World News: The Northern Irish Question Ends Brexit Chapter

To end the saga of Brexit, British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, by accepting the European Union's conditions on the settlement of the Northern Irish question, paved the way for a relaxation of the hard-lined post-Brexit negotiations.

Dictated by political and economic necessity, this flexibility also refers to a relative failure of the discourse that called for leaving the Union. Are we witnessing the last episode of the political soap opera that is Brexit?

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With regard to the decision of PM Johnson, to soften his position on the North Irish question, everything suggests that the British soap is heading towards a happy ending even if some still thorny questions on fisheries, how to ensure a level playing field and the settlement of any future disputes are still pending.

However, the inflexibility shown by the British Prime Minister during past negotiations, revealing the specter of a No Deal, was somewhat undermined by a number of reasons of an economic political nature. And the first of them, political but with also economic consequences, is certainly the result of the American presidential election last November which saw Donald Trump, fervent supporter of Brexit and support of Boris Johnson, bow to Biden, himself of Irish descent.

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However, the new President of the United States, who will be invested in January 2021, has always declared his opposition to the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, seeing in the latter a credible economic partner but also a diplomatic one, capable of playing a key role on the international scene.

Will and Marginalization

Thus, the fear of seeing the United Kingdom excluded from trade flows between the United States and the European Union has she pushed Boris Johnson to have more flexibility and finesse in negotiations with his former partners Europeans.

The will coupled with the need not to offend the cousin from across the Atlantic also prevailed over London's initial position on the conditions for withdrawal and on post-Brexit negotiations, both tinged with a relentless firmness.

And some to appreciate in passing, if need be recalled, the weight and influence of the United States in European politics, including at an internal level such as that which Brexit may represent. The second reason, on the other hand, is clearly economic in view of the relations forged by the United Kingdom with the member countries of the European Union.

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If the United States remains the first trading partner of the United Kingdom, the European Union, starting with Germany, France, then Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium present themselves as economic and commercial partners from which the United Kingdom can in no way free itself, a fortiori in a context of globalization where, London, alone and isolated, would appear to be marginal, even out of the game.

From then on, a simple observation emerges: wishing to leave the European Union whose too strict rules she vilified, rules accused of harming the free trade which the United Kingdom claimed, here is what London is brought today to soften its position by virtue of economic necessities embodied by the European Union. So why this turnaround? To avoid the consequences of a commercial chaos which would cloud its future for a long time.

Stubbornness and Powerlessness

The other observation, much more political than the first, refers to the stubbornness and thoughtlessness of leaving the European Union. Supported by a populist discourse, until the endian and ideologically limited, encouraged by the election in 2016 of Donald Trump and the coming to power in member countries (Poland and Hungary) of the European Union of leaders contesting the rules decreed by Brussels, the United Kingdom has gradually locked itself into an absolute logic that has worked more on its diplomatic isolation than on its emergence on the international scene as a political or economic actor.

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Ultimately, Boris Johnson, convinced or not of the relevance of his fight, had, and will certainly still have to give in to the European Union in order to allow the United Kingdom to assert its political, diplomatic and economic position.

And from there to consider this relaxation as a failure or an admission of impotence of the discourse which presided over the exit of the Union, there is only one step. But one thing is certain, the inflexible attitude that has long prevailed in the United Kingdom has had to give way in the face of necessity and reason. A lesson to remember…?



Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.



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