The Brexit Withdrawal Bill agreed between negotiators from the United Kingdom and European Union has not gone down well with Theresa May’s cabinet.
Following a number of high-profile resignations and numerous no confidence votes, the UK Prime Minister is hanging on to leadership of her party by a thread.
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- December 10, 2018
The reaction to the agreement in the UK has been largely negative, but how has the rest of the world responded to the recent progression in Brexit negotiations?
On the continent
Across Europe, the reaction to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement appears to be much the same: any deal is better than no deal. However, the current deal on the table offers no excuse to relax.
In France, particularly where business is concerned, any deal is viewed as better than no deal.
France’s Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire has responded to the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by claiming that it is “good news for the French economy” and “good news for all French companies”.
However, French newspaper Courrier International has played down the significance of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, describing it as just the “end of the beginning”.
French citizens currently living in the UK are seemingly more concerned. According to Les Echos, one in ten are considering leaving the UK to return to France due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Like much of the world, German businesses are reportedly happy to have avoided a no deal Brexit. The EU has been praised for securing a deal that is far from the ‘hard Brexit’ that many envisioned.
However, a poll of business leaders and economists, conducted by German television company Welt following the announcement of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, found that many aren’t convinced by the document, with fears that negotiations are far from over.
Joachim Lang, Chief Executive of the Federation of German Industries, has warned German businesses to continue to prepare for the worst, due to the demand in the UK for amendments to the current agreement.
“There is no all-clear, and for relief it is too early,” said Lang. “The situation in the United Kingdom is worrying.”
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Despite talk of Italy staging its own EU referendum earlier this year, former Prime Minister Enrico Letta has warned that the chaos unfolding in the UK could damage Italy and other “unstable” European countries, due to the reaction of the European markets.
“Frankly speaking, I am scared of an unstable storm, a complicated situation from abroad that can bring instability to the markets and then to Italy too.
“I am afraid and concerned about a collapse, a ‘no deal’.”
According to a recent study published by banking firm ING, the economies of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are particularly likely to be hit by Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
That is reflected in the reaction of the Poland press towards the latest developments.
Warsaw-based newspaper has described Brexit as “the consequences of irresponsible politics”. Today, “dark clouds hang over the country” in Britain”, the paper states.
As a territory of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar will also be leaving the EU in March. However, unlike May’s government, those in charge of the island have shown more support of the Brexit deal.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has said that it would be “very bad indeed” for the agreement to be thrown out by MPs when it is voted on in the House of Commons.
Fearing a no-deal Brexit, Picardo said:
“It is important that an agreement is reached because for Gibraltar the alternate no deal is not as good as what is potentially on the table.
“Anyone who genuinely cares for Gibraltar will want to see a deal as important as this for Gibraltar to prosper.”
Across the pond
While Brexit may not have a direct impact on North America’s economies, close ties between the UK, the United States and Canada means that there will likely be some impact.
The United States has its own problems to deal with. However, given the comments made by President of the United States Donald Trump earlier this year suggesting that “Brexit is a good thing”, the events of this week haven’t gone unnoticed.
Notably, The Atlantic have been quick to pick up on Trump’s lack of opinion on the matter.
“The president encouraged Britain to leave the EU – but now that things are falling apart, he’s abdicating his responsibility to help,” the American magazine states.
Trump-bashing aside, the report notes that Britain’s decision will likely be viewed negatively by US powers. The UK has long been relied on to veto EU actions that were unfavourable for the US. However, Britain will lose its right to vote on EU issues following the March deadline.
News out of Canada seems to be less critical of the UK’s decision.
Unlike Trump, Canada’s conservative leader has been vocal in his support of Brexit, despite the current disruption. Going against what seems to be the most popular opinion, Andrew Scheer, head of Canada’s Conservative party, has offered May some much-needed support.
“I do believe that the UK over the years has given up a tremendous amount of sovereignty.
“There is a difference between influence and direct control,” Scheer said. “I don’t think that if Justin Trudeau came back from the NAFTA negotiations with a new clause — ‘Oh, by the way, there’s going to be a new legislature that Americans will send members to that will pass laws that will bind Canada’ — I don’t believe Canada would ever go for that.”