It has been years since the British exit from the European Union (the Brexit) was put in motion by a tight referendum vote. It has been months-and-months of endless negotiations, failures, and unforced diplomatic errors between London and Brussels as they try to work their way through an amicable divorce. It should have all been over by now, but deadlines keep getting to extend and the process drags on. This week, another deadline was breached, and the stockpiling of goods has already begun as ordinary citizens began to anticipate a final “hard” Brexit without a trade agreement in place.
International markets were cheered this morning as the negotiators extended the deadline – yet again – in an attempt to finally get some trade agreement between the UK and Europe on the books before Britain is required to go it alone. We will see if the additional threat to commerce and stability is enough of an incentive to get the hardliners at 10 Downing Street to accede to EU deal requirements. On the other hand, the constant bending of the EU might suggest to the Johnson administration that their warnings lack credibility. Maybe we will find out this week if the EU is finally prepared to negotiate in good faith – both in terms of providing acceptable compromises but also in terms of backing up their promises to existing members.