Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 28th of January 2019 to The Sounding Line.
The last two and a half years of Brexit negotiations have been spent, as of yet unsuccessfully, trying to agree to a transition period following the UK’s Article 50 departure from the EU on March 29th. The proposed transition period would require that the UK continue to follow all EU rules and regulations, adhere to EU courts where applicable, and pay into the EU budget while it tries to negotiate the permanent trade deal that will come into force after the ‘transition’ period ends. Put simply, the last two and a half years have been spent negotiating the terms of an extension of the Brexit negotiations beyond the Article 50 deadline. The negotiations have yet to meaningfully address the permanent trade deal that will be needed if the UK ever leaves the EU customes union, the actual reason for the negotiations in the first place.
With the Article 50 ‘leave’ date imminent, there is now a growing movement to delay the Article 50 deadline so that the negotiations over the framework of the extension of negotiations can itself be extended.
The reason is simple. The EU is access to the European Common Market. Every country in the EU already has all of the instruments of sovereign government: tax agencies, militaries, police, judicial systems, immigration systems, executive governments etc… All the EU bureaucracy offers is access to the common market. In exchange for that, countries must cede their sovereignty to the EU. That is the fundamental EU bargain. The EU will never provide the UK deep access to the common market unless the UK takes a Brexit-in-name-only Norway style deal that leaves Britain a passive member of the EU, with North Ireland as a hostage surety. It would be the definition of a bad deal, the worst of all worlds.
All of which leaves one to wonder; If Britain’s negotiators really think they will be able to negotiate the actual Brexit deal during their proposed 21 month extension, why did they spend the last 30 months negotiating the extension instead of the actual exit?
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