Can this deal avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit?
The mood music around the UK/EU negotiations is changing by the hour – so its very difficult to say. However, the EU has raised significant concerns and noted that it cannot accept the proposal in its current form. While parts of the package are serious proposals, there are several challenges:
- It represents a vision for less close relationship with the EU than the previous agreement. It doesn’t include alignment with EU on environmental, labour and equality standards. This will be viewed by some as foreshadowing a post Brexit deregulatory agenda.
- As Professor McEwan argues, it may signal further divergence between UK Government and the devolved nations, as Wales and Scotland have both argued for remaining closely aligned with the EU.
- There is very little time to implement this agreement even if it were acceptable. It is likely some form of extension would be necessary. If this hurdle were overcome, there is now another considerable time constraint in working out the details before December 2020.
- This plan requires customs checks on Ireland – albeit not at the border, but this is still infrastructure that the EU and the UK previously agreed would not be put in place.
- The four-year time limit (albeit with potential renewal by vote) is problematic because unless the backstop is guaranteed to be in place until something viable can replace it – it will always be an imperfect safety net which the EU has consistently rejected so far.
For further reading on the proposals, see:
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