Alwaght- The British government is running into troubles these days as the controversial Brexit talks have reached a dead end. While according to the past schedule London has only six months left to make arrangements for exit from the European Union, no agreement has been reached with the block yet.
Theresa May has recently in bitter comments announced that the European leaders have rejected her government’s settlement deal, sending the talks into an impasse.
Brexit dead end
This is not the first impasse the British PM is talking about. Since the beginning of the exit negotiations between the two parties, the British and European leaders were at odds over how to reach a deal on separation of London from the European bloc.
What they call “divorce bill” was one of the sticking points between London and Brussels. The British government suggested it was ready to pay £40 billion ($47 billion) in settlement bill to the EU. But the bloc rejected, calling for €60 billion, insisting that the money should be paid in euro, the EU official currency and not in the British currency pound. At the end of the road, the negotiators agreed that London should pay a sum between €45 billion and €55 billion (between $53 billion and $63 billion) on a floating basis.
They are now at loggerheads over the trade laws between London and Brussels in the post-divorce period, as are they over the future of the Ireland borders.
Since the start of the Brexit talks, the EU drew three red lines:
1. In a post-Brexit statement, the European heads stated: “Access to the single market requires acceptance of all four freedoms”, which are the freedom of movement of people, goods, services, and capital over the borders.
2. No customs border should be drawn between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
3. The rights of the European citizens living in Britain should be guaranteed.
But having in mind that Northern Ireland is part of Britain, London seeks to reinstate a separating line between the Southern and Northern Ireland. Many have warned of a new war if London materializes its idea. The separating line, however, will have legal obstacles ahead because the two have a ceasefire deal and re-imposition of the border can risk the re-ignition of unrest and violence in Northern Ireland.
On the other hand, whereas London seeks to set limits on the movement of people on the Ireland borders, it seeks to maintain the freedom of goods exchange between Britain and the EU. In July, the British cabinet unveiled its “Chequers plan” in the atmosphere of division– some of the ministers opposed the plan and Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, resigned.
The Chequers plan, taking its name from a historical castle some 50 kilometers northwest of London, proposes the separation of the freedom of movement of people from goods, meaning after a final Brexit deal, the goods movement over the border remains in place but European people’s movement to the British territories would be limited. The European leaders rejected the proposal in their meeting with May over the weekend.
London divided over Brexit
There is a lack of unified stance over the Brexit negotiations among the London leaders. The impasses are even deepening their division. On the one hand, stands PM May and her circle who still insist on Chequers deal. The second bloc is the Conservative Party members who want a no-deal Brexit. They call May's freedom of movement of goods a humiliating offer and a partial remaining in the EU. Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, former UK Independent Party and current member of the European Parliament, press that Brexit without a deal is feasible.
The Labor Party is still a third side in the internal dispute which calls for May to abandon her Chequers plan and instead hold a new referendum asking if people want to stay in the EU. The Labor is the main upholder of the idea. The proposers assert that in case of a new referendum, people will vote to stay.
Dim Brexit and government future
The EU and London are set to talk anew in November. This is, the analysts suggest, appears to be the last chance for the two sides to seal a deal. If they once again fail to reach an accord, Britain's political scene may see developments like:
- Removal of May cabinet by her party or the whole parliament. In this case, the extremist faction of the Conservative Party will assume the office.
- Resignation of May and rise of the Tory hardliners.
In the two cases, the hardliners will assume the office and this means that very likely Britain will leave the EU on a no-deal basis. Should this happen, the London-Brussels relations will go through complexity and diplomatic tensions.
Snap election: In case of announcing snap election in the country, the Labor has a chance to lead. Should it win, a new referendum is highly likely. But if the Conservative Party wins, having in mind that the rightists have an upper hand in the party, very likely a Brexit will go without a deal.
Extension of the negotiations: Another possibility is the extension of the talks on a final deal. If they have more time, they can ponder further and so a deal satisfactory to two sides is likely. Extended talks will play in the hands of the May government.
Some analysts raise an EU scenario: EU will put even further pressure on London while the latter is in a race against time. After all, only six months separate Britain from the Brexit finalization deadline. This in practice can cut the British bargaining power in the negotiations and drive it into an unchosen path of remaining in the EU. But the Tory hardliners are stressing on a Brexit even if it goes ahead without striking a deal with Brussels, something cutting the outlook for Britain to remain in the 28-nation camp.