As we get closer and closer to March 2019, when the UK will stop being a full member of the European Union, a proper agreement between the British government and the European Commission seems harder and harder to obtain.
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In 2016, Brexiters told us everything would be fine, and that leaving the European Union wouldn’t greatly impact companies or the British economy. We were told that the UK doesn’t need the EU, but that the EU does. As we get closer to the date of the UK leaving the EU (29th March 2019, barely 9 months left), it seems no agreement will be reached between the British government and the European Commission.
Many people wonder why negotiations aren’t going well. Some blame the UK government, others the European Commission. It seems that it’s a bit of both, with the European Commission being difficult on some specific subjects, but overall the UK negotiators are to blame. They give the impression of having no real plan, no clue of what “Brexit” means (some will say “Leaving everything EU related”, but it’s a lot more complex than that) or how to handle it, and, worse, some of their demands are closer to fantasy than reality/achievable. Examples? Leaving the EU but having a “special” border for Northern Ireland, which would basically mean Northern Ireland would still be “inside” the EU in a certain way. Or participating to some programs, such as the Galileo program, or the Horizon Europe program, in the same way as other EU members, but without being in the EU, which is against the requirements to participate to these specific programs. Yes, clearly, the UK believes the EU is some kind of opt-in system where one can pick what they want and ignore the rest. In a sense, the UK had just that over the past 45 years (joined the EU in 1973), by not joining Schengen and adopting the Euro.
We then have the insane demands from the UK for the transition period. Because yes, the UK will not be leaving the 29th March 2019, it will leave by the 31st December 2020, and use this transition period to get ready, while ironing out new and future policies. But, as with everything linked to Brexit… there’s still no agreement! How surprising. The EU’s demands are rather simple and logical: follow EU regulation until the UK leaves. Is the UK government fine with this? Of course not, the UK government wants to be able to have a say in EU decision making and such, which makes absolutely no sense, knowing the country will eventually leave a few months after!
Does it stop there? Of course not, there’s the entire “divorce bill” discussion going on, where the UK would be paying some 40 billion pounds to the EU (around 45 billion euros). British “Brexiter” politicians talk of this money as if it was some kind of ransom, with the most delusional ones claiming that “The EU would go broke without it”, thinking, again, that the EU can’t go on without the UK, because, for some mysterious reason, the UK is the most important country in the EU (and the world, probably), or so they think.
We, as many as other companies and people, hope this mess will be fixed soon, as it is reaching some ridiculous extremes lately. The UK voted. The referendum results were “Leave”. They should then just leave and let the rest of us move on with our lives. But no, instead, it seems the UK is trying to stay in a certain way or another. They should be fine, they are the ones claiming the UK can live without the EU. So, prove us the UK will be fine without the EU.
This article is the first part of a 3-parts article about Brexit. Click here for the next one, “Airbus and BMW warn about consequences of a forced Brexit”.
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