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    UK-EU Ambassador 'Hopeful' Urges 'Divide and Rule' Brexit Policy

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    A senior British political academic who tweeted that he could "start tomorrow" as the UK's ambassador to the European Union, following the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers from the role, has told Sputnik that Britain should "play a game of 'divide and rule' " in negotiations over Brexit.

    Professor Anand Menon, Director of UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at Kings College London tweeted that he was prepared to take over the role vacated by Rogers, who quit over what he described as "muddled thinking" by the British Government.

    ​Prof. Menon told Sputnik what his priority would be, if he took up the role: "Top of my agenda now — apart from getting a generous book deal for two years' time — would be trying to figure out where the other states stand and what the obvious divisions between them are.

    "It seems to me that the way the Brexit negotiations need to be played is to play a game of 'divide and rule.' The other member states are not as united as they appear at the moment and I think the quicker we can try and slice them apart on certain issues, the more effective our negotiations will be," Prof. Menon told Sputnik.

    Rogers resigned weeks after it was leaked that he warned the UK Government that renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the EU could take ten years.

    Britain's ambassador to the European Union Ivan Rogers (File)
    © REUTERS / Francois Lenoir
    Britain's ambassador to the European Union Ivan Rogers (File)

    "This is probably a continuation of the saga that started when his earlier memo was leaked. He became a figure of political controversy after those comments about the deal with the EU taking ten years. Being in the public eye in that way is not a very comfortable place to be for a senior mandarin.

    "He was obviously someone who thought that the EU needed to be reformed. That's why David Cameron put him in place. It seems to me he was doing his job, in the sense of saying: 'look, minister, it's all very well trying to get this [deal], but bear in mind these are the hurdles on the way,' " Prof. Menon told Sputnik.

    'Muddled Thinking'

    In his resignation letter to staff, Rogers said: "We do not yet know what the government will set as negotiating objectives for the UK's relationship with the EU after exit. Serious multilateral negotiating experience is in short supply in Whitehall, and that is not the case in the Commission or in the Council.

    "I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power," Rogers wrote.

    ​However, Prof. Menon told Sputnik the resignation is unlikely to have any serious consequences. "Only time will tell. It's unfortunate. It doesn't look good from the outside. What its substantive impact will be, I don't know. But I suspect that it will be rather limited.

    "We have a number of diplomats who know the European Union very well, who know their counterparts in the other member states very well. So it's not as if Ivan Rogers is leaving a hole that cannot be filled," he said.


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