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In any business negotiation, there is a point at which both parties have put their cards on the table and whoever blinks first, loses. In other words, you know what the other wants and he knows what you are willing to offer. Whoever then speaks first, is signaling that he or she is willing to rethink their offer or their price.
In the case of the Brexit negotiations, the UK has just blinked.
The EU had put them with their backs against the wall, and the UK has now stated how much it is willing to pay as a “divorce bill” in order for both parties to finally start talking trade. The price tag that the UK government is willing to offer: $53 billion.
At a cabinet meeting Monday evening, the British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed with her government that this is the price they are willing to pay.
Ms. May had to come up with something as she was under intense pressure to ensure Brussels agrees to allow trade talks to begin at the summit of the European Council on 14 and 15 December, so in less than a month from now.
However, she knows Brexit-backing members of her Cabinet, like Mr. Michael Gove and her popular Secretary of State Mr. Boris Johnson (as well as some other hard-line Tory backbenchers), will not forgive her easily for offering Brussels this huge payoff.
Mr. Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, reacted on the so-called benefits for the UK of Brexit so far: "It’s nonsense! It’s always been nonsense. There may be a case for Brexit for reasons of sovereignty, or immigration, or a particular view of democracy – all of that is absolutely honorable. But to pretend that, at least in the short to medium run, it will have anything other than a negative effect on the economy and the public finances is just untrue."
The UK is now faced with making a payment of around (£40bn) $53bn just to ensure that trade talks begin (last month, Brussels deemed Ms. Theresa May's initial offer of £20bn insufficient.)
In conclusion at this point, far from Britain "taking back control", it is the EU that has. The UK may have voted to leave, but it is Europe that will decide how it does.
It, of course, remains to be seen how the British public will react in the coming days to this offer. Former Cabinet Minister Mr. Robert Halfon warned: "If we start saying that we’re going to give 40 to 50 billion to the EU, I think the public will go bananas, absolutely spare."