Narrow majority expects ‘acceptable’ EU deal
by OMFIF Analysis
This month’s advisers network poll focused on the possible outcomes of the UK government’s formal notification to leave the European Union. Members of the advisers network were asked: ‘As Theresa May triggers Article 50, what are your expectations for the result of the UK’s negotiations with the EU over the coming two years?’ The four choices were: a deal acceptable to both the UK and EU27; a deal acceptable only to the UK; a deal acceptable only to the EU27; and a deal acceptable to none.
David Davis, the UK’s secretary of state for exiting the EU, said, ‘The government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe – a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the EU.’
But the exit process is haphazard and the rules contained in Article 50 are brief. The government expects to secure a positive outcome but acknowledges the possibility of no formal agreement at the end of the two years. The prime minister has stated, ‘No deal is better than a bad deal.’
Of those polled, 53% believe a deal acceptable to both the UK and EU27 will be achieved; 44% expect to see a deal acceptable to none; and 3% presume a deal acceptable only to the EU27 will be the outcome. None expects a deal acceptable only to the UK.
‘I believe that a deal acceptable to both the UK and the EU will be achieved. There is lots of chest-beating before negotiations, but something as important as this is doomed to succeed.’
‘It is impossible that 27 countries will agree on a deal which favours the UK. It is most probable that the negotiations will never end because to forge a consensus among 27 countries is a Sisyphean task, especially on controversial issues.’
‘In my opinion both sides will come to the
conclusion that a velvet divorce is the only way out of the mess in which we find ourselves. The multitude of crises may even help to bring home to the actors on both sides what is really at stake in a world out of joint.’
‘In the time available it will not be possible to get any deal that delivers a clean break for the UK from the EU which all sides will be happy with. The only question is what sort of fudge will be acceptable to both in order to prolong the negotiations beyond the two-year timetable of Article 50.’
‘The EU is faced with such strong anti-EU sentiments that the leader of each member state is struggling to re-establish the case for the union. In these circumstances, I am afraid there is little room for concession on either the UK or EU side on, for example, immigration and fiscal-burden sharing.’
‘I think a deal acceptable to neither is probable. Recent comments from EU Commission, Council leaders and heads of individual continental governments like France, have strongly evidenced that a desire to punish the UK is their priority.’
‘The UK government and the EU sound like two age-old friends turned foe, now speaking different languages, one Latin, the other Greek. The result is a dialogue of the deaf.’
‘I do not expect any deal to be achieved, so find it very difficult to choose an option. There are 27 EU members wielding a veto, which is too many to reach a compromise.’