News World Reality check for Johnson's Brexit: it's just the beginning

Reality check for Johnson’s Brexit: it’s just the beginning

Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a sweeping election victory on a promise to “Get Brexit done”, but a reality check awaits for voters hoping that the messy divorce is finally over.

It’s just the beginning.

Johnson should now be able to secure parliamentary approval for the withdrawal deal he struck with the European Union in October so that Brexit happens on Jan. 31.

Britain then goes into a transition period until the end of 2020, time enough, says Johnson, to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, including on trade.

But EU diplomats and officials say the following issues will be sticking points which could take Britain to the cliff edge of a no-deal exit one year from now.

TIME

The EU hopes to start trade talks with Britain by March, leaving just 10 months to strike a deal and get it approved by London and the EU, including member states’ parliaments.

Trade agreements with the EU typically take years to complete, and few in Brussels believe the transition period will be long enough to seal a deal with Britain.

The transition period can be prolonged by one or two years but London must request an extension by the end of June.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

The EU insists it will not seal a trade deal with a large, economically powerful neighbour without solid provisions to guarantee fair competition.

The EU’s demands will focus on environmental and labour standards, as well as state aid rules to ensure Britain would not be able to offer products on the bloc’s single market at unfairly low prices.

In addition to Johnson’s push for a “zero tariff, zero quota” trade deal, the bloc wants a guarantee of “zero dumping”.

“If the UK becomes a cross between a casino and Singapore on Thames, we will be very focused on level playing field issues,” a senior EU diplomat said.

Britain’s conundrum is that it will be under pressure to loosen rules on agricultural and food standards to strike a bilateral trade deal with the United States, but this would be crossing a red line for the EU, which would restrict access to its market to protect its own producers.

FISHERIES

Fishing is a thorny issue because EU countries will no longer be able to operate in British waters as they are now.

The two sides will probably negotiate fishing quotas, as the EU currently does with Norway, whereby so-called total allowable catches are shared among EU countries but officials say this will be a drawn-out and potentially acrimonious process.

RULES OF ORIGIN

With industry supply chains in the EU currently crossing borders multiple times for products like cars and drugs, agreeing exact rules to designate where products come from – and hence what regulations and taxes apply – will also be tricky.

SECURITY & DATA SHARING

The EU and Britain have vowed to work closely on security, including by sharing sensitive data for criminal cases. However, agreeing such procedures with third countries has proven complicated and time-consuming for the EU in the past.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED?

EU diplomats said that with a large majority in parliament, Johnson may pay less heed to his own hardline Brexiteers who want a deep split from the bloc as he negotiates a future relationship.

He may also feel under less pressure to stick to his pre-election pledge not to extend the transition period beyond 2020.

However, if Johnson fails to reach an agreement with the EU by the end of next year, and he refuses to negotiate past his own deadline, then the legal default would still be a no-deal divorce

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Thirteen new corona virus cases detected out of 2,960 tests

According to the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health 13 new cases of the SARS-CoV-II virus were detected out of a total...

Minor arrested for bank robbery in Strovolos

Police arrested a minor on Friday afternoon in connection to a case of bank robbery committed shortly before 12:00 in Strovolos. The suspect stole approximately...

Yellow alert for extremely high temperatures on Saturday

Mainly fine weather on Saturday with yet another yellow alert for extremely high temperatures in effect from 12:00 to 17:00. Temperatures are expected to rise...

New type biometric ID cards to be released in Cyprus

The Civil Registry and Migration Department announces that on August 17 the new version of the identity cards issued to Cypriot citizens will be...

Larnaca’s Mackenzie Beach reopens

Larnaca's Mackenzie Beach now open to the public as normal. The Municipality of Larnaca announces: "As of today, Friday, August 14, 2020, Mackenzie Beach is now...

Taste

Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...