Talks over brexit have been resumed between EU and UK officials in the hope of reaching to some deal acceptable for both sides. This has become possible amid Boris Johnson concessions on Irish border. The deal would, however, create a customs border down the Irish Sea. A similar arrangement was rejected by Theresa May as a deal that no British prime minister could accept.
On the other side Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party made clear its reservations regarding the matter. The prime minister needs the 10 DUP votes to pass a deal through parliament, not least because hardliner Conservative MPs insists that they will stand by the Northern Irish party.
Last week, the EU had agreed to intensify talks with the United Kingdom over the next few days to reach a new withdrawal agreement. Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator had described discussions with his British counterpart as constructive. Despite the DUP’s observations, Downing Street hopes that pro Brexit Conservative MPs will back the agreement under discussion.
While analyzing the situation it becomes evident that under the deal, Mr Johnson agreed that Britain would no longer insist on a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit but the thing which is still obscure is that whether the EU customs and regulatory checks on goods going from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland would switch to the Irish Sea or not.
The plan bore similarities to EU proposals last year for a Northern Ireland only backstop that was aimed at avoiding a hard Irish border, and which was rejected out of hand by Mrs May.
Under Mrs May’s plan, the backstop to avoid a hard Irish border was expanded to include the whole UK in a temporary customs union with the EU until a post Brexit trade deal with the bloc was in place. There are many implications of the no deal scenario. In a no deal scenario, the UK would immediately leave the European Union with no agreement about the divorce process.
Overnight UK would leave the single market and customs union arrangements designed to help trade between EU members by eliminating checks and tariffs. No deal also means immediately leaving EU institutions such as the European Court of Justice and Europol, its law enforcement body. Membership of dozens of EU bodies that govern rules on everything from medicines to trade marks would end. UK would no longer contribute to the EU budget currently about £9 billion a year.
Under a no deal Brexit, there would be no time to bring in a UK-EU trade deal. Trade would initially have to be on terms set by the World Trade Organization (WTO), an agency with 162 member countries. If this happens, tariffs and taxes on imports will apply to most goods that UK businesses send to the EU. Many companies are already worried that it could make their goods less competitive. Trading on WTO terms would also mean border checks for goods, which could cause traffic bottlenecks at ports, such as Dover.
No deal would also mean the UK service industry would lose its guaranteed access to the EU single market. That would affect everyone from bankers and lawyers to the common citizen. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October and the prime minister has repeatedly insisted he will not request a delay But in addition to the challenges of reaching an agreement with the EU, Mr Johnson also requires support from Conservative Brexiteers and Democratic Unionists if he is likely to get his deal through Parliament.
If Johnson does emerge with a deal, he would probably try to pass it through parliament very quickly. There is optimism but still few feels that things might not go the way they supposed to. On 19 October MPs will sit in the House of Commons. That could be to vote on any deal, or to debate alternative routes ahead.
Writer is the Assistant Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, ‘The Asian Telegraph’ & Project Coordinator (COPAIR); a degree holder in communication & media sciences.