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A huge defeat for Marine Le Pen, the right-wing politician, in the French presidential election in May was lauded as an evidence that populism in Europe was on the wane.
However, the vice-chairman of Blackstone considers that moment was only a lull and voices from the fringe would be heard loud and clear again in 2018.
“In 2018, I do believe the drivers of populist movements, given that 2017 was a fairly placid year on populism, are going to be far rifer to both the far-right and far-left,” John Studzinski said.
“That will make the whole Brexit and European Union debate much more complicated.”
Studzinksi stated that the exit of Britain from Europe was still at a very early stage and that he expected to see a redefinition of what the Brexit means as negotiations evolve.
“There is no question that Europe sees its own future and stability and a sort of troika relationship among Germany, France, and the U.K.,” said Studzinksi. “People like Merkel and Macron would love to keep May and the U.K. in the EU.”
However, Lord Malloch Brown, the former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, said that division within the United Kingdom means that the power brokers of Europe would not be in a hurry to deliver the nation country back into its fold.
“It (U.K.) can’t get Brexit through because it has a weak government and a conflicted parliament. Is that the terms in which you want to reimport Britain’s civil war into the debate about Europe?”
Malloch Brown said that he agreed with the view of Studzinksi that a “hard Brexit” seems much less likely for Britain. He added that the outcome could be disastrous for those who believe in Brexit and in the ruling Conservative party of May.
Brown stated: “I can now see a likely parliamentary vote against Mrs May’s Brexit and that could lead to both a new general election and shift to a Corbyn government or another referendum.”