Sunday 15 July 2018

Leo must prevent Merkel from pushing Theresa May off a cliff

A hard Brexit forced on the UK would inexorably lead to ruin for Ireland, and would also prove a disaster for the EU itself

EVERYTHING TO PLAY FOR: Leo Varadkar and Theresa May in Downing Street. Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga
EVERYTHING TO PLAY FOR: Leo Varadkar and Theresa May in Downing Street. Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga

Ed Brophy

Don't be fooled by appearances. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron's conciliatory words and smiles for Theresa May count for nothing.

Since the UK prime minister made the fateful decision to trigger Article 50 and set the clock running towards a fixed departure in March 2019, Britain's national humiliation has been inevitable - as there are in reality only two possible outcomes from the Brexit negotiations in the time that remains. Either Britain accepts the EU's terms, more or less in their entirety or, unable to stomach that, it stumbles into the other, catastrophic humiliation of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Former EU commissioner Pascal Lamy captured Mrs May's dilemma starkly during the week: "It is not a negotiation. It is a process to be managed to minimise harm. The truth is there is nothing to discuss...  the only question is how much do you owe."

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