So now that we can finally see what Brexit might mean in reality, with the publication of the Draft Brexit Agreement, everyone is still unhappy. After much talk about what we wanted, which was leaving the EU club, whilst cherry-picking retention of access to the Single Market and a borderless border in Ireland, it has finally dawned on us all that such a deal is not going to be offered. So what is the substance of the 585 page soft Brexit deal that is now being offered:
- The UK will have to abide by the European Court of Justice during the transition period. After then, we will still have to maintain equivalent standards for:
- state subsidies,
- social policy.
- No UK vote on future EU policy.
- Post transition period, the UK will be able to set its own immigration rules.
- All EU citizens lawfully living in the UK continuously for 5 years before 2021 will be able to stay.
- We will pay a divorce bill of at least £39bn to the EU, to cover all financial obligations.
- Payments to the EU will end beyond the transition period.
- Once the UK exits transition, and assuming the backstop isn’t triggered, it will be able to implement any agreed free trade deals it strikes with other countries.
- Fishing is excluded from any new arrangement.
So what we have is a bit of a fudge and a bit of kicking of difficult issues into the long grass.