Tuesday 9 April 2019

Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement is “a deal a nation signs only after having been defeated at war"

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister at the time when the EU forced austerity on Greece, said on the BBC TV programme Question Time, on the day Britain was supposed to Brexit, March 29th, that Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement is “a deal a nation signs only after having been defeated at war".

"Theresa May. Look, first she triggers Article 50 on the basis of red lines that boxed her into impossibility – and that is a crime against logic. Secondly, it failed to recognise that Michel Barnier, when he announced the two-phase process, announced a declaration of hostility against the Government. May never even saw this coming.

“If I come to you and say let’s have a negotiation between us, and I say, first, you tell me everything you want, and then, we will tell you everything we want, clearly, you will say ‘No mate. I’m not going to have a negotiation with you along those lines.’

“Theresa May started that negotiation, and the result was effectively a deal – I disagree with my fellow panellists here – whether you are a Brexiteer or a Remainer, this is a deal a nation signs only after having been defeated at war.

“This is not a deal which is fit for purpose for any sovereign country.”


  1. How else would you negotiate? You have to state what you want or what is there to negotiate about if that remains a mystery?

    The problem is that Theresa May started with red lines which boxed the UK into a bad situation - it is not choosing an existing template - i.e. Norway, Switzerland, Canada - neither staying in the single market, nor having a proper customs union, nor resorting to a deal improving on WTO terms - it is just extending a damaging period of uncertainty with an unclear deal that nobody thinks is useful.

    It would have been much better to start out with a vote in parliament about what kind of relationship with the EU should be pursued - which template - and then go about it full speed.

    Going with an existing template would have made the negotiations last a couple of days - OK, cut and paste the Swiss deal, or the Canadian deal, etc...

    Trying to invent a new type of deal was a stupid idea given the short time and the complexities involved and she did not even get that done - May left the details of the future trade deal to be negotiated later, after the transition.

    1. I agree completely. I wanted Canada, but could have lived with Norway or Switzerland.