We have been watching progress closely on a possible trade deal. It seems obvious that UK manufacturing will have to meet EU standards to have their products purchased by EU customers (though politicians appear to have difficulty grasping this). Note that the EU exports to UK 34% more than it imports from UK.

The main issues remain the Irish open border and the so called “backstop” agreement, what form of trade deal might the UK have with the EU, and the influence of the European Court of Justice over the UK.

The 583-page document “Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” was issued on 14th November 2018 and has been agreed by all EU Members.

The UK government is recommending this as the basis for UK withdrawal from the EU, but this has not met with any form of approval from the UK parliament. There have been numerous defeats of the government negotiated deal in Parliament. In fact, not one of the various options offered have met a majority within Westminster.  The British public is becoming rapidly disenchanted with their elected politicians, of all parties.

Current situation

It is now confirmed that the UK departure from the EU can be extended to 30th October 2019. If Theresa May can get the deal through parliament (looks impossible), the UK could leave earlier. It now looks as though this will require the UK to take part in European elections which is definitely NOT a preferred option in UK.

It would appear now more likely that there will be a general election in UK, which is unlikely to solve the basic disagreements in the UK Parliament. Both sides in the discussions are losing patience with each other, and it is obvious that no easy solution to the impasse exists.

Brexit Watch – a biweekly update from EURIS

The European Union Relationship & Industrial Strategy group (EURIS) are producing a biweekly “Brexit Watch” which provides a fascinating overview of the macro and micro economic indicators for the EU and the UK. We will continue to provide these through the ESA newsletter.

Find the latest Brexit Watch report (Issue 22) here [PDF].

David Mitchell, Standards and Legislation Director

Read also other parts of the Standards and Legislation report: