The six months lost by the closure of Ireland and the lack of courage of Theresa May

PABLO R. SUANZESBrusselsUpdated
Thursday,
17
October
2019

 20:47

Boris Johnson shows muscle and flexibility and manages to touch up the legal text that Dubln and Brussels refused to open in March
Former British Prime Minister Theresa May in London.
EFE

EU exit.

United Kingdom and the EU reach an agreement for Brexit

Departure.

Chronology of a divorce
If six months ago Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, would have shown the same waist, flexibility and left hand that now, the United Kingdom could already be outside the EU, Theresa May could continue downing Street and Boris Johnson will remain a former minister Foreign with ambitions. If six months ago May would have had the political skills, the required mpetu and the courage to bet on a different solution than the one he maintained until the last day, the political map across the continent will be equally very different today. The EU and London have reached an agreement today on Brexit. Other. From what happened in the last semester, Johnson leaves if not reinforced, at least not damaged. An. After driving everyone crazy in Brussels, provoking despair and convincing the majority that he had neither plan nor strategy, he was able in just a few days to put a proposal on the table, transmit to the hard wing of his party that it was a revolutionary change and seal a legal text with the European Union. Very similar to May, full of concessions and fissures, but an agreement. Two weeks ago there were teasing and complaints . Today, his 27 colleagues applaud, smile and pat him on the back in the meeting room at his first and perhaps last Summit. Instead, two figures are touched by this process. The first, May. “If he had shown the same determination as his successor, here, in London and in Dublin, he would have saved us a good headache,” a European diplomatic source lamented today. I played their tricks badly, moved the pawns badly and although he was faithful to his principles, it was clear that he will not be the prime minister who would take his country out of the Unin by the braves, squander the opportunity. Among the 27 in recent times there has been some discomfort, “irritation” with Varadkar, according to some diplomats. Although everyone understands their position, and solidarity with Ireland has been “absolute and unwavering” throughout the process, they believe that if at the time they had ajar the door, May could have tried to use it. “A year ago it seems that they were neither motivated nor have sufficient guarantees to obtain the result we have now” qualifies a community negotiator. “May had not negotiated internally and there were no major possible. Perhaps Johnson’s advantage is that despite the noise he has spoken more with the national political agents,” he adds.

The retouching of the ‘backstop’

Dublin has accepted important concessions, and Brussels also. May was told that the Exit Agreement was untouchable, “the only possible”, that it was unthinkable to reopen it and that the backstop, the safeguard mechanism, was non-negotiable. But six months later the Exit Agreement has been opened, retouched and the backstop modified very substantially. For this, Johnson has had to accept that the safeguard covers only Northern Ireland and not the whole of the United Kingdom, and is not a minor detail, as evidenced by the anger in the ranks of its DUP partners. Without it, the impasse could not have been broken. But if the actors involved had been flexible or forceful, and in their own way Johnson has been both, another rooster will sing. “The incredible thing is that we have paved the way for him . Whatever happens, he may be reinforced in his country,” a European source commented last night. “What message is now sent to Westminster, the citizens and the ‘remainers’?” Asked one of the community negotiators with regret. Although the European Council has not said anything official about possible extensions, and has ruled out any type of ultimtum, its mantra is once again that this is the good agreement, the definitive one, the only one, and it must be ratified. But it will be difficult to blame the deputies who believe it is a mere bluff. Why are they not going to achieve something better, or at least different, if they reject it again? As much as the heads of state and officials want to sound blunt, time has shown that there are always alternatives.

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PABLO R. SUANZES

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