13.05.2021

UK government approves EU partnership plan

The British Prime Minister managed to overcome disagreements with cabinet members because of the proposed principles for interacting with Brussels after March 29, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May managed to enlist the support of most members of her cabinet regarding the plan for London’s engagement with the European Union. after Brexit. The negotiations, stretching for several hours, took place at the suburban residence of the prime ministers – Checkers – in the county of Buckinghamshire.

May secured approval of a project to create a free trade area between the UK and the EU, which would include barrier-free circulation of industrial goods and agricultural products. At the same time, the British services sector will not have such wide access to European markets.

In Brussels, London has long been waiting for concrete proposals on this subject. Initially, it was assumed that at least some of them would be announced by Great Britain at the recent EU summit on June 28-29, but contrary to expectations, this did not happen.

Pain points

The May Plan provides a clear position on one of the most controversial issues, namely, declares the absence of checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Many of the provisions of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which put an end to the long-standing bloody conflict over the status of this region, are based on the fact that there is no control at this border.

In addition, it is expected that the EU and the UK will develop a “joint institutional framework” for the consistent interpretation of legal agreements between them. In the UK, the final word will remain with the local courts – “with due regard to EU case law” in the relevant areas. Nevertheless, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will cease to play the role of a higher court for London, whose decisions cannot be appealed.

Finally, May’s cabinet endorsed the principle of “applying British tariffs and trade policies to British goods, and EU tariffs and regulations to products destined for the European Union.” Such an approach will avoid customs checks after March 29, 2019 – when the country is expected to leave the European community.

Brussels reaction

Michel Barnier, the head of the EU delegation at the Brexit talks, has already welcomed the agreements reached on Twitter, but added: “We will evaluate these proposals and see how they are practical and realistic.”

The British supported the country’s exit from the EU at a referendum in June 2016, supporting it with 52 percent of the vote. Opposition British politicians, pro-European, are currently demanding a second referendum, citing the fact that many citizens of the country in 2016 did not realize all the consequences of their decision.

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