Brexit Britain from Abroad: May Bows to the Inevitable

Britain Concedes

"I very much welcome the next move to the next phase of the Brexit trade and security talks ," said the British Prime Minister with a smile that had not been seen in recent days. The EU had given May until Sunday to make new proposals, after the humiliation she suffered Monday when the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland had torpedoed the announcement of an agreement.

But to get to that point, Theresa May had to go under the European Commission's caudine forks, not only on the divorce bill - 50 billion euros instead of the 20 she had originally accepted - but on Ireland and on the competence of the European Court of Justice (CJEU), even though the Europeans have also lost ground on this point. "The deal has required concessions from both sides, but it is in the best interest of the UK. It is fair to the British taxpayer and preserves the integrity of the UK,  " she said..

Philip Bernard, Le Monde

Breakthrough is a Declaration of Surrender

On Friday, the United Kingdom and European Union announced a “breakthrough” in their divorce proceedings. The British pound soared — and then fell seconds later, as the reality of the deal came into view.

Prime Minister Theresa May had promised to take a hard line with the EU. “No deal is a better than a bad deal,” she roared. Britain would insist on regaining control over its borders — and retaining privileged access to the European common market. It would pay no ransom to Brussels for its independence, nor outsource an ounce of sovereignty to EU bureaucrats and courts. Brexit meant Brexit — and May would ensure that that meant something good.

It now appears that staking all her political credibility on the outcome of negotiations in which she had virtually no leverage might have been a bad bet.

The deal inked Friday covers the least difficult issues in Britain’s divorce settlement. It is a collection of terms that the EU imposed on the U.K. as the price of beginning discussions over a post-Brexit trade agreement. And it strongly suggests that May has decided, on second thought, that a bad deal is actually better than no deal.

Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

Populist Promises Prove Empty

In the United States, it is too early to judge President Trump’s legacy: For now, it is bad, but it could yet prove worse. Similarly, there are gradations of bad with Brexit. It is a relief that, in the first phase of the negotiations, May’s government has chosen capitulation over confrontation; better to pay a stiff exit tax than to throw a tantrum and risk crashing out of the European Union with no deal at all. Equally, if the May government capitulates further in phase two of the negotiation, Britain could end up keeping most of the benefits of E.U. membership — but even in this rosy scenario, Britain will have paid a price for a period of deep economic uncertainty, and it will become a rule-taker rather than a rulemaker in Europe. Meanwhile, as with the Trump spectacle, there is a risk of far worse outcomes. If Britain cuts itself off from Europe’s single market and shuts its border to further immigration, a reasonably successful nation will enter a dark tunnel of avoidable decline.

Sebastian Mallaby, The Washington Post

Poisoned Congratulation of Brexit Hardliners

This Friday, something unusual happens: The Tory politician is praised. EU Council President Donald Tusk speaks explicitly of a "personal success of the Prime Minister".

Similarly, May's adversaries express themselves. For example, Michael Gove , environment minister and tough Brexit champion, attested to May's "significant personal and political success." Boris Johnson , who is said to have ambitions for Mays succession, congratulated the Prime Minister on her "determination to get the deal today."

Alone, they are poisoned congratulations.

Because Johnson immediately reminds May what he thinks is important now - "to regain control over our laws, our money, and our borders across the UK."

It's a taste of the coming months. For now, May holds office, but her days as prime minister continue to be counted on the island. The agreed upon paper does not change that either. On the contrary. Above all, the Brexit hardliners are alarmed.

Kevin Hagan and Marcus Becker, Der Spiegel

The Pound Rallies Then Dips After Brexit Deal

Sterling hit a six-month high on Friday after the UK and the EU reached agreement on the Border post-Brexit, but the currency dipped after traders digested the meat of the deal.

The optimism among traders in early morning drove the currency to a high of 86.90 pence against the euro, before it gradually slipped back to end the day at just under 88 pence.

“The deal announced in Brussels this morning significantly reduces the chances of a ‘hard Brexit’ which is good news for the UK economy, and therefore sterling,” Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said.

“It should also make it easier for the Bank of England to hike interest rates again if needed to combat inflation, and again a positive for the pound,” he said.

“But we still have to see how things play out on the Brexit front and the fallout from next week’s EU summit. Taking everything into consideration, I think sterling will hover around the 86-88p level between now and year-end,” he added.

Eoin Burke Kennedy, The Irish Times

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