May's brexit speech 17 jan WPA Pool/Pool

Le Brexit au pays de Trump

LONDRES – La Première ministre Theresa May mène actuellement le Royaume-Uni vers un Brexit extrêmement "dur" en 2019 – faisant courir au pays un risque immense, étant donné la possibilité d'une absence d'accord précis sur la sortie de l'Union européenne ou les modalités commerciales du Brexit. Dans son discours du 17 janvier, Theresa May a insisté sur les objectifs qu'elle se fixe dans le cadre des négociations avec l'UE, et a clairement annoncé qu'elle ferait prévaloir les exigences des Brexiters les plus intransigeants sur les intérêts économiques du pays.

Il n'est pas surprenant que Theresa May ait choisi une forme de Brexit consistant pour le Royaume-Uni à quitter à la fois le marché unique de l'UE et son union douanière : la Première ministre connaît peu l'économie, et s'en soucie encore moins. Elle se contente d'avoir pour objectif ultime de survivre au poste de chef du gouvernement, considérant que le contrôle de l'immigration – obsession personnelle de longue date – lui vaudra la sympathie des partisans du « Leave », et que l'anéantissement de la compétence de la Cour de justice de l'Union européenne sur le Royaume-Uni permettra d'apaiser les nationalistes de son Parti conservateur.

Cette posture exclut toute poursuite de l'appartenance au marché unique. Jusqu'à présent, les partisans du Brexit niaient toute possibilité de compromis politique entre le refus de la libre circulation et le maintien du libre-échange avec l'UE. Pour reprendre la formule désormais célèbre du secrétaire d'État aux Affaires étrangères Boris Johnson, les Britanniques entendaient bien obtenir le beurre et l'argent du beurre. Theresa May vient d'admettre sur le tard l'impossibilité d'une telle démarche.

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