One of the tricks of successful negotiations is to understand the position and drivers of the people you are negotiating with. If you don’t do this, you won’t know what you can ask for and you won’t understand their “red lines”.
It is obvious that the UK Government hasn’t done this with the Brexit negotiations which is one of the reasons why they are floundering and failing to get anywhere.
To get a better understanding of why May Davis , et al are failing so badly, let’s try to look at looking it at Brexit from the position of the EU27, the EU Commission & the EU Parliament.
First and foremost, they want the best possible deal for their citizens and for the EU. However, they see this not just in economic terms but also in what will strengthen the Union in the future. The last thing they want is for Brexit to succeed as that would encourage other anti-EU groups across the 27. Few if any in the EU27 hate the UK or wish us harm but neither do they care too much about what happens to the UK. Their attitude is we voted to leave, it is up to us to make a success of Brexit, not them
Many in the EU have also concluded that taking the hit of losing the 12% – 15%, of trade, the percentage of all EU trade, they do with the UK is a price worth paying for keeping the EU together. They also have (not unrealistic) hopes that much of that trade will any way migrate to stay within the Single Market & Customs Union, for example all the Euro Clearing trade, other financial business, and manufacturing that relies in the free movement of components.
Let’s not forget also that for the EU27, Brexit is not a big issue. The future of the Union, supporting democracy, making the EU more responsive to its citizens and dealing with the other problems across Europe are far more important issues. Quite frankly, for many, the sooner the whole Brexit soap opera is concluded, deal or no deal, the happier they will be.
Once all this is understood, it is obvious that the UK’s position in the Brexit negotiations is very weak. Only the deluded (or those wish to delude others) would keep on saying that “the EU needs us more than we need them”, the reality is that, unless we put something worthwhile on the table (like continued free access to the UK for trade under Single Market / Customs Union rules, like continued payments in to the EU budget, like continued free movement of workers), the EU have no reason to give us any concessions.
The sooner we realise this the sooner we can also realise that Brexit is a hopeless idea and we are mad to carry on with it. Tine to #ExitfromBrexit