Last week’s headlines in the United Kingdom focused once again on the words of two men: the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Brexit secretary for the UK government, David Davies.
In the ongoing negotiation between Her Majesty’s Government and the European Union, three main issues remain unresolved, notably the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, EU citizens’ rights who reside in the United Kingdom, and the infamous ‘Brexit divorce bill’. The latter has caused considerable outrage in the British public, as the French negotiator demands a full £90 billion ($117 billion) in payments in order to pay for the expenses caused by the British exit.
The measure is so unpopular that even a majority of British people who voted to remain in the European Union now oppose it.
Make An Example of the UK
A week ago, the UK government refused to cover this large sum and has since issued thorough explanations why it holds that position. This apparently left EU leaders flabbergasted, whose clear intent is to make an example out of the United Kingdom. With Brexit being the first time an EU-member state has chosen to get out of the union, the team around Michel Barnier and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has every interest in making the Brexit situation a deterrent for large eurosceptic movements in other European countries. In fact, Barnier has been crystal clear on this. As the BBC reports:
Speaking at a conference in Italy on Saturday, Mr Barnier said he d