Because of Brexit, a peace accord that ended decades of conflict in Northern Ireland is hanging by a thread. The stability of this part of Europe depends on the EU and Britain finding a compromise.
Illusions about the UK’s special relationship with the United States and a supposedly painless Brexit have been shed. The inability of Boris Johnson’s government to face up to that makes it impossible to define a new role for Britain in the world.
The coming months may well see more bitterness and friction in UK-EU relations. These tensions threaten to unravel the fragile 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which has largely kept violence at bay in Northern Ireland.
Brexit Britain is discovering that its influence and ability to tackle global challenges have diminished. As reality sinks in, it could change the way Britain thinks and acts—very possibly for the better.
The loud boasts of defiance by the British government toward the EU have given way to the quieter language of negotiation. The outcome will determine just how much post-Brexit sovereignty London will have.
EU-UK cooperation on foreign policy will be hampered by the emotional and political fallout from a difficult divorce and boosted by a renewed transatlantic relationship. In the longer term, external challenges and the internal policy trends will determine the scope for working together.
Brexit is destabilizing Northern Ireland. London’s pursuit of a hard Brexit and the return of border politics could unravel the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the province’s conflict. It might need the United States to rescue the accord.
Brexit may well contribute to the breaking up of the United Kingdom. Only a brave gambler would bet on both Scotland and Northern Ireland still belonging to the UK in 2040.
The erosion of trust between Brussels and London has prevented both sides from laying the foundations for continued cooperation on foreign policy after Brexit. How can the European Union and the United Kingdom rebuild relations in 2021?
Level playing field or no access to the EU’s single market? With Brexit talks in the final stages, one solution for a UK-EU trade deal seems within reach—but only if it allows for both sides to claim victory.