Robin Shepherd – Why Brussels Should Be Wary of a Cancelled Brexit

Brussels has made clear its belief that Brexit was a mistake. But at this point,a clean break is probably for the best.

With barely a mistake having gone unmade in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit, it is perhaps understandable that many observers have allowed their lurid fascination with the chaos in London to obscure the interests of Brussels from their calculations of what may or should happen next. A useful reminder of this slanted perspective came last month following the European Court of Justice’s ruling that Britain could abandon Brexit altogether if it wanted to. It was widely, and somewhat hopefully, reported in the international media that pro-Europeans inside the United Kingdom such as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had been quick to embrace the ruling. Outside Britain, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted that he would be “more than happy” to see an abandonment of Brexit, and Peter Harris noted that the ECJ ruling might provide a way out for Britain, which is currently “undergoing the biggest constitutional emergency since the Abdication Crisis of 1936.”

This piece was originally published in The American Interest

Robin Shepherd is Senior Advisor to the Halifax International Security Forum, and is the former head of the Europe Programme at Chatham House.

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