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Brave New Britain?

Britain’s Conservative Party has fulfilled its campaign pledge to “get Brexit done.” But much remains undone – in particular, sorting out the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union.

In this Big Picture, Chris Patten, a former Conservative Party chairman and former EU commissioner for external affairs, says Britain’s post-EU future is shrouded in “waffle, wishful thinking, and […] mendacity.” Columbia University’s Willem H. Buiter, meanwhile, says the UK should brace itself for years of painful negotiations and policy implementation in order to “make the best of a bad Brexit.” 

Similarly, Princeton University’s Harold James says that, in their enthusiasm to leave the EU, the Tories seem to have forgotten what their Conservative heroine, Margaret Thatcher, always understood: an economic tradeoff is inevitable. But Daniel Gros of the Centre for European Policy Studies is more upbeat, arguing that the UK could develop a productive “special relationship” with the EU like the one it has with the United States.

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