London turning its back on customs union

Theresa May has ruled out any form of customs union with the EU in the run-up to the next round of Brexit negotiations. Commentators see this hard stance as the result of domestic pressure on the prime minister and fear Britain's hopes for economic success after leaving the Union will be dashed.

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The Guardian (GB) /

Britain can't manage on its own

It's naive to believe that the British economy will grow faster after it leaves the customs union, The Guardian warns:

“The idea that unshackling Britain from a protectionist EU represents a miracle cure for the economy is wrongheaded. The key to exporting more is not an array of trade deals - always assuming they are possible - but having products and services that overseas customers want at a price they are prepared to pay. So much is obvious from the UK's own trade performance for the latest full year, 2016, when a deficit of £135bn in goods was partly offset by a surplus of £95bn in services. That's despite the fact that trade liberalisation is far more advanced for goods than it is for services.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

Why May has become unpredictable

Theresa May is under such pressure at home that she's becoming increasingly unpredictable in the Brexit negotiations, 24 Chasa warns:

“May is like a clumsy couch potato who suddenly decides to become a tightrope walker. The Brexit hardliners are putting her under so much pressure to stand firm in negotiations with the EU that hardly a week goes by without her being attacked as a weak prime minister whose days in office are numbered. ... May, in turn, has decided that she is ready for compromise so as to stay in power for as long as possible. That goal influences her behaviour to such an extent that it's impossible to say what direction she'll take next in the negotiations.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Prime minister in a tight spot

The British prime minister is in a difficult phase, El Mundo fears:

“Accosted by the left and right, May is in a weak position particularly owing to the unrelenting pressure of the advocates of a hard Brexit, led by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Now that 29 March 2019 has been announced as the date of the definitive rupture a Downing Street spokesman has reiterated the British government's intention of abandoning the customs union and introducing immediate controls on European immigration, despite May herself having made insinuations to the contrary. This deep division within the leadership could now complicate negotiations that are crucial for European and British citizens.”