Kim Jong-May’s problem

From The Economist:

“BRITAIN has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last 500 years: to create a disunited Europe.” Like many lines delivered by Sir Humphrey, the roguish civil servant in “Yes Minister”, a British television comedy from the 1980s, this carried the ring of truth. But on April 29th it became clear that the current British government has achieved the opposite. One month after Theresa May, the prime minister, triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, notifying the European Union of Britain’s intention to leave, the club’s 27 other leaders met in Brussels to approve a set of negotiating guidelines for the two-year Brexit talks to come. They rubber-stamped the text within minutes of sitting down, and applauded themselves for doing so. Donald Tusk, who chaired the summit as president of the European Council, said it had been far easier to keep unity among “the 27” (as they have come to be called) than he had expected.

The Europeans have spent the ten months since Britain’s referendum in meticulous preparation. But where gung-ho Brexiteers see a “liberation” (in the words of Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary), for the EU’s other members Brexit is strictly an exercise in damage control. They want to clarify and guarantee the rights of their citizens in Britain, and vice versa; ensure that Britain meets its outstanding financial commitments to the EU (the so-called “Brexit bill”); avoid creating a hard border between Britain and Ireland; and strike a trade deal that does not grant Britain overly generous access to the EU single market. All the signs point to a difficult negotiation.

Quite so. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung‘s account of Jean-Claude Juncker’s dinner with Kim Jong-May last Wednesday does indeed suggest that the Brexiteers have already taken up residence on Planet Zog.