December 11, 2017
If there is any positive conclusion to draw, we could say that Brexit represents for the UK Prime Minister a fantastic demonstration of political survival. But for what purpose?
Now we know the British have committed themselves to avoid any hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which clearly means no physical border between the EU-27 and the UK. This implies maintaining a common customs tariff and a single market, the latter requiring respect for the four fundamental liberties and in particular free movement of workers, which understandably explained a lot of the pro-Brexit vote!
In other words, the United Kingdom will remain de facto a member of the Union, without voting rights, without a Commissioner, without MEPs and with the EU acquis fully transposed into UK law. This makes no sense at all!
But the matter is far from settled, for even in the ‘alignment without membership’ scenario, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will have its say and will have to approve any agreement between the EU-27 and the UK. Not only that, but all the existing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements concluded by the EU (of which the UK will no longer be a formal member) will have to be re-assessed and/or re-negotiated.
In short: 535 days for nothing.
Daniel GuéguenDaniel Gueguen