If the EU acts like a hostile state, the UK should treat it as one - by Dan Hannan for The Telegraph
The current impasse between London and Brussels over the vaccination roll-out is symptomatic of a far deeper rift which will have profound implications not only for Britain's relations with the EU but also in its policies with the rest of the world.
According to Dan Hannan, a fundamental re-calibration is required if Britain is to escape the tangled web being spun by the EU.
"The EU’s rage, like Caliban’s, is elemental. It will last for years, possibly decades, and we need to adjust our foreign policy accordingly.
Some hard-line positions were adopted early in the hope that, if Brexit were made unappealing enough, Britain might change its mind. Others were taken up during the trade talks, so that they might be abandoned in return for British concessions elsewhere.
With Brexit now a fact, and the trade deal agreed, those rationales have disappeared, but the EU’s petulance has not. We need to face the truth that, affronted by our referendum, Eurocrats see the very fact of Britain flourishing as a kind of incitement.
Britain is prioritising its relations with India, applying to join the Pacific trade nexus, the CPTPP, becoming an associate member of ASEAN and recalibrating its military and naval deployments. All these decisions are laudable in themselves. But the truth is that the EU gives us no choice. When, for example, it denies us equivalence in financial services, it forces the City to diverge more radically in order to compete. When it throws its weight around over Ireland, it makes it hard to justify our investment in the defence of Estonia or Romania. When it threatens to blockade our vaccine supply – to repeat, a targeted act of aggression, not aimed at any other neighbour – it sets a precedent for more anti-British embargoes, whether in the field of energy or raw materials.
We are thus both pushed and pulled towards a closer relationship with Commonwealth and Anglosphere countries. While individual European states might still be considered allies, the EU as a whole has chosen instead to be a rival. And, with each year that passes, more foreign policy powers are transferred from friendly national capitals to an institutionally unfriendly EU bureaucracy."
He concludes, "One day, good relations will be restored. We can’t ignore our geography, or our long-standing alliances with individual European nations. But, for now, Brussels does not regard us as a neighbour whose economic success will enrich its own peoples, but as a renegade province whose wings need clipping. Our response must be to soar higher."