offered on process - namely, an “intensification” . He got no banana, so has had to up the ante 2/
Many in @10DowningStreet also believe a second crisis was necessary to force movement out of EU, not least as IM Bill somewhat backfired. So Govt throwing kitchen sink at EU to create maximum pressure. But Boris will get round table again if EU makes right noises - & they are 3/
Bxl/27 are taking it all in their stride. Council conclusions were aimed at their domestic audience. They also think a bust up is normal before big compromises can be made. More imp than written communique was @EmmanuelMacron (& Merkel) pressers. There's an opening on fish 4/
EU no longer talking about “status quo access”; UK no longer talking about “coastal sovereignty”. Just like state aid, where talks have matured from “right to diverge” (UK) vs “integrity of S market” (EU). Now looking at policy fixes to address each sides real/genuine concerns 5/
No10 also couldn’t let “talks still on” narrative run into this weekend's pro-Brexit papers. Would have looked weak, so more hardball was needed. So: just because Barnier won't see Frost in London on Monday doesn't mean it's all over. Fundamentals for both haven't changed

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More from @Mij_Europe

3 Oct
A thread on @EmmanuelMacron & Islam, given I'm a Muslim & cover France for @EurasiaGroup ☺️. It's ENRAGED a segment on Twitter. But I think it was a very good and balanced speech. Short thread 1/
So @EmmanuelMacron has angered some Muslim activists, annoyed the French far right & outraged the hard Left with his much awaited speech yesterday on defending the French secular state from “separatism” and radical Islam. Did he get it about right then? Yes, mostly he did 2/
Macron is often accused of “ontheotherhandism” –a sterile determination to see all sides of every argument. In his speech yest, he attempted a balance between a frontal assault on radical “political Islam” & a recognition many of France’s 5m Muslims have been let down by state 3/
Read 9 tweets
3 Oct
A consequential day (& next few weeks! for Brexit). A few thoughts. There is no chance of a “tunnel” next week. Gaps on substance too large. Instead, talks will move into a “restricted format”. This is a more intensive process, involving fewer officials from both sides 1/
Even in a best-case scenario, the 15-16 October Council will not deliver a deal, but could instruct @MichelBarnier to conclude one. A “tunnel” would then follow. In a worst case scenario, the EU27 will signal willingness to keep talking, but ramp up their no deal preparations 2/
Key question now is less about policy gaps & more abt political willingness. Both sides see parameters of deal. Question is, can they sell it if they do it? So for Bxl, purpose of today's call is to figure out if Johnson wants a deal - & is willing to concede ground to get one 3/
Read 4 tweets
27 Sep
Good read by @pmdfoster & @FT. It's more UK Govt, less Bxl, that's questioning with whom @BorisJohnson will have his Varadkar moment. But @EmmanuelMacron clearly the favourite. Macron DOES think BJ is a man he can do business with; a deal maker. But 1/…
Many in French system worry that the Fr Pres is misreading the PM & overestimating, even exaggerating, his need for a deal. As others say & I agree, France will also be one of the tougher MS as we approach final round. It's unwilling to concede significantly on LPF or fish 2/
Partly bc it thinks UK is negotiating from position of weakness. Partly bc Govt believes it has less at stake from a no deal than some other more vulnerable member states, eg Belgium, Ireland, Germany & Netherlands 3/
Read 4 tweets
27 Aug
Very good thread by @JenniferMerode. I'd add 3 points. 1) Everyone knows Brexit negs can't progress until UK state aid paper is released/shared with the EU. But EU is also sceptical that the new regime will be *operational* by 1 Jan. Seeing UK paper is not enough.. 1/4
The real question is: What does Govt intend to do once free of EU rules but prior to the implementation of its new regime? 2) As @JenniferMerode says, we should be careful about idea that we’ll see a repeat of last Nov-@BorisJohnson bounced into last minute deal 2/3
BJ is VERY wary of signing up to a deal that could come back to bite him later; thinks NI protocol did just that. This will make him more, not less, cautious about possible fudges on state aid. 3) The implementation period of any UK-EU deal is *key* 3/4
Read 4 tweets
28 Jun
Very interesting lecture by @michaelgove. Honest, self-critical of the political class (eg “sugar rush” of announcements). Sets out the principles that will underpin shake-up of civil service - Dominic Cummings’ mission post-Brexit eg data-driven evaluation of Govt projects 1/
Echoes of Blair’s third way eg “what works.” Treasury working on big programme to relocate Whitehall departments. Clearly going to the North! The politics is about how to hold on to former Labour voters who went Tory in Dec & the “left behind” who voted Leave in 2016 2/
Gove wants to remake Govt (& Tories) so these voters are not “forgotten” by a “distant” political elite. The unspoken goal is to make the Tories the champions of opportunity for all so these voters are not tempted to return to Labour 3/
Read 4 tweets
25 Jun
I agree there are now tailwinds behind a UK-EU Brexit trade deal, but *not* because EU is supposedly suddenly willing to compromise on state aid, but rather because @10DowningStreet now believes a deal is in its political interest 1/
Put simply: no deal will give @Keir_Starmer pol space, opportunity & ammunition to attack Govt's credibility; a deal would put Brexit to bed. So the thinking in Govt about how no deal would play in Commons has evolved. That's biggest driver for change in sentiment on UK side 2/
On managed divergence, EU is sceptical; on state aid, picture is complex. Yes, Covid-19 has made EU more liberal in their use of state aid, but the 27 are also becoming much tougher with 3rd countries (did people see presser w/China on Monday?) Implications for UK: still unclear
Read 4 tweets

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