European Perspectives: Brexit or the march of folly?

European Perspectives: Brexit or the march of folly?

What impact could Brexit have on business - and what impact is it having already? Dr Stefan Schepers discusses in our latest European Perspectives.

The decision to leave the EU was a democratic choice, though questions may arise about the means by which the choice was brought about. The negotiation process to transform this choice into a legally clear and secure treaty between the EU and the UK is another matter. It could have been an orderly and well-planned process; instead, a last-minute deal has resulted in a so-called Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that is all but clear and secure.

Over the years since the referendum, the British Government spectacularly misjudged the coherence of the remaining members of the EU, simply because for them the rule of law and the integrity of the single market on which their economies depend was an absolute priority. The British negotiation approach focused more on tactical manoeuvres than on substantial proposals, and it failed. Add to that the deliberate poisoning of the negotiation atmosphere and undermining of trust, and this is what business gets now: a treaty with strong asymmetry and a high degree of uncertainty; on top of that an unstable framework, because it can be revised in five years, potentially coinciding with the next election in the UK. Investment planners will surely notice the political risks.

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