• Article 50 submission: An open letter to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament.

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    Sehr geehrter Herr Schulz,

    We note your comments expressing your concern about the UK’s failure to submit Article 50. You have called on the British government to trigger Article 50 by the end of the year to provide clarity and avoid “weakening” the EU. You then went on to state that to wait more than a year is completely counter-productive.

    We would disagree. This is because it is better to get the right decisions made more slowly than the wrong decisions made quickly. The FACT is that if the EU and UK get Brexit wrong, both the EU and the UK will suffer. Badly.

    At the moment the British government is simply not in a position to invoke Article 50. That Mrs May has defied calls to invoke the clause is something that all sensible parties in the EU and the UK should be relieved by.

    We will be frank with you. You will know that the calls by some Brexiteers for WTO default post Brexit and talk of a so called “trade deal” which gives all the benefits of being in the Single Market without any of the costs and obligations is complete nonsense! You know that! Chancellor Merkel knows that! EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker knows that! Mrs May knows that!

    You also know that the one practical choice the UK has so far as Brexit is concerned is along the lines of the so called “Norway Option” which gives all the benefits of being in the Single Market BUT WITH ALL of the costs and obligations. Again, Chancellor Merkel knows that! EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker knows that! Mrs May knows that!

    Therefore, upon reflection we think you – as a politician – will see the reasons for Mrs May’s delaying tactics. They are:
    1. She needs to assemble a team of competent negotiators. Since the UK has been in the EU people with these skills have not been needed. They are now!
    2. She needs to await the decisions of the English courts as there is a legal challenge to whether invoking Article 50 needs legislation or not. A decision one way or the other is expected in October, but whichever way it goes, it is likely to be appealed.
    3. She needs to prepare the political ground in the UK for her decision to pursue Brexit along the lines of the so called “Norway Option.” You will of course know that there were those campaigning for Brexit who declared to the voters that the UK could negotiate a “trade deal” which gave all the benefits of being in the Single Market without any of the costs and obligations! Along with an “Australian style points based system” to control immigration. Clearly when Mrs May announces her plans there are going to be a great many angry voters!

    At this point we can understand it if you were to respond with: “Well you British have gone and dug yourselves into this hole! It is up to you that you get yourselves out of it!

    You are absolutely correct. But it is in the EU’s interests that you allow Mrs May to do precisely this!

    Let is fact FACTS:

    The Eurozone cannot afford to see a disastrous Brexit! If everything in the Eurozone was well and there was not a severe sovereign debt problem with most of it’s members – If several banks were not effectively insolvent – If several Eurozone members were not teetering in the brink of recession: then a disastrous Brexit would still be an uncomfortable experience for the Eurozone – given the amount of trade between the Eurozone and the UK.
    However, with the Eurozone’s present difficulties a disastrous Brexit would be catastrophic – for the Eurozone!
    Were the Eurozone to crash in these circumstances the shock-waves would spread. The USA has for the last 50 years been exploiting is unique position as the possessor of the global reserve currency by accumulating a sovereign debt that makes the Greeks look prudent! The Eurozone as an economy is of such a size that a breakdown would threaten the USA and with that China – whose economy is already teetering on the brink.

    In other words, the situation is potentially dangerous! We Brits do like understatement don’t we!

    So what everybody needs to do is to play this carefully. We know what has to be done. We just need to get it done hopefully without a lot of posturing. What we have to avoid is brinkmanship. The situation is just too dangerous.

    We do understand however that it is you and Jean-Claude Juncker who are going to have to put up with let us say, robust statements made by certain members of UKIP in the European Parliament. We would suggest you can at least console yourselves with the thought, “Nicht für sehr viel länger!”

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