Look Back 2019: Brexit may be a done deal but negotiations are far from dusted

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's electoral victory has transformed Britain's divorce negotiations with the EU. PHOTO: REUTERS
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's electoral victory has transformed Britain's divorce negotiations with the EU. PHOTO: REUTERS

After more than three years of political paralysis, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decisive electoral victory on Dec 12 has transformed the country's divorce negotiations with the European Union. A separation agreement is likely to be ratified within weeks, and Britain will cease to be an EU member by the end of next month, ending one of Europe's most protracted political crises.

When the people of Britain narrowly voted to leave the EU in a referendum back in 2016, the fear in Europe was that the British move, unprecedented in the continent's history, may inspire separatist aspirations in other countries and even lead to the bloc's collapse. None of this happened; far from being threatened, the EU now seems more united than ever, if only because the political mayhem generated in Britain as a result of the separation negotiations was so great as to deter other EU members from following the British example.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2019, with the headline 'Brexit may be a done deal but negotiations are far from dusted'. Print Edition | Subscribe