"Fake" Brexit?

To be held on Thursday, July 12, 2018


  • Nicolas Véron (Bruegel)



Nicolas Véron is always good value – and it is always good to catch him when he is in London, flitting between his twin perches at Bruegel in Brussels (which he co-founded, and where he is now a Senior Fellow) and Peterson in Washington (which he joined in 2009).

As someone who is achingly grandes ecoles, one cannot expect Nicolas to be entirely dispassionate about either Brexit or the Macron project. But he is one of the shrewdest observers I know of the European scene, and he is taken very seriously indeed by People Who Matter. Moreover, he writes (for the FT, the WSJ, the NYT, Le Monde, whatever and wherever)… and he tweets almost as much as Trump. Recent interventions cover:

  • the Macron–Merkel reform agenda;
  • threats to the transAtlantic Alliance;
  • his campaign to save Greece’s former auditor-general, Andreas Georghiu, from the clutches of Syriza;
  • the limitations of the EU bank failure resolution regime;
  • the need to ensure the continued neutrality of SWIFT in the face of Trump’s Iranian sanctions;
  • the continuing momentum (or lack thereof) behind Banking Union and CMU;
  • whether Italy poses the systemic threat to the EU that Greek didn’t; and, of course,
  • ‘Brexit’.

Or rather “fake Brexit”. In Nicolas’s view, the most likely scenario for the UK is now one in which it stays indefinitely in the single market (and the customs union) beyond its formal EU exit – while the government of Mrs. May keeps saying (and perhaps believing) that it will leave and take back control “eventually”.

I am not sure I go along with Nicolas on this – and I very much hope that there will be dissenters in the room. But Nicolas knows his onions, and he is well able to argue his case. If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for what I am sure will be a lively discussion, please let us know by emailing alex@csfi.org or by calling the Centre on 02076211056. As usual, there will be wine and sandwiches to ease the pain.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton