Five points on the failed Brexit deal
- The consequences of the rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal are unpredictable even in the short-term. A hard Brexit on 29 March extending the two-year negotiation period and the UK remaining in the EU are possible options. What is certain, however, is that political and economic instability will continue in the UK, as a new general election or a second referendum are not unthinkable.
- Previous experiences suggest the British government cannot expect that the EU would agree to a Brexit deal more beneficial for London; the European Union, which has remained united so far, is now in an even better negotiating position. It is also a question whether the EU27 would agree to an extension of the two-year negotiation period, as the UK might then have to organise EP-elections as a result.
- The post-referendum chaos shows what nationalist populism can achieve. Empty anti-EU slogans were good for mobilising the electorate in the short-term, they help winning elections or referenda, but actually delivering on the promises, which even pro-Brexit politicians admitted after the Brexit vote to have been built on a lack of knowledge about the EU and lies, is an entirely different question. The UK has suffered a significant loss of prestige internationally, which comes on top of considerable political and economic damages, as a result of politics founded on elaborate slogans referring to British interests and sovereignty.
- Russian disinformation played a serious but not fundamental role in the Brexit referendum campaign. The consequences of the vote are a success for the Kremlin: a key European power openly countering Russian influence is now permanently occupied with its own internal problems and its manoeuvring space in foreign affairs appears to be shrinking as well.
- On the European level, the issues surrounding the British push to leave the bloc will presumably make Eurosceptic, net contributor member states more cautious, as they have gained first-hand experience on the risks this process involves.