Be warned: the EU will try to bully the UK with the same tactics it used against Greece

Be warned: the EU will try to bully the UK with the same tactics it used against Greece

Yanis Varoufakis has done a service to Britain and to Brexit with his account of the EU’s bullying and painful punishment of Greece in his book, Adults In The Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment. It shows that the EU allows nothing – democracy, sense or national feeling – to stand in its way.

His book brings out the deviousness and delay which will be deployed against Britain. They’ll look for willing stooges within the country to lead it back to the European path. In Greece they bullied Alexis Tsipras into submission. In Italy they pushed Silvio Berlusconi out and replaced him with a former EU Commissioner. In Spain they forced austerity on the Prime Minister. In Portugal the President tried to keep out a critical government. Now they have Emmanuel Macron in France.

It will be be more difficult in Britain. Blair, Farron or Clegg would be willing Euro-stooges, but they’re all busted flushes. Ken Clarke is a bit old and the other Tory Remainers don’t want to endanger their careers.

The EU doesn’t like governments to give their electorates any say. It humiliated Tsipras for calling an election to defy it. Now it’s angry at Theresa May for asking for a mandate to strengthen her hand. To counter this, it’s encouraging her opponents to argue that all the problems are due to May’s bossiness and lust to be obeyed.

They’ve decided to put the frighteners on about the horrors to come because their third tactic is delay and intransigence. This brought Greece to its knees because the EU flatly refused to write off debt, relax its demands or give them access to the EuroBank’s money printing spree. It even insisted on appointing prison guards to stop Greece easing the pain.

Britain is bigger, and more difficult, but the tactic will be the same: make things as difficult as possible because that’s the only way they can keep the Euro-flock together; buy off doubtful EU members by promising Gibraltar to Spain, a free border to Ireland and EU court jurisdiction over fishing to the Danes; keep everything under the control of the Commission bureaucracy. It has most to lose from Brexit – only it can keep the miscellaneous Euro-flock together.

Then they’ll play it tough. This is a normal European negotiating approach but to encourage the 27 to hang together, it will be accompanied by portraying Britain as intransigent, misguided and deluded. The more it looks like mission impossible, the more they think the British public will will be worn down, the vested interests will quake and the Government will give up its foolish whim to leave.

So, after denouncing Theresa May for months for not giving notice, the EU will now drag out negotiations forever. First they demand 50 billion quid before anything can be discussed. Then they up the demand to £80 billion. Then they’ll add more to these “incontestable” demands by including the kitchen sink. Then they’ll demand that the rights of EU nationals in Britain be guaranteed before anything can be done. Then they’ll demand something else they’ve not thought of yet – perhaps the Irish border. They’ll insist that we agree to all this before the nitty gritty can start. If it ever does. That’s a point they don’t want to reach because in a world of falling tariffs, freer trade and open markets it’s difficult to impose the opposite on us.

That’s the scenario. Juncker’s post-prandial blabberings are a foretaste of what’s to come. They won’t allow Theresa May to negotiate. She’s too tough. They’ll only deal with juniors. They’ll refuse access to Mrs Merkel the puppet mistress and force us to deal with her messenger, a Euro-clever-clogs under instructions not to do anything until we’ve thoroughly prostrated ourselves.

Here at home they’ll encourage their British supporters – disgruntled Remainers, any available malcontents and opposition parties more loyal to the EU than the wishes of the people – to undermine Britain’s case and denounce Theresa as screwing things up. Then, bingo! We’ll give up, having lost jobs, EU functions and self-respect.

It may work. On the other hand, it may anger the British public and discredit the knocker who discounts the wishes of its electorate. What it certainly won’t do is endear anyone to the EU, or persuade a humiliated country that it’s a good idea to slink back, tail between legs, to sit on the European naughty step, and be told that it’s only been punished for its own good.

Photocredit: Des Byrne