Sydney Nash Profile picture
Former Civil Servant, former UK/EU negotiator, former automotive, former this, that and the other, always Palace - Views my own, RTs not an endorsement
Birger Leth Profile picture Sydney Nash Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
17 Sep
Stuck in a queue at the border? Take a quick break at the #Brexit drive-thru.

What can I get you?

Okay. And how would you like that?
Can you be a bit more precise?

Certainly. I want complete regulatory autonomy, no EU laws anywhere in this most united of United Kingdoms, and the same Brexit for all four nations. Got it?
Sure. Anything else?

Well, I’m told I shouldn’t threaten peace and security. Best add a side order of “respecting the Good Friday Agreement”.
Read 14 tweets
15 Sep
The #InternalMarketBill is a legal, political and geopolitical wrecking ball, that is crashing through the devolution settlement with one swing, the rule of law with another, & the UK’s international reputation as the pendulum takes it through for a final pass.
The main purpose of the Bill is to ensure barriers to trade do not emerge within the UK after it has left the single market and customs union. This is the right thing to do.
I recall Spanish colleagues telling me that the overarching framework of EU law was critical in making Spain’s internal market function properly and the UK is no different. So there is work to be done.
Read 18 tweets
8 Sep
One could stay up all night reading the Withdrawal Agreement and still find no reference to a free trade agreement or UK sovereignty, but why quibble over small details hey?

I'll tell you where references to a Free Trade Agreement and UK sovereignty can be found though, the Political Declaration, but that's not legally binding though, is it?
Still, it just isn't cricket not to grant what is in the Political Declaration though. Legally binding or not, the EU agreed to it and it should abide by it, right?
Read 5 tweets
8 Jul
Excellent thread from @pmdfoster. We’re definitely heading for a constitutional crisis. For me the roots don’t lie in #Brexit, but this is brutally exposing just how badly the devolution settlement has been managed politically and administratively.
At the heart of the tension between govt. & the devolved admins is a failure by Westminster & Whitehall to recognize that devolution doesn’t just mean giving power to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, it also means sharing power in London.
I suspect Labour didn’t think twice about this in ’98, believing that they wld be in power in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff (if not Belfast) for yrs to come. Managing the devolution settlement was to them an internal party issue.
Read 13 tweets
16 Apr
Some thoughts on #Brexit & an extension to the transition period.

(Note - This is not an argument against extending, I think an extension is essential, but an explanation as to why I think as an extension does not, at least today, look likely. Tomorrow is another day)
There is a growing belief that an extension to the #Brexit transition is almost inevitable. I wld like to believe that that is the case, but think we are still a long way from an extension being requested, let alone agreed.
Some note that within govt. (& #EU), #Covid19 response trumps everything, with personnel being moved and all other priority work paused. Yes, civil servants in UK are being repurposed to work on #Covid19, but not those negotiating with the #EU.
Read 16 tweets
11 Oct 19
Fascinating statement by the DUP. Holding fire, emphasising the importance of consent, but showing flexibility on “Northern Ireland specific solutions”, while reminding everyone that their votes matter (a lot). #Brexit
Seems govt has some wriggle room if it can get a consent mechanism agreed that is acceptable to unionists and republicans and find a way to keep NI in the UK’s customs territory, while also making it part of the EU’s. #Brexit
This is where a version of the Facilitated Customs Arrangement comes in, which, as some recall, was dismissed by the EU as an idea when the UK floated it at Chequers, and seriously challenged by business regarding deliverability. #Brexit
Read 4 tweets
7 Oct 19
This leaked briefing from government is extraordinary, not because it is littered with threats directed at countries that are still our neighbours, allies & closest trading partners, but because of how desperate it sounds. #Brexit
I disagree with @Peston that this will have serious diplomatic repercussions. Sadly, the EU have become used to this type of behaviour from the UK government. #Brexit
From the not so subtle threat to remove security cooperation that was in Theresa May’s Art 50 letter, to the ridiculous Soviet Union comments made by Jeremy Hunt at the ‘18 conference, the EU has seen it all. I suspect this brief might elicit little more than a shrug. #Brexit
Read 10 tweets
4 Oct 19
This is a core part of the Brexiteer playbook - portray #Ireland as the problem & encourage other Member States to force them to move. The problem for them is that this isn’t how the #EU works. #Brexit
Any belief that this will work is based on three false assumptions:

1. That there is an appetite amongst big Member States to bully a smaller Member to cast aside its red lines to help an exiting member get out of a domestic political bind.

2. That large Member State’s red lines (read Germany) are not the same as, or at least compatible with, Ireland’s.

3. That the EU will panic if no-deal looks like a genuine possibility.

I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that any other these assumptions are correct. #Brexit
Read 9 tweets
4 Oct 19
This is a core part of the Brexiteer negotiating play book - portray Ireland as the problem & encourage other Member States to force them to move. #Brexit
Any belief that this will work is based on three false assumptions:

1. That there is an appetite amongst big Member States to bully a small Member State to cast aside its red lines to help an exiting Member State get out of a domestic political bind

2. That large Member State’s red lines are not the same as or at least compatible with, Ireland’s.

3. That the EU will panic if no-deal looked like a genuine possibility.

I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that any other these assumptions are correct. #Brexit
Read 8 tweets
2 Oct 19
Some interesting points to note from the leaked memo that @alexwickham published on BuzzFeed.
First is three wks provided for negotiating a detailed treaty. But that takes us to 23rd Oct, passed the European Council and crucially passed the deadline for requesting an extension. #Brexit
Second is the first element of the blame game, i.e. Theresa May got us into this mess and there is only so much that I (Johnson) can do to get us out of it. #Brexit
Read 6 tweets
1 Oct 19
One of the things that confuses me regarding the the @irishborder discussion is an assumption by some that only the EU has to worry about market integrity (and by implication, they shld solve the problem). The UK will also have to maintain market integrity post #Brexit.
Not only will this be demanded by UK based business worried about cheap goods entering the market due to a lack of controls, consumers will demand it as well, and very loudly too after the first bad headline about a child being hurt by a dodgy toy...
...that was smuggled across the border. Add to that future trade partners (e.g. U.S), who will want guarantees that only the UK benefit from any preferential terms that it grants, meaning that it will want clear evidence that market integrity can be maintained. #Brexit
Read 5 tweets
27 Sep 19
Even if true, this is already far, far, far too late, especially given the clear gaps between the two negotiating partners. Time. Has. Run. Out.
Any suggestion that a deal can be struck by the European Council on 17th Oct only comes from those with an agenda, no understanding of EU process, or no desire to properly scrutinise the statements of those who fall into categories one or two (or both). #Brexit
Serious prep is needed before a Council. This takes time. A General Affairs Council usually proceeds (maybe 14th, latest), Sherpa meetings are needed (poss 11th latest), exchanges of views between capitals & reps in Brux required (poss starting 9th latest)... #Brexit
Read 6 tweets
24 Sep 19
Commonly held mis-conception that the EU always strikes a deal at the eleventh hr/always blinks. On internal matters, the EU does always find agreement and often right at the last minute, but that’s with a view to finding consensus amongst Member States. #Brexit
The approach is markedly different when it comes to the EU’s dealings with a third country (which is how the UK is viewed in this context). On these occasions the EU doesn’t blink, or crumble and strike any kind of deal at the eleventh hr. #Brexit
It is far more common that the EU holds firm, waiting for its negotiating partner to blink. If anyone wants proof of this, they need simply look at the EU’s approach throughout the #Brexit negotiations.
Read 5 tweets
2 Sep 19
This is the most wonderfully over optimistic statement I’ve heard since someone last said to me “Palace are getting into Europe this season mate, trust me”.…
There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Johnson is any closer to agreeing a #Brexit deal that can get through Parliament than Theresa May was. A few key points:
1. The deal (the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration) is exactly the same as it was when it was agreed almost a year ago. Every word, comma, semi-colon, & full stop is the same.
Read 15 tweets
31 May 19
This concept that a #NoDealBrexit is a stepping stone to a deal must be put to bed. It is based on the misplaced notion that the #EU will be so desperate for the money that the UK owes it will come running back to the negotiating table, begging for a deal. It won’t. Here’s why.
First, for the EU, this is not about the money. Of course they don’t want a hole in their budget, but they will not sacrifice their principles regarding the integrity of the single market & the border etc just to plug that hole.
If the UK reneges on its financial obligation the EU will not be desperate to do a deal, it will swallow the cost and move on. #Brexit
Read 11 tweets
1 Oct 18
Don’t know which Europeans Mr. Hannan is speaking to but I haven’t met anyone in Brussels or in EU capitals who is unhappy with the Commission approach & I’ve spoken to a lot of them. #Brexit
In addition, no-one in the #EU is threatening the UK (I wld challenge Hannan to point to one threat that has come from a leading EU politician or negotiator), nor are they stopping the UK from leaving. #Brexit
The EU have been clear from the start that there are many trade models available to the UK & the UK have ruled most of them out. If it feels like the UK has little room for manoeuvre it is because the government painted itself into a corner. #Brexit
Read 17 tweets
1 Oct 18
It had always been government’s belief that if it cld speak to the Member States rather than the Commission it wld get a better #Brexit deal. The UK, they thought, could divide & rule. Jeremy Hunt’s comments have put an end to that. #Brexit
Comparing the #EU to the Soviet Union is the latest easily avoidable diplomatic error made by a cabinet minister. Hunt’s comments have lead to countries that used to be the UK’s best friends in the Council (like Estonia & Latvia) openly stating that he has insulted them. #Brexit
If the UK was to successfully divide & rule, it needed to keep its friends close. What it is doing is pushing them away. #Brexit
Read 10 tweets