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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 76

British Exit: United Kingdom enters the transition period

Hemantha Yapa Abeywardena writes from London…

After tumultuous months of negotiations and unprecedented political upheavals, Britain finally left the European Union that it joined in 1973, having been in the union for 47 years.

Although die-hard Brexit fans converged to London and other major cities to celebrate the historic moment, the anxiety over the spread of Coronavirus dampened the festive mood, to certain extent. Those who wanted to remain in the bloc, meanwhile, said goodbye to the EU in a poignant way in relatively small gatherings.

With Britain’s long awaited departure, it enters the transition period that has been agreed upon with the EU, in which the countries are supposed to address the pressing issues such as trade, movement of citizens and immigration, to name but a few.

Since Britain’s exit has been much smoother than what we feared for, the EU may soften its stand on these issues, as any move to hurt Britain could boomerang on the union in many different ways.

In this context, the move by President Macron of France to meet British Prime Minister next week for bilateral talks is a positive development in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit.

If other key members of the EU follow suit, the British prime minister will not be compelled to extend the transition period in order to secure mutually acceptable deals.

The complexity of the Irish border issue and taxation on the goods that flow across the borders is still potentially a drag on the serious future negotiations. The negotiating teams on both sides will encounter an uphill struggle to iron out differences and make irreversible progress.

As Britain left the EU amidst fanfare, a new development emerged threatening its own existence as a single country; the Scottish nationalists demanded a second referendum to determine whether they want to be in the United Kingdom or become an independent country.

The Scottish nationalists do not shy away from the fact that they want to join the EU as an independent country.
During the transition period, which is going to end in December this year, the UK still has to follow EU rules and pay up £30 billion for the withdrawal in line with rules of the bloc, despite it being orderly.

With Brexit, British citizens cease to be EU citizens and the British ministers will not participate in negotiations when it comes to law making; there will be no British members as Members of the European Parliament – MEP.

Despite the exit, the British do not feel that anything has happened on 31 January apart from the jubilant gatherings mushroomed across the country, as they now are in a relatively-flexible transition period.

They have to wait until the transition period ends – amicably, of course – until they can feel the real freedom inside an independent country.

- Asian Tribune -

British Exit: United Kingdom enters the transition period
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