Policy Briefs

R. Perissich: A tale of four balls and one grenade

After the 2016 Brexit referendum, the UK and the EU have gone through more than 3 years of negotiations that were sometimes very difficult but had always seen the EU having the upper hand. The reason is simple: we knew what we wanted, while Britain’s weak government tried desperately to make sense of a divided country who had stumbled without a plan in one of the most important decisions in five centuries. “Take back control” is a wonderful vote winning slogan, but it is not a policy. Now Brexit has happened and what lies ahead is different. When the EU discussed the Withdrawal Agreement and the divorce bill, it only had to stick to the red lines; all the burden was on the UK. We were strong and, contrary to what many people had hoped for in London, we were united. Now that we are preparing to discuss our future relations, although virtually everybody agrees that the UK will suffer from Brexit more than the EU, much is at stake for us as well. Furthermore, although the country remains divided, a brutal electoral system and the God sent gift of an unelectable opposition have awarded Boris Johnson one of the biggest majorities in several decades. He now has the privilege, denied to his predecessor, of being able to define a strategy with the certitude that it will be supported by Parliament. In so far as words matter, he has defined it and it’s important for us to try and understand.

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