Byron Wien got some insight into where Brexit negotiations are going during United Nations Week in September.
Blackstone’s vice chairman and investing guru was one of the people who lined up to ask UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, a question after her speech.
Wien asked if European countries were going to treat Britain like a prison escapee, a term coined by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Kissinger had urged the European Union to view Britain as a “potential compatriot” instead.
Wien also asked if Britain would be punished for breaking up with the EU, or whether both sides would negotiate bi-lateral trade deals positively.
He recalled (emphasis ours):
“She answered, ‘Europe views me as a victim. I supported the ‘Remain’ vote. The populists took over the mind of the electorate and defeated us. Many European leaders feel like they are victims of populism also and sympathize with me. I think European leaders will have a constructive attitude toward trade negotiations with the UK.’ If she turns out to be right, UK and European stocks are a buy.”
Investors are looking at two scenarios: whether Britain would pull out of the European single market (“hard Brexit”), or maintain single market access and compromise on independent policy freedom (“soft Brexit”).
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