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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Britain and the European Union have finally reached a “Brexit” implementation deal

Eng­lish and Welsh vot­ers decid­ed over four years ago to with­draw the Unit­ed King­dom from the Euro­pean Union, over the objec­tions of their fel­low U.K. cit­i­zens in Scot­land, North­ern Ire­land, and Gibral­tar. But near­ly half a decade lat­er, Britain has yet to actu­al­ly leave the bloc. That’s set to change as of the end of this month, regard­less of whether the two sides agreed on the terms of a divorce.

Late­ly, it has looked like there sim­ply would­n’t be a prop­er­ly nego­ti­at­ed divorce arrange­ment, result­ing in a chaot­ic “no deal” Brex­it sce­nario. How­ev­er, the lead­ers of Europe and the Unit­ed King­dom announced today that they’ve reached an agree­ment on the terms of Britain’s with­draw­al, just in time for Christmas.

“I want to thank Pres­i­dent von der Leyen of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and our bril­liant nego­tia­tors led by Lord Frost and Michel Barnier, on the EU side Stephanie Rousseau as well as Oliv­er Lewis, Tim Bar­row, Lind­say Apple­by and many oth­ers. Their work will be avail­able for scruti­ny, fol­lowed by a par­lia­men­tary vote I hope on Decem­ber 30th,” said British Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son.

“We have, final­ly, found an agree­ment,” said a relieved von der Leyen, who heads the Com­mis­sion. “It was a long and wind­ing road. But we have got a good deal to show for it. It is fair and bal­anced. And it is the right and respon­si­ble thing to do for both sides. The nego­ti­a­tions were very tough. But with so much at stake, for so many, this was a deal worth fight­ing for.”

Here are a few ear­ly takes on the deal:

“The Brex­it deal itself is noth­ing but thin gru­el. It will make it much hard­er for Britain to sell ser­vices to EU coun­tries, where we were once advan­taged. Britons will lose their right to freely trav­el, work and set­tle in oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries. While there will be no tar­iffs or restric­tions on the quan­ti­ty of goods that can be sold, British exports will for the first time in decades face checks on their ori­gins and com­pli­ance with EU regulations.”

— Tom Kibasi for The Guardian (At long last we have a Brex­it deal – and it’s as bad as you thought)

“The Euro­pean Union emerges from fraught nego­ti­a­tions with Britain over its exit from the bloc with a sense of sat­is­fac­tion — that it has main­tained its uni­ty and its core prin­ci­ples, espe­cial­ly the integri­ty of the sin­gle mar­ket of now four hun­dred and fifty mil­lion con­sumers that is the foun­da­tion of its influ­ence. And it is now look­ing ahead to its life with­out Britain.”

— Steven Erlanger for The New York Times (For the Euro­pean Union, It’s a Pret­ty Good Deal)

“In the com­ing days, with­out doubt, there will be a rhetor­i­cal bid­ding war over which side has giv­en more ground, ‘lost’ or ‘won’.
There will have been com­pro­mis­es on both sides. But both the UK and the EU have put prag­ma­tism over firm prin­ci­ple, and agreed an his­toric accord that will affect so many aspects of how we live.”

— Lau­ra Kuenss­berg for the BBC (John­son gets the deal both sides want­ed to achieve)

“Just days ago, as the Decem­ber 31st dead­line loomed, John­son laughed freely at the prospect of crash­ing out of Europe with­out any deal at all. It would be ‘more than sat­is­fac­to­ry,’ he said, promis­ing Britain would ‘pros­per might­i­ly’. But the UK is in its deep­est reces­sion since records began. And behind the scenes, the Prime Min­is­ter was issu­ing quite dif­fer­ent orders to his nego­tia­tors. Britain now bad­ly need­ed a deal.”

— Lin­ton Bess­er, Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (Boris John­son yields to real­i­ty, but Brex­it will come back to haunt Britain)

The text of the agree­ment has not yet been pub­lished. When it is, there will be an oppor­tu­ni­ty peo­ple every­where to engage in a deep­er analy­sis of its terms.

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One Comment

  1. Brex­it has been a com­plete dis­as­ter from start to finish.

    # by Bandar Lendt :: December 27th, 2020 at 7:37 AM
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