Are we there yet? It feels like the Brexit talks have been dragging on forever. In fact, there are less than six months left until “B-Day”, when the UK exits the European Union on 29 March 2019. That’s not a lot of time when you consider that the agreed text still needs to be signed off by all the governments involved, as well as voted on and ratified by national parliaments (not to mention the European Parliament).
So, is the end in sight? Well, it looks like the text of a possible deal has finally been agreed by negotiators. However, before you break out the champagne, there are some caveats to bear in mind. Firstly, we are not talking about the final EU-UK post-Brexit deal. What is being agreed here is essentially the terms of the divorce (as well as the “transitional arrangements” to the new relationship). Negotiations over the future EU-UK trade deal have been put off until a later date. So, get ready for many more months (if not years) of future trade talks.
Secondly, there is no guarantee that Theresa May will be able to get the deal through the British Parliament. As the details of the agreement have become clearer, opposition to the deal has grown among both eurosceptic and pro-European politicians in the UK. It seems likely the Prime Minister will be unable to pass her proposed deal through Parliament without the help of a significant number of rebels from the opposition Labour benches.
Many Remainers hope that if the deal collapses it will prompt a second referendum, possibly reversing Brexit. On the other hand, some Brexiteers hope to scupper a deal and see a “no deal” as nothing to be afraid of. Meanwhile, Theresa May’s Northern Irish allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are furious at the prospect that their “blood red lines” are being wiped away by the Prime Minister. Given all these challenges, it’s seems foolish to predict that Brexit is a done deal.
Is Brexit definitely going to happen? Or is the UK going to be trapped in a state of permanent transition, with one foot in the EU and one foot out? Could the deal collapse at the last minute? Can Brexit be reversed? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!