Map of the day

Source – geopoliticalfurtures

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Shuffling Deck Chairs on Europe

Even the subtlest change in perspective can completely alter the way you view a situation. This map of Europe from the United Kingdom?s perspective is a case in point. It also happens to highlight some of the issues we expect to dominate European affairs in the year ahead.

The UK is going to leave the European Union in 2019. 2018 will feature a great deal of political melodrama as negotiations between the EU and UK occupy headlines. But the headlines will not capture the issues of real importance. What matters is not whether there will be a UK-EU trade deal. We expect there will be simply because the EU (i.e., Germany) trades a lot with the UK, and the UK in turn trades a lot with the EU. It is in neither side?s interests to fail to reach an agreement.

But the UK?s exit means London?s foreign policy toward Europe must now revert to a prior form. We?ve already seen the beginnings of this process with the recently signed Polish-UK defense treaty. What?s the goal for the UK? To ensure that no country on the European continent becomes strong enough to project power across the English Channel.

Another intriguing element of this map is that at its center are two countries whose relationship more than any other will define EU affairs in 2018: Poland and Germany. Poland is fed up with Germany?s disproportionate influence in the EU and is nervous about what losing the UK, a counterbalancing force to Germany within the bloc, will mean. The EU will be tested in several areas, and separatism won?t go away, but the Polish-German disagreement on the EU?s future will be the most important issue to watch.