There has been suggestion that Europe will help limit the damage. It will notby Anand Menon / September 10, 2018 / Leave a comment
The Brexit debate in the UK has returned to the issue of “no deal.” The government has released a series of “technical notices” advising businesses and households on how to prepare contingency plans. Luminaries have competed in calculating the odds of a collapse in negotiations.
It is worth being absolutely clear in discussing the potential for no deal what, precisely, it means. Briefly, it implies the UK leaving the European Union with no withdrawal agreement in place. Hence, “trading under WTO terms”—the outcome of the UK leaving with no trade deal—is not the central issue here. Rather, no deal Brexit means a situation in which many of the rules that govern our relations with the rest of the EU (and, via EU agreements, with much of the rest of the world) would simply cease to apply.
It is this situation—a chaotic Brexit—that we at The UK in a Changing Europe focussed on in our new report on the potential implications of no deal. As the debate rumbles on, however, it is striking how few other people define the notion in the same terms.
The new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, argued that the EU would work with the UK in the event of a no deal outcome to mitigate its worst implications: “I find it difficult to imagine that our EU partners would not want to cooperate with us even in that scenario in key areas… given the obvious mutual benefits involved.”
This rather heroic assumption is also reflected throughout the government’s technical notices. In financial services, the government is committed “to working with our European partners to identify risks arising from a no deal scenario.” As for food regulation, the government rather blithely argues that since“we are retaining EU regulation in UK law, we expect to negotiate an equivalency arrangement with the EU which will allow the free movement of organic goods between the EU and the UK” in a no deal scenario.
So far, so misleading. In effect, the government is arguing that, in order to mitigate the impact of no deal, the UK would sign a series of mini deals with the EU. But is this really credible? Personally, I doubt it, because of the context surrounding the collapse and also the interests of the EU27.
Take context first. If the Brexit talks collapse, it is difficult to imagine the mood being anything other than one of bitterness…