PHOTO: British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday
A month after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, Sotirios Zartaloudis speaks with the Greek newspaper “To Vima” about the looming “disaster” of British departure.
Zartaloudis and Scott Lucas then chat with the Spanish newspaper La Razon about the latest politics and economics:
Interview with To Vima
How could Brexit be successful in regard to the EU? How could Brexit be successful in regard to the British people?
Having a successful Brexit for both the European Union and the UK is a futile exercise to square the circle.
For both, this is a disaster of historic proportions: the EU will lose one of its strongest and largest members while the UK will lose its influence in the development of the EU and access to the single market.
Brexit represents a regressive and nativist populist disaster, which shows the decaying state of British politics towards an ever-globalising world.
What are the main issues to which Prime Minister Theresa May should pay attention to make Brexit a success?
Theresa May will need to focus on maintaining access to the single market but all options available are worse than the EU: the European Economic Area model requires the UK to comply to EU legislation without having any say over it.
This is a mutilation of political power. the only way for Theresa May to make Brexit a success it to reverse course and declare that Brexit cannot happen for the benefit of her country.
Interview with La Razon
Why do you think that Germany, who was especially harsh during the Brexit campaign, seems to be especially cautious now?
ZARTALOUDIS: It is only a game of wait-and-see. The fact that Germany is not outspoken about its intentions on Brexit does not mean that it will be soft or hard on the UK.
The main problem for Germany is that it cannot afford cutting ties with the UK completely, but also it does not want to give a good deal to the UK as this will encourage more EU member states to go for exit or renegotiation.
LUCAS: Everyone is being cautious, not only Germany, because Britain still has no plan on how to change its relationship with the EU.
It’s as if your husband asks for a divorce without knowing what paperwork you need or how to divide your property. Until the United clearly decides that it wants to leave the Union, all will appear to be cautious.
The EU is trying to ensure that London assumes responsibility for its decision.
Theresa May has travelled to Germany and is travelling to France. Is she trying to improve the political relationships between the UK and the rest of the EU members?
ZARTALOUDIS: No, she is trying to informally negotiate what the Brexit may look like.
Many EU leaders have announced that this will not take place: they have said that the UK should trigger Article 50, leave, and then discuss whether it can be connected to the EU. We should wait to see whether this will change or they will just repeat these positions to May.
LUCAS: We are in limbo. It’s like the current uncertainty in Spain [after inconclusive Parliamentary elections], but multiplied a hundred-fold.
On the one hand, May has to be firm and stress that everything is under control, but on the other hand she has had to go to Germany to communicate that there is no plan.
In the weeks and months to come, which strategy do you think that May should follow, in preparation for the Article 50 negotiations with the EU?
ZARTALOUDIS: She needs to know what Brexit means — nobody has actually said what this is — and ensure that the UK has access to the single market.
She will try to take some assurances that exit is not complete exit. Contrary to what she said about “Brexit means Brexit”, the UK cannot have an absence of links to the EU as this will hurt its economy dramatically.
LUCAS: I think Theresa May is smart enough to realize that Britain should not leave the EU. But she cannot just tell those who voted in favour of departure that they are wrong.
In my opinion, we will reach a point — months from now — where the UK may try to reverse Brexit. So May wants to avoid breaking
or worsening Britain’s relations with any European power.