From its range of tailor-made trade deals to its habit of allowing Member States to break the rules, Brussels is more flexible than Barnier’s rhetoric might suggest.
Whitehall has at times imperilled its reputation for neutrality, but there remains a positive ‘can-do’ attitude about Brexit. The Government should harness it.
It’s often suggested that the Remain wing of the Cabinet wouldn’t wear such a choice. I doubt it.
Even Whitehall’s fiercest advocates of the need to stay as close as possible to the EU recognise that there are risks in being a rule-taker not a rule-maker.
Adonis claims that morale Civil Service morale is in free fall. In fact, November’s Civil Service Survey showed staff engagement was up to its highest level since 2009.
The Conservatives should spend more time exposing the divisions on the Labour benches and less time arguing among themselves.
Its behaviour suggests that it is actually quite keen to do a deal, and is becoming more aware of the limits of what can be pushed through the fragile British system.
Dublin is in danger of setting conditions that Westminster cannot meet. Instead, we must return to our historic willingness to navigate difficulties together.
Those who still refuse to accept we’re really going to leave the EU are misreading the process, the politics, and the people.
DExEU people are whispering “48” as the upper end of the UK’s potential liability. But that level of commitment or specificity is not necessarily required at this stage.
There’s more than a hint in the air that they are happy to let the negotiation get sticky – and wait for capital to flee the UK and for investment to plummet.
The key question is not whether we can diverge, but whether we can do so without asking the EU first and obtaining their prior agreement.
But could Germany, in the wake of its election result, now become the prime bulwark against Macron’s and Juncker’s ambitions?
From speaking to civil servants, it seems that – at least until recently – the Cabinet had not properly considered either a preferred end state or indeed transition policy.
Has anyone told Barry Gardiner about this latest change? Only last month, he wrote that staying in the Customs Union would be “a disaster”.