This is a dangerous moment for the EU. It says that it is prepared for a no-deal Brexit, but we all know this is not true. The European Commission has readied itself on a technical level. But this is not the kind of preparedness that matters. EU leaders have not yet braced their voters for the economic impact of a large EU country leaving the customs union and the single market overnight.

The EU is right not to take the new British prime minister’s provocations at face value. They are designed for a domestic audience. But when the rest of Europe’s economies are slowing down sharply, it must prepare for the shock of a no-deal Brexit.

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