« The roots of making America in Argentina | Main | Observatorio argentino 37: A long hot summer of pension reform »

December 15, 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

My impression from skimming the UK press is that the Brexiters see this as only a temporary extension, at most two years. Not clear why they believe this, but that's their interpretation.

My wife's comment just now: it's May's plan to end up exactly in the single market and customs union.

London will still in theory be able to stop Europeans from being able to legally work in the U.K. in return for giving up access to the European market for British service exports. But no more “global Britain” signing trade agreements with countries around the world.

I don't think they will be able to even do that. One of the documents/declarations I saw, outlined that the transition period envisioned for 2019-2021 will entail the UK remaining in the single market and customs union with all four freedoms...which of course includes the freedom of movement for persons. And once you get past the transition period wherein that "full alignment" clause can kick in as the default scenario in the event of no otherwise agreed trade agreement, then any reasonable reading of "full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support.... the all-island economy.." is likely to mean free movement of persons as labour/factors of production as well as the free movement of services (and of course the free movement of persons necessary to effect the free movement of services).

I am surprised that the political reaction in Britain has not been stronger. Where are the Brexiteers? Or have they been yelling and I am just missing it on this side of the Atlantic?

A few of the Brexiteers have been yelling, but not many it seems. I think the reason the political reaction isn't stronger is because:

1. The implications of what has been agreed haven't fully sunk in yet (but when it does....)

2. The agreement itself appears to pander to the Brexiteers aspirations as it notes that "in the absence of agreed solutions" and the UK will be allowed to negotiate trade agreements with third countries during the transition to take effect afterwards. Taken together it means the EU essentially said "we will give you the opportunity to think up creative ways in which there can be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but in the meantime (and if eventually we both agree that no such solutions will work, then) we maintain the status quo of single market membership and customs union membership to ensure that there is no hard border". So some Brexiteers are taking that as a win, even though there is no technological solution out there that can achieve the same result for the Irish border issue. So they will continue coming up with ideas on drones, pre-declarations, cameras etc for a while yet, as life in Ireland continues as normal until one day down the road some realize that only single market membership and customs union will work and others will get upset that the EU isn't agreeing with their ideas and begin calling for the UK to exit the deal agreed upon.

The way it's been done might well result in the EU getting the best possible deal there is - the UK remains a member of the single market and customs union, but is now no longer in any of the EU institutions to obstruct further integration or complain all the time (bye, bye Nigel Farage). The UK meanwhile seems set to be more integrated than Norway but with even less ability to affect EU legislation than Norway (which at least through the EEA participates in "decision-shaping" activities with technical experts rather than decision making)

Another reason why the Brexiteers are being quiet is that they are largely in the Conservative (and Unionist) Party and if they kick up too much of a fuss they risk their own government collapsing and ending up with a vote of No Confidence leading to a General Election. A General Election is likely to end up with a Corbyn-lead Labour Government and there is a risk that the Lib Dems (pro-EU) and the SNP (pro-EU but anti-UK) might hold the balance of power.

It really hasn't sunk in. Don't forget that most of the powerful pro-Brexit politicians are thick, cynical, or both. It's become really pretty clear to everyone who's paying any attention at all that the only way this ends in anything other than spectacular economic catastrophe is to be in the customs union and single market and to have free movement for the foreseeable future. The cynical ones are, in general, not so cynical that they imagine they can finesse that; the thick ones don't understand what they've signed up to. It's possible that some of them (cough Iain Duncan Smith) are so spectacularly stupid that they will literally never realize that being subject to EU law without representation might actually be a worse deal than what we had before.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)