« Negotiating BREXIT: an impossible task” was the topic of the conference delivered at HEIP on November 15th by Jeremy Stubbs, President of the British Conservatives in Paris at the invitation of the students of M2 « International Strategy and Economic Development”. Even if most of us know already a lot about Brexit, it was extremely useful to listen to the British point of view from a political and institutional angle.
As a result of the project of agreement between the UK and the UE, two days before, together with the resignations of four ministers a few hours earlier, the conference was a second-to-none opportunity to discuss the present situation and scenarios for the future, from an historical and political perspective. With extremely valuable insights and also a strong sense of humor, Jeremy Stubbs focused on a timeline presentation of Brexit: the past, the present, the future and… “the Eternity”.
He explained the origin of Brexit as a result of a solid bedrock of Euroscepticism fed by an accumulation of vexations against the UK, a political game, and, of course, the Referendum itself, with a poor « yes or no » question without a panel of options. More than a few causes, he mentioned an accumulation of causes over years. Lack of preparation and improvisation, together with internal strifes, led the UK to a weak position in negotiating with the extremely well-prepared European Commission.
Jeremy Stubbs honestly conceded mistakes and weaknesses in the conduct of the negotiation by the UK.
At this stage, the agreement has to face many opponents, for both political and regional reasons. The rejection of the draft deal by the Commons is very likely, and might lead to a political crisis resulting in various possibilities: the replacement of Theresa May by another Conservative, general elections, a hard Brexit or a status quo and the extension of the transition period to an undefined future and content. Any logic in there? For Jeremy Stubbs, the martyrdom of Saint Theresa is another illustration of eternal questions, such as the lack of “human reason” in our societies and throughout History which leads to populist waves, and even more dangerous situations. Quoting Shakespeare, he added: « Though this be madness, yet there is method in it ». However, he remained confident in the determination and character of Theresa May to achieve her mission.
A rich exchange of questions and answers followed the presentation. Presenting a few books, he concluded that one of the main problems of today’s World lies in the lack of confidence: « To be right and not to know it ».
Zakaria Mamou, Double degree Master student in International Strategy and Economic Development (HEIP) & Export Management (ESCE), co-founder of the FIDEA Forum.
This conference was organized by the students of the Master Program « International Strategy and Economic Development », led by Professor Philippe Tauzin, head of the program. This master aims at developing a strategic proficiency of economics and businesses in the fields of political science and international affairs. A small word from Philippe Tauzin: “I would like to express my warmest thanks and congratulations to the students for their initiative and organization, especially Zakaria Mamou who ensured the contacts with Jeremy Stubbs.”