Joe Litobarski

Freelance European Political Journalist

Birth of a buzzword: Digitalisation

In the Brussels bubble, “digitalisation” is the buzzword du jour. I always thought it meant scanning printed texts and converting them to a digital format. That’s apparently now “digitisation” (and the distinction between the two is still not entirely clear to me).

I gather that “digitalisation” refers, in EU policy circles, to the growing adoption and spread of digital technologies across the whole of society (and the economy in particular). I’ve seen it compared to the process of electrification.

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Britain may end up with more EU red tape after Brexit

One of the promised benefits of Brexit was an end to EU red tape. Yet leaving the European Union could end up actually increasing the bureaucratic hurdles facing UK businesses.

The current strategy is to transpose all EU legislation directly into domestic UK law as part of the so-called “Great Repeal Bill”. The government’s white paper proposes that all existing EU law should essentially continue to enjoy effective supremacy over UK law, and that existing rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will continue to apply after Brexit.

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(c) Number 10 Downing Street - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Is this what Britain’s new relationship with Europe looks like?

Both sides need to chill. That’s basically the message (I’m paraphrasing slightly) from Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

Tusk has called for ‘discretion’ (probably aimed at Jean-Claude Juncker and his leaky staff) and ‘moderation’ (probably a broadside at the Prime Minister and her ‘astonishing attack’ on the EU).

The Prime Minister wants to win an election. Fair enough. Tough rhetoric plays well with the electorate. The EU negotiators understand this.

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How will Brexit change Britain?

There is a disaster brewing.  Brexit feels very much like the run-up to the Iraq War, when the authorities reassured sceptical citizens that they had everything in hand.

Outwardly, the British government in 2003 projected an air of competence. They were in charge, and they knew precisely what they were doing. Speaking to Parliament or the media, they appeared cool, calm, and collected.

The result was the biggest foreign policy cock-up since Suez. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq collapsed into civil war, and Islamic State was born.

For the UK (though obviously not for Egypt or Iraq), the stakes are even higher with Brexit. If Suez was the last gasp of the British Empire, then Brexit might well be the last gasp of the United Kingdom.

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