paul horneBanks, insurers, businesses and European Union (EU) agencies based in the UK are accelerating their moves to assure full access in the EU, the world’s largest financial-economic area. Their theoretical deadline is Friday, March 19, 2019, when Britain will be out of the EU according to EU Treaty rules, but practical hurdles make the real deadline mid-2018. The exodus of Brexit-generated refugees is also growing more urgent because the Tory government has failed to clarify its Brexit negotiating strategy during the 14 months since the fateful referendum. This policy vacuum is forcing companies to plan for the worst-case scenario – “hard Brexit.” 

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jbebel201707At its June summit, the European Council agreed to further strengthen EU security and defense. In what European Council President Donald Tusk called a “historic step”, member states agreed to move forward with the proposed European Defense Fund and activate the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism. With Brexit negotiations underway, the agreement came without the UK, which has consistently opposed increased EU defense integration. Additionally, member states also agreed to revisit the funding of the EU battlegroups to facilitate their future deployment. This ambitious goal coincides with conclusions adopted by the Council in May to “reinforc[e] military rapid response” by restructuring the EU battlegroups.

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bod.p.johnbrutonIf one reviews European history over the period since the Reformation five hundred years ago, the role that England has sought to play in Europe has been that of holding the balance between contending powers. It used its naval strength, and the overseas colonies its naval strength allowed it to hold, to exercise that balancing European role.

At no time in the last 500 years, did the UK seem to disengage from, or turn its back upon, continental Europe. Indeed England felt it so much a part of continental Europe that Henry VIII actually contemplated being a candidate for Holy Roman Emperor.

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PaulAdamsonBefore British Prime Minister Theresa May called her snap and ill-advised election pro-European Brits had their work cut out fighting the dominant prevailing wisdom of the inexorability of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – the so-called “Brexit”.

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michaelwhiteWhat’s that, you say? You were so busy with your own problems and Donald Trump’s that you didn’t notice the Brits were staging an impromptu general election? Britain’s rookie Conservative prime minister, Theresa May, invoked one on the spurious grounds that it would give her a stronger mandate to negotiate a satisfactory Brexit divorce with her estranged EU partners and, incidentally, to crush the rival Labour party, led by the apparently hapless Jeremy Corbyn.

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