Jump to content
BANGKOK
webfact

Explainer: Reality check for Johnson's Brexit: it's just the beginning

Recommended Posts

Explainer: Reality check for Johnson's Brexit: it's just the beginning

By Gabriela Baczynska and John Chalmers

 

2019-12-13T023219Z_1_LYNXMPEFBC04N_RTROPTP_4_BRITAIN-ELECTION.JPG

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his dog Dilyn as leaves a polling station, at the Methodist Central Hall, after voting in the general election in London, Britain, December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears set for a sweeping election victory on a promise to "Get Brexit done", but there is a reality check waiting for jaded voters who are feeling relieved that the messy divorce seems to be finally over.

 

It's just the beginning.

 

With early vote-counting indicating a handsome Conservative majority, Johnson should be able to finally secure parliamentary approval for the withdrawal agreement he struck with the European Union in October so that Brexit happens on Jan. 31.

 

Britain will then go into a status-quo transition period until the end of 2020, which Johnson has said leaves ample time to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, including on trade.

 

But EU diplomats and officials say the following issues will be sticking points which, if not ironed out, could yet take Britain to the cliff edge of a no-deal exit one year from now.

 

TIME

The EU hopes to start trade talks with Britain by March, leaving just 10 months to strike a deal and get it approved by London and the EU, including member states' parliaments.

 

Trade agreements with the EU typically take years to complete, and few in Brussels believe the transition period will be long enough to seal a deal with Britain.

 

The transition period can be prolonged by one or two years but London must request an extension by the end of June.

 

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

The EU insists it will not seal a trade deal with a large, economically powerful and near neighbour without solid provisions to guarantee fair competition.

 

The EU's demands will focus on environmental and labour standards, as well as state aid rules to ensure Britain would not be able to offer products on the bloc's single market at unfairly low prices.

 

In addition to Johnson's push for a "zero tariff, zero quota" trade deal, the bloc wants a guarantee of "zero dumping".

 

"If the UK becomes a cross between a casino and Singapore on Thames, we will be very focused on level playing field issues,” a senior EU diplomat said.

 

Britain's conundrum is that it will be under pressure to loosen rules on agricultural and food standards to strike a bilateral trade deal with the United States, but this would be crossing a red line for the EU, which would restrict access to its market to protect its own producers.

 

FISHERIES

Fishing is a thorny issue because EU countries will no longer be able to operate in British waters as they are now.

 

The two sides will probably negotiate fishing quotas, as the EU currently does with Norway, whereby so-called total allowable catches are shared among EU countries but officials say this will be a drawn-out and potentially acrimonious process.  

 

RULES OF ORIGIN

With industry supply chains in the EU currently crossing borders multiple times for products like cars and drugs, agreeing exact rules to designate where products come from - and hence what regulations and taxes apply - will also be tricky.

 

SECURITY & DATA SHARING

The EU and Britain have vowed to work closely on security, including by sharing sensitive data for criminal cases. However, agreeing such procedures with third countries has proven complicated and time-consuming for the EU in the past.

 

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED?

EU diplomats said that with a large majority in parliament, Johnson may pay less heed to his own hardline Brexiteers who want a deep split from the bloc as he negotiates a future relationship.

 

He may also feel under less pressure to stick to his pre-election pledge not to extend the transition period beyond 2020.

 

However, if Johnson fails to reach an agreement with the EU by the end of next year, and he refuses to negotiate past his own deadline, then the legal default would still be a no-deal divorce.

 

(Editing by Mark Bendeich)

 

reuters_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-12-13
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, melvinmelvin said:

Very good that it is stressed that this is just the beginning.

Cannot be said often enough, too many do not understand that.

 

Yes and also recognize that the EU and the UK can not do without each other.

They will still trade of course and there will be a lot of water going thru the Thames before it is all said and done.

There will be a lot of things that need ironing out and it may be the end of the UK

as we know it.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Pedrogaz said:

I think expect the unexpected is correct. Johnson is a fool but perhaps not as big a fool that would sign the deal on the table. I have a notion that he might revive the no deal option as leverage and try to negotiate something better. I certainly hope so.....what is the point of leaving if you are still giving away sovereignty over your fisheries, markets, laws etc. None as far as I can see. 

Oh come on....! sign that bloody "May Boris witdraw agreement" as it is the only good thing why I like Boris  won this is a good "May Boris witdraw agreement"  we liked it ,get it true HOC. so don't ruin it now we can get on with the follow up trade agreement

 

PS : was this not named a vassal deal …? lol...

Edited by david555

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So question...

 

I was talking with a group yesterday who said that previously, when it became clear he was going to be forced to ask for an extension, Boris capitulated and basically gave into everything the EU demanded in order to get a deal.  He did this because he wanted an election, and didn't want the election to be about whether or not a deal was possible.

 

However, having gained such a huge mandate last night, the comments were that he would now go back to the EU and demand additional concessions on some of the less palatable areas in order to get the deal passed by parliament. With a new parliament that would support his "agree or we leave with no deal" stance to the EU, he may have a stronger bargaining position this time.

 

I think would be a risky position to take with the electorate, but since when did any politician actually care about the people? Just curious if you guys think this scenario is wishful thinking by a fringe group wearing tinfoil hats, or if this was an actual strategy that Boris may now decide to pursue in light of his commanding majority.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprisingly, no mention at all of the most perplexing issue of all, the Irish/NI border. When one considers that this has been the major stumbling block all along, I find that most strange.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Moonlover said:

Surprisingly, no mention at all of the most perplexing issue of all, the Irish/NI border. When one considers that this has been the major stumbling block all along, I find that most strange.

**** the Irish. Nothing but troublemakers, all of them.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
  • Confused 2
  • Sad 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...