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英国退欧

Brexit Britain is at Europe’s mercy
英国面临退欧谈判残酷现实

拉赫曼:英国正在滑向退欧灾难:没有可行的外交、经济或政治战略来确保成功退欧。最后可能英国和欧盟双输。

Britain is drifting towards disaster on Brexit — without a viable diplomatic, economic or political strategy to make a success of the venture.

英国正在滑向退欧灾难——没有可行的外交、经济或政治战略来确保成功退欧。

The central problem is that the British government is stuck between an implacable EU and an unrealistic Conservative party. The EU will not offer anything like the deal that Britain’s Brexiters still dream of. But Theresa May’s Conservative colleagues are still unprepared to accept this unpleasant reality.

核心问题在于,英国政府现在被困在不愿妥协的欧盟和不现实的保守党之间。欧盟不会提出英国退欧派仍在梦想的那种方案。但特里萨•梅(Theresa May)的保守党同僚仍然没有准备好接受这个不愉快的现实。

In this paralysing situation, it seems increasingly likely the UK government will simply be politically and technically incapable of delivering a negotiated Brexit. As a result, the likeliest outcome is that, late in the day — perhaps in January 2019 — the EU will present Britain with a “take it or leave it” deal.

在这种一筹莫展的局面中,英国政府在政治和技术上无法实现谈判退欧的可能性似乎越来越高。其结果是,最有可能的结局是,欧盟将在最后时刻(可能是2019年1月)向英国提出一份“要么接受、要么离开”的协议。

That deal will involve Britain making wholesale concessions on a range of issues, from money to migration and markets. The alternative to acceptance would be for Britain to go over the cliff edge of a “no deal” Brexit in March 2019, with chaotic implications for trade, travel and security. Faced with that imminent prospect, it is likely, but by no means certain, that Britain would take the EU’s deal.

那样的协议将涉及英国在一系列问题上(从金钱到移民和市场)作出全盘让步。不接受该协议的替代选择是,英国将在2019年3月滑下“无协议”退欧的悬崖边缘,承受贸易、旅行和安全方面的混乱后果。面对那种迫在眉睫的前景,英国很可能(但不能肯定)会接受欧盟的协议。

The unpleasant reality for Britain is that both the structure of the negotiations, and the relative strengths of both sides, ensure it is in the EU’s interests to indulge in brinkmanship. There are EU countries, particularly Ireland, that would suffer badly from a “no deal” Brexit. But in general, the EU seems to have decided that it can absorb the direct costs of Britain leaving without a deal.

对英国来说,令人不快的现实是,谈判架构和双方的相对实力都确保了,玩一场悬崖游戏是符合欧盟利益的。有些欧盟国家(特别是爱尔兰)会因英国“无协议”退欧而遭受严重损失。但总的来说,欧盟似乎已经决定,它能够承受英国无协议退欧带来的直接代价。

When, at a recent closed-doors event, a senior British politician argued that, in the event of a “no deal”, the EU will be left with a €10bn hole in its budget, the Europeans in the audience seemed unimpressed. As one of them put it to me afterwards: “There are 27 of us. I think we can manage that.”

在最近的一次闭门会议上,英国一位资深政客提出,在英国“无协议”退欧的情况下,欧盟将面对100亿欧元的预算漏洞,然而听众中的欧洲人似乎不以为意。正如其中一人在会后对我所说的:“我们有27个成员国。我想我们能对付。”

The Europeans also know that the more that times passes, the more the pressure will mount on Britain. It is widely anticipated that if there is no clear Brexit breakthrough at next month’s EU summit, big banks and businesses will start to make announcements about shifting jobs out of Britain. If that happens, the May government’s negotiating position will get steadily weaker.

欧洲人也知道,越往后,英国承受的压力就会越大。各方普遍预计,如果下月举行的欧盟峰会没有在英国退欧问题上取得明显突破,大型银行和企业将开始宣布把工作岗位迁出英国。如果发生这种情况,梅政府的谈判地位将会越来越弱。

The EU side can also credibly argue that the political disarray in Britain is such that making a deal with the May government could turn out to be pointless. On the surface, the British government has a clear position on most of the key issues. The May government has offered to pay the EU €20bn as part of the divorce settlement. It has also said that Britain plans eventually to leave both the EU’s internal market and the customs union, but that there should be a transition arrangement of about two years, during which a new free trade deal is put into place.

欧盟方面还能够可信地提出,英国政局如此混乱,以至于与梅政府达成协议最终可能毫无意义。表面上,英国政府在大部分关键问题上都有明确立场。梅政府已经提出支付200亿欧元作为“离婚协议”的一部分。梅政府还已表示,英国计划最终退出欧盟内部市场和关税同盟,但是应该有一项为期两年左右的过渡安排,其间会达成一份新的自由贸易协定。

But these positions could still change radically in response to events. If, as seems likely, Mrs May is forced to increase considerably the UK’s financial offer to the EU, it is possible that she will face a revolt from within her own party — and could lose her House of Commons majority, and possibly her job. On the other hand, if she hangs tough on the money and allows negotiations to break down, then she may face a similarly dangerous revolt from appalled Remainers.

但是,随着事态发展,这些立场仍然可能发生根本性的变化。如果梅被迫大幅增加英国对欧盟作出的财务贡献,她可能面临党内反弹——并可能失去她在下议院(House of Commons)的多数席位,甚至可能下台。另一方面,如果她在“离婚”款项的金额上死不让步,任由谈判破裂,那么她可能面临不满的留欧派同样危险的造反。

Beyond the money, there is still an unresolved dispute over whether Britain will indeed leave the EU’s internal market. For while that is currently the official UK position, it is also clear that there are senior figures within the government — including Philip Hammond, the chancellor — who would dearly like to shift policy.

除了金钱以外,关于英国是否真的会退出欧盟内部市场,仍然存在悬而未决的争议。因为尽管那是英国目前的官方立场,但同样显而易见的是,政府内部一些高层人物(包括财政大臣菲利普•哈蒙德(Philip Hammond))非常愿意转变政策。

This unresolved conflict between Remainers and Leavers means that Britain’s negotiating position cannot be assumed to be final. Even if Mrs May stays and manages to negotiate a deal, she might be unable to get it through parliament. But if Mrs May falls, then her carefully-crafted compromises will fall with her.

留欧派和退欧派之间的冲突悬而未决意味着,英国的谈判立场不能被视为最终立场。即使梅得以撑下去,并设法谈判达成协议,她也可能无法说服议会通过该协议。但是,如果梅下台了,那么她精心策划的妥协方案将会随之泡汤。

What happened next would depend on whether she was replaced by a Remainer or a Leaver. Alternatively, there could be a general election, with the Tories replaced by Labour. But the real attitude of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, to Brexit remains mysterious. And Mr Corbyn’s positions would anyway be shaped by the economic and political circumstances he inherited, and by whether he had to govern in coalition with the Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats.

接下来的事情将取决于她是被留欧派还是退欧派取代。再或者,英国可能举行一场大选,导致保守党下台,被工党取而代之。但工党领袖杰里米•科尔宾(Jeremy Corbyn)在退欧问题上仍然讳莫如深,不肯表明真实态度。无论如何,科尔宾的立场都会受到他接手的经济和政治环境、以及他是否不得不与苏格兰民族党(SNP)和英国自由民主党(Liberal Democrats)联合执政的影响。

Observing all these uncertainties, the EU might well conclude that there is no point in making significant moves now. Some Europeans may even nurture hopes that the eventual outcome of all this chaos is that Britain reconsiders its decision to leave the EU altogether. One outside possibility is that the EU’s last minute offer would be aimed not at crafting a Brexit deal, but at persuading Britain to reconsider the whole notion of Brexit.

在看到所有这些不确定因素后,欧盟很可能会得出结论:现在做出重大举措毫无意义。一些欧洲人甚至可能希望,这一切混乱的最终结局是英国重新考虑退出欧盟的决定。有一种不大的可能性是,欧盟在最后时刻提出的协议,将不是为了设计英国退欧协议,而是旨在说服英国重新考虑整个退欧念头。

But such brinkmanship also inevitably carries risks for the EU. The economic consequences of pushing the British over the cliff edge, by accident or design, may be containable for the EU. Imposing a humiliating settlement on Britain might even seem economically advantageous. But the long term political and strategic consequences of a bitter Brexit are much harder to calculate.

但这种悬崖游戏也不可避免地给欧盟带来风险。把英国推下悬崖(无论是无意还是有意)的经济后果或许是欧盟可以承受的。迫使英国接受羞辱性的解决方案,在经济上甚至可能具有优势。但是,英国不愉快退欧带来的长期政治和战略后果将会更难估量。

译者/马柯斯

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