BREAKING BRITANNIA NEWS
The negotiations promise to be particularly complicated since the government wishes to avoid as many tariffs and quotas as possible in order to streamline commerce but there are numerous pitfalls.
At the stroke of midnight in Brussels on Friday (11:00 PM Big Ben time), 47 years of British EU membership will formally be at an end. But nothing will change considerably: admittedly, British MEPs will lose their seats and ministers will no longer have the ability to take part in the EU decision-making procedure, but the UK will nevertheless be considered a member of the EU internal market and customs union — at least for a while.
Another issue is state aid. The EU does not wish to be subject to unfair competition. It will be seeking assurances that London sticks as far as possible to community rules. There aren’t only trade concerns but also worries.
“Whatever the arrangement we reach on our future relationship, Brexit will still be a damage limitation exercise.”
By way of example, the government takes the view that the Europeans will at some time demand their anglers can retain access to fishing waters, as is the case under certain conditions. For member states like France, but also for those regions near the United Kingdom such as Flanders, the subject is of some importance.
Michel Barnier stipulated that he would present a draft negotiating mandate to member nations.
Everything will need to be worked out within a tight deadline, Boris Johnson wanting to avoid extending the transition period. And as the EU is in danger of not agreeing before the end of February, that leaves to reach a deal. At the end of the day, the arrangement will still must be accepted by both parties, at the risk of seeing the spectre of a hard exit of the”no-deal” kind re-emerge.
The transition period, negotiated to avoid a Brexit ends on December 31 2020, unless the government has requested and obtained a one- or two-year extension before June 30, something Conservative Boris Johnson is refusing to countenance.
The second stage, which aims to reach an agreement on future relations between the two parties, is shaping up to be complicated, particularly as London is pressing for the adherence to a tight schedule.
This amount of time serves to allow certain areas of safety and the breathing space required to come on trade relations to an arrangement to Brussels and London, as the United Kingdom is to be a non-member state.
With the passing of the United Kingdom from the European Union on January 31, the first phase of Brexit will be over, but that is only the start.