European Elections and Brexit

On 23 May 2019, the UK voted, along with the other 27 EU Member States, in elections for the European Parliament. The UK result of those elections was:

These elections took place in the UK because the UK is yet to leave the EU, and they showed a polarisation of political views, with both the Brexit Party and the pro-remain Liberal Democrats and Greens doing well. Both Conservative and Labour parties had historically poor results and both are now re-considering their Brexit stance. This process is further complicated for the Conservatives by the fact that they are now seeking a new leader, following the resignation of Theresa May. It seems that the Conservatives may pivot more clearly behind the “No Deal” option, while Labour is heading towards support for a second referendum, but debate is ongoing, and the position of both parties is in flux.

The implications of these elections for Brexit suggest an intensification of the fight between No Deal Brexiteers, who would be willing for the UK to leave the EU on WTO terms and Remainers/soft Brexit supporters, who would only be prepared to leave on the basis of an agreed close long term relationship with the EU. Bear in mind that the deadline of 31st October 2019 remains in place, and the default is that the UK will leave on WTO terms on that date. The EU is currently preoccupied with selecting the new European Commission and aligning the political groups in the new European Parliament. They do not have the bandwidth or inclination to deal with Brexit currently. In any event, EU27 opinion seems to be hardening around the view of President Macron of France, that the UK situation is a danger to the EU as a whole and as a result in October, the EU27 should ensure the UK leaves.

For CPI, the challenge is to be a strong advocate against “No Deal” while at the same time preserving our political neutrality. We will focus on the importance of the investment case for business in the UK and challenge all parties and politicians to assess their actions in the light of whether or not they improve the investment case for business.


For more information contact Andrew Large on 01793 889601 or email alarge@paper.org.uk

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