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(In)Decision Time In The UK?

(In)Decision Time In The UK?

Today, the British parliament will finally decide whether to support or reject the EU-exit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May's government has painstakingly negotiated with the European Union.


If it feels like we've been here before – we have. Last month, May postponed this very vote after it became clear that her plan was headed for defeat.

Since then she has weathered a Tory Party no-confidence vote, but there's little to suggest that her deal – which is too moderate for hardline Brexit supporters while also being too far-reaching for Brexit opponents – has any better prospects this time around.

Roughly 100 members of her own Tory Party are rumored still to oppose it. But if the UK hurtles out of the EU on 29 March without a deal, the economic effects on both sides of the English Channel could be severe. The clock is ticking.

So if May's deal is crushed today, as it looks like it will be, what would come next? There are four main scenarios:

Extend and Renegotiate May has begun preparing the groundwork to extend the Brexit timeline beyond March 29 and tweak the deal further. Would the EU agree to such a request? Growing political troubles in France and Germany have made the continent warier of allowing a "no-deal" Brexit, meaning that European leaders might soften their earlier resistance to reopening negotiations. But even if Brussels were to approve an extension, Mrs. May would still be stuck with a domestic quandary: with her Tory Party split over Brexit, she would face pressure to try and peel off votes from the opposition Labour Party in order to win approval at home for any new deal.

A Second Referendum A defeat today would bolster calls for a second Brexit referendum. While May has ruled out such a vote, many within her Tory Party believe it's the only way to clarify what Britons really want from Brexit. This path has its fair share of landmines though: who, for example, gets to decide what specific question is presented to British voters in a second go-around? How would the result affect the current Brexit timeline? And after a majority of British voters (with large turnout) supported Brexit in 2016, would a do-over undermine trust in UK democracy?

Early elections If May's deal is buried today, the Labour Party plans to immediately put forth a parliamentary vote of no confidence to topple her government. May probably has enough support to defeat it, but a successful no confidence motion would trigger new elections. That would upend negotiations with the EU entirely and could even lead to a Labour government that would likely favor closer economic ties with the common bloc than what Mrs. May has negotiated.

A "No-Deal" Brexit If the UK and EU are unable to come to a solution before the March 29 deadline at all, and the EU is unwilling to offer the UK more time, Britain would then leave the EU without a comprehensive deal governing future economic relations. Both sides want to avoid this outcome, but the closer we get to 29 March, the more likely it looks.

The bottom line: The size of May's loss today will tell us whether she can sustain enough support to negotiate a new deal or if instead we're heading for a more tumultuous end to the Brexit drama.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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