Summer feels like it is already here. Given the upcoming electoral calendar the political temperature will also likely rise. Before the summer recess – or perhaps a permanent vacation for some politicians, depending on results – we have a plethora of key milestones with a bearing on Brexit. Here is a snapshot of just a few to watch out for.
First up is the UK general election on 8 June, where Mrs May is seeking to secure a larger parliamentary majority following her recent decision to call a snap election. Assuming a Conservative victory, the big question remains what Mrs May will do with her increased majority – will she use it to stand up to hard-line Brexiteers, who are advocating full withdrawal from the Single Market? Or will she stifle the remnants of the remain camp, who are advocating a more nuanced negotiating strategy? The answer will give us an insight into the future impact of Brexit for the economy, for GBP, for business and for investments.
The UK election will be closely followed by two rounds of legislative elections in France, on 11 and 18 June respectively. Newly elected President Macron is seeking to bolster his stratospheric rise by establishing a solid parliamentary base for his brand new party. Hot on the heels of the French result, there will be no time to lose before the formal start of the Brexit negotiations on 19 June. Whilst the EU side has been preparing its position for some time, the newly elected UK government will only have 10 days before it sits down for the first time to start thrashing out a deal with EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier and his team.
Also over the summer EU leaders will meet for their usual quarterly meeting in Brussels at the end of June, where Barnier will debrief EU27 leaders on the opening salvos with the UK on Brexit. The midpoint of the year sees the usual transmission of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, this time from the current Maltese over to the Estonians. Finally, the political Indian summer season in Europe will be capped off with German federal elections set for mid-September. Following a series of regional successes this year, many commentators are expecting a fourth term for Mrs Merkel and her CDU/CSU led party.
So by the time politicians on both sides of the channel return after the summer recess the stage will be set for getting down to the real business of Brexit negotiations. Winning the election might turn out to be the easy bit for Mrs May this summer.