Three big Brexit unknowns, in 90 seconds
The FT's chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman explains three unknowns in the UK’s divorce process from the EU: the challenge in negotiations, events in the wider world and the unpredictable economics of new trade deals
The first uncertainty concerns the negotiations themselves as the EU and Britain try to forge a new deal and a divorce over the course of just two years. There's a question about whether it's just technically possible to do negotiation that complex in just two years. But also both sides have started with very uncompromising positions-- the EU asking for lots of money, the Brits saying they're not going to pay. It's possible the negotiations could just break down and Britain will leave without a deal. But it's equally possible that both sides are bluffing and eventually they will strike a deal.
The second uncertainty surrounds the wider political environment in which the negotiations take place. What will be happening in Europe? What will be happening in Britain? Would, for example, a victory for the far right in France send the EU into disarray? But how will the British be feeling if the Scots are moving towards independence or the economy enters a recession? And that's just what's happening in Europe itself. Meanwhile, with the election of Donald Trump in the United States the whole global environment is much more uncertain than it's ever been. And it's bound to affect both the atmosphere and the eventual outcome of the Brexit talks.
The third major uncertainty surrounds how any actual deal will play out in the real world. My personal feeling is that Brexit probably will be pretty bad for the British economy. That there'll be job losses in manufacturing and in the city. But if I'm honest I think you have to admit that nobody can be quite sure how the real world effects of quite technical agreements reached as part of a Brexit deal will really play out in the real economy over the course of a decade after a Brexit.
Produced by Alessia Giustiniano. Filmed by Rod Fitzgerald.