"We Are Ready, Together" - EU Leaders Proclaim First Brexit Victory, Agree "Firm" Negotiating Stance

Tyler Durden's picture

European Union leaders have unanimously agreed the negotiating guidelines for Brexit talks with UK will be "firm and fair," and will begin on June 8th after the UK general election. As The BBC reports, EU officials said leaders burst into applause as the negotiating stance was waved through, with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, proudly proclaiming: "we are ready... we are together."

"Unity in action," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Twitter as he announced the 27 EU governments - UK PM Theresa May was not present - rubber-stamped the negotiating strategy in less than 15 minutes at a summit in Brussels.

Policy makers arrived declaring that they were united in their approach to Brexit and that Britain wouldn’t be allowed to be better off outside the bloc than inside it. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was told it will have to agree to pay a financial settlement and resolve the rights of citizens before the EU allows discussions to turn to a future trade deal.

French President Francois Hollande said there would inevitably be "a price and a cost for the UK - it's the choice that was made".

"We must not be punitive, but at the same time it's clear that Europe knows how to defend its interests, and that Britain the UK will have a less good position tomorrow outside the EU than today in the EU."

Which is very ironic given AFP reported German Chancellor Merkel earlier commented: "no one is allied against Britain."

The UK response was quick - Brexit Secretary David Davis emailed that:

“There is no doubt that these negotiations are the most complex the U.K. has faced in our lifetimes. They will be tough and, at times even confrontational,”

And, as Bloomberg reports, to Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of May’s Conservative Party who campaigned for Brexit, Europe’s approach is nothing more than posturing anyway:

"People go: ‘Oh look they are showing resolve and their strength.’ Well, what would you expect?" he told Bloomberg.


“They are about to head in to a negotiation. You know, I have been in business. You always start in your firm position."

So what happens next?

Brexit timetable:

  • 29 April - EU leaders (excluding the UK) meet in Brussels to adopt Brexit negotiating guidelines
  • 7 May - French voters decide between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen as their next president
  • 8 June - UK parliamentary election - Brexit talks to start soon after the vote
  • 24 September - German parliamentary election, with Mrs Merkel seeking a fourth term
  • 29 March 2019 - Deadline for ending talks on UK exit terms (any extension requires agreement of all member states)
  • May or June 2019 - European Parliament election (without UK)
  • Ratification - Any Brexit deal requires ratification by all EU's national parliaments and European Parliament

Of course, this whole charade raises a crucial question - as MishTalk's Mike Shedlock asks "Brexit Negotiations - Why Bother?"

I keep asking the same question on Brexit and keep coming up with the same answer: Why bother? There is absolutely no reason the UK should start a negotiation given the repeated EU demands. Once again, on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated the EU’s “not reversible” position.


I have read many articles in the Financial Times and on Eurointelligence expressing optimism on these talks. I fail to see why. Sure, we have been through countless 11th-hour deals with Greece. But the UK is not Greece.

In regards to NAFTA, a reader on my blog commented the other day “You would be surprised at how often parties could have reached a win-win agreement only to part ways fighting instead.”

I responded “I agree with you fully. A critical Brexit opportunity is coming up and I expect it to fail. There is an easy win-win compromise but the desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity is too great.”

The EU’s first position is the UK has more to lose. The EU’s second position is that the time factor is on the EU’s side. Both are Fantasyland positions.

This is not a divorce where a one-sided judge sets alimony. This is a treaty that can be canceled at any time by walking away. Unless and until Theresa May lets it be known she will walk away, the EU has the upper hand.

The proper response from UK prime minister Theresa May is to inform the EU there will be no discussion as long as the EU insists on a divorce bill negotiated first.

Only by walking away – showing a willingness to let time expire – does the UK have a chance at reasonable negotiations. Even then, I am not sure what the chance is because the “EU’s desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity” likely exceeds the desire to walk away with a win-win situation.

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Looney's picture


You always start in your firm position

Why does it sound like a Viagra commercial?  ;-)


Winston Churchill's picture

Leave Herr Merkel out of it.

Dyler_Turden's picture

Brexit turned out to be a nut too tough to crack for them zionists.

European globalist kikesters should rather worry about the rise in Right Wing MEDIA:

MSM Worry for Red Bull’s CEO is Launching a Right-Wing News Platform

Oy vey !

chunga's picture

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Art Van Delay's picture

Someone is butthurt today.

Tough weekend?


Bubba Rum Das's picture

"Someone is butthurt today."

"Tough weekend?"

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Xythras issues here devolving to 'annoying' & 'disturbing' to say the least...

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joeyman9's picture

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Mr 9x19's picture

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ghostery is malware.



you should uninstall it.

john doeberg's picture

Nothing says European desperation better than selfpatting on the back.

Brussels, do you want some tea with that?



JohninMK's picture

Closely followed today by the Germans Finance Minister saying that they were not going to pick up the stopped UK contribution.

This is going to be the real story in the EU over the next couple of years, where are the £10B of cuts going to fall. Not a lot on that mentioned today in Brussels.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Schaeuble said Germany should not pay more into the EU budget after UK’s withdrawal and called for more efficient spending, in an interview out Saturday. "My wish is that Germany does not pay more money to the EU after Brexit. There should be enough in the EU budget and it must be used more efficiently than now," he told the Funke media group.He said EU budget funds should be used for projects that strengthen Europe as a whole, rather than benefit individual EU member states.

how_this_stuff_works's picture

". . .EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, proudly proclaiming: "we are ready... we are together."

As in "Stronger together"?

Stan Smith's picture

The firm position only lasts as long as the UK allows it to be.   After that, all bets are off.

Posa's picture

Why bother?


beacuse it's clear he EU is prepared to wage an embargo-financial warfarew against the UK in retaliation for Brexit... to minimize gthis strategy the UK must appear to be playing out the formal agreements that govern an EU exit.

Winston Churchill's picture

They've been trying to unseat London as the financial capital for a long time.

The head of the Amsterdam Bourse told me all about their aspirations back in the 80s, when I was doing

some work for them.It hasn't worked with the UK inside, fat chance outside, without the eu regulatory powers.

angle-asshole identity's picture

The EU is going to give the UK the Greek treatment. I really hope both the EU and the UK go down in flames, included that den of thieves known as the City of London. Financial capital my ass.

richCat's picture

The Greek treatment NO......UK (sterling) has considerable financial assets, whereas Greece has given it's assets up i.e plundered as collateral to the maintream European Banks. There is one issue I find troubling and expensive for the UK; Merkels point of no cherry picking:  Switzerland is treated as a near EU member with 200 agreement or so clauses in order to do trade recriprocy witb the EU; why shouldn't the UK have the same expensive agreement ? Merkel is quite reasonable on this. fairs-fair.

Yen Cross's picture

  Firm~~~ Like cold bowl of Jello right after you take it out of the fridge.

Herodotus's picture

Britain needs to prohibit the importation of German automobiles and trucks.

Paper Mache's picture

As a Brit who voted  no to the EU a long time ago, Brexit is miraculous.

I dont care if we walk away without an EU trade deal. That alone would be  the beginning of the end of EU and the Euro. 

Ungrateful bastards the lot of them. The only reason the Europeans are free to speak their own national languages, instead of German, is because  hundteds of thousands of UK and US soldiers gave their lives for them to be free. Look what has happened now. The Germans have allowed Europe to become the middle East.  We should flood that Euro tunnel too. 


richCat's picture

Agreed, all the leaders chorus'ed up same response, sounds like the 'Gloomy EU down patrol' ready to scavenge Gt Britain to it's knees. Truth is the EU cannot afford a failure on it's part as this could start an exodus.

spanish inquisition's picture

China applauded the EU decision as their trade delegation arrived in the UK.

personal109's picture

2 years to leave the EU, what a bunch of bullshit.

bloostar's picture

40% tariff on all EU imports should suffice. French wine, German cars and Spanish tomatoes. They'll soon come round when their farmers, engineers and fruit growers have their sales fall off a cliff.

Paper Mache's picture

Exactly. They DO need to trade with us to survive economically, and fuck them if they don't a want it. This little Island has survived so many periods of isolation and hardship. Threats have always strengthened our resolve, so nothing different this time round


Sandmann's picture

Well you may have a point. If Poland cannot park 5% its population in UK it has serious problems. Without UK to take in Romanians and Bulgarians to live on benefits they would have serious problems. Spain would crater without UK market, and Germany depends on car exports to generate funds in Bavaria, Hessen, Baden-Wuerttemberg which are 3 states which fund the German nation through transfer payments.

It is simple negotiating posturing and we shall see where they arrive

bentaxle's picture

The EU has a plan, now all it needs is a punch in the mouth.

Schmuck Raker's picture

If it were Greece leaving, things would be wrapped up over a weekend.

JLee2027's picture

Just leave, and refuse to pay. 

BritBob's picture

Ha ha

There is a trade imbalance in favour of the European Union so it is in the interest of the EU to make amicable arrangements with the United Kingdom. What's more, the UK can do its own trade deals on a one-to-one basis instead of having the EU to deal 27 member states before it makes a trade deal.

The UK will opt for a hard Brexit especially when one country (or part of a country in Belgium) can stall negotiations for so long. Spain could act in a similar fashion over Gibraltar and has the cheek to maintain its Gibraltar sovereignty claim. Claim?

Gibraltar - Some Relevant International Law: https://www.academia.edu/10575180/Gibraltar_-_Some_Relevant_Internationa...


So it looks like a quick hasta luego !

OverTheHedge's picture

Two points:

1. As pointed out by a more astute commentator the other day, the UK can NOT negotiate separately with each country. The eu has negotiating rights for trade deals with non-eu countries, so you are talking bollocks.

2. This comment is not aimed at BritBob, asBritBobis a not so bright piece of software - a fairly badly programmed fire-and-forget bot that somehow manages to get Gibraltar and the Falklands into any conversation that they are absolutely not relevant.

I am now leaning towards the idea that BritBob might be an AI experiment, possibly run by the royal navy, as who else give a flying fuck about the Falklands?

dark fiber's picture

This is Germany trying to alienate Britain from Europe again.  Because it worked so well the last two times they tried it.

sudzee's picture

UK show just say FU we have your gold.

quasi_verbatim's picture

Has the Donald turned yet? Give him time, Brexit is way off the radar right now.

adonisdemilo's picture

Just say NO,NO,NO, to everything you don't 100 % agree to.

They'll soon get fed up with 27 remnants trying to come up with a solution to severe intransigence.

They  have engineered the capacity to lean. very heavily, on Greece, and others, but they can't lean on the UK because we WILL tell them to fuck off.

















holgerdanske's picture

Whoa! So a bunch of politicians can get collective PMS!

England will tell them to go and multiply, but not in those words.



andypaps28's picture

This is the key part of the draft guidelines re. the divorce bill that was agreed today. The ramifications are that a hard brexit becomes a lot more probable. The GBP has been strong recently however this will see it price in weakness very quickly next week(and also the data points next week Mon - Wednesday see PMI manufacturing, construction and services all whispered to be lower - well the first two anyhow , haven't heard anything on construction.


Below Coutesy of BBC re. Divorce Bill published 29th April:

A single financial settlement - including issues resulting from the MFF [Multiannual Financial Framework] as well as those related to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) - should ensure that the Union and the United Kingdom both respect the obligations resulting from the whole period of the UK membership in the Union. The settlement should cover all commitments as well as liabilities, including contingent liabilities.

What's the significance?

There is more detail here than in the initial draft about the level of EU expectation when it comes to a financial settlement with the UK. It means the EU expects the UK to fulfil all the obligations it has made in the past, including for bills that will not be paid until after the UK has left the Union. This is confirmation that reaching agreement on how to calculate this financial settlement will be one of the biggest challenges of the initial phase of negotiations.

Last of the Middle Class's picture

"firm and fair" Like a very very large un lubricated german dick in your ass is what they meant to say. I hate to say it, but this is a classic "fuck or fight" situation.

Paper Mache's picture


Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.

Rumple4skin's picture

EU - Fuck'm. UK needs Europe NOT the EU.