Culture notes: the EU and Britain can still be friends

After the heartbreak of Brexit, a jilted Europe better understands why it happened and is eyeing up Britain once again, writes Catherine Fieschi.

The World Today Published 2 December 2022 Updated 23 January 2023 3 minute READ

Catherine Fieschi

Director, Counterpoint

At the height of the Liz Truss turmoil an Italian friend of mine joked that the Brits were guilty of cultural appropriation. Changing prime ministers on a monthly basis, ministerial haemorrhaging, whiplash-inducing headlines and plummeting currency rates were Italy’s domain, she said, not Britain’s. 

Europeans have watched, bemused, since 2016 as the UK has sought to manage a challenging political transition by behaving in increasingly mercurial ways. The twin desires to ‘get things done’ – Brexit, trade deals, leadership contests – and to ‘take back control’ ran up against stunningly complex crises as well as entirely predictable problems, leading the Brits to act in a decidedly un-British way.

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