An excerpt from my latest column for the International New York Times on the state of the Brexit talks. It was published under the headline ‘What to get Theresa May for Christmas’.
Mr Varoufakis, who led the Greek negotiating team, writes in Adults in the Room that rather than negotiate in good faith, the troika employed a number of tactics to ensure that it got its way. The key maneuver was insisting that negotiations be staged in two parts: Greece first had to ‘commit to the compromises they wanted and then, much later, we could begin negotiations on debt relief’
It has been a similar story with the Brexit talks. Britain is dealing not with the troika, but directly with the European Union. The bruising negotiating tactics, however, are much the same.
The European Union insisted at the beginning that the negotiations be split into two parts. Only when ‘sufficient progress’ had been made on the ‘divorce’ could talks on future relations begin. Britain’s real interest is in signing a post-Brexit trade deal. London’s desperation to move on, Brussels knew, would lead it to capitulate on the terms of divorce.
And that is exactly what happened. With much bluster but little resistance, Britain accepted not only the two-part process, but also most of the European Union’s demands in the first phase.
Read the full article in the INYT.
The image is from de zeen magazine.