Thursday, February 18, 2016

No deal today should not be seen as a failure

The European Council - formerly known as the EU Council of Ministers which better describes it - does not often manage to resolve difficult matters in one sitting.

And the worst possible way to go into a difficult negotiation is to be desperate to get a deal at the present meeting.

The more people think you have your back to the wall and have to take whatever is on the table, the worse the deal you are likely to be offered.

So the second-worst thing we could do is build up too many expectations that there will definitely be a "deal" at the EU summit which starts today and the worst thing is to say that if there isn't that means it's a failure.

If David Cameron gets a good deal, excellent. If he has to walk away and try again in a fortnight, or in April - well, we have until the end of 2017 to hold the referendum.


Jim said...

"And the worst possible way to go into a difficult negotiation is to be desperate to get a deal at the present meeting."

Correction - The worst possible way to go into a negotiation (when you are trying to grab what ever they will drop from the table) is to ensure you tell the world, including the people you are negotiating with, that your intention is to back the "remain" vote, no matter what is offered, and even if that is nothing at all of substance.
then go in asking, "right, what can I have"

Jim said...

Back in the real world, what you would have done, is to lay out what you want, in full and in detail long before the negotiation.

Exactly which powers need to be returned to member states, which parts of which treaty's need to be changed. In order that you would support the "remain" side.

Basically state before hand what needs to change, so your opponents and your own people know in advance, exactly what a successful renegotiation is.

Then go in and start by stating what you "demand" not asking "please sir, what can I have so I can save some face when I say we should support you"

In the same way a detailed scope of a project to build a bridge, is one of the first things the project produces, detailing exactly what it has to do, how long it will take to do it and how much it will cost. Its only by doing this you can see if the end result of the project (hopefully a bridge) was a success or a tragic failure.

Jim said...

Here's a quote for the day, from Andrew Duff

David Cameron himself, agent provocateur, has shown himself to be in the course of his recent exercise careless in his diplomacy, inconsistent in his demands and muddled in his messages, and alarmingly ignorant about EU law and the working of its institutions.

Full article here

Chris Whiteside said...

Andrew Duff is an arch Federalist, who is far more pro EU than either you or I, Jim. So much so that he actually describes himself as a Federalist on his blog. So if he approved of Cameron's negotiating strategy I would be really worried.

Jim said...

The point is, its a very accurate quote, regardless of the side it comes.

Chris Whiteside said...

It may be an accurate quote in the sense that he said it but I don't agree with a word of it.