Our initial reaction:
“THIS is what Brexit negotiations were further stalled for?”
On a more serious note though, rumoured to be a “significant” intervention in the faltering Brexit negotiations, we had been anticipating strong words and positions in today’s speech by Theresa May in Florence, Italy.
With no heads of state or EU representatives in attendance however, the speech was nothing more than fluff and filler.
You can of course watch the speech or read the full transcript, but in our opinion, it contains no new information, no new ideas and certainly no concessions which may be seen as an olive branch to the EU to help get negotiations back on track.
It did, however, include quite a few “mistruths”.
Apparently the UK has “made significant progress on how we look after European nationals living in the UK and British nationals living in the 27 Member States of the EU.”
And that in voting to leave the EU, UK voters were “strengthening the role of the UK Parliament and the devolved Scottish Parliament, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies in deciding our laws.”
It still astounds us how statements like this can be made with a straight face, while EU citizens and their families continue to suffer the “hostile environment” being created by the Home Office, and while devolved parliaments and administrations confront the potential of reduced competencies that come with the EU Withdrawal Bill and Henry VIII clause.
And moving on to trade, which of course we know is the main concern of May, Davis and their negotiating team, it seems after 40+ years of the UK insisting on special treatment from the EU, Theresa May is continuing that push for British exceptionalism.
Stating that neither EEA membership nor a Canadian-style trade deal would suit the UK, Mrs May called on the EU to be “imaginative”. She insisted “we do not start with a blank sheet of paper, like other external partners negotiating a free trade deal from scratch have done.” and “there is no need to impose tariffs where we have none now, and I don’t think anyone sensible is contemplating this.”
We eagerly await the response from the EU…if they feel it even warrants a one.