Brexit – three months and counting

In just over three months’ time, the UK is to have left the European Union to explore the international world of trade partnership and mutual agreements.

It seems to have been a long time coming – and it has. According to the original timescale, we should have already left and be sailing the high seas on a new Royal Yacht seeking out new lands and people to sell our stuff to… But no matter.

Since we last checked in on Brexit, there have been changes at the political top on both sides of the split (the EU – scheduled, the UK – not so much). The UK has a new PM and cabinet; the EU has a load of new MEPs and people in charge of them have just been voted in.


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So, if the faces have changed, what else? Well, not much, it seems. Boris barely had time to thank leadership rival Jeremy Hunt for a clean fight when the EU’s chief negotiator – no, he’s one person who is not going anywhere – sent out his own congratulatory tweet.

Barnier said he was looking forward to working with Boris on ratifying the agreement negotiated with Theresa May (and several former Brexit ministers before her). Yes, that agreement. The agreement that was voted down in parliament three times.

For the EU, there is no other way, according to Barnier, who had tweeted a few days earlier to remind the Twitterverse of this.

In this tweet, Barnier also reminded us that only by voting through this withdrawal agreement can the UK enter a transition period, during which time both parties can work together to bash out a future trading plan.

No withdrawal agreement, no transition period, no future trading plan (at least not yet).
This clearly is not in the interests of either side. The EU is by far the largest trading partner of the UK, and, outside of its remaining 27 member countries, the UK is where most of the bloc’s exported goods and services end up.


Your capital is at risk

There is also the matter of the £39bn so-called divorce bill that would be payable whether we leave the EU with a deal or not. Hardliners have called for the UK to ignore the payment, but if things turn nasty, the EU could sue to get it back… and, really, have you tried to negotiate a trade deal with someone who thinks you owe them £39bn?

So, a new PM and close to 100 days to go and we’re really no further on than when we started the year.

When granting the Brexit extension, which seems very long ago now, president of the European Council Donald Tusk told the UK to not waste the extra time… we have just over three months to find out if we did or not.

 

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