Brexit talks kicked off on Monday in Brussels, as Theresa May’s government tries to feel its way through a perilous Brexit process. It will do so weakened, after May called for a snap election to strengthen her mandate, only to see her party lose ground.
The UK’s 27 nation-strong adversary in the negotiations enters the talks holding a decidedly stronger hand. With nationalism seemingly on the decline, Germany’s Angela Merkel, with France’s Emanuel Macron on her wing, looks to use political momentum to bolster European Union solidarity and stamp out separationist movements. To that end, Germany has made some concessions in a deal to help Italy resolve banking issues, as Italy’s populist five-star movement loses steam.
Some even note that the UK election outcome has increased the chance that no deal will be reached at all.
“The election result increased the probability of extreme outcomes,” head of UK public policy at Clifford Chance Phillip Souta was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “If there is going to be a deal, it makes it more likely to be softer than before the election, but on the other hand the probability of no deal at all has increased.”
For their part, UK officials have not downplayed the challenges they face, with UK Brexit secretary David Davis describing the talks as the “most complicated negotiation of all time.”