EU Doesn’t Budge on Brexit

Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland talk during a European Council summit in Salzburg, Austria, September 20
Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland talk during a European Council summit in Salzburg, Austria, September 20 (KPRM/Krystian Maj)

The EU summit in Salzburg, Austria has driven home two truths about Brexit:

  1. The United Kingdom cannot “cherrypick” the conditions of its future relations with the EU. If it wants to stay in the single market, it must accept the same terms as Iceland and Norway.
  2. There is no point in going over Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s head and appealing directly to EU leaders.

None of this should be news. Read more

Blunt Talk for Brexiteers

Boris Johnson, Britain's foreign secretary, arrives for a meeting in London, England, September 9, 2016
Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, arrives for a meeting in London, England, September 9, 2016 (FCO)

It’s been seventeen months since the Brexit talks began and, judging by their recent commentary, including Boris Johnson’s latest column in The Telegraph, the Brexiteers are still laboring under delusions about the outcome.

So let’s be blunt. Read more

No-Deal Brexit Becomes More Likely

Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and António Costa of Portugal talk during a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 29
Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and António Costa of Portugal talk during a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 29 (Governo da República Portuguesa)

Chances that the United Kingdom will tumble out of the EU without an agreement are increasing.

  • Conservative Party hardliners are still unwilling to accept the EU’s terms.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May now apes their rhetoric in arguing that a no-deal Brexit would not be “the end of the world”.
  • She also downplays the Treasury’s estimate that the British economy would shrink 8.8 percent without an exit deal as “a work in progress”.
  • Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, has released 24 technical notices advising industries on how to cope with a no-deal Brexit. Read more

Theresa May Loses Pro-Brexit Ministers

British Conservative Party leaders Theresa May and Boris Johnson
British Conservative Party leaders Theresa May and Boris Johnson (The Prime Minister’s Office/i-Images)
  • Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have resigned from Theresa May’s government.
  • Both opposed her Brexit strategy of seeking as close as trade relationship with the EU as possible without accepting free movement of EU nationals. Read more

Brexiteers Are Still in Denial About What Leaving the EU Means

British prime minister Theresa May speaks with ministers at her Chequers country retreat in Buckinghamshire, England, February 22
British prime minister Theresa May speaks with ministers at her Chequers country retreat in Buckinghamshire, England, February 22 (MoD)

British ministers are due to meet at the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat this weekend to hammer out a Brexit strategy.

The conclave is unlikely to produce a breakthrough. The EU hasn’t budged from its position. Neither have hardliners in Theresa May’s government. Read more

British Parties Do Just Well Enough in Local Elections

British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017
British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

In local elections on Thursday, both of Britain’s major parties did just well enough to keep criticism about their leaders at bay without doing well enough to silence it altogether. Read more

British Home Secretary Resigns, Italy’s Five Stars Make Overture

British home secretary Amber Rudd attends a conference at the Vatican, October 27, 2016
British home secretary Amber Rudd attends a conference at the Vatican, October 27, 2016 (UK in Holy See)

British home secretary Amber Rudd has resigned for misleading lawmakers about her migration policy.

She told Parliament there was no Home Office target for deportations, but then The Guardian revealed she had written to Prime Minister Theresa May about her aim to increase “enforced removals” by 10 percent.

Politico reports that Rudd’s departure — the fourth by a cabinet minister in six months — risks destabilizing May’s government at a time when it is negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union. Rudd was one of the leading pro-EU Conservatives and seen as a potential future party leader.

The scandal also shines a spotlight on May’s failure to develop a new immigration policy almost two years after the Brexit referendum in which it played such a major role. Read more