Sunday 24 September 2017

Brexit may be a nightmare but it can act as a wake-up call for us

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble at the CDU party convention in Essen yesterday. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble at the CDU party convention in Essen yesterday. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

It is now almost six months since our neighbours voted to leave the EU. What exactly that will mean - for Ireland, Britain and the rest of Europe - remains unclear. It is unclear largely because the British government has not decided what kind of relationship it wants with the EU, or what relationship it believes is achievable.

That, in turn, is because the scale of the actions and measures needed to leave Europe's sort-of federal system of government is immense. Just mapping out everything that needs to be done, the trade-offs that will be required and how to prioritise and sequence the steps is a giant task. That is what Whitehall's mandarins are now spending their days and long nights attempting to do.

Anyone who believed that Brexit could happen easily or that it wouldn't matter much has surely been disabused of those notions by now. As ever more research and analysis of the consequences pours forth, the sheer complexity of implementing Brexit becomes more obvious.

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