Theresa May has miscalculated her Brexit strategy, says the former Greek finance minister who handled his country’s EU negotiations. Yanis Varoufakis, writing exclusively for the Mirror, says the PM’s threat of a “ hard Brexit ” will not make Britain’s departure any easier. Mr Varoufakis said: “By making a hard Brexit the default of the negotiating process, Mrs May has secured its credibility. “However, a credible threat can still produce an undesirable outcome.”
Mr Varoufakis, who co-founded the reform group Democracy in Europe 2025 (DiEM25) expects a frustrating two years for UK negotiators. He saw the methods of EU powerbrokers while securing a Greek bailout. And he says the UK negotiating team will get a similarly rough ride. Mr Varoufakis recommends going for a deal like Norway’s – non-membership but with access to the single market. Talks begin on April 29.
PM may have miscalculated
By YANIS VAROUFAKIS, Greece’s former finance minister, and founder of the DiEM25 movement
Prime Minister May is keen to avoid a defeat at the hands of EU negotiators determined to do to the UK that which they did to Greece in 2015.
Correctly, she has set out to arm herself with a credible threat.
The problem is that she may have miscalculated her optimal strategy.
By making a hard Brexit the default of the negotiations’ process, Mrs May has secured its credibility.
However, a credible threat can still produce an undesirable outcome.
London’s greatest miscalculation would be to assume that the EU’s negotiators are committed to the bloc’s economic interests.
Whilst negotiating Greece’s debt to the EU with them, I realised in horror that they cared very little about getting their money back and a great deal more about shoring up their relative positions in the games they play with one another – even if this sacrificed large economic gains.
Mrs May will encounter this mindset soon in Berlin, Brussels and Paris.
If my experiences are anything to go by, a frustrating two years await British negotiators.
They are faced with the EU’s favourite tactics: The EU Run-Around (as Brussels refers them to Berlin and vice versa), the Swedish National Anthem Routine (the feeling that whether you have outlined a sensible proposal or sung Sweden’s national anthem they react the same way), the All-Or-Nothing Ruse (refusing to discuss any issue unless all issues are simultaneously discussed) and the Blame Game (censuring you for THEIR recalcitrance).
Nothing good, for Britain or for the EU, will come out of this process. It is why I recommend a strategy that robs Brussels of all room to manoeuvre. That is: Request a Norway-like agreement for an interim period – something that they cannot refuse – and empower the next UK parliament to design and pursue Britain’s
long-term relationship with the EU.