Five points on the failed Brexit deal

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.