Soms doet het pijn om te zien hoe mensen zichzelf verlagen. Hoe ze zich in bochten wringen om gunstig over te komen. De minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Jeremy Hunt gedraagt zich als een lege huls die met marketing, publiciteitsgeilheid en fantasie gevuld wordt. Onaangenaam om te zien hoe disfunctioneel de Britse politiek is. Hunt klapt quasi uit de school door te zeggen wat kanselier Merkel hem afgelopen week gezegd zou hebben.
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It is nonsense if Hunt says that the negotiations between the British government and the EU failed ‘because the government could not deliver the parliament.’ That is fake history. That only became apparent after they had ended. The issue of the Irish backstop was underestimated by both parties during the negotiations.
The EU leadership has confirmed several times in the past year through the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, his right-hand man Frans Timmermans and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk that the EU’s exit agreement with the UK is final and cannot be renegotiated.
The hard-to-reach compromise of 27 EU Member States with the UK cannot be opened for practical and procedural reasons. Because not only the UK, but also the 27 EU member states would then come up with new demands. Because it works both ways and not one way as Hunt suggests. Just think of Spain and the position of Gibraltar. National leaders such as Emmanuel Macron, Mark Rutte, Leo Varadkar or Angela Merkel have publicly confirmed several times that renegotiation of the exit agreement is not possible. Period.
There is political room for negotiation when adapting the political statement to the exit agreement. But that is nothing new and has been emphasized several times by Juncker and Tusk. Hunt doesn’t say that’s the point. He suggests that the exit agreement with the EU can be changed. But he is not concrete. What he says remains vague and suggestive. In fact, he says nothing at all. Something could be possible. Well, that’s always true.
The only purpose of his shot was probably to score in the British Sunday news cycle. He succeeded. It marks the thinness of political marketing for those who want to become leaders of the Conservative party at the expense of each other. His profile as a moderately hard candidate is ridiculous, unbelievable and hopeless. The national interest is secondary, or rather tertiar, after personal and party interest.
The stubbornness and autism of the leaders of the Conservative party is immense. They do not solve their problems in-house, but continue to export and project them on Brussels. There is as yet no technical solution for the demarcation of the Irish-Northern Irish border, and Hunt flees forward by pretending that he does not understand that and Chancellor Merkel does not understand anything about it either.
Yet for another reason, Hunt’s statement is completely illogical. Because why would the EU leaders or the political leaders of the most important EU member states give a guarantee to Hunt that they had withheld from PM Theresa May with whom a reasonable hold had been built up? May was the political leader with whom the EU had signed an exit agreement.
Why Secretary Hunt violates the confidentiality of an extremely sensitive subject in his apparent conversation with Chancellor Merkel is the question. As always, the answer is too simple for words: party politics and internal profiling of candidates. It is too childish for words what Hunt does. Without limits he ridicules his country, his party, himself as a politician and politics in general. Politics, once a profession for gentlemen and not for business travelers in deception en marketing.