Will Brexit be delayed?

It could be another three years before the UK actually leaves the EU, representatives from Britain's political and business circles believe. Commentators fear this long goodbye will be counterproductive.

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Contributors (RO) /

Britain must leave the EU quickly

The EU should pressure London to stop dithering and get on with the Brexit, political scientist Valentin Naumescu urges in the blog portal Contributors.

“Britain's political behaviour vis-à-vis the EU has become unbearable. After the referendum on June 23 things should have been cleared up and decisions taken - at least at the political leadership level. ... If the Brexit is managed responsibly by the EU no more countries will be infected. On the contrary: the process would deter other countries from following suit, particularly those with economies weaker than the UK's. Britain must leave the EU as quickly as possible without setting any conditions. ... Any delay could further weaken the EU, which is already vulnerable as a result of the various crises.”

Protagon.gr (GR) /

Market bracing itself for Brexit

It may take a long time for the Brexit negotiations to start but the market is already preparing for Britain's exit from the EU, the web portal Protagon observes:

“The US hedge fund Marathon has upped its real estate investments in Ireland, the Netherlands, France and Germany because it assumes that these countries will benefit from the departure of large firms from the City of London in the coming years. The fund's CEO said in the Financial Times that many jobs in the banking sector will move to Frankfurt and Paris, as EU rules will require them to be located within the EU when serving EU clients. The funds took a wait-and-see attitude before the referendum given the closeness of the polls, but they have now become more aggressive. Other investors predict that the pound will decline even further in the near future.”

Politiken (DK) /

Brexit must not be further delayed

Merkel, Hollande and Renzi failed to deliver any clear statements about the consequences of the Brexit vote after their meeting on Tuesday, Politiken criticises:

“The EU is not an all-encompassing response to either Britain's problems or to those of the rest of the EU. Nevertheless the problems the world faces call for international cooperation. The refugee crisis, the climate crisis, the growth crisis. Presumably with this in mind Theresa May is trying to delay the Brexit. ... However if the British refuse to face the consequences of their decision soon, the EU must lend a helping hand here. This message could have been sent by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Mitterand at their meeting with their Italian colleague Matteo Renzi on the symbolic island Ventotene. ... But the question of how and when the Brexit will take place continues to hover unanswered over the turbulent Mediterranean.”

The Independent (GB) /

Economic damage just a matter of time

The British Eurosceptics who point out jubilantly that the horror scenarios that were predicted in the event of Brexit have failed to materialise are counting their chickens before they hatch, economist Simon Wren-Lewis warns in The Independent:

“The real damage that Brexit will do is medium/long term, and results from the straightforward fact that making it more difficult to trade with our immediate neighbours will harm growth. How much harm varies depending on the type of Brexit (which is still to be determined) and which study you look at, but in most cases the impact is large and permanent, and we will not know exactly how large for years. Economists also said there would be noticeable short term disruption caused by uncertainty about the exact nature of Brexit, but how large that short term impact would be is very difficult to estimate, and it was of secondary importance compared to the longer term costs.”

The Guardian (GB) /

London must show its support for Europe

The British government will only succeed in the Brexit negotiations if it presents itself as more pro-European than ever before, The Guardian observes:

“But the pitch in Brussels, Berlin, Paris and Warsaw must aspire to more than tariff elimination. It must include promises to engage with continental challenges: Isis-inspired terrorism, Russian territorial expansion, energy security. The question is not whether we can cobble together a thin facsimile of EU membership but how the UK can be an upstanding friend and neighbour to the EU after we leave. That is the terrain on which the best deal is struck. ... Leaving the EU will involve diplomacy as ardently and explicitly pro-European as that required for joining in the first place.”

The Times (GB) /

Costly Brexit bureaucracy will incense Brits

Britain's new government is now putting together a Brexit bureaucracy that will cost taxpayers billions of pounds and that will be particularly upsetting for the very people who voted for Brexit, The Times comments.

“The Brexiteers, who railed against the over-powerful Brussels machine, now find themselves presiding over a sprawling Brexit bureaucracy that will cost billions and further alienate voters. ... A whole Brexit industry is springing up, with Whitehall ready to pay up to £5,000 a day for lawyers and £1,000 for management consultants. Insiders estimate that the additional salaries alone will amount to at least £5 billion over the next decade. ... That’s not going to go down well with the 'left behind' voters who backed Brexit because they were so angry about a perceived wealthy elite.”

Die Welt (DE) /

England is not lost yet

It is by no means clear yet that Brexit will be disastrous for the UK, as supporters of the Remain camp claim, Die Welt points out:

“The majority of those involved in the debate see their country facing a gloomy fate. … Such doomsday scenarios come easily but they run counter to the indicators in Britain's present and past. … In the past England has often changed course on its own initiative and calmly faced the risks. … The deeply disappointed Remain camp refuses to listen to historical analogies and insists on predicting the downfall of its own country. History, we hope, will prove them wrong, even if great uncertainty weighs heavily on the present. England is not a lost cause yet.”

The Independent (GB) /

Brexit ministers not delivering

The three British cabinet ministers responsible for the Brexit - all of them Eurosceptics - have delivered little so far in terms of putting the exit procedure into practice, complains The Independent:

“So there is much work to be done, and it needs leadership. ... Thus far, there seems remarkably little progress towards defining the new future for the British economy. Apart from a little diplomatic wandering by ministers, there seems little productive activity in what should be a vital period - just a few months away from the expected activation of Article 50. ... More than that, we are yet to see how the magic trick of keeping access to the single market while restricting EU migration is to be pulled off. Brexit, never an appetising project, is off to a dispiriting start.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Talks reveal Brussels' weakness

The Brexit talks are not really getting off the ground and they also come at a bad time, sighs the daily La Stampa.

“The Brexit is revealing the institutional limits of the EU in an emergency situation. Berlin and other capitals have made it very clear that in the talks with the UK the Council (in other words the national governments) has precedence over the Commission. ... Europe continues to curl itself up into a ball while a new government is forming in the US, Putin's Russia continues to stir up trouble for the world, the Middle East is burning, Africa is growing, and China, India and the Pacific are drifting between prosperity and tensions. Why did the Brexit vote have to come now? Historians are going to have a hard time explaining this to future generations.”