Angela Merkel and other EU executives are getting increasingly frustrated with Theresa May’s heel dragging approach to engaging with the EU on Brexit terms. Especially terms regarding what she intends to do with regards to migrant workers.
One of the main issues is that May has refused to rule out deportations of current EU nationals in the UK. The argument is based the fear that this could cause an “influx” or a rush of EU migrants into the UK over the two years it will take between article 50 being engaged and the UK finally leaving the EU. If that was to happen, one of the key reasons for leaving the EU would be undermined.
A bit like £350m a week for the NHS? A false promise that never had any strength to it or guarantee.
But it would take 2 years anyway, so unless she wanted pre-emtive restrictions in place during the negotiation process, it’s not clear what she is hesitating for. MOre importantly, the UK is increasingly risking being dealt with more harshly by the EU the longer it takes.
The UK have 1.2 million on the continent: surely they cannot expect to be so comfortably entitled if May won’t extend that to current EU migrants in the UK. As we discussed in our previous blog, “Brexit Britannia Doesn’t Rule the Waves” the UK cannot have it both ways. No-one has left the EU before, and just because we were big hitters inside doesn’t mean that we have the right to assume powers over everyone else when we leave. We don’t get to call all the shots.
Think of another context. Let’s say you are a Parent Governor of a school that your children go to. You plan on removing your children from the school because you don’t think they are getting the best education from the teaching at the school. Although you have told everyone you want to leave, you haven’t handed in your official two-month notice. Instead, you are trying to work out how you can still get your children to enjoy all the after school clubs, and get access to using the school swimming pool for free after you have left. At the same time, you aren’t promising any continue membership to your sports club that children of the current school enjoy, and really your intention is to stop any future children joining, unless they come from your new school.
Understandably, the chair of Governors, and the rest of the Governing body are getting somewhat annoyed that you haven’t even formally resigned, and the fact that you seem to think you have the right to let your children enjoy every privilege gifted to them, without any “tit-for-tat” arrangement in place for anyone else.
I don’t think anyone has ever said that the UK would be cut off entirely because the EU really does need our investment. However, I don’t understand why the UK feels it should command on issues regarding migrant workers. May is not in the position to scream: “My way or the highway” because we also chose the highway ourselves.
When surveyed, people of all backgrounds and ages actually think that those EU migrant workers already in the UK should in fact be given permanent status (should they want it) so it probably won’t affect the Poll scores, if that is all she is worried about.
Add to this mess the sudden U-turn in the 500% increase for appeals charges for non-EU migrants, it really does seem like our Government – led by our previous Home Office Secretary – is in a bumbling, fumbling mess when it comes to the EU and Brexit.
With all this heel-dragging going on, perhaps we should fear it will be the UK left kicking and screaming.