The UK in a “dilemma” on Brexit

Sunday, 2018-08-05 14:48:18
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UK PM Theresa May’s Government is facing increasing pressure from the opposition as well as the internal ruling party regarding Brexit.
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NDO – The United Kingdom (UK) is currently in a “dilemma” in the negotiations on Brexit (the UK leaving the European Union). London is unlikely to reach a win-win deal with Brussels and is being forced to change its negotiating policy, while the number of Britons who want to stay in the EU continues to increase.

Under the plan for Brexit negotiations, there is only seven months left before the UK leaves the “common roof”, the EU. However, the Government of Prime Minister Theresa May is now in a “mess” as they have yet to reach a common voice concerning a “divorce bill” with the EU. Even recently, more and more experts have warned of the risks of failure for the Brexit negotiations.

According to the roadmap, the UK will leave the EU in March 2019 and enjoy transitional periods until the end of 2020, with the same rights and obligations as when it was still a member of the EU. Then, a new relationship will formally form between the two sides and the UK will be independent from the EU. However, the negotiation process over recent times has encountered many problems related to bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) in the future, as well as the Northern Ireland border and the disagreements within the UK. The EU has offered the UK a broad FTA, but this draft agreement is far from the deal that the UK is seeking. Regarding the issue of the Northern Ireland border, the EU has prepared an emergency mechanism that allows the continuation of its commercial intervention in Northern Ireland following Brexit. However, the UK has protested the idea in fear that the mechanism would weaken Northern Ireland’s links with the rest of the UK.

UK PM Theresa May recently warned that the EU must engage in the talks with a spirit of constructiveness and research all of the proposals from London, instead of offering unrealistic ideas and forcing the UK to follow. Nonetheless, the tough stance of the EU in the aforementioned issues has forced PM May and the UK Government to change its negotiation policy and targets. Previously, the UK cabinet leader stated that “it would be better to have no agreement than to reach a bad deal,” but now London has adopted a “soft Brexit”, meaning more concessions to be able to achieve the deal. European analysts have stated that the EU will only meet the UK’s requirements if the UK is brave enough to step out of the negotiating table, but the UK is not ready. According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in case of Brexit failure, the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) will fall by 4%, while the GDP of the remaining 27 EU member states will decrease by just 0.5%. This figure shows that the EU has no reason to rush or give in to the UK.

In addition to these difficulties, PM May’s Government is facing increasing pressure from the opposition as well as the internal ruling party regarding Brexit. Recently, UK politics were stirred up as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Minister in charge of Brexit negotiations, David Davis, submitted their resignation in protest at the Government’s plan on a close relationship with the EU after Brexit. Before resigning, the UK Foreign Secretary called Brexit a “dying dream.”

The split in viewpoints on Brexit has not only happened in UK politics, but also in public opinion. Besides a large part of the people wishing to be independent from the EU, more and more people are backing the plan to stay in the EU. The UK’s Sky News recently announced the results of a poll, showing that half of the UK voters supported the conduction of a referendum to select one of the three options, including leaving the EU with a deal, without a deal (hard Brexit), or staying in the EU. Up to 51% of the voters said that leaving the EU was a mistake.

Such a situation has driven the UK Government to fall into a “dilemma.” Meanwhile, there are more and more warnings to the UK about the failure of Brexit negotiations as well as its incalculable consequences. Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Joseph Carney, recently said that the UK might be “empty handed” if they leave the EU without reaching agreement. Accordingly, the UK will face the risk of rising consumer prices as companies can implement their responsive strategies to maintain the operations of their supply chains. In fact, the negative signals from a “hard Brexit” have been driving many foreign investors to try to leave the UK over recent days.