Brexit Britain from Abroad: Divided, Weak With an Increasingly Struggling Economy

Second Lunch, Second Leak

Theresa May seemed anxious to the President of the Commission, despondent and discouraged. A woman who hardly dares anybody but is not ready for an act of liberation. May’s facial expressions spoke volumes. Juncker later described it to his colleagues. Everyone can see this: the Prime Minister is tired from the struggle with her own party. Under her eyes she has deep rings. She looks like someone who does not sleep at night. Laughing you can see them only rarely, clearly, for the photographers it must be. But it looks tormented. Previously, May could literally pour out laughter, her whole body then vibrated. Now she brings out the utmost force to avoid losing her temper.

At the last minute, May asked Juncker for the appointment. Before that, she telephoned Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron. "Charm offensive" is a common phrase, but that does not fit here. They were calls for help. May knew that the heads of state and government were not ready to certify "sufficient progress" in the negotiations at the end of the week. This blocked the way to the second phase of the negotiations, where the future should be. The Prime Minister wanted at least to pave the way for a move: could the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier not be given a mandate for talks about the transitional phase after her departure?

Thomas, Gutschker, Frankfurter Allgemaine

Toyota Warns Brexiters

Didier Leroy, executive vice-president of the company, worried that the impossibility of ensuring access to the European market could push the company to reconsider the future of the Burnaston plant.

"Today, this plant exports 80 to 85% of its production to the European continent, so if we move towards any form of import tax, commercial tax or any form of additional penalty, this will create a negative impact very important for its competitiveness," he told the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday.

Gabriel Nedelec, Les Echos

Brexit Spat Reveals Deep Divisions

The letter is as British as it gets: polite, polished and understated.

Written by a senior Conservative Party lawmaker, Christopher Heaton-Harris, and sent to British universities, it asked officials to reveal the names of professors involved in teaching students about Europe, including Britain’s decision last year to leave the European Union, a process known as Brexit.

“Furthermore,” the missive read, “if I could be provided with a copy of the syllabus and links to the online lectures which relate to this area I would be much obliged.”

Despite its apparently mild tone, the letter has provoked a national debate on freedom of speech in universities and whether the country is being subjected to political censorship in a British version of McCarthyism.

Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura, The New York Times

Brexit Fear and Loathing

Chris Patten, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University and former Conservative Party Chairman, did not seem convinced and spoke of the "extraordinary example of outrageous and moronic conduct, silly and shocking Leninism" . More than 80% of academics voted in favor of keeping the UK in the EU, according to a recent YouGov poll. And the academic world is increasingly concerned about the impact of Brexit on research and graduate studies. Twenty-two vice chancellors from British universities but also European ones launched on Wednesday an appeal to the British government."We are now entering the period in which universities need to finalize their research, collaboration and student exchange programs for 2019. We are in urgent need of clarity," said Professor Janet. Beer, president of British universities.

More than sixteen months after the Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom remains decidedly divided. Only one million votes separated the two camps. Of a total of 46.5 million voters, 16.1 million voted for "Remain" , 17.4 million chose the "Leave" . Since then, a rhetoric with worrying historical hints, has emerged regularly. Judges have been compared to "enemies of the people" , supporters of Remain to "saboteurs" by the Daily Mail. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has questioned the professionalism of The Economist or Financial Times journalists. As for the experts, especially academics, they were judged by several Brexiters MPs as totally "useless" .

Sonia Delesalle-Stolper, Liberation

Brexit Continues to Weigh on the UK Economy

In September, British inflation was close to 3% - the highest for five years - and this rise in prices is penalising growth. According to official figures released Wednesday, October 25, the UK economy grew 0.4% in the third quarter, after 0.3% in the first and second quarters. "It's better than expected, but it's disappointing: the UK standard is 0.6%," said Dan Hanson, country economist at Bloomberg Intelligence. "At this rate, growth should be around 1.5% for 2017,"adds Raj Badiani, IHS Markit. Far less than the 2.1% expected in the euro area by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In its latest forecast, the Washington institution is rather worried about the British economy: according to her, growth should hardly exceed 1.5% in 2018. More pessimistic, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects only 1%. "  Brexit is causing serious uncertainties that could stifle growth for years to come," warned José Angel Gurria, its secretary general, on 17 October.

Marier Charrel, Le Monde

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