After the exhausting negotiations that Theresa May has supposedly been carrying out throughout the entire past year, including recent failed attempts with Jeremy Corbyn to reach a national agreement, we are back where we started… back to square one.
The dilemma remains to be the same one that initiated the negotiations: ‘deal or no deal’. On the 7th June Theresa May will step down as Prime Minister and her successor will be chosen out of the twelve candidates which have put themselves forward to occupy the position.
The United Kingdom has until 31st October 2019, the new official Brexit date, to reach an agreement with the European Union. If they do not reach one the options are to continue in the European Union or leave without a deal. Also, to bear in mind is that whatever negotiation or decision that the British government come to with the European Union, it will need to be approved by the British Parliament. The problem is that the most popular choice within society seems to be to leave without a deal, but this is a contentious decision for the government because Parliament came to a majority agreement to not go down that route in order to leave the Union.
Many believe that ‘no-deal’ is the option that offers more trade and political independence. With regards to political independence this could be true, but the lines are blurred for trade independence. Also, the United Kingdom will have to affiliate itself with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as an independent country and begin to negotiate agreements one by one with each country or international trade association it chooses to deal with. These trade agreements are based on the international tariffs that each country must pay to import or export products to another country. However, it must not be forgotten that one of the aims of the European Union is to eliminate tariffs, and any trade deal negotiation that the UK government reaches with another country must go through the British Parliament. Thus, reducing how clear trade independence truly is. There is a risk that ‘no-deal’ will expose imports and exports to delays and the impoverishing impacts this may include, especially for families or individuals in weaker financial positions.
There are others of the opinion that the United Kingdom has the economic capacity to face whatever challenge, and that trade and political independence will allow total freedom to negotiate whichever type of trade deal offering more beneficial terms in the long run than the ones they currently have. Furthermore, they also believe that there is the option to cancel whichever import tariff so that the United Kingdom can become an investment haven for other countries.
The general opinion is that the leaving without a deal is not beneficial for neither the United Kingdom nor the European Union, and whatever happens a deal must be agreed. But many politicians who support a ‘no deal’ exit claim this prerequisite puts the United Kingdom at a disadvantage in terms of negotiations.
Meanwhile, the weeks pass by and the only thing in sight at the moment is a change in government, a general election may be close and even in the horizon lies the option of another referendum. So, for the time being predicting where the United Kingdom will be on the 31st October is like trying to see the future in a crystal ball.