524 days of negotiations. 585-page document. 26-page political declaration.
Questions over ‘may’ or may not’ happen are over and now it’s up to May to ensure she gets the required votes when the Brexit deal is put for voting in the Parliament.
It has been a marathon and grueling session of negotiations, with questions even coming up of May probably having to step down or the talks breaking down completely. All this finally comes to an end as the Britian and the 27 European Union (EU) countries have thrashed out a deal for Brexit. This document though is unlikely to become the rule book for any other exits; a path untrodden till now.
So whats the deal?
Over 3 million EU citizens in the UK, and over 1 million UK nationals in EU countries will stay and continue their current activities in the place in which they have made their home.
All those arriving to live in the UK at any point up until the end of the transition period, which could last until the end of 2022 should it be extended, will enjoy the rights that EU nationals have today to make Britain their home, to live, work and study.
The divorce is costly – Britain will have to pay about £39bn, to cover its contribution to the EU budget until 2020, and accumulated other outstanding commitments such as pensions for EU officials.
On the Irish border issue – a backstop plan has been put in place – a safety net it there is no Brexit deal. The backstop will see Britain remain in the customs union for as long as necessary until an alternative way of keeping the border open is found. The EU has suggested a backstop that would see Northern Ireland staying in the customs union, the EU VAT system and parts of the single market. This will essentially draw a customs border down the middle of the Irish Sea, potentially damaging the union of the UK.
Well, on the whole, this deal has not gone down too well with the British and May has been given a big thumbs down. The deal is too vague, giving no solid roadmaps or plans for future arrangements. It is more talk about the intentions and ambitions of the UK and EU, leaving very little in terms of a solid, concrete deal.
Two and half weeks from now, this deal will go to the Parliament for vote and as of now, word is that not a single MP is backing the deal. Maybe some may relent on some Govt whiplashing but overall the mood is negative.
May’s only pitch to convince the MPs to vote for the deal – there is simply no other option; a no-deal Brexit.
So what happens if the deal is voted out? Well, there is no Plan B; simply put, no one knows what next. It is sure to increase the voice of those demanding a second referendum. But then will that be possible before the Brexit deadline of 29th March 2019? And what does Britain vote for now – no deal, no Brexit or Brexit with May’s deal? And after this referendum too, what happens if Britain once again votes the same way as before, split wide open at the center?
In short, the Brexit deal is currently a lose-lose proposition for UK and EU, to ensure there are no more exits, is certain to make it as difficult as possible. Many say that the deadline of 29th March could get extended as UK gets into a more chaotic scene.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave!”