We can finally see some outline of what we can expect after the UK leaves the European Union. After months and months of waiting, deliberation and negotiation some points seem to have been agreed by the EU representative Jean Claude Juncker and Theresa May. This seems to have calmed down the businesses and financial markets due to increased predictability, but the British people – especially hard Brexiteers – will definitely have some expostulation.
Arguably one of the most bitter blow to the hard Brexiteers is that the UK had agreed to continue its commitment that was made for 2014-2020 EU budget. Britain will have to continue to pay for the EU programmes, such as Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, Cohesion fund (that is, money paid from richer EU members for poorer EU members so they could catch up quicker), Agriculture fund and many many others.
Although no amount of money was set in stone, the magical number seems to be around 60 billion pounds. These are no pennies indeed, and this ought to be especially hurtful for those who voted for Brexit in hopes of not paying 350 million pounds per week to the EU.
Furthermore, the European Court’s of Justice jurisdiction will continue to influence the UK’s courts and justice system during the transition period. In addition, all cases that will be started between now and the end of transition period (31 December, 2020) will have to be decided by the EU court of Justice as well.
This will create a situation where there might be a possibility where 2 different legal systems would be practiced in the UK: the British one for the majority of the residents and the European one for everyone whose cases that began before the end of the transition period and will still have to be decided.
If you think that Legal system is difficult to understand now, wait under this other madness will start. I am so happy that I am not working in a legal profession right now.
The fishermen will also not be happy with this deal. As per agreement, the fishing quotas shall remain in the hands of the EU until the end of the transition period. Up until the end of the agreed term, the UK will have to consult the EU not only on quotas, but also on access to the EU waters and vice-versa.
This might look like not a huge deal to most, but, actually, in the History of the EU there already is a precedent where a territory had left the European Union due to the limitations in fishing. That territory was Greenland – a dependency of Denmark.
After Greenland received Home Rule in 1979, it didn’t take long for the Greenlandic government to organize a withdrawal referendum as a protest against the strict fishing quotas imposed by the EU. By 1985 the Greenland was no longer considered to be a part of the Union.
In regards to the EU citizens, the European Union and the UK had agreed that the all EU citizens who are currently in Britain and who will arrive until the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019 will retain the same rights that they have currently. That means that EU citizens will continue to have the same Social Security, Healthcare, Employment and Education rights that they have right now.
That being said, the same will apply to the British citizens living in other EU countries: they will also retain the aforementioned rights just like the EU citizens in the UK, so the reciprocity is there.
It is clear, though, that this part of the agreement favours the EU more than Britain as there are 3.7 million EU citizens living in the UK, while there are only 1.2 million British expats. Furthermore, just because it will be possible for Brits to stay in the EU country they currently reside in, they still will not have the possibility to have the full freedom of movement. They will be required to stay in the same country they are currently residing and they won’t be able to travel like that is possible right now.
On the positive note, though, during the trasintion the UK will be able to make their own trade deals with other, non-EU countries during the. This will enable the British government to look for the alternative trade partners that might help to amortize the economic pressures of leaving the EU.
Even if no trade deals would be achieved, though, the UK will still be able to trade using the World Trade Organization’s, which cover 164 countries, rules.
Not all negotiation goals were achieved during these talks, however. There are few key aspects that are still to be agreed between the parties.
One of them – and, arguably, the most pressing one – is the Irish border. The DUP and some Conservative MPs don’t want to have a hard border between the Irelands. The EU, however, says that this can only be avoided if the EU and the UK will reach a “soft Brexit” deal, under which the freedom of movement would be retained and the UK would remain in the customs union.
Theresa May says that to have a soft border that is controlled partly by the EU would be threatening to the British sovereignty and territorial integrity and that “no prime minister would ever agree to that”.
Another aspect that was not discussed was the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) role in the UK’s legal system after the transition period as the EU plans to demand an infinite ECJ’s oversight over the Britain’s legal system. T. May is expected to reject this demand without any further talks.
Lastly, the future relationship between the EU and UK is still to be decided. Will it be free trade? Soft Brexit? Customs union? No one knows yet, and this remains to be one of the most important aspects that will still need to be discussed.
Considering how different the positions seem to be, this discussion will not be easy. And from what the deal starts to look like, it is unlikely that at the end of the day the hard Brexiteers will be happy campers.