The EU’s backstop is not an insurance policy but a trap

The EU’s backstop is not an insurance policy but a trap

The Prime Minister describes the backstop as an insurance policy which no one in the UK or the EU wants or expects to use.

In fact the backstop was introduced by the EU and the EU has refused to concede the point, because the EU actually intends to use this legally-binding provision as a powerful lever in future negotiations.

If the UK signs a Withdrawal Agreement which includes any form of effective backstop, consider the negotiating position the UK would be in after we leave the EU.

During the negotiations on any future trade agreement, the EU would be in a position to demand whatever terms they choose: full compliance with all EU regulations, free movement of goods, services, people and capital and even compliance with EU taxation policy all under the jurisdiction of the ECJ. The UK could also be required to make huge payments to the EU for the privilege of permitting the EU to sell £95bn more goods to us than we do to the EU.

If the UK ultimately rejects the unreasonable trade terms offered by the EU, the transition period will ultimately end and the EU will exercise the backstop. Northern Ireland would become part of the Single Market and the Customs Union and be torn away from the rest of the UK with a border down the Irish Sea or the entire UK would permanently be locked into the Customs Union under the ECJ. That is precisely the reverse of what Theresa May says she is seeking to achieve.

The backstop is not an insurance policy which will never be needed or used. It is an ingenious device developed by the EU to create a comprehensive lock on the future trade and regulatory policy of the UK thereby ensuring that the UK would be under the absolute control of the EU and ECJ and could never effectively compete with the EU.

The EU’s negotiating strategy is brilliant and the UK would be the suckers. With any form of effective backstop, the UK would become a powerless vassal state with no negotiating position in terms of trade or any other policies that the EU chose to impose and the £39bn would have been committed irrevocably.

Clearly, the EU planned from the start to neutralise all of the UK’s strongest negotiating cards by demanding that the £39bn payment be unconditional and developing the Northern Ireland border issue and then introducing the backstop as a mechanism ultimately to force the UK to remain under the EU’s overall control. Olly Robbins and the rest of the Civil service are probably complicit in this deception which would achieve their preference of keeping the UK in the EU, if necessary, by stealth.

The critical importance of this issue is to understand how the dynamics of the trade negotiations will inevitably unfold during the transition period if the UK walks naively into the EU’s Backstop trap.

What is at stake with the EU’s backstop is the entire future of the UK as an independent sovereign state. If the UK concedes any form of backstop then the UK will have conceded the country’s sovereignty on a scale unprecedented in the democratic history of the United Kingdom. There is no conceivable basis that agreeing to a backstop can be in the national interest and it is certainly not a price to be paid for so-called “frictionless trade” with the EU.