Brexit: Britain and the Continent fighting the battle of Waterloo again

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan. Official reception in Tokyo. Picture taken on 31 August 2017. UK Government work, some rights reserved.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May is amidst an agonizing effort to put together a decent package of trade deals or at least initial and relevant MOUs for the after Brexit era. The obvious reason for that is to convince the Brits and the Parliament that her country will survive after March 2019, in case a favorable agreement with the European Union is not struck. It seems however, that she cannot even present traces of tangible options about a rapprochement with major world trade powers.

As things stand now, Britain will be in thin air after Brexit, as far as foreign trade is concerned. That’s why the British Government is actually proposing to Brussels, at least indirectly, to establish a no-change interim period after March 2019. During this time, which may last four years, Britain will continue being a part of EU’s customs union and internal market, exactly as it is today. But let’s take one thing at a time.

Looking eastwards

Last week, Theresa May went to Japan to seek a favorable statement about future trade relations of the two countries. She was looking for at least a positive statement about a potential free trade deal, at least like the unsubstantiated one the US President Donald Trump is liberally and verbally offering to Brexiteers. Alas, the Japanese are very reserved people and don’t make inane offers. On top of that, the core basis of their country’s economic success and wealth is free trade and progressing globalization, a policy line the Brexiteers have fought to win the Brexit vote.

Unfortunately for May, the leaders of the Japanese industrial and financial business conglomerates know very well that the Brexiteers are fervently opposing globalization. They also know that along those populist policy lines May’s colleagues now strive to abandon the EU the hard way. All this means that Britain under May cannot be a reliable partner in a free trade deal. Also, not to forget, the main Japanese industrial and financial groups have heavily invested in Britain aiming at the entire EU market. The UK market alone doesn’t mean much for the Japanese giants.

Alarmed Japanese

For this reason, Tokyo is alarmed with the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union in a way which will threaten the Japanese fixed investments in key sectors like industry and finance. No wonder then why May didn’t manage to bring anything positive back from Tokyo. On the contrary, the British delegation was officially informed that there cannot be any discussion about future trade relations between the two countries, before the terms of the Brexit are known in details. Tokyo doesn’t mind much about a trade agreement with the UK, but cares immensely about economic relations with the EU and of course is concerned about the future position of the UK in Europe. Japanese officials must have not stated it clearly, but reportedly they told their British interlocutors that Tokyo prefers the softest possible Brexit, as the best guarantee for their country’s interests in the Old Continent, including Britain.

Japan is the third largest economy of the world and is prospering on free trade and globalization, that May and her colleagues are opposing or at least can’t really influence in general. This blatant reality ruins every effort by London to find willing future trade partners in East Asia or elsewhere in the world. Even Canada and Australia, two countries heavily depending on exports, which belong to the British Commonwealth under the English Sovereign, will think twice before talking to May about globalization and free trade. They already have had hard times with the populist protectionism of Donald Trump, and May can emerge as free trade advocate only as a female harlequin.

Relying on Trump or the EU?

As for a possible generous trade deal with the US, London has already understood two things. Firstly, what Trump says about Britain favoring Brexit and accusing the EU of protectionism, if anything, do not necessarily produce tangible gains for the UK. Secondly, a closer relation with the US under Trump is far from constituting a trusty substitute to the EU and a reliable future trade partner. Even if London didn’t have any geopolitical problems concluding trade agreements with many countries in the next few months, the technical side of the task would prove impossible. It is humanly impossible to substitute the 40 or so EU foreign trade agreements the UK in now a part of, as a member of the club.

So, according to a Reuters’s sources in the newly instituted foreign trade ministry, the Department for International Trade, the only solution is to ‘copy paste’ the agreements the EU has signed as a block during the past decades. In this way, the UK practically extends its the present relation with the EU, an option which gradually appears as Britain’s only viable solution. The European Sting reported and commented on this prospect as the only way out the London government is currently contemplating. However, during the next months there has to be a lot of ‘political digesting’ towards this direction.

A soft Brexit

Yet, the UK in order to preserve its full participation in EU’s customs union, has to accept terms and conditions very similar to full membership. It remains to be seen though if Berlin and Paris will not grab the opportunity to humiliate and punish the UK and exploit London’s difficult position. In reality, fifteen months after the Brexit vote, nothing is clear or starting to be clarified.

In the end, 10 Downing Street, under May, or whoever succeeds her in this ‘electric chair’, may have to convince the Brits and the Parliament that there is no other solution for London than full capitulation to Brussels. Historically, this can practically reverse the results of the game changer Battle of Waterloo, at the beautiful suburb of Brussels. This time the Prussians have already taken positions in the field.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

ECB’s €1.14 trillion again unifies Eurozone; Germany approves sovereign debt risks to be pooled

Human trafficking, slavery reports and health of migrants in Libya

Exchanges of medical students and the true understanding of global health issues

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

Climate change is speeding up. Our response needs to be even faster

ECB guarantees the liquidity of the Atlantic financial volume

Poorer countries set to be ‘increasingly dependent’ on food imports, says UN food agency report

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

Who may profit from the rise of the extreme right in the West?

Brexit mission impossible: Theresa May was so desperate that had to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

UN gender agency hails record-breaking number of women in new US Congress as ‘historic victory’

Global spotlight on world drug problem ‘is personal’ for many families, says UN chief

Eurozone’s central bank leadership prepares for shoddier prospects

ILO and EIB join forces for more and better quality employment

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

European Parliament speaks out against “killer robots”

European financial values on the rise

OECD Donor countries need to reform development finance to meet 2030 pledge

Businesses can lead a revolution in disability inclusion

Syria: Civilians bear brunt of unilateral sanctions, exacerbating ‘unparalleled suffering, destruction,’ says UN expert

‘Massive and protracted’ humanitarian crisis in DR Congo can be ‘beaten back’ if donors step up

Denmark plans ‘Silicon Valley’ on 9 artificial islands off Copenhagen

African migration: what the numbers really tell us

Oleg Sentsov awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize

Ukraine: Temperatures plunge amid rising humanitarian needs

Apple’s tax avoidance scheme remains as creative as their new iPhone

Climate change recognized as ‘threat multiplier’, UN Security Council debates its impact on peace

An all-out fight for the EU budget

Continue ‘their mission’ urges UN chief, as the victims of the Baghdad bombing are remembered, 15 years on

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Europe provides financial support to African countries while Turkey denies to change terrorism laws jeopardising the EU deal

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

Brexit: reciprocal visa-free access for EU and UK nationals

Attack on UN compound in Somalia may be ‘violation of international humanitarian law’

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

Is your business model fit for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

Greece leaves EU aid program, gets last 15 billion euro

EU joint response to disasters: deal reached with Council

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

Where do Americans stand on immigration? They’re not as divided as you might think

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

First-ever World Braille Day underscores importance of written language for human rights

Dealing with stress among healthcare professionals: are we missing the elephant in the room?

Yemen: Security Council backs new mission in support of key port city truce

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

UN chief hails ‘very important role’ of Human Rights Council, as US withdraws, citing alleged bias

‘Collective endeavour’ needed to strengthen peacekeeping further, says top UN official

US must abide by humanitarian refugee accords: UN refugee agency

Can the Americans alone determine the future of Syria?

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

An FTA between EU-US to hurt South Korea

The future of science could be in your gut. Here’s why

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s