arrives for a press conference
at the end of the G-20 summit,
Hangzhou, China, Sept. 5, 2016
(AP photo by Ng Han
Last week, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated that "Brexit means Brexit," her formula for insisting that she will respect the outcome of the referendum in favor of Britainís withdrawal from the European Union.
Her comments came as
the Cabinet met to discuss
Brexit strategy and the need to find a
"unique" deal for the U.K. as it negotiates its EU exit, a
proposition that is proving to be easier said than done.
But now that the initial shock has worn off, it seems that many peopleís original fears were overblown.
The British economy, which took a significant hit in the immediate
aftermath of the referendum,
has recovered better than many economists expected, as
highlighted by recent consumer spending reports.
But even though the economic turmoil from the "yes" vote hasnít been as severe as expected, May warned over the weekend that,
The Brexit vote also prompted fears that Scotland would renew its bid for independence.
In the Brexit referendum, 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the EU, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said shortly after the vote that a second independence referendum - the last one was held in 2014 - "was highly likely."
added that it was "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland could
be taken out of the EU against its will.
After their meeting, May said,
So while Sturgeon might explore the possibility of another Scottish independence referendum, it is unlikely to happen, unless the actual Brexit negotiations leave Scotland feeling like its interests arenít being protected.
One thing is certain for now - The Brexit negotiations will happen
For now, however, it remains uncertain when the negotiations between the U.K. and the EU will actually begin.
May has avoided triggering Article 50 of the EUís Lisbon Treaty, which sets into motion the two-year exit process, and said that she wonít do so until the start of 2017 at the earliest, giving her government time to properly develop its negotiating position.
If May waits any longer to trigger Article 50, the start of negotiations will run up against the French presidential elections and German federal elections, and,
May has given her ministers until the end of the year to develop a government-wide position for the talks.
She has said that all of the different options are still on the table,
For the soft option, London would have to get the EU to accept two major caveats:
Meanwhile, in Brussels, EU leaders are also still figuring out their negotiating position.
European leaders do not want to appear as though they are punishing the U.K., but the risk of Brexit contagion is real.
According to Dennison, Brussels doesnít want to reward Britain,
To limit the possible fallout, there will likely be a push from within Brussels to simplify the EUís functioning by focusing on core issues that citizens care about, namely,
One thing is certain for now:
May is determined to follow through on the referendum outcome, and the initial court cases in Britain to block Brexit - including one the High Court is due to hear in October on whether or not May can trigger Article 50 without Parliamentís authorization - are long shots.
Moreover, as Dennison explains, British politicians,
But Dennison suggests that if the final deal the British government negotiates with the EU, and the trade talks that will accompany the Article 50 negotiations, are particularly unfavorable to the U.K. or widely considered to be political and economic liabilities,
For now, though, in both London and Brussels, Brexit still means Brexit, even if both sides are still trying to figure out what that will actually mean...