At long last, the EU and the UK agreed on a Brexit deal just before Christmas. After months of negotiations, white smoke emerged on 24 December, as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that their negotiators had reached a historic agreement. Most importantly, this meant that a no-deal scenario, which would have dramatic consequences for the UK and EU economies, had been avoided. But is that enough to make it a good agreement for Liberals on both sides of the Channel?
Yet another Brexit deadline was missed last week, as EU and UK negotiators failed to reach an agreement before the European Council summit in Brussels. Political leaders from both sides put the blame on each other, but, as always, negotiations continue. For a deal to be reached before end of the year, major concessions are needed now. But the question is: who blinks first?
As Brexit discussions move into the final stretch, the Liberal Democrats held their first-ever online party conference last weekend. Although uncertainties about the UK’s future relationship with the EU remain, the Lib Dems made the first steps to define their post-Brexit agenda.
Failure of the negotiations becoming more likely
The ship has sailed. This sentence probably best describes the general interest in Brexit and the state of the British opposition. Yet the important decisions are being made only now.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the landmark House of Commons elections last December and led his country out of the European Union on 31st January. Since then, the Brexit is no longer a spectre of political debate, but a fact.
The general interest in the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has waned noticeably on both sides of the English Channel. This is all the more true since the coronavirus pandemic has swept across Europe and its catastrophic consequences have overshadowed other events.
Brexit is on its way, but the exciting part comes later
The word Brexit has almost become a synonym. For the last almost three years it seemingly stood for all sorts of things: for tough and fruitless negotiations; for the waste of precious work time of politicians, officials and journalists; for parliamentary drama and political navel-gazing; and for ever new extensions with uncertain outcomes. Now, however, the word will return to describe what it originally meant: the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. After more than 47 years, its membership in the institutions of the European Community ended.