It’s been a couple of weeks since the United Kingdom finally left the European Union, in-between the fireworks and street parties there was a strong sense of stress and confusion radiating across the country. What does leaving the EU actually mean? And most importantly, what comes next?
After almost 4 years of debating, changing leaders, general elections, parliamentary suspensions and endless close calls with deadlines, at the end of January 2020 Britain finally left the European Union. A deal which was created by the Conservatives was eventually passed through parliament and the UK entered a ‘transition period’ with the EU until the end of 2020.
During this period, for all intents and purposes, the UK is still raking in the benefits of the EU as they are still part of the customs union and single market (this means that travelling will remain the same). The only real difference is that the UK has no MEP’s (Member of European Parliament) and we are technically no longer EU citizens. This period is essentially another negotiating period, except this time it is with the EU rather than Westminster.
In this period, Boris Johnson’s main priority will be to negotiate a trade deal with the EU. However, the list of topics to negotiate is never-ending, from access to fishing waters to freedom of movement, a lot has to be discussed and decided on from now until December.
Not going to plan
However, we’re talking about Brexit here, and nothing has gone to plan or been on time with this divorce. Johnson has until the end of June to decide whether or not to ask to extend this negotiating period, if he decides that the December deadline is suitable yet fails to negotiate properly with the EU, we risk crashing out with horrific deals. Of course, if Johnson does his job properly and negotiates well with the EU this won’t be a problem.
Logically, Johnson needs to be in discussions with the EU as soon as possible to make sure the December deadline is realistic. Discussions will begin at the end of February and will only consume British news until (hopefully) the end of the year. At this stage, it will have been 4 and a half years since the Brexit referendum and is about a year behind the original timeline. In this time, Brexit has plagued British politics whilst education, health, and social services have been falling deeper into a drain.
I personally don’t support Brexit or what it stands for, however, I want it over with. The NHS is an integral feature in Britain, millions rely on it every day, and it’s seconds from collapsing and having to be sold off. In my opinion, the quicker Brexit is finished with so that politicians can actually do their jobs and drag our country out of this dangerously disastrous cycle the better. However, with the Tories, there’s no guarantee what will happen.