THE REFERENDUM, PROPER –

On June 23, 2016, the Peoples of the United Kingdom – Englanders, Scots, Welshmen, and Irishmen (men and women, all) and in their millions, voted on the Brexit Referendum.  To stay (“remain”) within the European Union or to go (“leave”), that was the question and those were the options.[1]  And, as it happened, that United Kingdom or Britain, voted 51.9% to 48.1% ratio in favour of leaving.[2]

 

There was much speculation on what precise nature the new UK would take, especially with respect to its trading relationships., and diplomatic and security arrangements.[3]  However, as those details were being hashed-through, two of her Prime Ministers lost their jobs – first, David Cameron[4] and then, Theresa May.[5]

 

THAT LINGERING EXIT –

On January 31, 2020, and after much wrangling, many votes in Parliament, and intense negotiations with and deadline extensions granted by, the European Union, the UK finally left the EU block.[6]  And, while the UK signed a trade treaty with Australia,[7] the EU entered into a new trade deal with China[8] – both parties had clearly gone their separate ways, but somehow, both of them still looked to the East for their future and sustained growth and prosperity, wholly independent of one another – except for a little UK-EU trade deal that allows for “tariff-free, quota-free access to each other’s markets for goods — but not services — and also covers future competition, fishing rights, and cooperation on matters such as security.”[9]

 

Hindsight being 20/20, anecdotal evidence suggests that less than 10% (“ten percent”) would now change their “No” to a “Yes”, and less than 10% (“ten percent”) would now change their “Yes” to a “No”, if given the chance to vote again.[10]  However, the end result would only become a bare margin majority to Remain, this time at an approximately 51% to 49% ratio.[11]  But, suffice it to say that with the UK now out of the driving circle, there is and has been an opportunity for France to raise its profile, and step more boldly into that EU leadership circle with Germany,[12] orchestrating a common defence plan, and joint borrowing to support the European Recovery Fund,[13] which has promised to make available up to €750 billion, to address the impacts of the global Coronavirus Pandemic on the European Union.[14]

 

With 21 states in that now 27 member Union having submitted their recovery plans by May 28, 2021, it was thought likely that the funds would start to flow, shortly thereafter.[15]  However, the disbursement ration of up to €360.0 billion in loans, which will need to be repaid at a national level, and up to €312.5 billion in additional grants, which do not need to be paid back, have led many member states to shy away from requesting those loans.[16]  The end-result, therefore, and an assessment of the final impact of this Recovery Fund, remains to be seen and may fall well short of the original expectations of many.

 

WHERE THINGS STAND –

Now, there is no more free movement between the UK and Europe,[17] and even though the citizens of each who were living in the other prior to Brexit, have “some” rights to be and remain where they are,[18] there was actually a deadline of June 30, 2021, to apply for residency where they found themselves residing at that time.[19]  There does also still remain some wrangling over the UK land border with Northern Ireland, as the latter has remained within the EU,[20] but that Northern Ireland Protocol (the so-called “Irish Backstop”) and the broader Trade and Future Cooperation Agreement (TCA) entered into on Christmas Eve, 2020, jointly complete the formal Brexit process … somewhat.[21]

 

The problem now, is that, the TCA may well be pretty comprehensive on its treatment of Goods traded between the parties, dispute resolution, how to manage trade-distorting subsidies and mismatched regulations, as well as providing for a 5 and one-half year transitionary regime on fishing rights.[22]  The trade in Services between the EU and the UK, and especially the trade in Financial Services which is a major component of the UK economy, however, is virtually untouched by the TCA.[23]  Furthermore, according to an EU statement, while the UK had no interest in negotiating “Foreign policy, external security and defence cooperation”, which will exclude it from Europol and the European Arrest Warrant,[24] the UK will still remain within the European Convention on Human Rights, and maintain its “scientific” cooperation with the EU, at least for 7 more years.[25]

 

Implementation of the TCA is to be managed by an EU-UK Joint Partnership Council with the power to independently amend it for minor inconsistencies, and a dispute resolution mechanism that stays out of UK and EU courts, and especially the European Court of Justice.[26]  However, with hopes of greater and independent trade ties with the United States and realizing that to maintain 2 concurrent regimes would be prohibitive, the UK may eventually need to decide whether to maintain its existing tight European regulations as it accesses those markets, or loosen-up its standards in order to access U.S. markets.[27]  So, while the UK busily spread its wings further afield, the EU was forced to do a lot of ultimately positive, soul-searching, and according to a French Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Nathalie Loiseau:

“It created more common culture of what it means to have a single market, to have a level playing field, and this will play a role in the future in our relations with the rest of the world.”[28]

 

ESSENTIALLY –

So, to answer the original question of whether or not we are there, regarding completion of the British Exit from the European Union?  I would say, “almost” and “yes”, which as you can see, is not really two separate answers, in this rather unique case.

 


 

Author:

Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experience in programs, policy, regulatory compliance, litigation, and business law and counseling.  He has been licensed to practise law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America.  See, for example: https://www.ogalaws.com.  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Energy, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy; working with equal ease and effectiveness in his transitions to and from the public and private sectors.  He is a published author on the national security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal millieux.

 

Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practicing law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, crisis consulting, and targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: healthcare; education and training; law and regulation; policy and plans; statistics, economics, and evaluations including feasibility studies and business cases; infrastructure; and information technology/information systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed information communications technologies (ICT).  See, for example: https://www.simprime-ca.com.

 

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

 

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering of any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred.  The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein.  Past results are no guarantee of future success, and specific legal advice should be sought for particular matters through counsel of your choosing, based on such factors as you deem appropriate.

 

[1] Ekundayo George.  Analyzing the 2016 Brexit: A Classically Complex Conundrum.  Posted June 30, 2016, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/analyzing-the-2016-brexit-a-classically-complex-conundrum/>  See also Ekundayo George.  Analyzing the 2016 Brexit: The UK Exit Plan is Revealed, Promising a “Hybridized” End-result.  Posted January 20, 2017, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.   Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/analyzing-the-2016-brexit-the-uk-exit-plan-is-revealed-promising-a-hybridized-end-result/See also Ekundayo George.  Calling the Brexit end-result at this point, is a guessing game!  Posted March 11, 2019, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/calling-the-brexit-end-result-at-this-point-is-a-guessing-game/See also Ekundayo George.  Brexit – What happens after that December 12, 2019 UK Election?  Posted November 22, 2019, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/brexit-what-happens-after-that-december-12-2019-uk-election/>

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] BBC News.  Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU.  Posted June 24, 2016 on bbc.com.  Web: < https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36615028 >

[5]  BBC News.  Theresa May resigns over Brexit: What happened?  Posted May 24, 2019 on bbc.com.  Web: < https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48379730 >

[6] Reuters.  Brexit: Britain’s tortuous journey out of the EU.  Posted December 24, 2020 on reuters.com.  Web: < https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-timeline-idUSKBN28Y1KZ >

[7] Sam Hancock.  Brexit anniversary: Let us know how you would vote if the referendum was held today.  Posted June 23, 2021 on independent.co.uk.  Web: < https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-referendum-anniversary-vote-today-b1871402.html >

[8] Jennifer Rankin.  Moving on: why the EU is not missing Britain that much.  Published June 23, 2021 on theguardian.com.  Web: < https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/23/moving-on-why-the-eu-is-not-missing-britain-that-much >

[9] Alasdair Sandford.  Post-Brexit Guide: Five years since UK vote, where are we now – and how did we get here?  Posted June 23, 2021 on euronews.com.  < https://www.euronews.com/2021/06/23/brexit-draft-deal-first-of-many-hurdles-to-a-smooth-exit >

[10] Supra note 7.

[11] Id.

[12] Supra note 8.

[13] Id.

[14] Euronews.  After months of delay, EU nations finally ratify €750bn recovery fund.  Posted May 28, 2021 on euronews.com.  Web: < https://www.euronews.com/2021/05/28/after-months-of-delay-eu-nations-finally-ratify-750bn-recovery-fund >

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Alasdair Sandford.  Post-Brexit Guide: Five years since UK vote, where are we now – and how did we get here?  Posted June 23, 2021 on euronews.com.  < https://www.euronews.com/2021/06/23/brexit-draft-deal-first-of-many-hurdles-to-a-smooth-exit >

[18] Id.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Id.

[26] Id.

[27] Id.

[28] Jennifer Rankin.  Moving on: why the EU is not missing Britain that much.  Published June 23, 2021 on theguardian.com.  Web: < https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/23/moving-on-why-the-eu-is-not-missing-britain-that-much >

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