1st February 2021
Since 2016 one unfortunate feature of the Brexit policy (or lack of policy) of the United Kingdom has been the disregard for process.
The European Union brought along the tool of process to its negotiations, while the United Kingdom brought bluster and bravado.
The European Union did better in those negotiations than the United Kingdom.
Process is not the property of the European Union.
Process can be used for the advantage of other parties, depending on the situation.
Or process can protect a weaker party against a misuse of power.
And the United Kingdom was, before Brexit, quite good at using process in its dealings with its then fellow European Union member states and European Union institutions.
The current row over the invocation of Article 16 by the European Union without it properly having followed the correct (or indeed any) process shows how important it is to hold the European Union to following an agreed process.
Process can matter, a lot.
And process can work to the advantage of the United Kingdom too.
As the United Kingdom develops its post-Brexit relationship with the European Union, through the joint institutions and agreed procedures of the trade and cooperation agreement, the good and thoughtful use of process could become an advantage in respect of the European Union.
The United Kingdom does not have to persist with the loud crashes, bangs and wallops of the Brexit era.
Playing the European Union at its own game, and winning, is also possible.
(Even if the wins are cloaked under the cover of ‘jointly beneficial outcomes’ and other such comforting language.)
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