A strong hand in Brexit negotiatio­ns

Dünya Executive - - REPORT - Sarah Hewin, chief economist, Standard Chartered

In the face of a united and determined EU, how far will the size of the British government’s majority, post-election, influence the outcome of Brexit talks? The government’s position is clear: a hard Brexit, leaving the single market and the customs union.

The European Union’s position is clear: Deal with British obligation­s first, and only when satisfied will negotiator­s discuss a framework for a free-trade agreement. Under a Conservati­ve government, the choice for Britain is between a hard Brexit and a chaotic Brexit. For some Conservati­ve members, the World Trade Organizati­on’s option is preferred; their voices become more muted if the Conservati­ves win with a larger majority. But the challenge in agreeing on Britain’s financial obligation­s and the rights of EU citizens in Britain (and) should not be underestim­ated. EU leaders also have an eye on upcoming elections in Austria and Italy, where anti-EU parties could gain enough support to lead government­s in each country, while French President Emmanuel Macron needs to neuter the threat from the National Front during his next five years in office. The message will be that leaving the EU is difficult and damaging.

(May 30)

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