Brexit on the Brussels Backburner as EU Juggles Its Many Fires

Ian Wishart, Bloomberg, 20.10.2016

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When U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May shows up to her first European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday, she’ll have to take a number and get in line before addressing any national grievances. [...]

‘Illiberal Europe’

By this time next year the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands could all have been bruised or even toppled in elections or, in Italy’s Matteo Renzi’s case, from the fallout of a referendum.

And, as this summit shows, they will go into those votes with Europe’s greatest problems still gnawing away at them, said Janis Emmanouilidis, Director of Studies at the European Policy Center in Brussels.

“None of the old crises has been resolved – neither the debt crisis, nor the geopolitical crisis in our relations with Russia, nor the migration-refugee crisis, and now on top of all that we have Brexit which will absorb a lot of political energy,” Emmanouilidis said. “The main risk for the EU isn’t exploding -- muddling through is the likeliest scenario – but the danger of a more regressive and illiberal Europe.”

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