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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, what could possibly go wrong?

The man who effectively invented the myth of the straight banana when he was a reporter based in Brussels is now foreign secretary and continues to put his foot in it all around Europe.

The Guardian reports on the latest row involving Boris Johnson, in which he was ridiculed by European ministers after he told Italy it would have to offer tariff-free trade in order to sell its prosecco in the UK:

Carlo Calenda, an Italian economics minister, said it was insulting that Johnson had told him during a recent meeting that Italy would grant Britain access to the EU’s single market “because you don’t want to lose prosecco exports”.

“He basically said: ‘I don’t want free movement of people but I want the single market,’” he told Bloomberg. “I said: ‘No way.’ He said: ‘You’ll sell less prosecco.’ I said: ‘OK, you’ll sell less fish and chips, but I’ll sell less prosecco to one country and you’ll sell less to 27 countries.’ Putting things on this level is a bit insulting.”

The Italian also attacked the whole government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations, saying the demand by Johnson and others for access to the single market was incompatible with curbs on free movement of people.

“Somebody needs to tell us something, and it needs to be something that makes sense,” he told Bloomberg. “You can’t say that it’s sensible to say we want access to the single market but no free circulation of people. It’s obvious that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

Calenda, a former Italian envoy to Brussels, said: “There’s lots of chaos and we don’t understand what the position is. It’s all becoming an internal UK debate, which is not OK. The British government needs to sit down, put its cards on the table and negotiate.”

The paper also refers to an attack by the Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who said Johnson’s aims of leaving the customs union at the same time as securing immigration controls and maintaining access to the single market were not achievable.

The more we learn about the approach of the UK Government to Brexit negotiations the more shambolic they appear to be. The Foreign Secretary is tramping around Europe blundering over what they are hoping to achieve.

If only they had thought about an end game before they took the matter to the country in a referendum.
Brexit is becoming even more of a nightmare than I had previously imagined. The Three Stooges, appear to have no plan, no strategy - and are just making it up as they go along.

1. They still think that the UK can have unrestricted access to the EU market place, and, be allowed to control our borders. This is not going to happen.

2. Even more of an issue for us living in rural Wales, are the silly overtures being made to Australia and NZ - 'our kith and kin' as we are often reminded. If we create a new free trade agreement with our antipodean cousins, then we can wave goodbye to our agricultural sector. The supermarkets will soon fill their fridges and freezers up with cheap imported lamb and butter. On top of that, our farmers will be forced to try and export to the EU, where there will be no welcome for our produce, plus a hefty import duty will be put upon Welsh lamb.

This is all very worrying.
Breaking News from YouGov

On how the government is doing at negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union:
Well: 18% (-7)
Badly: 52% (+6)

Seems most people are seeing Brexit negotiations as shambolic!
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