Publications 2017

How Europe sees Brexit

24 January 2017
Andrew Duff (Visiting Fellow at the European Policy Centre and President of the Spinelli Group; former MEP)

Theresa May’s speech at Lancaster House on 17 January served to enlighten the rest of Europe about the kind of strategic partner they can expect Britain to be once it has left the EU. In this Discussion Paper, Andrew Duff examines how her speech was received in the rest of Europe, particularly in Berlin, and how her statements have impacted the Union’s view on Brexit. Despite the many ambiguities and provocations, what is clear now is that Brexit truly means Brexit, and there were some important clues about what in the Brexit negotiations will be really difficult issues to resolve. And even though the EU institutions are increasingly well-prepared for the technical aspects of that process, they are still ill-prepared for the big strategic decisions they now face about how to treat the UK as an ex-member state over the longer term. It is therefore high time that the smaller European Union has a deep reflection about whether Brexit is to leave it weaker or, conversely, stronger.

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