Europe’s wicked problem

Quentin Peel looks at a series of essays on the effects of UK withdrawal

The World Today Updated 18 November 2020 Published 31 March 2018 3 minute READ

Quentin Peel

Former Associate Fellow, Europe Programme

Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe

Edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger, UCL Press, hardback £35, paperback £15, or as a free PDF

Across the European continent, the Brexit process is being watched with a mixture of confusion and consternation. The referendum decision of June 2016 to quit the European Union not only astonished the British political establishment, along with much of the business community, pollsters and political scientists, it also baffled most of the country’s foreign partners and investors.

Apart from amazement at the decision itself, widely seen in Europe’s capitals as a deeply regrettable act of national self-harm, the subsequent British negotiating tactics in Brussels are also regarded with bewilderment.

The lack of a clear UK government vision of the long-term relationship they want has left their EU partners frustrated.

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