By Harrison Burke
Back in 2016, a public vote in the U.K. was held on the idea of leaving the E.U. was produced. Out of the 17.4 million citizens who voted, 52% of expressed how they wanted to leave, and the remaining 48% said they wanted to stay. As of January 31 of this year, The United Kingdom (U.K.) officially withdrew from the European Union (E.U.). The transition will determine whether the U.K. can handle such a change in political and economic structure. On June 30th, the deadline for finalizing the transition can be extended. If the transition passes and is ratified by the end of this year, then they begin their new relationship with the E.U., otherwise they will have to exit the transition without a trade deal.
Talks about a trade deal are in the works between the two entities. While becoming separate from the union, the U.K. wants as much access to resources from them as possible. Hurting their relationship with the E.U. could also broaden their horizons in terms of international trade. There were constraints that were in play when they were part of the E.U. Now, they want to make new trade deals with countries they feel have been neglected. Particularly, they also want to have a closer relationship with their biggest client, the United States. They already provide more goods and services to the U.S. then any other country and possess over half corporate headquarters of U.S. companies, making the idea of a strengthened relationship sounds pleasing. Alongside the U.S., they want to have great relationships with countries like Canada and Australia and emulate the deals the E.U. has with 70 other countries.
They must figure out a way to co-operate with the union on law enforcement. A loss of power could happen for the U.K.’s police force if there is no deal. If there is a criminal wanted by the E.U. that escapes to the U.K., the U.K. would need a court issued warrant in order to arrest the criminal. Failure to agree on a deal would make capturing and transporting a criminal more bureaucratic. More barriers would mean less flexibility for the quantity of criminals that face justice.
There is also the question of healthcare that comes into fruition from Brexit. The E.U. has an early warning system that informs countries of a cross-border threat. The U.K. is losing that advantage since their separation, making them vulnerable to numerous health threats, the most relevant and fast-growing concern being the Coronavirus. If the relations with the E.U. worsen, the public health of the U.K. could be at risk. The Brexit Health Alliance has advised the U.K.’s government to focus on continued relations with European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to access these platforms and prevent public health pandemics and diseases.
The U.K.’s government has made it clear that they would not extend their transition beyond the end of 2020, limiting the time for negotiating a free trade deal. Any revision to the agreement gives the U.K. only weeks to adjust to the details. They would also need to implement the Northern Irish protocol, which is a Brexit agreement that would prevent an evident border between Northern Ireland and the southern republic. For prime minister Boris Johnson, he has a great decision to make between making great compromises with the E.U. or to come out with no deal.