Donald Tusk and Theresa May Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Brexit to Nowhere?

The new political uncertainty in the UK since the June 8 snap election will not make the ongoing Brexit talks any easier. The EU must now negotiate with a severely weakened counterpart, while bearing in mind that the UK will still be important to Europe even after it leaves.

BERLIN – Politics brings out strong emotions in everyone. Even the British, despite their reputation for pursuing their interests in a cool and calm fashion, apparently are not immune. Perhaps that reputation is merely a holdover from the long-gone British Empire. It surely does not apply to the United Kingdom of 2017.

Consider the political decisions Britons have made over the past year. Last June, they decided – albeit narrowly – to withdraw from the European Union. And in last month’s snap general election, they delivered an outcome that only reinforces the impression that British pragmatism is in retreat.

The election – in which the Conservative Party lost its majority, resulting in a hung parliament – suggests how far removed from the rest of the country the political class in Westminster has become. Indeed, the UK appears to be undergoing not just a political and identity crisis, but also a crisis of confidence in its political and economic elites, which began with the 2008 global financial crisis.