Experts: Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels not yet yielded tangible results
Penza, 31 July 2017. PenzaNews. Brexit can disrupt the air travel from Great Britain to the European Union and the US if the UK government does not strike a deal with Brussels.
“We will be cancelling flights. We will be cancelling people’s holidays for summer 2019,” the Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary told Sunday Times and added that advance tickets to Europe bought from March 2018 for flights in 2019 could have small print warnings that they may be null.
According to him, London cannot yet reach an agreement with the EU that would let Great Britain remain part of treaties such as the Open Skies agreement, which allows airlines to fly freely across Europe and to the US.
Meanwhile, Brexit raises a number of other significant issues, starting with the problems of civil rights and financial aspect and ending with the system of nuclear regulation.
Speaking about the difficult situation in the country, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who held the in 1997–2007, stated the need to stop Brexit.
“I think it's possible now that Brexit doesn't happen. I think it's absolutely necessary that it doesn't happen because I think every day is bringing us fresh evidence that it's doing us damage economically, certainly doing us damage politically,” the politician told Sky News TV Channel.
According to ex-premier, public opinion is now moving in favor of maintaining the EU membership.
“This time last year we were the fastest growing economy in the G7, we're now the slowest. Our savings ratio is at the lowest for 50 years, the investment community internationally has now gone really negative on us, investment in the motor car industry, for example, is down 30%, living standards are stagnating,” Tony Blair said.
Commenting on the UK and the EU negotiation process, Iain Begg, Professorial Research Fellow at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, said it is too early to speak about the results.
“It is too early to judge much, although the second round has highlighted the difficulties that arise in looking at the detail of the proposals, not least on the rights of EU and UK citizens in each other’s countries,” the expert told PenzaNews.
According to him, the “divorce bill” was always going to be difficult and will be hard to solve.
“The problem is political more than economic. UK voters were promised a big budgetary gain from leaving the UK and those who voted Brexit will be upset if it is not delivered. It will, in the end be solved by haggling – maybe concluding with a payment in the range of 30-40 billion euro,” the analyst suggested.
At the same time, Brexit is unlikely to be canceled, he believes.
“It remains unlikely because there is no obvious political pathway to stopping Brexit, especially with team Corbyn hardening their positions on the EU,” Iain Begg explained.
Meanwhile, in his opinion, the negotiation process will not be easy.
“It is a long negotiation and a mistake to expect early agreements on issues which are unavoidably tricky,” he stressed.
In turn, Neil MacKinnon, Global Macro Strategist at VTB Capital, said he favours a “clean Brexit.”
“If the UK-EU cannot conclude a ‘deal’ then I think the UK should walk away. There is a lot of propaganda that dreadful things will happen to the UK if there is not a deal but this is no more than a variation of the ‘Project Fear’ campaign last summer that proved spectacularly wrong,” the expert said.
“The UK is the fifth biggest economy in the world, was one of the fastest growing G7 economies last year and London is already the world’s number one financial centre. In the global economy, the economic action is in Beijing not Brussels. You do not need a trade deal to trade. In fact, the EU’s main trading partners such as the US, China and Russia do not have trade deals. Any country can have access to the ‘single market’ as long as you pay the EU’s external tariffs. After all, the so-called single market is a customs union that favours producers rather than consumers. Scare stories that the City will move to Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels is complete rubbish,” Neil MacKinnon explained.
According to him, the British primarily expect the restoration of state control over their own borders.
“What UK voters voted for last summer was taking control of UK borders, preventing the type of migrant crisis that is creating tensions in Italy, Austria and Hungary, and regaining control of UK sovereignty,” the analyst said.
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According to him, people like Tony Blair, considered a discredited politician in the UK after the “dodgy dossier” that took the UK into a US-led coalition into war with Iraq, is typical of those who want to thwart the result of the referendum.
“In my view Brexit is a positive opportunity rather than a negative uncertainty. The Eurozone has not been an economic success story. It’s been a story of low growth, high unemployment with many countries stuck in a debt trap,” Neil MacKinnon said.
Meanwhile, Anthony Glees, Director, Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS), the University of Buckingham, shared the view that Brexit, in theory, presents the British state with a number of very serious problems.
“Far from producing a government which would be 'strong and stable' and capable of advancing a Brexit agenda, the Election of 8 June, took away the government's existing majority and propelled the opposition inexorably closer to power. Evidence that the government is divided over the Brexit process presents itself several times each day and the lack of a clear plan or strategy concerns many voters and commentators. But this is also true of the opposition. A divided Britain is automatically a weak Britain, and a weak Britain is very vulnerable,” the expert said.
According to him, in respect of external threats, Britain seeks security comfort in NATO but above all relies on the alliance with the US and on its own armed strength.
“NATO is clearly in transition and it is not clear to what extent Britain will continue to be taken seriously as a NATO partner [after Brexit]. […] The marked slowing and greater indebtedness of the British state over the past twelve months due exclusively to Brexit means that already substantial cuts in the armed forces have been ordered,” Anthony Glees said.
In his opinion, after Brexit the UK will have to quit several EU organizations, including INTCEN, the Open Source (OSINT) Division, the Counter-Terrorist Group and Europol.
“In practice, one could argue that the importance to the UK's national security of remaining within these institutions, even just as 'observers' is so vital, that some arrangement to do so will have to be found, and indeed will be found. […] Against that, however, is one of the 'red lines' set out by the prime minister, namely that Britain will no longer accept the rulings of the European Court of Justice, the ECJ. Since all the above bodies are EU bodies, all rely for their lawfulness on the ECJ. If Britain refuses to accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ, it can have nothing to do with any of these bodies,” the analyst explained.
From his point of view, the UK government and opposition are committed to honouring the decision taken on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU.
“If this is what Brexit means, I believe it will happen. Whether it is inevitable that the UK will also leave the single market and the customs union is less clear. But it is obvious that the powerful forces that shaped public opinion against the EU are still powerful forces. I suspect that Britain will have to experience Brexit for British voters to realise what it is that they have lost, both in terms of their economic wellbeing but also in terms of their security,” Anthony Glees added.
In turn, Simon Lightfoot, researcher of European Politics at the University of Leeds, noted that “the UK officials have adopted a slightly more conciliatory tone” in the second round of negotiations
“The main stumbling blocks are the same issues: money, Northern Ireland and the rights of EU and UK citizens. So the key discussions are how much money the UK should pay into the EU budget post Brexit and if it needs to honour budget commitment up until the end of the budget period 2020 or even beyond,” the expert explained.
According to him, the negotiations let the parties make some progress on the issue of citizen rights.
“On the issue of citizen rights we have some progress with agreement on 22 of the 44 issues under negotiation but anything that suggests ECJ involvement post Brexit is politically difficult,” Simon Lightfoot said.
At the same time, in his opinion, the very fact of Britain's withdrawal from the EU is beyond doubt.
“I think Brexit will happen. The two main parties are wedded to the notion that they must deliver the will of the people. Therefore the UK will leave the EU in March 2019. Whether that means leaving the single market or the customs union is another matter. Some of the rhetoric around free movement of workers is softening too. The UK government is keen to get some movement on these issues as without that, discussions around future trade agreements can't happen. Reducing the uncertainty for people and business will be key over the coming months,” the analyst concluded.
Official negotiations between the UK and the EU on the conditions under which Brexit will be implemented began in Brussels on 19 June 2017 – almost a year after the opponents of European integration in the United Kingdom won a referendum with a result of 51.9%.
It is expected that the negotiations will last until November 2018, after which the parties will have six months to ratify the agreements in national parliaments.