Perhaps nothing summarizes the efforts of British Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union to produce an exit for the UK from the European community than the opinion piece by Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times.
Mr. Shrimsley, discussing the exit plan produced by Ms. May, writes:
“If her deal falls, she will have failed utterly, but even if it passes little is resolved. For although Ms. May’s package is often called a deal it is little more than a standstill agreement. She has bought 21 months of armistice in return for an indefinite continuation of the conflict. Little of the UK’s future relationship with the EU is settled. There is no trade deal, no plan for services, and no final destination. Ms. May will soon be gone; these battles are still to be fought.”
When one puts this “failure” within a broader context, the advancement of the whole European Union, one picks up a clear picture.
If the European community and Great Britain have an overwhelming skill, it is the skill of “kicking the can down the road.”
This group of nations excel in doing everything they can when dealing with an issue to do as little as they can to resolve the issue, yet keep discussions going that keep the issue alive.
Ultimately, we may find out that the nations of the eurozone don’t have enough in common to pull together and solve the problems that they need to solve. If so, then let each fend for itself.
It seems, however, that the members of the European community want to continue to believe that they have sufficient common interests that would best be solved within the union.
Just don’t let those common interests come into conflict with what this nation or that nation want.
Then you will get an agreement to work on the issue further, at a later date in time, and the issue will remain unresolved.
This dysfunction seems to be so inherent in the union that nothing ever really gets done.
One could point to a real void in leadership in the community.
At one time, it was thought that German Chancellor Angela Merkel might become the leader the EU needed.
Then there was the rise of Matteo Renzi who became Prime Minister of Italy, and, for a time, looked like the companion to Ms. Merkel that might lead the EU into the future.
After Mr. Renzi’s fall, there was the ascent of Emmanuel Macron, the President of France. Mr. Macron looked like a natural to bond with Ms. Merkel and bring the EU into the future.
Not happening. Not only is Mr. Macron having lots of problems, Ms. Merkel has descended from her perch.
Europe, to me, looks leaderless, and into this void the populists camps are showing off their power.
A politically split Europe will not produce the reforms necessary for a strong, stable community.
Economically and financially, Europe needs to come together. We are talking here about a common EU budget, a common EU banking system, and federally adhered to political system.
And, this, I believe, should include Great Britain.
Most readers of this post know that I believe that the greatest unifier in the world is information and that the spread of information, although it might be slowed down, cannot be stopped. History has shown that information grows and spreads and brings people together, whether or not they come along willingly.
Coming into the twenty-first century, it looked as if this was happening and was producing many winners as it proceeded.
It looked as if the European Union was going to be one of the major success stories of this historical movement.
But, the leaders of Europe did not follow through. Narrow, national interests slowed down everything and the things that were needed to build unity were not followed up on. And, in this void, the forces of disunity moved into the cracks and now present a real threat to the future of the Union. And, there seems to be a real absence of leadership to fight the forces of entropy.
The outcomes we are experiencing are similar to those Mr. Shrimsley attributes to Ms. May.
A lot of time is being spent accomplishing little or nothing.
And, when you look around, your feel a real absence of leadership that might hold back the disorder.
The further we go along this path, the more hopeless it seems. One keeps looking for a hero on a white stallion to ride in and save the community, in spite of themselves. But, this only happens in romantic literature or super-hero movies.
Most analysts are saying that the next move by Ms. May is to get a lengthy extension to when the British exit will take place.
At this particular time in history, one has very little hope that this “new” kicking of the can will achieve anything more than what has been achieved at present.
This result is not good for the global competitive position of either Great Britain or the European Union.
This raises the question of how painful must things get, economically, for Great Britain or the European Union, to actually do something productive. The scary thing is that the populist forces working to break the community apart might gain the upper hand and contribute further to the disintegration of the union.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.