Paul Gillespie: European attitudes towards Brexit are hardening
In my opinion, the only alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit.” This stark warning by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, one month ago has gained traction since then among EU governments, echoing a similar hardening of political opinion in the UK.
Why this should be so matters for Ireland. Over-exposed as we are here (and in Britain) to wishes that Brexit be as soft as possible, or even reversible, in alignment with increasingly well-documented risks to economic interests, it can be difficult to understand such hardenings.
Tusk’s argument hinges on the real threat Brexit poses to fundamental EU values and interests. Brexiteers want access to the single market without free movement of labour. As he put it: “That is pure illusion; that one can have the EU cake and eat it too.”
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