Brexit Britain from Abroad: General Election Landslide or Not, an Easy Brexit is an Illusion

Brexit Car Crash

Prime Minister May’s surprise announcement of a snap General Election to be held on June 8 seems to have led some people up the garden path. According to the Financial Times, market analysts interpreted the announcement as meaning the chances of the UK leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation terms – a so-called “hard Brexit” – were reduced. The pound rallied shortly after her announcement, and gilt yields rose, both indicating greater optimism about the future.

I suppose when you are caught in a raging torrent, any passing straw looks like a lifeline. But their hope is fatally misplaced. The election will make no difference at all. Come what may, the UK is headed for a hard Brexit, with potentially dire consequences for its important finance industry.

Frances Coppola, Forbes

EU Harden Stance

The European Union has hardened its position on Brexit talks ahead of a key summit, making new demands on financial services, immigration and Britain's exit bill.

The leaders of the other 27 countries will stress that Britain will be liable for costs for at least a year after it leaves in 2019, according to the draft negotiating guidelines seen by AFP.

They insist that Britain's huge finance industry must also stick to EU rules if it wants easy access to European Union markets.

And Britain should give EU citizens permanent residency after living there for five years, they say, in a challenge for the British government which has vowed to limit immigration.

European diplomats agreed the changes yesterday at a meeting with the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, ahead of Saturday's Brussels summit where EU leaders will approve "red lines" for two years of tough negotiations.



Merkel Warns: No Cherry-Picking

Britain's vote in favor of Brexit may have saddened many German politicians, but the mourning period is over. Now, it's time to get down to the business of negotiations, which will pick up steam after the UK's general election on June 8. Both sides will have to prepare themselves as best they can for the wrangling over the conditions of the divorce, to be completed within a two-year time limit. The remaining 27 EU countries are holding a special summit on Saturday to agree on guidelines for the exit negotiations, and present a united front, as Merkel has underscored.

Anyone who listened to her remarks in parliament today already knows how things are going to go: There will be no cherry picking for Theresa May. Should the British prime minister be planning to step back from the UK's long-term financial commitments to the EU, she will have to think again. Merkel also let it be known that May will not be permitted to leave the hot-button issues until the very end of the negotiations. Merkel directly addressed any Britons who are convinced that they will enjoy the same rights after Brexit that they have now. That's an illusion, and a waste of time, the chancellor said. Her choice of words gives us a taste of how she is likely to approach the upcoming negotiations.

Nina Werkhäuser, Detsche Welle

Unpromising Negotiations

The European Commission has made it clear these freedoms are indivisible and Britain's Prime Minister has made it equally clear that she will not compromise on Britain's desire to recover complete control of its borders. Though she did not vote to leave in the referendum, she subsequently won the party leadership with convincing respect for the referendum result and her resolve has only hardened since then. To the dismay of many Britons who do business with Europe, she has declared, "no deal is better than a bad deal", a "bad" deal being one that may be accused of compromising Britain's sovereignty in any sense.

The great irony of this popular concern for sovereignty is that the Government's first step towards Brexit has been a piece of legislation importing EU law wholesale into British law. All the European Court's rulings on labour and human rights and the petty regulations that have offended so many, will continue to apply in the UK after its exit and none of the leave campaigners seem to mind.

The Prime Minister has called the election on the pretext that Parliament is not giving her unqualified support on Brexit and thereby damaging her chances of getting the deal she seeks. But there is room for debate on the approach she is taking to negotiations and voters deserve to hear alternatives. It would be a pity if an opportunistic, one-sided election forecloses the options for an exit deal that will shape Britain's future.

Editorial, NZ Herald

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