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There are three potential doom spirals already baked into the U.K.-EU divorce proceedings. First, there are political and structural risks to the EU if more member states leave. Thus, the EU has a strong incentive to make Brexit as painful as possible for the U.K., in order to discourage countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, or Finland from following the British example.Opinion polls show that support for the EU has surged in many member states since the U.K.'s referendum. Immediately after the referendum, German Chancellor Angela Merkel beseeched Europeans not to be needlessly "horrid" (garstig) when thinking about the EU's divorce terms for the U.K. But, because the U.K. knows that the EU fears disintegration, it will inevitably read vindictiveness into any position the EU takes. U.K. negotiators will have to assume that their EU counterparts are trying to make the path out of the EU as economically and politically rocky as possible.Thus, one of the U.K.'s most effective negotiating strategies would deeply divide Britain itself, and especially the governing Conservative Party.Britain would appear less attractive, Europe would withdraw into itself, and each side would blame the other.
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