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Fake Brexit or No Brexit

If a hard Brexit is economically unacceptable to British business and Parliament, a soft Brexit is politically unacceptable to EU leaders, and a fake Brexit is unacceptable to almost everyone, just one alternative remains: no Brexit. That would mean revoking Britain’s withdrawal notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

LONDON – Since last year’s Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom has been likened to a suicide who jumps off a 100-storey building and, as he falls past the 50th floor, shouts “so far, so good.” This comparison is unfair to suicides. The real economic and political message today is “so far, so bad.”

The “deal” to begin negotiations for a post-Brexit relationship, announced at the EU summit on December 15, followed Prime Minister Theresa May’s capitulation on all of the demands made by European leaders: €50 billion ($59 billion) of budget contributions, European court jurisdiction over the rights of EU citizens in Britain, and a permanently open border with Ireland.

The last concession was a game changer. The open border in Ireland has forced May to abandon her promise to “take back control” from the EU and its regulatory framework, as confirmed in the summit communiqué: “In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation.”

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