Reginald Dale

  • Brexit Talks Sadly Lack Vision

    The British government and the European Union (EU) are celebrating the latest “milestone” in negotiations to end Britain’s EU membership—agreement on a transition period of twenty-one months after the United Kingdom leaves the EU in just over a year’s time. EU leaders endorsed the agreement at a European Council meeting in Brussels on March 23.

    But there should be little joy in the celebration. It is a marker reached by plodding steps in a bureaucratic process characterized by lack of vision and statesmanship on both sides. The deal could have been reached many months ago with greater political determination, and there are much harder negotiations ahead.

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  • A Threat to May's Unrealistic Brexit Stance

    British Prime Minister Theresa May is entrapped in a maze of blind alleys, self-delusion, and bitter divisions over the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the rest of the European Union (EU) after Britain is due to leave the EU in just over a year’s time—at precisely 11:00 p.m. on March 29, 2019.

    She will try to grope her way forward in a major speech on March 2, even though she is still far from finding solutions likely to prove satisfactory to her governing Conservative Party, to Parliament, or to British voters—let alone to the EU itself.

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  • Not the United States of Europe

    Britain’s conservative Daily Telegraph splashed its front page September 14 with the banner headline “A United States of Europe.” The page was embellished with a half-photo of the face of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, framed by the blue, gold-starred flag of the European Union.

    The eurosceptic Telegraph was not, of course, hailing the imminent birth of a United States of Europe. On the contrary, the newspaper was using the further integration proposed in Juncker’s State of the Union speech to the European Parliament the previous day to demonstrate the wisdom of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU)—rejecting once and for all the closer European political union that most Britons have traditionally resisted.

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  • First Signs of Second Thoughts on Brexit

    British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government began substantive negotiations to leave the European Union (EU) in Brussels this week, although nobody in Britain is yet clear about what outcome the country is actually seeking. With May’s government in disarray, and her Cabinet wracked with infighting and confusion over Brexit, there is even a growing belief in some quarters that the country could, and perhaps should, end up staying inside the EU.

    Until very recently, even mentioning such a possibility was politically and socially taboo. Supporters of the Leave campaign, which won the June 2016 EU referendum by 52 percent to 48 percent, had intimidated most of the rest of the country into believing that the “will of the people” must be obeyed, and that no dissent or deviation would be tolerated.

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  • May's Humiliation Could Make Brexit Easier

    The Conservative government’s surprise loss of its parliamentary majority in the United Kingdom’s June 8 general election will greatly complicate the task of withdrawing the country from the European Union (EU), on which negotiations are due to start June 19. But it might conceivably lead to a better outcome in the end.

    Prime Minister Theresa May specifically called the “snap” election on April 18 in order to increase the Conservatives’ seventeen-seat majority in the House of Commons. This, she argued, would give her a stronger mandate for the so-called “hard” Brexit she was demanding from the EU—involving complete departure from the EU Single Market and Customs Union and a clampdown on immigration.

    Far from achieving such a mandate, she has received a stinging and humiliating rebuke. The Conservatives now have only 318 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons, down from 330. While she will try to carry on governing with the support of ten Democratic Unionist...

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  • Dale in US News: Looking for Leaders in the United Kingdom

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  • Macron is Good and Bad News for Brexit Backers

    For anxious Britons seeking a good deal in their forthcoming Brexit negotiations with the European Union, the strong probability that Emmanuel Macron will be the next president of France is both good and bad news.

    The good news is that a Macron victory is the outcome most likely to ensure the EU remains a relatively stable and undistracted negotiating partner and a strong future ally for a post-Brexit United Kingdom (UK). In notifying Brussels of the UK's intention to leave, British Prime Minister Theresa May wrote on March 29 that her government “wants the EU to succeed and prosper.”

    Anyone who feels that way can only hope that Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front party loses the second round of voting in the presidential election on May 7. A victory for Le Pen against all the odds would throw the EU into chaos,...

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  • May Hopes Snap UK Poll Will Ease Brexit

    The snap UK general election called by British Prime Minister Theresa May for June 8 is likely to strengthen her political authority and ease the tortuous negotiation of Britain's departure from the EU - provided of course she wins. All the signs are that she will.  

    The political climate is unlikely to be as favorable to May as it is now for a long time. With Brexit negotiations due to start later in June, May has a valid claim that she needs a personal and political mandate from the country to conduct the talks in the way she chooses. Equally important, much of the country has not yet woken up to the pain of Brexit that the negotiations will progressively reveal. 

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  • The EU Now Controls the Brexit Talks

    With the United Kingdom formally starting the process of leaving the European Union on March 29, the Atlantic Council is launching a series of blog posts that will track the course of the Brexit negotiations and the many challenges they pose for the future of US-UK relations. 

    By formally notifying the European Union that it plans to leave, London has effectively handed over control of its exit negotiations to those on the other side of the table—the EU institutions and the remaining twenty-seven member states. In diplomatic terms, the United Kingdom has become the demandeur, the one asking for favors.

    Since the referendum last June that endorsed the country’s departure from the EU, the UK has been engaged in an often-angry debate over how far it should actually disentangle itself from EU regulations and the key components of the Union, notably its single market and its customs union. 

    Many Britons have seemed to think...

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  • Dale Joins TV Channel Ukraine to Discuss the Trump-Merkel Visit

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