Real Instituto Elcano
La Unión Europea pasa la página del Brexit
Federico Steinberg

Leaving Brexit behind

Federico Steinberg, principal researcher at the Real Instituto Elcano and professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, analyzes in this article the final agreement reached by the European Union and the United Kingdom as well as some of its future implications.

Starting from the premise that the Brexit is a historic mistake, which most British people will regret and with long-term negative economic consequences, especially for the United Kingdom (UK), Federico Steinberg finds positive aspects for the European Union (EU) after the completion of the UK exit agreement:

  • Leaving Brexit behind: The end of this tough negotiation will allow the EU to focus on other relevant issues such as “to find its place in a world of giants".
  • A minimum agreement that can continue to be completed in the future: The minimum agreement reached does not eliminate uncertainty and can be considered a hard Brexit with restrictions on mobility, but will allow "to build a more intense economic relationship in the future, while facilitating to sustain cooperation in security and defense.”
  • No contagion from the Brexit effect towards other EU countries: In his opinion the consequences of Brexit and its increased sovereignty, which is questioned by the author due among other factors to the doubts about the future of Scotland or Northern Ireland in the UK will make it unattractive to disengage from the EU in the future.
  • Strength and cohesion of the EU during the negotiation: This has allowed the EU to obtain almost everything it wanted, both in the exit agreement and in the future relationship. 
  • The approval of the European recovery plan: In his own words "an unprecedented exercise in solidarity that the British would surely have vetoed".

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