world talking news – An iceberg lies dead ahead, yet we have no plan


Britain and Europe don’t agree on something substantive in the case of Brexit, however on one level there does seem like a consensus: as issues stand, “there isn’t any plan”.

In earlier Brexit stand-offs, over the Brexit invoice or EU residents’ rights, there have been back-channel discussions and concepts being floated that paved the best way for subsequent breakthroughs.

However that isn’t the case right here. Senior sources in Brussels describe a course of that’s basically moribund: the vast majority of the Withdrawal Settlement is agreed, however on the questions of the Irish backstop, customs and British cherry-picking, there’s deadlock.

For now, Europe is only a spectator as the Cabinet tears itself apart over a backstop plan that the EU has already made plain is not going to, by itself, ship the invisible Irish border each side have pledged to take care of.

“We don’t have any leverage on what’s occurring within the UK,” says one senior EU diplomat. “We’re spectators, watching them beat one another up.”

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