Dear Jean-Claude… are you drunk?

Dear Jean-Claude

Are you drunk? Sorry, cheap shot (yours was a double, right). Ok, let’s start again.

What the hell are you smoking over there?

So Theresa May has made an offer to guarantee the rights of EU migrants currently in the UK pretty much to the extent that British citizens currently enjoy, if the EU will reciprocate with British citizens currently living in the EU, yet for you, this does not go far enough? What were you thinking we would do? Bend over backwards and swallow the fairly ludicrous demands outlined in the EU’s position?

Come on, let’s think about a few of these for a moment.

You want to give EU citizens remaining in the UK more rights than UK citizens enjoy. Can you see for a moment that this might cause a few issues? It’s almost like someone in the EU sees them as a superior race, entitled to more than our horribly underprivileged UK citizens.

To the rest of us, it seems pretty straight forward. The UK is leaving the EU, and any citizens wishing to remain in the UK on a permanent basis likewise, irrespective of where they originated from. At that point, assuming they don’t cross the Channel, they will cease to be ‘EU citizens’, and be British citizens. Why the heck would the government allow a subset of their population enhanced rights?

Next, you want to allow the ECJ jurisdiction to oversee the rights of said ‘EU citizens,’ who won’t really be EU citizens any longer if they choose to stay in the UK. Really?? You do remember one reason this country decided to put a little more clear blue water between us was that we didn’t want the ECJ meddling so much. Presumably you were planning to allow the British courts superiority over the EU courts to enforce the rights of British expats remaining in the EU. No? Oh. OK. So explain to me why a body from another state should be allowed to oversee the rights of people who will be deemed British citizens?

No good reason? Damned right. So how about you oversee the rights of British expats who decide to stay in the EU, and we oversee the rights of people from the EU who decide to stay in the UK according to the laws of both states. That would seem fair and sensible wouldn’t it?

Incidentally, this thing about extending rights to people from the EU who’ve been in the UK at some point, but have chosen to go back to the EU… you’re taking the mick, aren’t you? Again, one of the principles of our referendum decision was to take control of our migration policy for EU citizens, not give out a fairly limitless guarantee as to the rights of people who’d been here previously to come back whenever they fancied. It’s almost as if you’re trying to get rid of your own citizens. 

So the last thing is the cut-off date, and there (for once) I think you might have a point. However much you now try to make us feel unwelcome, we’re still part of the EU and so have to play by the rules. That notwithstanding, surely you can see our point that we don’t want a sudden rush at the gates to our green and pleasant land just before the cutoff date (although one wonders why all those good people would be leaving your liberal EUtopia to our narrow-minded country)? So our suggestion of a 2 year grace period (for anyone not yet here but deciding they’d be) before people either have to leave, or apply for a work permit as normal seems like quite a decent start point to me. Not ideal, but pragmatic for sure.

I don’t think it’s quite fair for us to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens living here when the EU has been unwilling to do the same, because – to be frank – we don’t really trust you: watching you negotiate with the Greeks was lesson enough (maybe that famous saying should be re-written… ‘Beware Europeans: they’re not bearing any gifts and will lie to your face’). But for crying out loud, can you just try to act like grown ups for once and stop playing games? We’d all like this to be sorted as quickly as possible so we can get on with our respective lives peacefully and prosperously.

We get it. We get that you have to pretend to be outraged by our reasonable proposals so as to try and extract some more concessions from the UK, bolster domestic electoral prospects or maybe just delay the discussion of trade negotiations to try and bounce us into a corner. We know the best economic answer for everyone is for a good free trade deal and a fair divorce / payment for deal settlement, but you can’t let that be seen to happen in case others realise this giant unelected well-paid EU thing you’ve built up is a self-justifying waste of space in large parts. Stop trying to take the piss otherwise we really will just walk away leaving you with a big hole in your budget and no settlement. Unlike the Greeks, we can survive it.


The UK

PS. Can someone tell Guy Verhofstadt to step away from his Twitter feed? He’s obnoxious, blinkered and sort of like a floppy-fringed left-wing Belgian version of Donald Trump. It’s getting quite annoying now. Thanks.


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