We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

May 23, 2019

...twere well it were done quickly

We recall the coup against Margaret Thatcher in 1990, which also started out with several misfired attempts but then proceeded very much with an efficiency worthy of Lady Macbeth. Yesterday was the moment when Theresa May's cabinet turned against her. We have now passed the point of no return. The Times announced with quiet self-confidence that May was now preparing to quit. The FT was more specific by saying that she will be gone in a few days.

The trigger was her failed attempt to bounce the cabinet into accepting a second referendum as the price for Labour's support of the withdrawal agreement. This prompted the resignation of Andrea Leadsom as Leader of the House, a senior cabinet-level position. The cabinet is now in open revolt. May spent the day locked up in Downing Street, refusing to see senior cabinet members who were seeking to meet her urgently. She has come to the end of the road. Various journalists have been told by cabinet members that she would leave tomorrow. The outside estimate is June 6, the date of a parliamentary by-election. 

It is certain that the coup will proceed. At this point Boris Johnson is the front-runner to succeed her.

But none of this is going to resolve Brexit, which is the much bigger question. The gridlocked majorities in the House of Commons will not change as a result of a Tory leadership election. What we could still see is the Tories uniting around the existing withdrawal bill - with a cosmetically-amended political declaration.

The most important decision for the new prime minister to take is whether to seek new elections, whether to try and seek a resolution of Brexit between his or her official appointment and the the October 31 deadline, and whether to force a no-deal Brexit at that point.

We are convinced that May's deal would have been passed by now if she had taken the issue to the brink in March by confronting the House of Commons with a straight choice between deal and no-deal. She had several ways at her disposal to frustrate the Cooper bill. But she herself ruled out a no-deal Brexit - fearing the impact on security in Northern Ireland and the future of the union. It was a noble, statesman-like attitude to take, but it could not succeed given the existing majorities in the House of Commons. 

Whoever succeeds her will need to pursue a different strategy because the alternative has been tried to exhaustion - literally.

One other factor is the position of the EU. As we keep writing, we should not take it for granted. In an interview with Le Soir Emmanuel Macron said the decision to extend until late-October was okay with him, but a further extension would pollute the mandate of the next Commission. He has not explicitly threatened to veto an extension request. Instead he is carefully preparing his arguments against extension, well ahead of the October deadline. 

"In the case of Brexit, you just have to know at some point whether it stops or not. If we have the logic of the weakness of saying that it scares us and that we are prepared not to respect the British vote, we betray both the British and the interest of the EU."

This is a position that is hard to argue with. The issue of pitching Brexit as a choice between deal and no-deal also applies to the EU.

Show Comments Write a Comment

May 23, 2019

The Tsipras-Mitsotakis duel dominates EP campaign in Greece

Greece is another country where the boundaries between European and national elections are blurry. With national elections to be held in October at the latest, this Sunday is like a springboard for the next round of campaigning. As a result there is not much of a European theme in this campaign for the European elections. The duel between Alexis Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of New Democracy, was dominant over the past few weeks.

The polls have New Democracy in a clear lead position, though their lead has melted over the last weeks. The lead is estimated to be between 6.5-8.5pp depending on the poll. The big unknown is the participation rate, the undecideds and the first-time voters. These are the voters both parties are looking to mobilise for this Sunday. Tspiras is still unabashedly lambasting the polls as getting it wrong, which admittedly they did in the past. For Syriza a gap between 4 and 5 points would be manageable, writes Macropolis. Everything else better than that a clear win.

In terms of topics the campaign has mostly focused on national issues. No European subject seem to matter in the campaign. No debates on climate change or migration, or on the rise of the populists in Europe. Instead Alexis Tsipras showered voters with an avalanche of handouts and tax cuts, promising future ones if re-elected. Mitsotakis is courting the moderates and trying to entice them with law-and-order proposals in response to a spat of anarchist attacks in recent weeks. For Tsipras and Mitsotakis this Sunday is not about Europe at all, but a first round in the national elections.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • May 31, 2017
  • Getting real in the debate on the euro's future
  • Russia's growing influence in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 06, 2020
  • Did Covid-19 escape from a Wuhan lab?
  • What to make of Angela Merkel's U-turn
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • January 29, 2019
  • What comes after plan B fails? Plan C, of course. C for cliff-edge
  • Gilets jaunes, how to structure a movement in free flow?
  • European Court of Auditors criticises Juncker’s investment fund
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 23, 2019
  • Corbyn’s last big battle
  • Germany’s CO2 compromise meets all targets - except the climate targets
  • November 13, 2018
  • Peak Salvini?
  • Protest uberisation
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • February 28, 2017
  • Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?
  • Something we just don’t understand
  • Solve the problem
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • March 11, 2020
  • While Italy is in lockdown, Germany allows football matches
  • Ireland grand coalition
  • May 31, 2019
  • Salvini’s frightening strength
  • The significance of Corbyn’s latest flipflop on the referendum
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • November 09, 2017
  • From street protests to road closures
  • What Russia wants
  • January 31, 2017
  • Project fear against Italexit
  • On how not to frustrate Brexit
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 29, 2020
  • Édouard Philippe - mayor or prime minister?
  • Sir Humphrey, R.I.P.
  • October 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • February 04, 2019
  • Watch out for the resurgence in Tory unity
  • The gilets-jaunes' effect on the European elections
  • What did he possibly mean by that?
  • May 25, 2018
  • Rejected by US, Germany is turning towards China...
  • ...and France is turning to Russia
  • UK ties Galileo to security partnership
  • Germans are discovering miniBoTs
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 02, 2019
  • Will pension reform protests spiral out of control?
  • Malta's PM resigns over murder case
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • September 12, 2018
  • It is easy to criticise Chequers but very hard to come up with an alternative
  • February 05, 2018
  • How big is Germany's external surplus, really?
  • Macron's first election test
  • Coeure's endorsement of a fiscal union
  • July 03, 2017
  • Can Greece exit its programme without a credit line?
  • The softening Brexit
  • Macron's state of the nation address
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • March 16, 2020
  • Why many of the Covid-19 statistics are misleading
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • March 18, 2019
  • May's deal still on the table. Don't rule it out.
  • EPP decision on Fidesz still open
  • On the defeat of liberalism
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • March 28, 2018
  • The real reason for the sanctions against Russia
  • Wishful thinking: Brexit edition
  • Wishful thinking: Future of euro edition
  • Wishful thinking: Italy edition
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 02, 2020
  • Watch out for Söder
  • Libya exposes European divisions
  • January 24, 2020
  • Is Germany anti-semitic and racist?
  • Did the Greek financial crisis play a role in Brexit?
  • September 18, 2019
  • No doubt, this is a constitutional crisis
  • Macron's immigration bid
  • May 13, 2019
  • Brexit Party has already changed UK politics
  • Orbán visits Trump, after a very long wait
  • Le Pen's appeal to the PiS likely to fall on deaf ears
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • April 25, 2018
  • Macron's pitch to Trump
  • Montoro in Schleswig-Holstein
  • The old world and the new
  • December 22, 2017
  • Will Macron be the new de Gaulle?
  • 2018 through the looking glass
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • December 20, 2016
  • The politics of terror
  • On Lagarde
  • Is a disruptive Brexit possible?
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 22, 2020
  • What we learned from Trump in Tulsa
  • Greece seeks EEZ deal with Egypt to counter Turkey
  • Political pressure on French judiciary in Fillon probe?
  • May 26, 2020
  • French fashion stores - lockdown is one crisis too many
  • An important German supreme court ruling against VW
  • Public scrutiny over lockdown rules
  • May 01, 2020
  • Germany bans Hezbollah - a likely precedent for the EU
  • As we mourn lives lost, what about lives saved?
  • April 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • March 11, 2020
  • While Italy is in lockdown, Germany allows football matches
  • Ireland grand coalition
  • February 18, 2020
  • What to make of David Frost?
  • Whose success is the EU's arms embargo on Libya?
  • January 27, 2020
  • How the left lays the ground for Le Pen
  • Project Fear - Irish Edition
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • December 17, 2019
  • The marginal impact of the Greens
  • November 28, 2019
  • Merkel’s legacy
  • November 11, 2019
  • Grand coalition agrees to continue grand coalition
  • Can Greens and conservatives agree on priorities?
  • Germany - self-content and without energy
  • October 23, 2019
  • Putin brokers deal to push Kurds away from border
  • AKK’s biggest gamble yet
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • September 23, 2019
  • Corbyn’s last big battle
  • Germany’s CO2 compromise meets all targets - except the climate targets
  • September 09, 2019
  • Chances of no-deal are rising and rising
  • Resist the beginnings
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 29, 2019
  • No-deal Brexit is no longer just a scenario
  • No German warships to the Strait of Hormuz
  • July 19, 2019
  • Instex shows the EU is caught between the US and Russia
  • Johnson’s two Brexit options
  • July 10, 2019
  • Turkish drilling off Cyprus - a test case for the EU
  • Labour’s new Brexit policy is not really a shift
  • July 02, 2019
  • How not to choose
  • Why no-deal Brexit has emerged as a strong probability
  • June 24, 2019
  • Economic reform has torn up the SPD - climate policy does the same for the CDU/CSU
  • Not intruding, not really
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • June 10, 2019
  • How to create Brexit facts
  • The new Alde is already in trouble
  • June 03, 2019
  • Reinventing the French right without Wauquiez
  • Tory leadership election is between feasible and unfeasible Brexit options
  • May 29, 2019
  • Untangling the confusion about a no-deal Brexit
  • Meet Germany's serial blunderer
  • May 27, 2019
  • The rising chances of a no-deal Brexit
  • May 24, 2019
  • Rising campaign stakes are a double-edged sword for Macron
  • So May is going. And now what?
  • It's beginning to look a lot like Brexit in Switzerland