Brexit, Michel Barnier, Negotiating, Trade Deals

Sometimes, you just can’t compromise

The hilarious haggling scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian

One of the most overused and lazy words in the Brexit debate is the word “compromise”.

In how many articles on Brexit will you find some working of the phrase: everyone knows both sides will need to compromise? Why does the EU need to compromise? To get an agreement, will be the answer. But it wasn’t the EU that decided to end the relationship. The UK was the one that walked. And yet the EU is expected to bend its rules, to “compromise” to facilitate the UK?

It is not going to happen.

Picture this. Someone breaks into your house, intent on helping themselves to your goods and valuables. You confront them. Should you “compromise” with them? “Meet them in the middle”? “OK, you can take these two paintings and this watch. Maybe that laptop. That work for you?” I somehow don’t think so. Your sole intent would be to see them out the door as quickly as possible, preferably into the custody of the waiting gendarmes.

Two people have been in a relationship for a long time. One day, one says to the other:

  • “I’m out of here. Too many opportunities out there. So, what I suggest is that I stay with you on weekends and go elsewhere during the week.”

Shocked, the other partner says

  • “You are with me or you are not with me. End of….”
  • “Could we not compromise? Maybe I could stay Monday as well”.
  • “This conversation is over.”

Some things in life are just not negotiable.  The real reason the word “compromise” appears so often in articles about the Brexit negotiations is because most people know very little about the realities of negotiation. They see negotiation as “haggling”, as when you buy something in a market on holidays.

  • “Señor, how much is this bowl?”
  • “Normally, it is €25, but because of your nice smile I give it to you for €20.”
  • “I’ll give you €10”.
  • “Señor, you insult me. How can I feed my family on so little? €20 it is.”
  • “Would you take €15?”
  • “€18 it is yours”.
  • “Deal”.

Now, all of this could take a good twenty minutes as you argue and insult one another back and forth. It is a game. Oh, and the seller probably bought the bowl for €1 in the first place.

A confession. I am the world’s worse haggler. I simply won’t do it. I find haggling embarrassing. And haggling is not negotiation.

Why won’t I haggle?

First, it is just not worth the time. Why should I spend 30 minutes of my life arguing over something trivial just to save a euro or two? Would I not be better spending that 30 minutes sitting on a café terrace with a cava or a vino tinto? Or two.

More importantly, I simply have no information on which to base my “haggling strategy”. The market trader tells me it is wort €25. How do I know whether this is true or not? It could be utter rubbish, not even worth €1. Or it could be one of those “finds” you might come across that turns out to be a lost Picasso, from the days when Picasso painted pots, if he ever did.

As soon as the trader tells me that the piece I am looking at is worth €25, he has “dropped an anchor”. I am now haggling against his price. Without knowing why. Because it is normal human behaviour to respond to a price point in a way that is not insulting. If he says it is worth €25, I am not going to insult him by offering him €5. I will try to work out what is the least I can offer that I know he will reject but that he will work on. So, I offer €10. We end up on €18.

At all times he is in the box-seat. He is doing this every day of the week. He is the one in possession of all the arguments and information. The only way I can out-haggle him is by walking around the market looking for similar objects, checking what others are selling them for and then going back to him with a list of comparative prices. But guess what? It is a rigged market. They are all selling the same things for the same price, give or take a euro.

Finally, haggling is personal in a way that negotiations are not. Negotiations are complex activities that take place between parties, with the negotiators being representative of the constituencies within those parties. In the words made famous by the Godfather: They are “nothing personal, just business”. Haggling is all personal. And that is something I just cannot do. No doubt the “haggler” would claim that they had just saved €7 by taking the time to haggle to which my response would be: No, you just spent €18.

These thoughts came to mind this week following the exchange of letters between David Frost and Michael Barnier, the UK and EU Brexit negotiators respectively. You can read the letters here: Barnier + Frost

The exchange between the two men can be summed up as follows:

Frost: The UK has left the EU. We are now an independent, sovereign state. We are entitled to a deal from the EU similar to the deals you have agreed with Canada, Japan, New Zealand and others. The best bits obviously from all of these agreements. You can keep the bad bits. And here are some other things we want. Now, they may look like cherry-picking aspects of the single market, but they are what we are entitled to as an independent, sovereign state.

Frost has one other thing to say to Barnier. Back to the Godfather, this time Part 111. The would-be top dog, Joey Zasa, tells the assembled mobsters:

“I say to all of you, I have been treated this day, with no respect. I’ve earned you all money. I’ve made you rich, and I asked for little. Good. You will not give, I’ll take!”

(Worth keeping in mind that not much later in the movie Joey got “whacked”).

Barnier: Thank you for your letter. I don’t much like the tone. But, c’est le vie. If you want access to our single market, here are our terms and conditions. Your choice. And remember, your Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, sighed up to a lot of this last year when he agreed the Political Declaration. Having said that, have a nice weekend. I am available for talks at any time. Come back to me when you get over your little tantrum. (For a much fuller understanding of the EU’s position this is worth reading).

All of which brings me back to “compromise”. Good negotiators shun the word. Instead, they focus on “solutions.” It is the difference between what the negotiation literature calls “positions” as opposed to “interests”.

Anyone who has ever read the classic book on negotiations, Getting to Yes, will be familiar with the story of the two old sisters squabbling over an orange. They both want it. So, they cut it in half. Whereupon one eats the orange and throws away the peel while the other keeps the peel to use in a dish she is cooking and puts the flesh in the bin. Their positions were that they both wanted the orange. Their interests in wanting the orange would have allowed for a value-added solution where both would have been better off if only one of them had asked the question of the other: why do you want the orange?

Of course, if one of the sisters already had the orange in her possession, she would have had the leverage to keep the whole orange. The other sister’s BATNA, best alternative to a negotiated agreement, was no deal and no orange. The only leverage the sister without the orange would have had would be relationship leverage: “Sister, I know you love me so, please, can I have at least half of the orange”. What would not be advised is writing a letter to her sister telling her what a mean and ungrateful person she was and to stop behaving unfairly. It might be somewhat counterproductive. The Frost letter to Barnier.

When we focus on interests, “why do you want what you want”, rather than on positions “here’s what I want” we are inevitably driven to the conclusion that there is no ZOPA, zone of possible agreement currently available in the Brexit process.

Quite simply, what the two sides want are mutually incompatible. Now, I know all my trade specialist friends can produce pages and pages from the documents put on the table by the two parties to show areas of overlap and where there might be a common direction of travel. Indeed, there are. But this is a bit like finding agreement on the wallpaper for the salon when the house is still very far from being sold and bought.

Michael Gove, the UK cabinet minister put it succinctly: He said in a BBC interview that there is a “big philosophical difference” between the sides, and the EU wants the UK “to follow their rules even after we have left the club”. True in so far as it goes. When the EU says it wants the UK “to follow their rules even after we have left the club” what it means is that it wants the UK to follow the rules if it wants access to the club facilities. “If you want to sell goods and services into our single market, then you have to meet our standards and stay in line with our standards.” Further, if you want to use our club facilities you have to abide by decisions of the disputes committee, AKA, the European Court of Justice.

Take data sharing on police and criminal matters as an example. After Brexit on December 31 next, the UK wants to continue to have full access to the Schengen Information System (SIS II), an EU database, where police across the continent share millions of pieces of information on criminal suspects. The EU has said it is legally impossible for non-EU countries not respecting free movement of people to access the database and has proposed more basic information sharing.

British police and border guards are the third heaviest users of the database, making 571m searches in 2019 (a figure that includes automated bulk data sweeps) to look for wanted people or stolen goods. UK forces issued 36,680 alerts on people and 259,824 on vehicles in 2019 – essentially a request to other police to carry out checks.

According to the Guardian:

European diplomats also cite political factors such the UK’s refusal to countenance a role for the ECJ and opposition to any reference to the European court of human rights (ECHR) in the EU-UK treaty.

Both institutions are seen by European governments as providing crucial safeguards over the transfer of data or – in the case of the European arrest warrant – people.

“We wanted of course to have an exchange of data, but it cannot be SIS as such,” an EU diplomat said, citing the absence of guarantees on the ECJ and ECHR.

When discussing negotiations, I make a distinction between “dollar issues” and “decision issues”. Dollar issues are things that cost money. It is generally possible to find agreement around cost issues. It may not be easy, but it can be done.

“Decision issues” are about power, authority and the right to decide. Quite frankly, no rational actor is going to voluntarily give away the power to shape decisions.

Take a labour relations example. A union tables a demand for a 10% pay increase. Management was thinking of 2%. A big gap, but not unbridgeable.

The union also tables a demand for 50% of the seats on the company board, giving it a veto on management decisions. This is something management will never agree to, voluntarily curbing its ability to make and implement critical business decisions. And before someone says “But this is what they already have in Europe” the answer is that works councils and codetermination exist by force of law rather than through voluntary agreements. Even then, neither codetermination or works councils give employees generalised veto rights, except in specific and narrow areas.

You can compromise over dollar issues. Rarely can you compromise over decision issues. Which is where we are with Brexit.

Britain is leaving the EU to “take back control”. The EU is not going to give up any control over the rules of the single market and/or the rules and procedures used to settle disputes between single market participants. The EU is certainly not going to give favourable access to the single market to a country that has left the EU so it can escape the rules and procedures of that market.

Some things are just not negotiable. There isn’t always a compromise available. Because there are some things you just cannot compromise over.

43 thoughts on “Sometimes, you just can’t compromise

  1. I think it is compromise of attitude that is required. I agree that the rules of the EU will nt be changed for us but your analogy of what the UK wants is incorrect. A true analogy would be akin to a gentleman’s member club where there are 4 levels of membership. Life, yearly, monthly and weekly. Mr UK wants to move from yearly to weekly just like Mr. Canada but the club won’t allow it.


    1. I suggest the answer to the points you make is contained in your own response. You cannot have a coherent and successful union where each member state has its own bespoke set of rules. You could argue that there already is a two level EU membership, via participation in the Eurozone. Indeed there is a tertiary level via EFTA. The U.K. govt rejected these and sought a separate level of membership that applied to it alone and where it set the rules alone, but this was never an option.


      1. I agree. There is no way the EU will allow easy tariff free access to a country without the corresponding agreement to abide by the conditions. To do so would allow producers to produce in the UK with lower standards and export to the EU and undercut competing EU producers that have to abide by EU standards. It would be irresponsible for the EU to agree to that. The comparisons with japan and Canada aren’t relevant as the trade from those countries are never going to match the quantity of trade from the UK.

        The UK’s response is to say “we won’t sign up to your conditions but you can trust us not to lower standards.” Even if the EU trusted this UK govt (and they don’t – with good reason) any trade agreement will be the basis of trade for decades long after this government is consigned to the history books. There’s no guarantee any future UK govt will consider itself bound by a gentlemen’s agreement made by one of its predecessors.

        You want tariff free easy access – you comply with EU standards. Of course as a sovereign nation you don’t have to agree to the standards but you won’t get the access you want if you don’t.

        Your call.


      2. “There is no way the EU will allow easy tariff free access to a country without the corresponding agreement to abide by the conditions.”

        The irony is that if we chose to bring our corporation tax rates down to those of Ireland, it could totally undermine the EU operating model and there is nothing they could do about it. We could make ourselves an offshore quasi tax haven but we would be conforming to the level playing field requirement.


    2. Are you kidding me? Do you take the EU for a bunch of fools?

      Your 4-level club analogy is exactly the kind of attitude the author of the article is referring to.

      If you want something – you will abide by the rules. Simple as that!

      Please go and try your fool game strategies with the US or China, I am sure that they will be fascinated.


  2. You seem to be in favour of the EU and write accordingly, try listing the things belonging to the UK that the EU has pillaged over the years and the cash we have poured into the EU think again with an unbiased view and I suspect your article would read very differently


    1. As a EU citizen following the British discussion on Brexit I would be very interested if you could try listing the things belonging to the UK that the EU has pillaged. I understand that the fishing rights were sold, and nothing else comes to mind that would fit even the most twisted definition of “pillage”. Did the EU force the UK to allow the sale of opium to bleed all the silver out of the country? Did the EU destroy the British textile industry to turn the UK into a large tea and cotton plantation? Did the EU systematically dispossess the British indigenous people to fill their land with continental convicts and settlers? I did not hear about any of that, so please give a few specific examples.

      Following this discussion it seems to me as if the core problem is that rank-and-file Brexiters have somehow been convinced that the EU is an evil empire that has colonised the UK against its will. I have even recently seen a cartoon that depicts the EU as a person keeping several other people, the individual member countries, in thrall. But what is the EU if not those member countries?

      The EU is, indeed, a club. A club with some sensible rules and some stupid ones; a club that past British governments asked to join for the economic benefits it provides, at first being rebutted, then finally some time later accepted as members; a club whose rules the UK subsequently shaped in its favour; a club that requires membership contributions, from the UK as from other members; a club that, it turns out, the UK is indeed able to leave whenever it wants – only at that moment it will lose all the membership benefits it signed up for in the first place and has long since taken for granted.

      I just feel sorry for the other half of the British population, who are apparently not “the people”.


    2. Germany has bankrolled the EU for decades. Our own CBI estimated that our membership has been worth around £50-60 billion a year to our economy. Net cost circa £8.5 billion a year.
      The other major factors are the horrendous admin/delay cost to our UK exporters & Importers circa £30 billion a year. Oh yes, let’s not forget the 50,000 extra Border Staff who will need office space, wages, pensions, IT etc. Circa £1.5-2.5 billion a year!
      It’s a crazy idea that benefits only dubious dealings via banks, big accountancy firms and the non-tax-paying super-rich, hedge funds and organisations making money in the UK & NI but not paying their fair share of taxes in the UK. (I know the UK governments created this situation by excessively high taxes in the 1920s and beyond. But now we need to fix it!)


  3. I have never heard so much drivel in my life. Comparing the UK leaving the EU to someone breaking into your house and then negotiating on what they can take?? Really? Come on. This will affect BOTH sides which means workers and peoples livelihoods at stake. Compromise IS important and lazy writing like this does not help


    1. Might I suggest that it’s not the writer who is being lazy here, it’s the reader. The point being made with the break in reference is that compromise is not required in all situations. This is the point of the entire analysis, but you appear to have missed that point, nevermind disagree with it.


      1. I agree that compromise is not required in all situations. We left the EU so that we would not have to compromise.


  4. The EU will compromise at the eleventh hour. There are riots in the street happening now in Berlin, Paris, Madrid. Imagine the rioting that will be taking place when millions of EU citizens have lost their jobs. UK trade exports with EU has been declining last ten years in any case. So, it will not be so devastating for us as some people make out.


  5. This must be a remainer, we said leave and told them the deal. If they dont want to deal deal or compromise, then bye bye. They dont get severance cash or topical at present any of our fish!!!


  6. That’s why the UK wants to leave without a deal now. So you don’t need to worry. It may badly impact Ireland a log though. German car industry too. If the EU acted with integrity when we were in it, would have been best. UK did not sign up to a political project but a commons market. UK lost its position in the world after helping Europe in two world wars…


    1. I suspect the US might quibble with your denial of their role in the two world wars, though you are at least historically consistent with your implied threat to Irish interests, North and South.


    2. Britain’s participation in both world wars was not altruism, it was cold hard necessity and it was a long time ago.
      The direction of continuing and deeper political integration is in every single treaty going back as far as the ECSC treaty 1952, political integration was clearly written on the tin. If anyone hoodwinked the. Ritual people it was the British government and not the EU.


  7. I am an Englishman living in France. I still voted to leave the EU. Your article is well written and I agree with it. However, the EU is a dangerous beast. Those who work for the EU benefit from it in terms of money. Those who don’t work for it just give the money. Large organisations always break up at some point. The thought of an EU army is rediculous because having served in the army there were very few European nation’s willing take any risks. I love France and the French people. Why is it that most French people I speak to also do not like the EU? Mainly because it does nothing for them. I think there was a referendum in France during the 80’s where the French voted against the EU. The government overturned that decision!!!
    You don’t need to belong to a club in order to agree to trade. You also forgot to mention the things the EU want from the UK.
    Billions of euros after we leave and you still want to fish in UK waters etc.




  9. So the UK is at fault for expecting the EU to bend its rules. No matter that the rules of the EU are what the EU says they are, from time to time, depending upon the circumstances, and who wants to know. So the UK is the party that wants to stay in relationship on weekends. Not the EU that wants continued access to UK waters under CFP rules. An interesting article on the need not to compromise. Would be much better though if it were correctly applied.


    1. Ok, biased article writer. The UK reason so many voted to leave and the reason the Conservative government was voted in last December was to make sure Brexit happened. The folk that voted for Brexit felt that enough was enough, having put up with a sell-out Labour government under Blair, watched our gold sold off, heard arrogant Europeans decimating the waters around the UK of fish ignoring environmental limits put in place by the EU while British fishing adhered to the rules. Then Shengen and the bleeding dry of the welfare state. European army was the final straw – why should we fund other countries?
      Go back a little further and the same people, my parents’ generation and me growing up, lives punctuated by nombs purchased by the US and European funding of the IRA…people have had enough, and I am sorry those people in Scotland NI and Wales, your nationalist parties have caused people to not care if you want to be with England or not – most people in England wouldn’t care if they joined the EU if they wanted – United Ireland – sure. We have got self-determination now, and the EU-UK negotiations are just icing on the well-deserving cake. Most would take a hard Brexit and put up with the consequences – all governments’ money is “borrowed” or quantitatively eased anyway.


      1. This is the little englander formula for the break up of the Union… not the European Union, but rather the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The attitude actually expressed here towards the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern is far worse than the you imagine has been shown to the U.K. by the EU.


  10. Spot on,why should the EU compromise when the UK chose to leave, the EU is the UKs closest and largest trading partner so the UK can demand all it wants but ultimately the UK needs to choose to compromise for an EU deal or sell out to the US.


  11. Absolutely spot-on analysis. The EU has always had the upper hand in these negotiations, and always will. Petulant and pig-headed protests from the mass of kow-towing incompetents in the UK government will only result in no-deal and UK impoverishment. The only thing I don’t understand is the astonishing ability to deny reality on the part of the UK government (and some commentators here). Reality will at some point make itself felt though, and if the reality-denying continues it will result in a bad deal for us all.


  12. First of all I’ll point out the UK did in fact vote leave no one I know cares about the EU negotiation s but I know a lot who hate the fact that the EU has literally told us folk in the UK we will make you pay for leaving us .so why right in with this article explaining total nonsense we as a country don’t need to compromise our spending is equal to 18 smaller country’s in the EU which in spending terms means the UK is more valuable as a customer to the EU than it is in our interests to buy from them or import from the EU .so in those terms yes the must compromise .no two ways about this or how will the EU fund it’s spending once the UK has left Germany won’t increase its citizens taxes or tarrafis nor will Austria Sweden Switzerland Norway Denmark Holland now you have a 445billion euro bail out on the cards how will this be financed especially since there’s no more UK .funding coming nor will there be another 1973 Ted heath sell out of our fishing grounds so there will def be no money made of our stokes by the likes of France Spain Holland Russia and there factory ships .oh this was a well wrote pice shame it’s accurate only to s europhile if you accualy came to UK and sought the citizens opinions you’d see for yourself how wrong this article accualy is


  13. What happened to the Leave claims of ” we hold all the cards” and ” easiest negotion ever, will take five weeks”.
    Welcome to the real world.


    1. The U.K. does hold all the cards and that’s why Brussels had better wake up or the U.K. will leave the bloc at the end of 2020 and trade under WTO rules. That’s going to hurt the EU far more than it would the U.K. with Ireland and Germany in particular being very badly hit and that’s why Barnier needs to come to his senses and not insist on political alignment in any way or the U.K. will just walk away and the EU won’t get the £39 billion divorce bill which they badly need, especially after they completely abandoned Italy in its hour of need.


  14. Afraid the author of the article is wearing goggles. The EU wants everything it’s own way, denies the UK any rights to trade, wants access to fishing as before and on top wants UK to pay a leaving fee. What club charges to leave, and I intends to keep the original rights to themselves. There are no such conditions with trade with China, Canada etc what’s special here, ?


  15. The U.K. voted to leave the EU in order to be a sovereign country again and not dictated to, or be under the control of Brussels and the ECJ. The EU is being totally inflexible in insisting that in any trade agreement there must be ‘a level playing field’ in which the U.K. has to accept EU rules and regulations and stay under the control of the ECJ. THAT IS NOT LEAVING and it would be a betrayal of the British people if our negotiators accepted such outrageous demands and the U.K. became a vassal state of the EU where the U.K. was politically aligned to Brussels but had no say of it’s own. The EU originally said there was an offer of a Canada style trade agreement on the table, an offer that they have now retracted. If they remain inflexible then the U.K. will leave the bloc and trade under WTO rules at the end of 2020 and that’s going to hurt EU member states far more than it will hurt the U.K. The U.K. has got everything to gain while the EU has everything to lose if that was the outcome of these negotiations and there will be NO EXTENSION of the transition period, so Barnier had better come to his senses and realise just who’s holding all the cards in these negotiations and the U.K. will not be afraid to play them UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!


  16. Thank you for all your time, energy and efforts to analyse this so interesting event. Independently of my position you deserve my recognition for having the courage and time to maintain this blog. So, thank you. I totally agree that the EU should not compromise in the principles, namely in the LPF conditions. But there is one thing that we could compromise (which is not a principle): in fisheries. It seems to me that we are asking too much. Please keep the good work!


  17. Remove the core English Establishment beliefs about itself as being ‘superior’, ‘entitled’, etc, etc, etc, – with colonies, and progress will assuredly be forthcoming.
    Can Perfidious Albion change its spots?


  18. Couldn’t care less if we have a deal, don’t have a deal, have a Canada style deal, have a WTO deal… blah blah blah. The EU wants this but the UK wants that and the EU has no power to make the UK do anything any more which must be a bit annoying for them.
    At the end of the year the transition period ends and we have to stand on our own two feet.
    A few months into 2021 we’ll have settled into whatever arrangements (or not) we’ve sorted with the EU. It probably won’t be as bad as the damage we’ve inflicted on ourselves in the past few months, will it?
    Or it might.
    Either way it’s what we voted to do so we’ll have to get on with it.


  19. Couldn’t care less if we have a deal, don’t have a deal, have a Canada style deal, have a WTO deal… blah blah blah. The EU wants this but the UK wants that and the EU has no power to make the UK do anything any more which must be a bit annoying for them.
    At the end of the year the transition period ends and we have to stand on our own two feet.
    A few months into 2021 we’ll have settled into whatever arrangements (or not) we’ve sorted with the EU. It probably won’t be as bad as the damage we’ve inflicted on ourselves in the past few months, will it?
    Or it might.
    Either way it’s what we voted to do so we’ll have to get on with it.


  20. I am receiving new comments because I ticked the box ‘notify me of new comments via email’. Despite this my comment itself doesn’t appear here. Why is this? This is my comment as best I can remember it.

    The blogger attributes the following to Frost. ” We are entitled to a deal from the EU similar to the deals you have agreed with Canada, Japan, New Zealand and others. The best bits obviously from all of these agreements. You can keep the bad bits. ”

    If this were so then the EU could easily call the UK’s bluff by offering a ‘Canada style’ deal, so why hasn’t they done this?


    1. (I also had a comment eaten by the blog presumably because I ticked ‘notify’.)

      This comment section is astounding.

      You are a biased remainer, so I can immediately dismiss anything you say! The EU will blink at the last minute! The EU is about to collapse anyway! German car industry! Trade deficit! WTO! We were right to leave because they need us more than we need them, and therefore they can’t punish us! And we were right to leave because they are punishing us, just shows what bullies they are!

      I despair at the political debate ever getting any better. I hope that when I confidently predicted an outcome, and the opposite happens, I would re-examine the relevant part of my worldview. But what would it take for Brexiters to re-examine theirs in significant numbers?

      That is an important question any of us should ask ourselves from time to time. I believe I am right, otherwise I would believe differently and then assume I am right about that, fair enough. But what hypothetical observation in the future would convince me that I am wrong, that I need to change my mind?

      Johnson, and not the EU, having blinked at the last minute when negotiating the withdrawal agreement by signing up to the previously rejected border inside the UK? The EU not collapsing the last fifty times that British politicians have expected it to, including directly as a result of the UK’s referendum? The German car industry openly prioritising the integrity of the single market over exports to Britain? European companies and governments in general entirely unconcerned by the UK’s trade deficit? The WTO being hamstrung by the current US administration?

      What does it take?


      1. “What does it take?”

        That’s a non-question – fanaticism is illogical – there is absolutely no point in arguing with someone who does not use logical thinking. Brexit is based purely on emotion – like fascism. There is an ‘enemy’ and a ‘solution’ and they are not up for discussion. Any attempt to do so is greeted with name calling and sloganising “the EU will collapse soon” “the German car manufacturers . . .” Don’t waste your energy on disagreeing.


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