Today the Telegraph published an online article on Ursula von der Leyen’s upcoming September 16th’s State of the European Union speech titled “Exclusive: Michel Barnier to be sidelined by EU leaders in bid to break Brexit deadlock”. Their paper edition makes an even more stark claim:
In the article which does not cite any official sources for the claim the news paper cites:
The European Commission refused to comment on any aspects of Mrs von der Leyen’s “State of the Union” speech.
However one EU diplomat said they expected Mrs von der Leyen to “set the scene to sideline Barnier and Frost to find a high level political solution”.source
British media sensationalism has never reflected reality very well. Since the EU Commission has no competence in the Brexit negotiations beyond the appointment of the special negotiator and all member states would have to agree to the intervention, I suggest humbly that Brexiteers not hold their breath that the State of the European Union speech by President Ursula von der Leyen brings any change.
In fact, even if intervention from member states happens, key countries such as Germany France and Italy would likely harden and not soften the Brexit negotiation stance of the EU, all but guaranteeing a no deal.
British overtures in the negotiations this year included the request to rewrite the Withdrawal Agreement, the dilution of the Country of Origin rules as well as a lopsided refugee sharing agreement, all of which which were roundly rejected by the EU.
This week alone the European Council ruled out summit intervention in the Brexit talks during the European Council of the 15th and 16th of October, while Germany indicated the EU27 countries would “close ranks” in the weeks left for negotiation of any deal.
This pattern of sensationalist headlines coupled with anonymous quotes and blue sky thinking has pervaded British right wing media since the Brexit referendum, serving to bring false hope to Brexiteers while infuriating the European Union and the British citizens who voted to Remain. A 2019 study has shown that only 15% of British citizens trust their written press, and as per the above text, rightfully so.
The most disturbing thing about the misleading statements in British media is surely that the British government seems either to be following this narrative of unicorns and rainbows in their negotiating tactics or leading it as well as the death of journalism as a competent check on government activities.
Britain is in for a dark time ahead if it trusts its fate to the discredited right wing press.