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Therese Raphael

Brexit’s Bewildering Endgame

Mapping the potential outcomes isn’t easy. But most look ominous.

Anything’s possible.

Anything’s possible.

Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg


As negotiators from the U.K. and the European Union meet in Brussels this week, Brexit is said to be entering its endgame. This isn’t an ordinary endgame though: All the major pieces are still on the board and pretty much the full range of potential outcomes — from no deal to no Brexit, and everything in between — remain live possibilities. Mapping the potential outcomes isn’t easy.

Since the two-year countdown to Brexit ends on March 29 and any deal requires U.K. and EU parliamentary approvals, the window for a bargain effectively closes in the next few months. Either Britain will leave the EU with a negotiated agreement; or it will exit with no deal at all, upending a vast array of trading relationships and complicating future negotiations with the EU and other countries.