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Theresa May defends her Brexit plan

English Section /

Illustration by MAKE and Oana B., reproduced from BUCAREST HEBDO

Illustration by MAKE and Oana B., reproduced from BUCAREST HEBDO

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK opposition: "A second referendum for Brexit is not an option for the present" 

UK prime-minister, Theresa May, rejected at the end of last week the counterproposals to her draft agreement negotiated with the European Union for its country's Brexit.

On November 14th, May reached a draft agreement with the EU concerning the Brexit, but this caused several departures from the government, as the resignees did not accept the stipulations concerning the future of Northern Ireland after the exit from the EU.

There is currently no border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but it could be reintroduced if Great Britain leaves the customs union. In the opinion of experts, imposing the border would fuel the recently eased tensions the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The draft of the agreement stipulates that Great Britain will leave the European Union as was established, on March 29th 2019, but would remain in the single market and comply with the European regulations, without any right of decision, until December 2020. Meanwhile, the two parties will set the terms of a permanent trade relationship after Brexit.

The document also establishes that Great Britain would pay 39 billion pounds (50 billion dollars) for extinguishing its obligations to the EU, and British and European citizens will be able to stay where they currently work.

"Safety net" for the Republic of Ireland and the province of Northern Ireland

The agreement reached by the EU negotiators and the British ones concerning Brexit concerns the making of a decision, in July 2020, of a decision concerning the conclusion of a new agreement which would ensure an open Irish border after the end of the post-Brexit transition period, at the end of 2020.

Otherwise, the EU and London will be able to extend through mutual agreement the transition period. Alternatively, starting with January 2021, a so-called "safety net" will apply for the Republic of Ireland and the province of Nrothern Ireland, which means there will be a single customs territory between the EU and the UK, from the end of the transition period and until the date of the application of a subsequent agreement. Thus, Northern Ireland will remain part of the same territory as the rest of the UK. The sole customs territory will apply to all the goods, with the exception of fish farming and acquaculture products.

Theresa May said Saturday, in an interview published by Daily Mail: "People say: «If you could do something slightly different, concluding an agreement like Norway or Canada», this problem of the safety net would disappear. But that wouldn't be the case. The problem would continue to exist".

After the resignations of the London Cabinet, which occurred on Thursday, Theresa May got, on Friday, the support of two ministers that were anti-EU- environment minister Michael Gove, and International Trade minister Liam Fox. Also, the resigning ministers have been replaced, and Stephen Barclay, eurosceptic lawyer, has taken over the Brexit portfolio. Barclay has replaced Dominic Raab, who opposed the deal signed with Brussels. Barclay previously earned the position of secretary of state for Healthcare and Social Welfare in the government.

The foreign press writes that Theresa May will continue to be subjected to pressures to renegotiate with the EU the possibility of the UK unilaterally withdrawing from the deal concluded for Northern Ireland, after Brexit.

This, week a vote of no-confidence may be brought against May, if 15% of the Conservatives in the Parliament decide so.

Labour does not support the draft agreement with the EU

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, the main opposition party in Great Britain, said that the second referendum for Brexit is an option for the future, not the present.

"It is an option for the future, not the present, because if we were to hold a referendum tomorrow, what would happen? What would be the question?", said Corbyn, quoted by Sky News.

Labour does not support Theresa May's draft agreement with the EU, meaning that that the will vote against it in the vote in the British Parliament, which is expected to be held at the beginning of next month.

The British parliament could reject the draft Brexit agreement. In such a case, Brexit could take place without an agreement that would define the relationship between London and the EU, and experts think that this is the worst possible scenario for the British economy.

If the plan approved by the Theresa May government passes the British Parliament, the agreement will need to be ratified, and the negotiations will be focused on the post-Brexit bilateral relations.

French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire: "What does the Brexit prove? That leaving the unified European market has an exorbitant economic price. There are lying and irresponsible politicians who have explained to the British that Brexit would result in a bright future. Now, those who have pleaded for Brexit can choose (only) between taking back their absurd political promise and an economic disaster, whose first victim will be the British people".

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