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British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her latest Brexit speech at Mansion House on March 2, 2018, in London, England. Photo: Jonathan Brady / WPA Pool / Getty Images

In her address last Friday about Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May failed to present a compelling vision for post-Brexit Europe. To lay the groundwork for trade negotiations in Brussels, the speech needed to meet three objectives but accomplished one at most.

May’s goals:

  1. Satisfy the two wings of her party, the pro-European Conservatives and the militant Brexiteers. May had modest success on that score, as both sides gave her speech a cautious welcome. But each wing wants May to pull May further in its own direction, a tension that will only increase in the months ahead.
  2. Resolve the future economic relationship between the U.K. and the EU.
  3. Clarify the U.K.’s larger goals. The question May has consistently dodged is how much autonomy is she prepared to surrender post-Brexit to keep a close trading relationship with the rest of the European Union.

May failed to meet either of her last objectives. On the economy, she expressed her desire for “frictionless” trade with the EU, but rejected the existing means that EU members currently use to achieve this. In a further display of indecision, May dropped her support of “binding commitments” to EU rules, which implies legally enforceable arrangements, opting instead for “strong” commitments, which implies no such thing. Discussion of the UK’s larger objectives was similarly muddled.

What’s next: The U.K. is due to leave the EU next March. To meet that deadline, members must agree to a deal by October. Since the EU insists that at least six months are needed to sort out the economic, technical and legal issues (still an optimistic time frame), that leaves only one month before negotiations must begin.

Peter Kellner is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe.

Go deeper

Hollywood union reaches deal with studios to avert strike

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Hollywood workers' union reached a tentative deal with studios, networks and streamers that will guarantee better working conditions, meal breaks and increased wages for low-paid workers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Saturday night.

Why it matters: The deal, which still needs to be ratified by IATSE members, will avert a nationwide strike by film and television workers that was set to start Monday. It would have been the first strike in the union's 128-year history.

Bill Clinton released from hospital following treatment for non-COVID infection

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was discharged from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Sunday, nearly a week after he was admitted for a non-COVID-related infection, according to his spokesperson Angel Ureña.

What they're saying: "His fever and white blood cell count are normalized and he will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics," wrote Dr. Alpesh Amin, who has been overseeing the team of doctors treating Clinton. "On behalf of everyone at UC Irvine Medical Center, we were honored to have treated him and will continue to monitor his progress."

Worth noting: Clinton had a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, per CNN.

  • The California-based medical team had been administering IV antibiotics and fluids, and was in constant communication with Clinton's New York team, including his cardiologist, according to the former president's physicians.
  • President Biden spoke by phone with Clinton on Friday to see how he was doing, and the catch-up included a discussion of recent politics.
6 hours ago - Technology

TikTok drives new nostalgia economy

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Older brands, trends and technologies are making a comeback as younger consumers desperately chase slower, less chaotic times.

The big picture: TikTok's algorithm makes it easy for flashback items to resurface and quickly go viral both on its platform and eventually on other social networks.