Divorce Proceedings Begin March 29: Brexit Debate, Mish Vs Financial Times

The UK announced it would file Article 50 on March 29. At that time, control over the timing and structure of negotiations goes to the EU.

It’s a symbolic victory for the EU. The bottom line is the UK can walk away anytime and there is nothing the EU can do about that.

Brexit Debate – Mish vs Financial Times

FT: Britain’s decision to invoke Article 50 on March 29 helps the EU achieve one of its Brexit goals: seizing from the UK control over the timing and structure of the negotiations.

Now that Theresa May’s government has confirmed the date for formal notification of the start of the two-year divorce process, the UK has ended a period during which the EU could do little more than watch and prepare for the start of talks.

Henceforth, the other 27 members of the bloc will have much more control.

Mish: Seizing control is nonsense. In one sense it was a given. The clock starts ticking the moment chapter 50 is filed. So nothing was seized, it was handed perforce. In a second sense, it’s not realistic. The EU is not really in control of much.

FT: In the wake of the UK’s vote last June to leave the bloc, senior EU officials were convinced that Britain would refuse to trigger the formal divorce process — because of the tactical drawbacks of working to a two-year deadline.

Instead, they expected London to try to first negotiate exit terms, then invoke Article 50 for only a “juridical minute”.

Mish: Here’s a one-word summation: wrong. More wrongness is guaranteed.

FT: “The [EU-27 leaders] understood that their strongest chip is time pressure,” said one of the principal figures involved in EU Brexit preparations. “They did not want to give that away.”

Mish: Question: Pray tell what good did it do them? Has it worked at all, in any sense?

FT: The EU’s next attempt to maximize its leverage will be through its guidelines for Brexit, which lay out the bloc’s priorities for talks. This public document is expected to be adopted by EU-27 leaders in late April or early May. Although its content will depend on Mrs. May’s notification letter, some recent drafts run to around six pages, according to diplomats.

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