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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

It's four years since the Brexit vote. Now what?

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It's four years since the Brexit vote. Now what?
It's four years since the Brexit vote. Now what?

[NFA] British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a deal could be sealed in July with “a bit of oomph,” but European officials see no way through the Brexit deadlock.

On the 4th anniversary of Britain’s historic vote, Megan Revell explains where things stand with Brexit.

It’s been four years since Britain voted to leave the EU.

At the time, Boris Johnson stressed there was no rush ... Boris Johnson, 2016: "There is now no need for haste …” But now, as Britain’s Prime Minister, he’s under a time crunch.

Boris Johnson, 2020: "Put a tiger in the tank (...) the faster we can do this, the better.” Britain officially left the bloc in January - but talks on a trade agreement - remember, one of the biggest issues of the Brexit debate - have made little progress.

Johnson wants a loose trade deal, but the bloc is seeking much closer ties.

For the EU’s chief executive, Ursula Von der Leyen, there will be no deal without 3 things: “... fisheries, without a level playing field or without strong governance mechanism." Let’s take a closer look at these areas.

When it comes to fishing, Britain wants to be able to keep selling British seafood to the 450 million people in the EU.

Boris Johnson: “We've got to get a great deal for our fish.

We are taking back control of our fish.” But EU fishermen want access to British waters.

This trade off between access to the EU market and British waters is at the heart of the dispute.

When it comes to competition, Britain will no longer be bound by costly EU standards - such as on labor and environmental rules.

EU officials believe this will give British companies an unfair advantage.

And say similar standards must be upheld if Britain wants that easy access to their market.

Finally, there’s governance - and the need to create a way of settling future disputes.

The EU can accept only its own top court -- the Court of Justice of the European Union.

But that’s a red line for Johnson.

Boris Johson: “We can't have you know a system whereby we continue to have to obey the EU law even when we are out of the EU.” So is all of this insurmountable - or are we facing a hard Brexit?

Both sides have adopted a more conciliatory tone of late, agreeing for the greater need for creativity: Ursula Von der Leyen: “We're ready to be creative to find common ground when there even seems to be none." Boris Johnson: “We will be able to respond to our economic needs in a creative and constructive way.” Jonhson and EU leaders say a deal is possible, but time is running out.

Von der Leyen: "... we're now half-way through these negotiations with five months left to go.

But we're definitely not half-way through the work to reach an agreement.” September has been referred to as the “hot phase,” with October being the informal deadline for a deal.

That would give just enough time for it to be ratified, before the cliff edge at the end of the year.

There have already been multiple extensions on the transition deal, but Johnson says December 31 is a hard deadline.

Boris Johnson: “What we need to see now is a bit of oomph.”


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