It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that whatever agreements are made between now and the 29th of March 2019, the date marking the official exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, a “Hard Brexit” outcome is all but inevitable. London appears unable to articulate or agree a sensible way forward with Brussels (let alone all the other capitals in the Continental bloc) leaving a chaotic fudge – or series of interlinked fudges – as the only way out of the present impasse.
Forget speaking the same language, neither side in the Brexit talks any longer believes what the other is saying.
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, traveled to London Monday asking for clarity about the U.K.’s objectives, but left disappointed…
But, if Brussels does not believe London, the feeling is mutual.
According to a senior U.K. government figure familiar with Monday’s tête-à-tête, Barnier was left in no doubt about the government’s determination to leave the customs union…
With the government of Britain riven by factionalism, and prime minister Theresa May staying in power on the sufferance of a xenophobic cabal of right-wing ministers and backbench MPs, not to mention the allied ultra-right Democratic Unionist Party, no clear-cut treaties are likely to emerge from the ongoing talks with London.
At best, we are looking at a messy, bitter separation and a regional post-Brexit “cold split” between the UK and EU for decades to come.