Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

FPI

LIFE WITHOUT A EU – WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER BREXIT

brexit

After years of long debates and changing governments UK managed to exit from the EU. All aspects of this exit have been deeply analyzed over the recent years. And the latest thoughts of some respectable journalists are as follows regarding the Brexit;

 

Brexit: Will it be a Canadian or an Australian ending?

By Laura Kuenssberg (bbc.com)

A large Commons majority will make it easier for the PM to withstand the inevitable trade-offs ahead
First “Brexit meant Brexit”. Then it was the “exact same benefits”. Then it was “frictionless trade”.

Then it was a reluctant acknowledgement that to get a deal done with the EU, there would have to be some friction, some customs checks, but the promise was they would be minimal.

And never fear, there was still the claim during the election that there was “absolutely zero” chance of failing to get a trade deal by the end of the year, that would guard against some of the risks of leaving the EU.

Now today, as the prime minister acknowledged, “we have made a choice”.

With a thumping majority in his back pocket, he wants a Canada-style deal with the EU, a free trade agreement where the two sides – after many years – agree not to charge taxes on imports or to restrict the amount of business that can be done. And, oh, he wants it wrapped up by the end of the year.

It is a significant understatement to say that the Tory Party has been on a journey when it comes to what it wants in the long term from Brexit for how we trade with the EU.

Theresa May was accused by her former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, as always seeing Brexit as a damage limitation exercise.

Whether that’s fair or not, it is certainly the case that for the first couple of years after the referendum, the government’s agony was largely because the then prime minister was on a quest to avoid too much disruption and it drove Brexiteers round the twist.

But Boris Johnson’s team are looking through the other end of the kaleidoscope.

They seem to prioritise the potential, if uncertain, wins of Brexit over protecting against the guessable losses. The ability to do things differently is, for them, the point of having left. And that’s why, at the moment, the prime minister is adamant the UK, newly sovereign at the end of this year, simply would not contemplate letting anyone else tell the country what to do.

This philosophy, which was absolutely obvious during the election, smacks headlong though into the EU’s opening gambit in these vital trade talks.

It’s simple from their point of view as well. The further the UK tacks away from the EU the more complicated it will be to do business, and the less willing they will be to preserve access to their vast market.

Even though Boris Johnson suggested it was outrageous to imagine that the UK was behind the rest of the EU on standards, Brussels does worry about the UK undercutting their businesses, becoming a more nimble competitor ready to grab billions from across the Channel.

So if they’re to play nice in terms of doing a deal, they want the government to give legal guarantees that they will stick to the letter of EU rules. If Boris Johnson sticks and says ‘no’, they might say ‘non’ to a deal altogether.

Of course there is lots of hard bargaining ahead. The kind of deal that is reached or not reached could have an impact on millions of jobs here and across the continent and billions of pounds of business. And yes, it is in both sides’ interests to get a deal done (you’ll have heard that before).

But gone today was Boris Johnson’s previous breezy optimism about there being “zero chance” of there being no deal by the end of the year. In its place a new claim that if there is no “Canada” deal, there could instead be an “Australian” deal.

Let’s be clear about one thing. There is no Australian free trade deal with the EU. Negotiations started on one last year, and at the moment the two sides trade under a decade old much looser partnership while trying to thrash through issues from fuel emissions to what producers on opposite sides of the world should be allowed to call their cheese.

And for Number 10, this sudden reference to an “Australian deal” seems to be an effort to rebrand what the government’s written statement later said was a relationship “based simply on the Withdrawal Agreement deal agreed in October 2019, including the Protocol in Ireland/Northern Ireland”.

In other words, if there isn’t a comprehensive trade deal by the end of the year, the UK would move to a situation trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. This would mean taxes on exports and customs checks which, if it came to pass, could be massively disruptive for businesses and very costly for the economy.

An “Australia-style deal” sounds a lot less scary than the “no deal” circumstance that politicians have talked about for so long. And yes, the issues on paying the EU bill, citizens’ rights and the Irish border were all settled in the last few years and the overall divorce deal agreed before our departure last week.

But when it comes to the trade arrangements, it is not the case that as one government official tried to suggest “no deal is not a concept” .

There is no substantial agreement on how the UK will do business with the EU in the years to come. It will take time. There will be big political rows ahead. Right now it seems like the two sides are very far apart.

But don’t expect either Number 10 or the EU negotiating team to be particularly rattled by the tough talking by their opponents across the table. It’s not surprising that there is a certain amount of chest beating going on. It will be a while before the talks properly begin.

And the EU cannot, this time around, accuse the UK of not being clear about what it wants. That common claim was made repeatedly during the early stages of Theresa May’s negotiation. That can’t be made this time. There is an obvious approach and a tight deadline.

And however definitive the prime minister was today, the Tories’ approach to the kind of deal they will ultimately strike may have more evolutions yet.

With a majority of 80, Mr Johnson doesn’t have to worry, like his predecessor, about being able to cope with trade-offs. But he’ll be all too aware that the kind of deal he can do, and how long it takes to do it, will be a big factor in defining his political success or failure.

P.S. One former minister suggests waspishly that by suggesting we could leave with a relationship just based on the Withdrawal Agreement, that the government has already got its capitulation in early. Under their interpretation, just basing it on the Withdrawal Agreement would mean prolonging the status quo of the transition period, where we pay into the budget and follow the EU rules.

This, of course, is the opposite to what the government says it is after. But these trade talks will go through many, many machinations and on both sides, smoke and mirrors may apply!

 

Brexit: What will change after Friday, 31 January?

Now that the UK has formally left the European Union, it immediately enters an 11-month transition period.

During the transition the UK will continue to obey EU rules and pay money to the EU. Most things will stay the same but there will be some changes:

1. UK MEPs lose their seats

Nigel Farage celebrating with newly-elected Brexit Party MEPSImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe Brexit Party won the most UK seats in the May 2019 European elections

Familiar faces such as Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe are among the UK’s 73 MEPs who will automatically lose their seats in the European Parliament.

That’s because, at the moment of Brexit, the UK will leave all of the EU’s political institutions and agencies.

However, in addition to the UK following EU rules during the transition period, the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes.

2. No more EU summits

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to be specially invited if he wants to join other leaders at EU Council summits in the future.

British ministers will also no longer attend regular EU meetings that decide things such as fishing limits.

3. We will be hearing a lot about trade

The UK will be able to start talking to countries around the world about setting new rules for buying and selling goods and services.

It has not been allowed to hold formal trade negotiations with countries like the US and Australia while it remained an EU member. Brexit supporters argue that having the freedom to set its own trade policy will boost the UK’s economy.

There’s also a lot to be discussed with the EU. Agreeing a UK-EU trade deal is a top priority, so extra charges on goods and other trade barriers aren’t needed when the transition ends.

If any trade deals are reached, they won’t be able to start until the transition period ends.

4. The UK’s passports will change colour

British passports
Image captionBlue passports were replaced in 1988 with the burgundy design

Blue passports will be making a return, more than 30 years after they were replaced by the current burgundy design.

Announcing the change in 2017, then Immigration Minister, Brandon Lewis, praised the return to the “iconic” blue-and-gold design, first used in 1921.

The new colour will be phased in over a number of months, with all new passports issued in blue by the middle of the year.

Existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid.

5. Brexit coins

Sajid Javid with the new coinImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionThe coins had to be re-made after Brexit was delayed

About three million commemorative 50p Brexit coins bearing the date “31 January” and the inscription: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, will enter circulation on Friday.

The coin has received a mixed reaction, with some Remain supporters saying they will refuse to accept it.

The government had planned to introduce a similar coin on 31 October, the date Brexit was previously meant to happen.

However, those coins had to be melted down and recycled after the deadline was extended.

6. The UK’s Brexit department shuts down

The team that handled the UK-EU negotiations and no-deal preparations will disband on Brexit day.

The Department for Exiting the European Union was set up by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2016.

For the upcoming talks, the UK’s negotiating team will be based in Downing Street.

7. Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK

It won’t be possible for some suspected criminals to be brought back to the UK if they flee to Germany.

Germany’s constitution does not allow its citizens to be extradited, unless it’s to another EU country.

“This exception cannot apply any more after the UK has left EU,” a spokesman from the German Federal Ministry of Justice told BBC News.

It’s unclear if the same restrictions will apply to other countries. Slovenia, for example, says the situation is complicated, while the European Commission was unable to provide comment.

The UK Home Office says the European Arrest Warrant will continue to apply during the transition period. (That means Germany will be able to extradite non-German citizens.)

However, it adds that if a country’s laws prevent extradition to the UK it “will be expected to take over the trial or sentence of the person concerned”.

Seven things that will stay the same…

Because the transition period begins immediately after Brexit, the vast majority of other things remain the same – at least until 31 December 2020 including:

1. Travel

UK nationals will still be treated the same as EU nationals during the transition

Flights, boats and trains will operate as usual.

When it comes to passport control, during the transition period, UK nationals will still be allowed to queue in the areas reserved for EU arrivals only.

2. Driving licences and pet passports

As long as they are valid, these will continue to be accepted.

3. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

EHICs will still be valid during the transition

These are the cards that provide UK nationals with state-provided medical treatment in case of illness or accident.

They can be used in any EU country (as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and will continue to be valid during the transition period.

4. Living and working in the EU

Freedom of movement will continue to apply during the transition, so UK nationals will still be able to live and work in the EU as they currently do.

The same applies for EU nationals wanting to live and work in the UK.

5. Pensions

UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension and will also receive the annual increase.

6. Budget contributions

The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget during the transition. This means existing schemes, paid for by EU grants, will continue to be funded.

7. Trade

UK-EU trade will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.

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