What do these on the EU facet of the Brexit argument make of the Conservative leadership contest?
We requested three insiders, who watch occasions in Westminster carefully, to analyse the leadership contenders’ pledges and assess their viability.
Are they promising the undeliverable simply to win over Conservative MPs and grass roots Tory members? Or does any considered one of them have a reputable, deliverable plan?
:: Jean-Claude Piris is a prime EU lawyer. For 23 years he was the director-general of the European Council’s authorized service.
:: Agata Gostynaka-Jakubowska is a Brussels-based senior analysis fellow on the Centre for European Reform.
:: Philippe Lamberts is a member of the European Parliament. He sits on the Brexit Steering Group.
I started by asking them, broadly, what do they make of the marketing campaign to change into British Prime Minister to date?
Philippe Lamberts: “I see many people in denial of reality.”
Agata Gostynaka-Jakubowska: “I think many of the contenders are actually delusional about what they can achieve. And I think the reality will come to bite them soon.”
Jean-Claude Piris: “Sometimes you are obliged, in order to be elected, to make promises you know you are not going to implement so some of them are pushing a little bit too much. Because as you say in English they are promising unicorns – things which are completely unrealistic.”
:: A renegotiation – viable?
A number of of the candidates – Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock amongst them – have stated they may come again to Brussels and efficiently renegotiate the deal.
Jean-Claude Piris: “[The candidates] think they have to do that to give some hope to their electorate which is very particular at this time but no, it will not be possible on the side of the EU to do that.”
Philippe Lamberts: “Well good luck with that! Doesn’t he [Dominic Raab] think that Theresa May already did that. Well actually he did himself [as Brexit Secretary].”
Jean-Claude Piris: “If you are talking about the legal Withdrawal Agreement – the 585 pages – this will not change. What could be changed is the Political Declaration and it’s important because it’s the future relations with the EU.”
:: What about an eleventh hour backdown by the EU?
Philippe Lamberts: “What many people like Dominic Raab and others are ignoring is the calculus that the EU27 are making is that indeed a no-deal Brexit will be harmful but ruining the integrity of the Single Market would be even more harmful. So if you have to chose between two evils, you choose the lesser one.”
Agata Gostynaka-Jakubowska: “Any contender who thinks that he or she will be able to bypass the EU institutions in those negotiations and negotiate bilaterally with key member states, I think he or she is wrong to think this.”
:: A WTO no-deal Brexit?
What a couple of so-called World Commerce Organisation (WTO) Brexit through which the UK leaves with no deal after which trades on WTO phrases with the EU and the remainder of the world?
Jean-Claude Piris: “Which means on 1 November, abruptly the UK may have no commerce agreements with anyone on the earth so will probably be a singular nation. And these days the UK advantages from the EU Single Market but additionally all of the commerce agreements concluded by the EU on behalf of the 28 members with quite a lot of international locations on the earth – Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Mexico, Japan and so forth.
“All that may be misplaced on the primary day. WTO would not carry you something. WTO obliges you to have identical customs tariffs with all international locations on the earth and all are free to do what they want with you with their tariffs. It is loopy. It is loopy. No person on the earth is on a no deal.”
:: The Divorce Invoice
Boris Johnson has stated that he will not pay the £39bn ‘Brexit invoice’ to the EU until Brussels comes up with a greater deal.
Jean-Claude Piris: “In fact it is attainable to not pay. You already know that it’s going to put the UK in a really unhealthy method; the way in which the place international locations aren’t respecting their money owed – just like the Argentinian method.
“The problem is that you will need your neighbours to whom you are owing this money, if you want them to help you to have a trade agreement to arrange the big huge problems of no deal on 1 November.”
Philippe Lamberts: “If you’d like ‘world Britain’ perhaps it is not one of the best start line to begin reneging by yourself authorized commitments… And by the way in which, leaving and not using a deal proves relatively your incapacity to strike a tough cut price.
“It means mainly turning your again on a significant buying and selling accomplice and once more that is not a great sign for different buying and selling companions.”
:: The Irish Border challenge
The Irish border is probably the most intractable Brexit challenge. House Secretary Sajid Javid has proposed paying thousands and thousands of kilos to Eire with the intention to resolve the border challenge.
Jean-Claude Piris: “If it was attainable to unravel it with cash! However it isn’t. It’s a query of warfare and peace. It is a query of deaths. You already know throughout what you name The Troubles what number of deaths there have been so we’re not positive how issues will go.”
Others leadership contenders, like Dominic Raab, are suggesting the Irish Backstop ought to merely be ditched and ‘different preparations’ put in place.
Agata Gostynaka-Jakubowska: “I do not assume that is achievable. I do not assume that the backstop might be ditched. That has been stated by the EU leaders on quite a few events.”
Philippe Lamberts: “Various preparations have been mentioned across the desk. That is magical considering, .
“You are in a difficult situation and you hope that Harry Potter or Dumbledore will create a solution out of nowhere to resolve tour own contradictions. That won’t happen, we live in the real world.”
:: Are there any candidates they assume are credible?
Jean-Claude Piris: “There is one candidate I have seen that I think is talking the truth. Rory Stewart, I think is his name, but I have to conclude looking at the news that he has not many chances to be elected.”
:: And eventually, any recommendation for the Tory grass roots who will decide the following British Prime Minister?
Agata Gostynaka-Jakubowska: It is vital that the grass roots members who will likely be voting for the following Tory chief truly attain to maybe specialists – though I do know that is not a very fashionable phrase today – and actually analyse the commerce offs in between leaving the EU and not using a deal or with a deal as a result of that is a debate which I do not assume a number of the contenders have been partaking with to date.