Brexit and trade
Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom were supposed to be concluded at the EU summit on October 17. But the deadline passed with no breakthrough, and no plans for a new meeting. With the clock to a “hard Brexit” ticking down, this could be the salutary shock needed to pave the way for a compromise — or point to a future in which the UK’s diminished weight in international trade encourages a drift toward protectionism.
GIS Dossier: Brexit – how we got here
Brexit negotiations are reaching a messy, contentious head. But it didn’t have to be this way. Going back years, European leaders have missed opportunities to take a more pragmatic stance that could have benefited both the UK and the EU. GIS experts have been pointing this out along the way, and have offered some stark, sometimes counterintuitive predictions about the way forward.
Brexit: holding out hope for pragmatism, and a miracle
Last week’s Salzburg negotiations were embarrassing for anyone holding out hope that European leaders might take a practical approach to Brexit negotiations. Even though maintaining the free movement of goods, services and capital, while losing the free movement of people is preferable to none of the above, EU decision makers are blindly sticking to bureaucratic dogma. Such attitudes are a detriment to European business and indeed the European spirit.
Shortsightedness and stubbornness are holding Europe back
As European leaders rail against “populism,” many of them are taking on populist positions themselves: they are taking a hard line on Brexit, refuse to implement commonsense solutions on public debt, and are bowing to pressure against GMOs. All this will hurt Europe in the long term and diminish its global position. It desperately needs leaders who are willing to follow a more pragmatic strategy.
Brexit scenarios: Toward the endgame
Prime Minister Theresa May has bowed to economic reality and unveiled a Brexit model that would keep the United Kingdom close to the European Union. The move provoked an immediate cabinet crisis and the resignations of leading Brexiters. Fear of a Labour government will probably keep other Conservatives in line, but Ms. May’s survival also hinges on the EU accepting her new strategy. Otherwise, a hard Brexit is plausible.
GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – the basics
As tensions increase within the transatlantic alliance, Europe has begun to reconsider its own place in the world. With the U.S. continuing a long-term strategic retrenchment, its allies across the Atlantic may need to grow beyond their role as Washington’s junior partners. From the migrant crisis to the Iran nuclear deal, from trade wars to dealing with Vladimir Putin, Europe is being forced to declare itself. Will it act like a great power or an imposter?
Germans expect soft Brexit but want EU to be uncompromising
Warning to London: recent polls reveal that Germans remain committed to the European Union and are concerned about political uncertainty, but they expect Berlin to remain tough on the terms of the UK’s separation
The fragile German-French axis heads toward isolation
Germany and France want to lead the European Union, but their leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron, have adopted policies that endanger the bloc. Calls for greater centralization will alienate other member states, while hypocritical criticism of the U.S. and Russia will leave the Union isolated.
One might expect the Nordic countries, with their strong democracies and economies, to be full-throated backers of the European project. But the differences between them have led to strained relations that are undermining their relationships with Brussels. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the migrant crisis, where Sweden’s approach has unsettled its neighbors and focused attention on security issues. The result could be another headache for the European Union, this time in the north.