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The Brief: The Brexit break-up talk

The Brief: The Brexit break-up talk

The Brief is's evening newsletter.


Nothing spells the imminent break-up of a relationship like the words, “We need to talk.”

There are (Article) 50 ways to leave your lover. But there’s always that painful conversation, with someone feeling guilty and the other rejected and hurt.

That’s basically what is going to happen over dinner at tomorrow’s European Council summit.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will confirm the EU’s worst suspicions, what it knew, deep down, was coming.

“We’re leaving you,” she will say, “the decision is irreversible. It’s not you, it’s me. Brexit means Brexit.”

“Is it because of Jean-Claude’s drinking? We could have counselling,” EU leaders may implore.

“No, we’ve been through all this a million times and nothing has changed,” the PM will say firmly, but with distant, sisterly concern in her eyes.

By now, the blanching foie gras and jus-drenched halibut will be feeling every bit as neglected and forlorn as the spurned leaders.

May, her head already turned by soft talk of trade deals with hunky Anglophones, will seize the moment to end the awkward silence.

“Look, we can still be friends. And this is really for the best, we haven’t been getting along for such a long time,” she will say, having already decided to keep the house.

“This is painful for me too but we need to make this break-up work, for both of us,” Theresa will murmur, with her favourite CDs packed snugly in her handbag, next to the toothbrush.

“And you’ll meet someone else. What about Serbia? I think she really likes you.”

Theresa will sit back and wait. But there is no debate or discussion on Brexit foreseen on the European Council agenda.

Instead, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands will address the difficult issue of the EU-Ukraine association agreement, which was rejected in a referendum by Dutch voters.

“Guys,” he will say, “We need to talk…”

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The one leaving the relationship is already looking forward. The one left behind is looking back, from the ruins of their present and future, to the past.

But such misery frequently turns to rage when the bereft party spots the ex having a good time. So here it is, Theresa May making a sex joke in the House of Commons.

Northern Ireland is “Brexit collateral damage,” says Martin McGuinness in our video interview. Slovakia, though, is moving on and moving in on the British car industry.

Could Paris’ grab for London’s financial services crown be upset by its support for the Financial Transaction Tax? And what about the UK’s tea and biscuits industry?

Tomorrow’s summit will struggle over what to do about Russia and Syria. Migration is on the menu (again) and then there’s the tricky problem of CETA.  EurActiv’s live blog is here.

Still on CETA, some enterprising soul hacked Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynder’s Twitter with hilariously rude consequences. Reynders is famous for a never-to-be forgotten interview in full blackface.

Just in time for the summit, the European Commission launched its communication on new trade defence instruments, as one MEP compared anti-dumping on Chinese solar imports to a cartel.

Populism and isolationism is the biggest threat to growth in emerging markets, says the World Bank. Barack Obama has praised Italian PM Matteo Renzi, and criticised EU austerity.

The European People’s Party wants an EU-wide system against food terrorism. Europe’s socialists are in deep trouble and this story highlights Romania’s financial contribution to UK healthcare.

Germany has approved a controversial deal on nuclear waste, which isn’t great news for all the new babies in the country. The European Court of Justice has ruled that the German government can collect and save the log data of visitors to its sites.

WWF are talking Energy Union and mystery beasts. And you’ve heard of realpolitik – but what about realpolitik in space?

Follow @JamesCrisp6, @eaTheBrief & @EurActiv on Twitter. 


“With the European Statistics Day, the European statistical community aims at raising awareness of European citizens to the importance and value of official statistics for our society.” It is the first ever European Statistics Day tomorrow. We imagine that, like 99.78% of EU citizens, you had no idea.