19 Ноември 2018г.
What On Wednesday the 14th November, Prime Minister Theresa May's government backed the long-awaited Brexit agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU). A special European summit will be held on the 25th November to finalise the deal that establishes the terms of the UK’s departure of the EU. A critical, yet very uncertain “meaningful vote” on the deal will be held in December in the House of Commons. The day after the agreement was published, several Brexiter Cabinet members resigned, arguing that they could not support the deal. If Members of Parliament (MPs) back the deal, the European Parliament will also have to vote in January or February 2019. Why Under this agreement, the UK will remain in the EU Customs Union – and even in the Single Market during the transition period – until a trade agreement is found. However, remaining trade deal negotiations will be tough and are only delayed by this Brexit deal. 1. Since there were fears of a cliff-edge on the 29th March 2019 due to the lack of progress in future trade agreement negotiations, the government agreed a transition period until the 31st December 2020 with the EU. If no solution is found, the Joint Committee (comprising representatives and co-chaired by the UK and the EU) created by the deal can extend the transition for an unspecified period. According to the European Commission, “during this period, the entire Union acquis will continue to apply to and in the UK as if it were a Member State…the UK will continue to participate in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market”. 2. At the end of the transition period, unless and until the future relationship becomes applicable, the UK will enter into an indefinite customs union (“single customs territory”) with the EU. This backstop aims at preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland if no trade deal is reached by the end of the transition period. The customs union would cover all goods except fishery products. British firms would lose their financial passport: financial-services relationships will be based on equivalences, as with the United States and Japan. Moreover, to ensure fair competition with the EU27, the UK must observe “level playing field” commitments on environment, labour and social standards, on tax and on state aid. The end of the backstop has to be agreed by the Joint Committee; thus by mutual consent. 3. A future trade agreement is to be negotiated during the transition period.
Risks Just after the Brexit deal emerged, several Hard Brexiter Conservative MPs called for a vote of no confidence in the next weeks. According to Conservative Party rules, Ms May could face a vote of no confidence if 15% of Conservative MPs (48 out of 316 Tory MPs) send letters demanding such a vote. If Ms May (who would need 159 Conservative MP votes) were to lose, she would be obliged to resign and a Conservative leadership contest would take place. A Conservative Government could then be formed and attempt to pass a confidence motion within 14 days. If not, the dissolution of Parliament is triggered and a new election must be held. However, the lack of clear alternative to Ms May acts in her favour and she would likely win in case of vote of no confidence.
It will be hard for Ms May to win Commons approval: although the vast majority of Tory MPs are set to back the Prime Minister’s deal (despite those who are sounding off against her), the Labour Party, the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), the Scottish National Party (SNP) and around 50 of Tory MPs have said they will reject the deal. Ms May will try to unify her party and to convince all the MPs in Brexit-voting seats, including around 20 Labour MPs – but it will be a daunting task.
The rejection of the deal by the House of Commons would trigger a new political crisis, with several potential outcomes. A snap general election could be called by the Prime Minister or by a simple majority of the 650 MPs voting they have no confidence in the government. If not, the government would have 21 days to propose how to proceed with negotiations.
If no agreement is found, the Parliament would then be given a vote on a “no deal” motion. The MPs are very unlikely to pass a motion that would lead to a “no deal” Brexit on the 29th March. Even though this vote would not be legally binding, if the Parliament rejects the “no deal” motion, Ms May would be pressured to resign and to call for an early general election or a second referendum. Labour delegates voted a motion saying that if Parliament rejects any Brexit deal, the party must demand a general election, and if this does not happen, then the party should support a second referendum. A general election is therefore the most likely scenario if the Parliament rejects the deal. In this context, the UK could request an extension of Article 50, to give the electorate the chance to vote before the Brexit date. The extension would then need the very likely unanimous agreement of the EU member states.
In the event of a “no deal Brexit” on the 29th March, economic activity would be heavily affected via several channels, including an erosion of confidence, pound depreciation (lower consumption), higher tariffs (higher imported inflation and lower exports) and supply chain issues. Sectors such as automotive, retail, agri-food and construction would be particularly affected. Furthermore, it would have a significant impact in countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland, but also Scandinavian and Eastern Europe countries, whose exports to the UK represent an important share of GDP.