Brexit Britain from Abroad: Despite the New Tone, No Strategy, No Progress and Suspicion

Brexit Uncertainty

According to the Office of National Statistics, business investment by British companies and local subsidiaries of multinationals was broadly unchanged in the second quarter from a year earlier, at £43.8 billion, or about $59.2 billion.

But Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, warned last month that uncertainty about the country’s relationship with the EU is weighing on business investment. The central bank says it now expects investment in the U.K. economy to be 20% lower in 2020 than what it had been forecasting before the referendum.

The British Chambers of Commerce, which represents more than 75,000 businesses in the U.K., says investment by some of its member companies has declined, especially in the service sector, the backbone of the British economy. “We see subdued business investment, across the board,” says Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC.

Nina Trentmann, Wall Street Journal

Missed Opportunities

The British are behaving as if they had all the time in the world. And yet the opposite is true. Brexit is set to become reality in March 2019. Until then, EU projects on issues running the gamut from cod fishing quotas to nuclear waste, projects that have taken decades to develop, will have to be dismantled and reassembled to reflect that the British will no longer be part of them. Thousands of laws and guidelines must be revised or rewritten. Every paragraph has the potential to cost banks, companies and service providers vast sums of money. Every bullet point could upend the lives of the more than 3 million EU citizens living in Britain and the 1.2 million Brits residing elsewhere in the EU, changing the everyday lives of students, migrant workers and retirees.

And those EU citizens are becoming increasingly impatient in demanding at least a rough timetable, so that they can make the necessary preparations. But the negotiators have been wrangling each other with bland niceties for months now. Last Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Florence to appear in a church, where she proclaimed her faith in an amicable solution. She called for more time and vaguely promised more money -- a gesture of generosity, in her view. But from the European Union's standpoint, it was just another missed opportunity.

There is little to suggest that European leaders will acknowledge, at the EU summit in mid-October that the British have made "adequate progress," the prerequisite for talks on future relations to move forward. Each passing week is making a situation more likely that both sides allegedly want to avoid: a cold break.

By Peter Müller and Jörg SchindlerDie Spiegel

No Strategy

The case has been heard. A few thousand, perhaps 20,000 jobs, will leave the City due to Brexit in the next eighteen months. But for now, the big financial institutions, which have offices in the European Union or ask for licenses to operate there, will do the bare minimum. Faced with the complete fog of what Brexit will be, no one in the City wants to rush. It would be a shame to move staff to repatriate it three years later.
At the present time, there is certainly no exodus. The real question is what will happen next. Is this the beginning of a snowball effect, or a simple marginal adjustment?
The debate is far from settled. Especially as the British financial centre quietly advances its pawns, scoring the air a few points. Initially, the City suffered two failures. The first was the vote in favor of Brexit, which it did not want (with a few exceptions). The second was the decision of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to leave the single market. This choice means the loss of the famous "passport", which allows it to sell financial products throughout the EU.
But now the demands of the financial center seem to have been heard. On Friday, September 22, Ms. May officially confirmed that she wanted a two-year transition period during which nothing would change. Having failed to bring clarity to Brexit, this gives a breath of fresh air to companies who were alarmed at the proximity of the official deadline of 30 March 2019, the date of the actual exit from the EU. This buffer period was one of the main demands of employers - remains to be seen if the EU will accept it.

Eric Albert, Le Monde

No Progress on Divorce Terms

In the document approved Thursday by the Parliamentary Conference of Presidents (Parliament's President and Political Group Leaders), it is stated that unless the fifth round of talks brings a significant step forward, the European Council should rule that they are not recorded "satisfactory progress" with regard to the three main objectives of the EU, namely to safeguard the rights of EU and UK nationals, to clarify the UK's financial commitments and to resolve the question of the border between the Republic of the United States, Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is explained by an EU Parliament press release. The proposal, drawn up by the PE Coordination Group on Brexit, will be discussed and put to the vote on Tuesday in Plenary in Strasbourg.

Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani said: "We welcome the constructive approach of Prime Minister May in his recent speech in Florence. The protection of the rights of citizens is of utmost priority for the European Parliament. The exit agreement must guarantee all the rights currently enjoyed by citizens, as laid down in the relevant EU legislation. Other additional guarantees on respect for European law until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom are crucial to ensuring a swift conclusion of the first phase of the negotiations. "

The EP Coordinator for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, added: "In his speech in Florence on September 27, the Prime Minister opened a gap to advance, for example on the role of the European Court of Justice, but we would like the British government to be We are still waiting for answers on vital issues, such as the maintenance of Northern Ireland in the Customs Union, or how to find a special agreement preventing the tightening of the border. As for citizens' rights and the financial agreement, we are awaiting concrete answers to the proposals put forward by the EU negotiating team. "

Editorial, Il Venito

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