European Union leaders unanimously adopted their Brexit strategy at a special summit in Brussels on Saturday, agreeing on the guidelines for the bloc’s negotiations with London. This was the first meeting without the UK since the British premier triggered the exit process a month ago. The EU leaders warned Britain that its exit from the European Union would come at a cost and that London should pay the price for the decision. Press TV has talked to David Ayrton, a member of Britain’s Labour Party, and Tony Gosling, an investigative journalist, to discuss the reasons behind the European Union’s toughness in dealing with Britain.
Tony Gosling maintains that by adopting an unbendable stance against Britain, the EU leaders intend to make an example of Britain for other European countries that might be planning to follow suit and abandon the bloc’s membership.
“It is not going to be punitive. It seems that they are speaking with a forked tongue at the European Union in Brussels about how they are going to [deal] with this,” Gosling noted.
“I think what is happening right now is that they are dusting off the torture chambers in Brussels,” he continued. “They are preparing to put Britain on the rack. The most important thing to do, from their point of view, is to make an example to other European countries. Particularly this year we have got the French presidential elections, just about to be completed, and we have got German elections coming later on this year. A very strong message needs to be sent for the German political classes, opinion formers, the media, and the people that Britain is going to pay the price for this.”
Gosling further defended Britain’s decision to pull out of the European Union, arguing that the EU political structures, including the European Commission, have been created based on undemocratic procedures.
“What we are removing ourselves from as Brits is the European political structures; that is to say, the European Commission which is appointees-only. This is not democracy. These people are appointed to those jobs. They are failed politicians, not just failed but rejected politicians. People who have been kicked out in democratic elections around Europe find themselves suddenly at the top of the tree politically, drafting new laws in the European Commission,” Gosling commented.
He also censured the performance of the European Parliament which he described as a massive “gravy train” and hailed Britain’s upcoming detachment from the body. “It’s not a parliament really. Because they cannot draft laws in the European Parliament. All they can do is to just delay them. And it ends up being a kind of pointless exercise,” the journalist analyzed.
Gosling also said that it is a good thing to be out of a structure like the European Court of Justice. As a case in point, he referred to one of the most recent decisions made by the court which allows European employers to sack an employee just for wearing a headscarf. They even insist that this is not considered as religious discrimination, he said.
The other panelist on the show, David Ayrton , however suggested that the main motivation behind Britain’s exit from the European Union is economy, and therefore it is better for politicians and the media to concentrate on the economic aspects of the process rather than the democratic deficiencies of the EU.
Ayrton explained that all major institutions, including those of the UK, have important democratic deficits, which highlights the need for a constant process of democratization.
He pointed out that instead of getting involved in all this froth, which is the product of the dominance of the far-right, “serious forces need to concentrate on the question of the economy and full access to the European single market which is [UK’s] main trading partner… And I think that is clearly what the people in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted for when they voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union,” Ayrton concluded.