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Brexit Is Dead, Long Live Brexit: How Britain Can Still Finalize Its European Divorce

Salvatore Babones
Reuters

Salvatore Babones

Politics, Europe

London must act.

Brexit Is Dead, Long Live Brexit: How Britain Can Still Finalize Its European Divorce

The only real threat posed by a hard Brexit is the prospect of cataclysmic technical barriers being thrown up, like the nonrecognition of British commercial aircraft licenses in the EU. But of course these too cut both ways. It’s hard to imagine EU airlines giving up their precious landing slots at London’s Heathrow airport, which have been valued at $75 million for a single slot. Or EU banks giving up access to London’s capital markets.

When Britain’s prime minister Theresa May took office in 2016 with a pledge that “Brexit means Brexit,” she held all the cards in negotiations over leaving the European Union. She had a direct popular mandate, if not for herself, then at least for Brexit. Her EU opponents had to coordinate the negotiating positions of twenty-seven different countries, several of them possible exit candidates themselves, and many of them (Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and others) at loggerheads with the EU executive authorities in Brussels.

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