Why is it still unclear how the Brexit will be more than a year and a half of the referendum that decided the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Why is it still unclear how the Brexit will be more than a year and a half of the referendum that decided the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union


It has been more than a year and a half since the majority of Britons voted in favor of leaving the European Union and almost 11 months since Downing Street notified the decision to Brussels.

And this is a key week to know how they are going to advance in this area.

This Wednesday, the chief negotiator for the Brexit on the part of the European Union, Michel Barnier, presented the draft of his proposal for the divorce with the United Kingdom that contemplates to maintain the British territory of Northern Ireland within the single market and to the customs union of the block to avoid a physical border with Ireland, member of the EU.

Brussels says the plan would only come into effect if no other solution to the border problem can be found, but the draft was already rejected by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

“The proposal … would break the British common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” May said of the possibility that the commercial frontier would be delineated in the Irish Sea, which separates Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

This controversy is just one more example of the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit and how it will take place.

This is due in part to both the terms of the output of EU UK as how to take the new relationship between former future partners are subject to a complex negotiation that is far from being completed .

But the biggest problem may be that the UK itself still does not seem to know what kind of Brexit it wants.

Manifestation in favor of the British stay in the European Union
Copyright of the AFP image
Image caption There are still those who believe that Brexit can be reversed, but most now fight to define its form.

In fact, in the country there are still groups that are trying to reverse the decision and do not renounce the idea of a second referendum.

But, in principle, the British exit of the community block already has date and time: 11:00 of the British night of Friday, March 29, 2019.

That means that most elected politicians are concentrating their energies on trying to define the shape of the future relationship, with the division between the “No” and the “Yes” of the referendum giving way to a confrontation between the “soft” potion and the “hard”, soft and hard Brexit.

And the same government cabinet is divided between those who would like a “soft Brexit” – in which the United Kingdom would maintain part of the status quo in exchange for retaining some of the benefits of its current relationship with the EU, especially in the area economic- and those who propose a “hard Brexit” .

British flags
Copyright of the AFP image
Image caption Others are convinced that the UK can do better once it is free of the rules of the European Union.

The latter are not willing to make concessions on issues such as the free movement of people – even at the expense of seeing the access of British products to the EU market harmed – and have also declared themselves against a customs union that obliges them to maintain regulations European

Some have even warned about the risks of a Brino , ie a “Brexit name only ” ( Brexit in name only ), warning that any agreement that does not result in a clear break with the EU would be a betrayal the will of the people.

In the June 2016 referendum, 51.9% of Britons voted to leave the EU and 48.1% to remain in it. This second option was majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as among the youngest population.

“Managed divergence”

For the time being, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, last week organized a meeting with her main ministers in her country residence of Checkers to try to reach a unified position within the government.

And at the end of the meeting they said they had reached a general consensus on the position of the United Kingdom during the next round of negotiations with European negotiators, in which the future relationship between both parties will begin to be addressed .

Copyright of the ISTOCK image
Image caption If everything goes as planned, the Brexit will be effective at midnight European on March 29, 2019.

The details of this agreement will only be made public this week during a speech that May has scheduled for Friday, but the different leaks have coincided in the use of the concept of “managed divergence”.

This basically means that the UK aims to maintain a very close relationship with the EU on certain issues, but on its own terms.

But there are indications that not everyone in the cabinet interprets the concept – and what it means – in the same way.

Cabinet meeting in Checkers
Copyright of the AFP image
Image caption The cabinet is supposed to have finally reached an agreement on the type of Brexit the government will seek.

According to the BBC’s political issues editor, Laura Kuenssberg, the proponents of the “hard Brexit” came out of the meeting of Checkers, assuring that “the divergence had won”.

That is to say, that the United Kingdom is going to press for a “mutual recognition” with the EU in the matter of goods, which would imply that the community rules should not be followed blindly and forever.

While the advocates of the “Brexit suave” highlighted “the growing awareness” that thousands of jobs depend on the United Kingdom following the EU rules in key sectors “voluntarily”, a position they described as “pragmatic Brexit” .

Clash with reality

In any case, the president of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, already described the supposed British position of “simple illusion”, which suggests that the final form of the agreement might not resemble anything the British government wants.

“If the journalistic reports are correct, I am afraid that the position of the United Kingdom, today, is based on a simple illusion ,” Tusk said last Friday at a press conference.

Donald Tusk
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption Tusk threw a bucket of cold water on the latest British plans.

And then he categorically rejected – as he had done before – any notion that the UK will be able selectively to choose aspects of its future relationship with the EU or join a “single market on demand”.

The EU has said from the beginning that one of its fundamental principles is the integrity of the single market and that the free movement of goods is inseparable from other freedoms: the free movement of people, services and capital.

That is why, as the journalist Laura Kuenssberg explains, the fact that the prime minister seems finally ready to say what the United Kingdom expects from the negotiation does not mean that that is what it is going to obtain.

Negotiation of the BrexitCopyright of the ISTOCK image
Image caption The British vision seems to clash with that of the European Union.

In addition, the clash with the reality of the negotiating table of the current British plans is not the only thing that could change things again and end up taking Brexit down a different path.

Indeed, the main opposition party – the Labor Party – officially declared itself Monday in favor of a customs union with the EU, one of the key demands of the proponents of the “soft Brexit” that has nevertheless been ruled out by the government.

And as the BBC’s political correspondent, Ben Wright, remembers, the British parliament still has an important role to play in the negotiation, especially since May’s conservatives do not have a majority.

Protest for the possibility of a "hard border" in Ireland
Copyright of the AFP image
Image caption For many, a customs union is key to the British economy and to the future of the peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

“Clearly there are several conservative deputies who agree with Labor that there should be a customs union after Brexit,” says Wright.

And, according to the correspondent, that means that if the Labor Party proposes an amendment calling for the creation of a customs union, May’s government could be forced to change its position.

In other words, we are still far from knowing how the Brexit will be , despite the fact that the hands of the clock continue advancing inexorably towards its date.

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