Brexit

The Brexit Could Be Delayed Again

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Britain formally triggered their departure from the European Union (EU) in a "Brexit" at the end of January, but Britain will not actually leave the European customs union and single market until the end of the year.

You may recall that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a deadline of June for achieving substantial progress in negotiations on a trade agreement to replace the last 50 years of close integration before he would start planning to leave the union without a deal, but Johnson has a big problem on this hands: the coronavirus

In-person negotiations have been canceled and even virtual negotiations via video conference will be difficult, officials say, because they're simply too busy dealing with the global pandemic.

“This pandemic means that the case for an extension to the transition becomes much, much stronger,” Anand Menon, professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London, told the U.K. Parliament’s Future Relationship with the EU Committee in London on Tuesday. “It makes an already compressed timetable still more compressed.” [...]

There are similar problems on the other side of the English Channel. National ambassadors to the EU have been telling the European Commission they will have little time to think about Brexit, or scrutinize the bloc’s latest draft of its version of the agreement, while their countries are at the epicenter of the outbreak, one official said.

British officials are still publicly sticking by previous commitments to leave the European customs union at the end of the year no matter what, but the Brexit had already left the British economy teetering on recession before the coronavirus even existed.

The virus is going to take a bite out of every nation's economy; even those not planning to shoot themselves in the foot by abandoning half a century of free-flowing trade, labor, and immigration.

I don't know how bright Boris Johnson is, but is he economically suicidal?

If the virus really does not peak until May, June, or even later; if the virus actually goes dormant and then returns in November -- the world is not going to look the same as it did just a month ago much less 4 years ago when Britain voted for a Brexit.

  • muselet

    Boris Johnson has been handed an opportunity to avoid cratering the UK economy.

    “Oh, blast and damn! We’re going to be so busy dealing with our response to the virus, we won’t have time for Brexit. Maybe next year, yes?”

    Problem is, I don’t know if Johnson is smart enough to take advantage of the lifeline. That depends mostly on how scary Johnson finds Nigel Farage and his band of xenophobic loons.

    –alopecia

    • Or how much money and/or power he can grasp with each option.