Researcher Shatha Khalil *
The history mentions that Britain has always maintained a separate distance between it and the rest of Europe, “the old continent”, and the accession came late after the initial rejection, when it was announced the establishment of the brick of European Union in 1957 as an economic bloc, Britain was reluctant to reserve a place within it at that time, and it doesn’t correct Its position only in 1973, after 16 years.
Despite the delay of the decision, it was soon marred by a crisis of confidence that led to the Brexit referendum only two years after the European title, but then , supporters of stay prevailed by 67% of the vote.
The results of this old referendum did not quench the desire to secede from the European Union. For decades, it has been present in the British conscience. This is evidenced by London’s refusal to join the euro zone and the adoption of the single European currency and its adherence to its national currency, and it did not accept also to enter in the Schengen Agreement or the open border area between Europe.
Since the global financial crisis that gave birth to the Euro zone crisis, and passing through the refugee crisis and the European confusion in dealing with it, all of them have formed a desire for separation again in the minds of many Britons, and various opinion polls indicate that they are slightly more or less than half of the population.
Today Britain is on its way to exit from the EU without an agreement, because there a deal allows London and Brussels a 21-month transition to negotiate a new trade mechanism at risk of collapse.
Loss of Separation:
The British economy since the referendum on secession, recording a huge loss of about one billion dollars weekly losses, the value of economic output lost since the referendum about 800 million pounds (billion dollars) a week, or 4.7 million pounds ($ 6 million) per hour.
The negative economic consequences accumulate, although there are no structural changes so far in Britain’s business relationship with EU countries or the rest of the world.
The EU was Britain’s largest trading partner in the delivery of goods and services. It was easy for British companies to recruit workers in the European Union and to maintain supply chains that intersect with national borders, but in the absence of clear future trade conditions in the UK for about three years, making it difficult for companies to plan ahead.
As companies in the services sector dominated the economy announce to reduce jobs for the first time in six years and decline in applications, while the escape of the makers of cars (Honda, Toyota, Nissan Japan) records , and the announcement of Jaguar Land (the largest automaker in Britain) and Ford Motors for large reductions of jobs in Europe.
Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi companies also announced a reduction in operations in Britain before Prexit. And some facts have pointed out several things:
• British companies’ confidence in February fell to its lowest level since June 2016.
• A recent survey conducted by Deloitte and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England recently revealed that employers fear UK secession from the EU in the absence of an agreement and the referendum showed that the confidence is at its lowest level in a decade.
So far, Britain’s financial services industry has been largely untouched, with some 2,000 jobs expected to be relocated or created abroad, even with the growing risk of disintegration accompanied with unrest.
With most bankers confident that a compromise will be reached, major investment banks plan to hire a much larger number of London employees than any other city in Europe, suggesting that they expect Britain to remain the center of the global financial industry in the short term at least.
At present, banks and insurance companies in the UK have the ability to communicate without any hindrances with their customers across the EU in most financial activities.
The future of London as a center for the European financial industry is one of the most important outcomes of the EU’s breakaway talks, because the industry is Britain’s largest source of income for exports and the largest source of income from corporate taxes. But Brexit’s doubts threaten Britain’s sovereign rating where Fitch agency sees that divorce without agreement would lead to major unrest in the British economy, and undermine the prospects for future agreements on free trade, at least in the short term.
The UK’s economic output is largely down on investment, and spending by individuals has declined, and uncertainty about Brexit has affected investment growth following the vote on exit from the EU.
Problem with Ireland:
British Prime Minister Theresa May still resisted in the hope of getting European concessions on the Irish border problem she offers to British legislators to salvage the situation and get support for her exit from the EU.
As for Ireland, it avoids talking about the steps it will take in the event of Brexit without agreement, but the default situation requires it, and Britain to apply customs checks in accordance with the laws of the EU and the WTO on both sides of the border.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the scenario of disagreement would be a real dilemma for Ireland. “Britain and Ireland will have to abide by the Good Friday Agreement, protect the peace process, abide by our commitments to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and there will be no firm borders.
We will negotiate a customs and regulatory agreement that will lead to full agreement between the two sides so that there are no rigid borders.
The British government has refused that North Ireland to be compatible with Dublin in its organizational affairs and far from London, which is a red line for hard supporters of Brexit and the Irish Democratic Unionist Party, Mai’s partner in parliament.
May told MPs she needed time to discuss with the European Union the amendment of the Brexit agreement she had reached with Brussels to satisfy the parliament, giving further ambiguous details about London’s departure.
A clause was introduced on the Brexit agreement as a last resort and provided for the UK to remain in a customs union with the EU and for the British Northern Ireland Province to remain in the European Common Market for Commodities to avoid any customs controls and material regulation between the two parts of Ireland which raised the anger if British deputies who fear that this action permanently links Britain to the Union and threatens the unity of the Kingdom because of the special treatment of Northern Ireland.
Recently, an eight-hour European summit was held in Brussels, where British Prime Minister Teresa Mae did not attend most. The European Union agreed to postpone the Brexit until October 31, keeping the door open for Britain’s exit before that date. And the European extension was accompanied by several conditions, most notably the protection of the Union from British interference.
The British Prime Minister accepted the new extension , although it had called for a postponement until June 30, and stressed: “We can still get out on next May 22 , and thus avoid participation in the European elections, which starts on May 23,” noting that it is enough to get this if the deputies agree on the agreement signed with Brussels. ”
May did not lose hope of persuading MPs, and began to launch a series of indicative votes on the future relationship they want with the European Union after the “Brexit”.
Some conservative MPs reject the May agreement because of the so-called “safety net” clause aimed at avoiding the return of physical borders between the British Northern Ireland and the EU member Republic of Ireland, and it provides that the Kingdom remains within the European Customs Union if no other solution is found. In principle, May guaranteed the Brexit agreement included a departure from the Customs Union and the Common Market so that the Kingdom could establish its own trade relations and monitor immigration at the border. However, the Labor Party wanted the Kingdom to remain within the customs union and maintain close relations with the EU.
In fact, there are three scenarios for London:
1. Either ratify the agreement in parliament.
2. Withdrawal of the application for exit, that is, contrary to the request to activate article 50, which allows for divorce from the union so that Britain remains a member.
3. And finally exit without agreement the next day Thursday, October 31, which is pushed by the hard wing in the Conservative Party.
The future months will be sensitive, with the formation of a new European Commission in the wake of the elections, and with discussions on several files such as the long-term future budget of the European Union. The result is a parliamentary defeat for the British government in modern times, which means that it is now facing a deep political crisis without a clear exit from the chaos that has taken place.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies