This is how the final UK – EU deal was characterized by Alexander Mercouris in a live stream with Alex Christoforou at The Duran.
Main points to take away:
- The UK stays in the free trade (zero tariff) zone with the EU, but in so doing remains strongly bound by EU regulations (with the latter having 6x its GDP, I would add, it could hardly be otherwise).
- The UK also didn’t regain judicial sovereignty, remaining bound to the ECHR.
- Some bureaucratic changes that will be a minor inconvenience to some British: Need a visa to stay longer than 90 days; end of participation in Erasmus program… most of it along these lines.
- The UK obviously loses any say over internal EU matters.
- “Out of the house, but keep the keys” – almost all existing agreements stay on in their current form – indeed, amusingly, one section appears copied direct from an old 1990s document that describes Netscape Communicator 4.0 as a “modern e-mail software package” – so rejoining the EU will be a bureaucratic formality that will need very little legislative change nor a referendum (unlike the initial accession in the 1970s).
- … And as such, may well happen under a future PM like Keir Starmer.
And how it works out for different groups:
- So0ner a win for Boris Johnson, who managed to avoid the fallout from a hard Brexit while leaving room for Britain to drift farther away from the EU over the next few years.
- Big win for Angela Merkel and German business interests, who can continue racking up a large trade surplus with the UK. (I was amused to learn from Mercouris that she privately refers to Britain as “treasure island”).
- Big loss for Macron, who was pushing for a hard Brexit as part of his drive to secure strategic autonomy for the EU, with France in the cockpit.
- Sooner a win for anti-EU leaning populists in the EU (e.g. Le Pen, Salvini, Vox) since a disruptive hard Brexit could have discredited subsequent attempts to leave Europe.
- Setback for Scottish independence – Mercouris believes there’s a less than 50% chance it will happen. With there still being an easy road to EU re-accession, the Scots may find it easier to do so from London than starting from zero themselves.
- Avoids reignition of the Irish troubles thanks to preservation of free trade at the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.
So on the one hand, Brexit is apparently done. But can it ever be truly done?