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BRINGING BREXIT HOME

BRINGING BREXIT HOME

On Sunday, British Prime Minster Theresa May finally got EU leaders to agree to her plan for Brexit. Now she faces the even more daunting task of securing the support of her own parliament in a vote on December 11. This is Ms. May's last best hope for avoiding a potential crisis in which the UK crashes out of the EU next March without any new agreement governing the cross-channel relationship.


It's an uphill battle if ever there was one. To get close to the 320 votes she'll likely need, Ms. May will have to carry every member of her governing Tory party while also picking off a few defectors from the opposition Labor party. But many Tories who favor a deeper separation from the EU than what's on offer have already come out against the plan, and most Labor MPs are loath to offer a win to Ms. May even if they like what's in it.

Outside the halls of government only 19 percent of Britons favor the agreementas brokered by Ms. May. It's a compromise that satisfies almost no one – when Britons who voted to leave the EU are asked about the details of what she has negotiated, only 12 percent say the current plan strikes the right balance between "soft" and "hard" Brexit, or the extent of the UK's separation from the EU.

If parliament rejects the plan, it's hard to see European leaders reopening negotiations – it took months to get all 27 EU leaders aligned around the current draft. And even that consensus was in question right up until the last minute, when London tangled with Madrid over the future of UK-administered Gibraltar. (May's concession naturally provoked fresh anger from within her own ranks.)

Another possibility would be to call another popular referendum, in order to seek further clarity on what citizens actually want after two years of wrangling over the particulars of Brexit. But that would just reinforce the broader problem Ms. May faces today—Britain is no less divided on what it wants from Brexit as when it voted for it over two years ago.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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