A trade agreement between the UK and the European Union may mean that the British can stop talking about Brexit

A trade agreement between the UK and the European Union may mean that the British can stop talking about Brexit

LONDON – Britain’s exit from the European Union can often sound like a never-ending period of deals, deadlines, tough moments and midnight negotiations. If the UK votes to leave the European Union in June 2016, why are we still talking about it now, 1,645 days later?

The good news is, if you’re ever tired of hearing that BrixiThursday may have brought a final moment of clarity that may help bring the case to an end – for a while, at least. UK and European Union He finally agreed to a business deal Which will replace the partnership they shared for 47 years.

“For the past four years, we have exhausted Brexit,” said David Hinge, UK director of the European Center for International Political Economy, a think-tank. “The most important thing that comes out of this deal is that it draws a line under four and a half years of controversy – that removes Britain’s exit from the European Union from the front pages and returns the business of trade relations to the lackluster official power.”

Here’s some of what we know about the agreement, and a reminder of how Britain and the European Union got there.

What’s in the deal?

Politicians will argue over the details, and debate about which party to give up the most and which one will gain in the negotiations. The complete agreement is said to be around 2,000 pages long.

What we know so far is that Prime Minister Boris Johnson And the Ursula von der LeyenThe president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, appeared with what is known as a “difficult” Brexit from the European Union. It abandons most of the rules and regulations they share but maintains free trade movement between them, as well as some cooperation in areas such as security, financial markets, aviation, and science.

Johnson and von der Leyen meet for dinner in Brussels on December 9th.Aaron Chown / WPA Pool via Getty Images

Motivated by Johnson, the European Union welcomed the deal with great satisfaction – especially given the alternative. If they failed to reach an agreement by December 31, the UK would have collapsed Brexit “without a deal”. Experts See this as a nightmare scenarioThe threat of border chaos, high prices, shortages of food and medicine, and even street unrest.

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Hennig said the agreement would likely have final approval from lawmakers next week, and all things taken into consideration were “a good deal for both sides.” It still wouldn’t avoid trade friction. It is the first trade deal in history that sets up more – not less – barriers compared to the smooth EU relationship before.

What was it all about?

On June 23, 2016, The British people voted 52 percent to 48 They no longer want to be part of the European Union but the referendum says little of what they want instead.

The European Union is the largest political and economic club in the world, bound by decades of laws, shared values ​​and a desire not to repeat the continental terror of WWII.

Britain has always been a troubled member, with its right-wing newspapers criticizing what they see as unnecessary regulations dictated by Brussels that undermine their country’s sovereignty.

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When working as a journalist with The Daily Telegraph In the 1980s and 1990s, Johnson perfected a kind of anecdote that mocked “the bureaucrats” for imposing unnecessary rules about how bananas should be – stories that were often more entertaining than they were realistically accurate.

For decades, this skepticism in Europe dominated the Conservative Party, and played a role in the downfall of prime ministers Margaret Thatcher And John Major in the 1990s. When their successor David Cameron tried to draw a line under the internal struggle between his party, by describing what he assumed would be an easy-to-win referendum on Brexit in 2016, He also stepped down After the shock result appears.

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For supporters of Brexit, Brexit was the only way to “regain control” – as his campaign puts it – over their laws, funds, and borders, the latter being usually a metaphor for tighter controls on immigration.

The unrest has just begun

Some moderates favored “Brexit,” which reflects Norway’s relationship with the European Union. Norway is not a member of the European Union but remains in the “single market”, allowing people, goods, money and services to move freely between countries with little or no controls.

Supporters of Brexit argued that this was unreasonable, and instead preferred a “hard” Brexit that would cause their country to get rid of most – if not all – of the rules and regulations shared with Europe. Meanwhile some of the rest He sought to completely reverse the result.

The fierce political war between these factions has caused heavy losses.

Political parties, families and friends turned against each other. It breached centuries-old parliamentary norms. Conservative saw Expel their ministerP., Theresa May; And Johnson pushed to Illegal suspension of parliament To prevent lawmakers from scrutinizing his Brexit plans, according to a startling ruling by Britain’s Supreme Court last year.

Anti-Brexit protesters wave UK and EU flags in front of the Houses of Parliament in London in December 2018.Daniel Lille Olivas / AFP – Getty Images file

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31 this year. Since then, it has been in a “transition period”, keeping most of the EU’s rules while the two parties negotiated a trade deal – with the deadline of Dec.31.

White smoke came this week to keep days. After a year in which Johnson’s government was widely criticized On its response to the Corona virus, Which has one of the highest per capita death rates in the world, the prime minister kept his promise to “complete Britain’s exit from the European Union”.

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Any form of Brexit would weaken the British economy compared to staying in the European Union, according to the UK government’s financial oversight, the Office of Budget Responsibility. OBR says the Johnson deal will reduce long-term GDP by 4 per cent, which means that Brexit – which is a fully voluntary practice – is expected to do more economic damage to Britain than Covid-19.

Immense pressure on the union

One of the oddities in the deal means that Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, will be able to trade more easily with the Republic of Ireland than the rest of Britain. This is at a time when some polls are suggesting Growing support for the referendum on reunification of Ireland.

In Scotland, most people voted against Brexit, but were crushed by the sheer weight of the pro-Brexit votes in England. Polls suggest now Support for Scottish independence has never been higher.

In the short term there will be a headache. Just seven days before the rules change, the Christmas Eve deal leaves companies with a risky respite to adjust to the small print.

“The Christmas Eve deal means there is very little time for the public, businesses and parliamentarians to get around the content,” said Maddy Thimont Jack, Associate Director at the Institute of Government Studies. Briefing Books. “The companies are not ready – even with this deal now agreed upon.”

In the long run, though it won’t offset the potential economic damage from Brexit, A new trade agreement with the United States It is seen as a major prize for Brexit supporters.

This will go some way towards answering the next unknown question. In a world where Beijing, Washington and Brussels are vying for hegemony, what will this new version of Britain actually look like, and what global role will it play?

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