So far, the media and political analysts have been unanimous: Brexit represents an uncertain and dangerous future only for the UK. Our readers know that we have always been more circumspect about this. Now that the first phase of negotiations has been completed (at the end of last year) and the second phase is about to start, it is time to admit that this exit from the EU also opens up many opportunities for the UK and that it creates new risks for the EU. Within this second phase of negotiations, which will focus on the transition period and the future relationship between the two parties, the balance of power could indeed reverse. The British government, criticised for lack of clarity and realism since the beginning, clarified a number of points through Theresa May on 2nd March and set out a concrete exit plan.
The EU Commission, for its part, is becoming less and less cooperative and imposing requirements that some judge to be unrealistic (e.g. the impossibility for the UK to start negotiating trade agreements during the transitional period; the demand that the customs barrier be moved from the Irish border to that between N Ireland and Great Britain). If the EU remains blind to the progress made by the UK for too long and shows a base spirit of revenge (intended to scare other countries), it could cause a backlash capable of triggering precisely what it wishes to avoid – a domino effect.
Brexit constituted a major failure of the European Commission – one which required it to start its own reform, rather than taking revenge on the United Kingdom. If, instead, we find ourselves in 2019 in a situation where the United Kingdom, released from the Brussels tutelage, has repositioned itself successfully (dynamic image; modern and turned towards the rest of the world) while the EU is still floundering in the same malfunctions, blockages and slowness which made the UK run away, what do you think will happen?
Theresa May closes ranks…
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Back to the Commonwealth alongside a deep trade partnership with the EU
A trade in goods without obstacles
An abandonment of this regulation and an emancipation of the Brussels’ tutelage still remain largely probable, because although a trade partnership following Brexit goes without saying, it is far from guaranteed that it will cover financial services as well. The speech on 2nd March has definitely clarified a point that Theresa May had announced widely; the future Euro-British relationship will be framed by a free trade agreement. What seems very likely, if not accepted, is that this agreement will guarantee trade in goods that is free of tariff barriers and quotas, since this objective is shared by both negotiating parties. For Europeans, this point seems obvious since the trade balance of goods is largely to the advantage of the continent. For the British, this ... Read