If nothing else, the last two torturous years should have been an educational experience with regards how politics within the EU and between member states works. One lesson for citizens of all countries should be to take anything their politicians or media say with a huge pinch of salt, for they are evidently more concerned with domestic audiences than reality.
In the final days leading up to this weekend’s critical EU summit – where the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is expected to be signed – fantasy and opportunism has been rife. Several Conservative MPs – doubtless with an eye on the leadership – sought to change the agreement, despite absolutely everyone with any knowledge of the EU process dismissing the idea as impossible.
Then – doubtless with an eye on their domestic voters, who are likelier than usual to be paying attention to Brexit – the French and Spanish governments raised their own complaints, with the latter even threatening to ‘veto Brexit’, despite no such single country veto existing.
After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away. My Government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) November 22, 2018
Were Gibraltar to become an intractable problem, it is possible that all the EU27 could unite as they did over the Irish border, but that would happen later over the secondary, wider trade deal. For now, any problems will be managed with vague, ultimately meaningless, wording in the political declaration. Theresa May will return home with an agreement.
May’s deal looks doomed to fail in parliament
The PM’s problem, of course, is that hardly anyone at home is happy with it. Even Brexiteers Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson and John Redwood admit this deal is worse than remaining in the EU. Assuming a vote is forthcoming this year, Labour and the DUP will vote it down, placing May’s position into further peril.