Open your ears for Brexit catchphrases
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Open your ears for Brexit catchphrases

The signs so far are that Malta will be involved in negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Photo: Reuters

The signs so far are that Malta will be involved in negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Photo: Reuters

While Britain tries to get its house in order after the Brexit vote, politicians in Europe grapple with the political and economic fallout.

Brexit has conditioned the discourse across Europe for the past week and as what happens in every crisis the EU has faced, the issue comes with its own catchphrases.

Today, the G in Grexit has been replaced with a B, and ‘bailout’ has been replaced with ‘breathing space’

Only a year ago, the headlines were dominated by ‘Grexit’, ‘insolvent’, ‘bailout’ and ‘haircut’ – words reminiscent of the saga that saw Greece turn to its European counterparts with a begging bowl as the country tottered on the brink of financial collapse and EU exit.

Today, the G in Grexit has been replaced with a B, and ‘bailout’ has been replaced with ‘breathing space’ in the wake of the single largest shock the European project has had to face. Here are some of the catchphrases:

‘Strong relationship’ is the vague terminology currently used to describe the nebulous arrangement a future British prime minister will seek with the EU once it decides on the way forward.

‘No cherry-picking’ is the condition member states have made, which could see Britain having to accept free movement of people if it wants full access to the single market.

‘EU-27’ has made it to the lexicon as member states prepare for a union without Britain.

‘Trade deal’ is what Britain wants and what remains undefined, for the time being, while the political class sorts itself out. This is accompanied by the phrases ‘Canadian model’, ‘Norwegian model’ and others, to describe the options that exist today.

‘Breathing space’ is the two- or three-month period EU leaders have given the UK until the internal political situation is sorted out and a new prime minister is appointed to replace David Cameron.

‘Article 50’ is the exit clause in the Lisbon Treaty that Cameron’s successor will have to invoke before any formal talks with the EU can start.

‘More Europe’ is the response to Brexit posited by the Brussels elite, including European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, which hankers for greater integration in a post-Britain union.

‘Better Europe’ is the other type of response to Brexit posited by some EU leaders, including Joseph Muscat, who argue for greater flexibility and against a one-size-fits-all mentality.

‘Nicola Sturgeon’ is the Scottish first minister who is likely to call a second independence referendum for Scotland but whose name remains problematic in EU circles, because the bloc cannot be seen to urge secessionist feelings out of fear of sparking similar calls for secession in other member states, like Spain.

‘Strong relationship’: the nebulous arrangement a future UK prime minister will seek with the EU once it decides on the way forward.‘Strong relationship’: the nebulous arrangement a future UK prime minister will seek with the EU once it decides on the way forward.

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