The Brief: A Brexit Christmas carol


The Brief is taking a short Christmas break and will be back on 2 January. It’s been a memorable, if mostly horrible, year. By way of a parting gift, please enjoy our Brexit Christmas carol. It is to be sung to the tune of Wham’s Last Christmas. Or listen to EURACTIV’s Freddie Martyn sing it to you.

Last Christmas, we hadn’t fallen apart,

But by June 24, you turned us away.

Next year, to save us from tears,

EU’ll reach out to someone special.


Next Christmas, no Europe à la carte,

Article 50? An arrow to the heart,

Next year, to save us from tears,

We’ll reach out to someone special (special).


Once bitten and twice shy,

Referendums always make us cry.

Tell me David, Mark, and Renzi,

What’s with us and democracy?


The British wrapped it and sent it,

A note saying Brexit, they meant it.

But they’ll know what fools they’ve been,

No notification, no negotiation.


Last Christmas, we tried to do our part,

But Nigel and Boris, they blew it away.

This year, there are so many fears.

We’ll reach out to someone special (special).


Top-down, bottom up, where do we start?

Hard or soft Brexit, how do we part?

Maybe next year, it will become clear,

And we’ll give the EU to someone special.

We’ll give it to someone, we’ll give it to someone special.

[But not Turkey, obviously].


IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been found guilty of negligence in public office by a court in Paris.

EU environment ministers debated the reforms to the EU’s Emissions Trading System in Brussels today. Although the Slovak Presidency had hoped to secure consensus on a general approach to the file, that was not possible “due to the lack of political will”.

Ireland has set out its arguments against a European Commission ruling that Apple should pay back billions of back-taxes to Dublin. Meanwhile the EU said Apple could cut payments to Ireland by shelling out to other member states or to its US parent company. Apple said it was a “convenient target”.

The Times has a cracking investigation into how the UK is dumping billions of overseas aid into World Bank trust funds to meet its 0.7% annual development aid target.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has appointed Prince of Darkness and former Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to a panel of business and financial leaders advising him on Brexit. China’s top diplomat is flying to London to meet Theresa May, amid all the uncertainty caused by the referendum.

Brussels is upping the pressure on Bulgaria to find a replacement Commissioner for the outgoing Kristalina Georgieva.

This video from MSF is an unmissable translation of some of the EU’s doublespeak on migration.

In more Christmassy news, here is what the Commission had to say when we asked it for its views on Zwarte Piet. Zwarte Piet is a Belgian and Dutch tradition where men black up and walk around with Saint Nicholas.


Christmas with the family. Not always an easy time. There are two ways to handle any potential stress. First, make broad based attempts to reach consensus in full consultation with all stakeholders on all sides of the house, building bridges in full transparency and open dialogue. Or you could just get drunk.


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