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John O'Brennan @JohnOBrennan2
, 14 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Thread: So, @ray_basssett has written another commentary on the Brexit negotiations and suggests EU and @MichelBarnier have weaponized the Irish border issue to keep UK in the EU and under EU control.
Here, I examine Mr Bassett’s claims and respond to them.
Mr Bassett argues that the EU is “not prioritizing the border for Ireland’s benefit”. Rather Brussels is obsessed with maintaining the legal regime attaching to Single Market. Mr Bassett seems to think in one dimensional terms: it cannot be that interests of EU and ROI coincide 2
Mr Bassett quotes Mr Barnier’s Dundalk speech. But he quotes it VERY selectively. I was there. Barnier was emphatic in asserting that the Irish position on the border is the EU position. Mr Bassett does. It mention similar declarations from Donald Tusk, Guy Verhofstadt et al 3
If Mr Barnier was only interested in defending EU position, can Mr Bassett explain why Barnier spent 2 Days meeting and talking to people on both sides of the Irish border, including farmers, business groups, young people, civic orgs and public representatives? 4
Mr Bassett’s woeful lack of understanding of how the EU actually works is again on display. He thinks that being a member of the SM means “control” by Brussels. He seems to have zero understanding of the powers of the Council, for example, or the inter-institutional landscape. 6
Mr Bassett seems to be under the impression that the British side has made serious proposals that potentially fortify the backstop arrangement. But, in truth, there have been no serious proposals on this from David Davis. Just unicorns and magical thinking. 7
Mr Bassett accepts the “solutions” proposed by the British side are “imperfect and, in some cases, unproven”. But says they should be the basis for “ further discussion and refinement”. But the UK has already wasted 2 years& how can you seriously negotiate unproven solutions? 8
Mr Bassett’s lack of understanding of the CU and SM is cruelly exposed in his suggesting (as many ardent Brexiteers have) that this is a high stakes poker game, comparable to the GFA talks which he took part in.The CU&SM are entirely different legal regimes.This is not poker. 9
Mr Bassett outlines all the negative things that might flow from a ‘No Deal’ outcome. But Ireland did nothing but be a good neighbour to UK & bears no responsibility for the unfolding disaster. Mr Bassett repeats hardline Brexiteers view that EU& Ireland responsible for this. 9
Mr B can’t resist throwing in the canard about Ireland’s net contribution to EU.This is a tiny fraction of Irish GNI & its value really lies in access to SM for Irish and global firms it secures. Mr Bassett wants to throw away that competitive advantage by following UK out. 10
Nowhere in Mr Bassett’s piece will you read anything about the complete lack of seriousness of UK preparations, or the Tory infighting that precipitated the Brexit crisis. Much more convenient (a la Rees-Mogg et al) to blame Ireland and the EU for what is unfolding 11
Mr Bassett is right on one key point - Ireland should not take the risk of kicking the backstop can down the road to the October deadline. This issue has got to be confronted at the June European Council and, if necessary, Ireland should veto to protect its national interests. 12
What’s really depressing is that Mr Bassett (I’ve no doubt for sincere reasons) has thrown in his lot with the most blinkered English nativists (Policy Exchange, European Research Group)&the rabid Brexiteer press to continually scold his own country for standing up for itself. 13
Maybe Mr Bassett’s bio gives the game away?
I would suggest that diplomacy in the Bahamas and Jamaica constitutes a rather poor preparation for understanding how the EU governance regime actually works. 14
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