Brexit Britain from Abroad: With May so Weak, EU Prepares for a Car Crash Brexit
Brexit is Getting Messy
Talks between officials from Britain and negotiators for the European Union have progressed slowly, and are now at a near-stalemate. The EU has given Britain a deadline of two weeks to agree on a figure for the so-called "divorce bill" -- the money May's government must pay into the EU budget as part of its membership obligations.
As negotiations with the EU reach the crunch point, May's government is finding itself in ever-deeper trouble over its attempts to push through the legislation that will allow leaving the EU to happen at all.
Lawmakers from all parties have put forward hundreds of amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, and debates and votes are expected to take a month. At the heart of the problem is that the lack of progress in talks between the UK and EU -- which must conclude by summer next year -- has meant that May's government has recently had to concede a new alarming reality: that the differences are so great that no deal may be done at all.
This prospect has made the many UK legislators who always feared that Brexit would be damaging to the UK even more fearful. Now they are worried that the UK will be stepping into a complete unknown with no transition deal or trade deal planned with the EU. But hardline pro-Brexiters still want the UK to leave, whatever the short-term damage. This is why the content of the Withdrawal Bill is now being even more strongly contested than it was just a few weeks ago.
Business Warning to May and Davies
Representatives of fifteen employers' organizations, including VNO-NCW, urged Theresa May to come up with concrete proposals in the coming weeks to prevent the break-up of the Brexit discussions.
On behalf of the Dutch employers, Cees Oudshoorn warned the British prime minister that four of the five Dutch companies dealing with the British do not have confidence in a good outcome. 'A cliff scenario will be disastrous for everyone, especially for the British themselves', says Oudshoorn.
The meeting, which lasted an hour, was organized in collaboration with the government by the British employers' organization. In addition to May, Brexit Minister David Davis and his colleague from Economic Affairs Greg Clarke were also present at the meeting. Time is running out because EU negotiator Michel Barnier gave the British two weeks last week to come up with proposals, particularly on the Brexit bill and the Northern Ireland issue. If no 'sufficient progress' is made, it is not yet possible to talk about a transitional period and a future trade relationship.
May Seeks Brexit Buddies
Manfred Weber stands in front of the entrance to 10 Downing Street and says friendly sentences in the television cameras. "Theresa May is aware that Brexit will be difficult and cause damage," he says. The European Parliamentary Group (EPP) leader has just spent 50 minutes in the European Parliament with the British Prime Minister. May is ready to move on to Europe, says Weber, in front of London's most famous front door. "The will is there, Theresa May wants the success of these negotiations."
What you say as a nice guest, if the conversation is pleasant, a big breakthrough but not to report.
Weber's visit to Theresa May goes back to the initiative of the British Prime Minister. May wants EU leaders to shed green light at their mid-December summit to finally start negotiations on the next phase of the Brexit talks. The phase of the EU's future relationship with the United Kingdom.
Therefore, the British currently not only ensnare the politicians in the national EU capitals . The European Parliament, a place that British politicians have so far mostly talked about with disgust and contempt, is also being targeted by the British Embrace Strategy.
The Departures Begin
After the rhetoric and the great political declarations, the concrete: following the British vote in favour of Brexit, the moves of the City towards Paris began. On Tuesday 14 November, Valérie Pécresse, the president of the Ile-de-France region, and Arnaud de Bresson, boss of Paris Europlace, the Parisian finance lobby, organised a new charm offensive in London, in the form of a seminar extolling the merits of the French capital. And among the participants, many are now very advanced in their preparations, or even already taken action.
Bertrand Gibeau, of the consulting firm Reinhold & Partners, supervised the facilities in Paris of three asset management companies, and two more are approved. "We are also in discussion with a dozen others, who have specific projects. This is not an exodus: for the moment, the departures he has supervised correspond to some forty jobs actually installed in the French capital, and a hundred more to come. But these are the first shots real penmanships given to the London financial center.
"I've already been to four ‘Brexit parties’ to celebrate the departure of people leaving London," says Clerville Investment Management's Alban de Clermont-Tonnerre.
Prepare for a Crash
It was another of those Brexit rounds in Brussels: Short, pointless and lacking in results. David Davis warbles on about great progress, Michel Barnier puts the damper on the Brexit minister’s enthusiasm. But suddenly the French diplomat awoke from his torpor: Was it true, that the UK had only two weeks left to make an offer on the Brexit bill, a journalist asked. "Yes, I think so." Finally some clarity. No money, no trade talks, such is the new reality. A turn of events which introduced a welcome bit of drama in the ongoing boredom.
Over the weekend turned the knife some more: "Everybody should prepare himself for a no-deal," he said to a French Sunday newspaper. It was not his option but a possibility. All member states and businesses should prepare themselves, and the European Union was already doing so.
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