Cecilia Malmstrm, the EU trade commissioner, will take a hard line on new commerce deals
During the febrile, topsy-turvy daylights after Britain voted to leave the European Union, there used to be spate of tough meanings from European captains. But few clanged more implacable than the EU trade commissioner.
A week after research results, Cecilia Malmstrm, Europes guide craft negotiator, stated that the UK could not even embark exploring a transaction slew until it had left the alliance. First you exit and then you negotiate the terms of the relationship, she told Newsnight , opening hours the prospect of the worlds sixth-largest economy being left dangling for years. When the BBC interviewer hinted this would harm organizations in Britain and on the continent, his answer was straightforward: Yes, but the vote was very clear.
Such plain speaking provoked ferocity among passing Brexiters. Conservative MP Liam Fox deplored her remarks as outlandish and stupid. While legally correct that Britain cannot sign a craft spate before it has left, by taking such a tough wrinkle against early discussions, she ambled into a political minefield.
In a few months time, Fox, since appointed Britains secretary of state for international trade ,~ ATAGEND may find himself sitting opposite Malmstrm. Nothing knows exactly how large-scale a role the 48 -year-old Swede will play in Brusselss team Brexit. Michel Barnier, the silver-haired former French foreign minister, has been given the task of extending Brexit talks by European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Meanwhile, Belgian official Didier Seeuws is handling Brexit for his boss, European assembly chairman Donald Tusk. Another EU president, Martin Schulz of the European parliament, is unlikely to stay quiet, as MEPs have a vote on the UK divorce and any subsequent sell deal.
If the cooks are in Brussels, the lord chefs are in Berlin, Paris and other national uppercases. Anyone negotiating a future EU-UK trade deal is going to find many political leaders looking over their shoulders, says Fredrik Erixon, head of the European Centre for International Political Economy. The British bargain will not has become a ordinary swap mediation, akin to Vietnam or Canada, he emphasizes. Member territory are going to play a far more prominent capacity in defining the passions or the objectives of where these negotiations land.
Meanwhile, the Swedish commissioner has plenty more on her plateful: she wants to conclude a transaction on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, better known as TTIP, the most controversial swap deal the EU has ever negotiated. Talks will reach a moment of truth in the autumn as both sides strive for an agreement before President Barack Obama leaves office.
But disbelieves are mounting of determining whether a batch is possible. To reviewers, TTIP is a charter for deregulation that warns the NHS. EU and US officials say the reality has already become buried under superstitions and strenuously reject costs of secret negotiations.
She is very open and transparent in what we are doing, says one EU source close to the commissioner, who cites Malmstrms decision to publish EU negotiating power after the talks. We have taken opennes quite far. It is not on our interest to take it far out of range because we would be bad negotiators.