Last discussions and vote of the two branches of the British Parliament to decide whether it will be or not an abrupt Brexit. Hundreds of European “laws” may suddenly expire at midnight on February 1st. Large movements in financial markets and major concerns among companies. Government loses three times in the House of Lords (where Conservatives don’t have a majority)
This week the House of Lords discusses and votes on the Withdrawal Agreement. Then it will be up to the lower one, the House of Commons, to give the final vote and to translate the amendments presented by the Lords into new laws.
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A race against time.
However, it is certain that this time UK leaves EU (unless extraordinary events).
However, it is certain that the House of Lords, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not have a majority, is selling its life dearly and yesterday it sank the government three times: he asked to deliver residence documents to European citizens already residing , not the powers of ministers to set aside judgements by the EU Court of Justice and against the proposals to protect the independence of the courts with regard to EU case law after Brexit.
So, the question is not whether the UK will leave, but how?
If the UK leaves with the Withdrawal Agreement discussed last November
If the British Parliament votes in favor of the Agreement, UK and EU will still have the European regulatory framework valid for another 11 months, without shaking up for citizens, goods and capital. The Agreement anticipates some “exits” from European laws, i.e. avoiding havoc in very sensitive matters. And it mandates mixed bodies to negotiate all details for mutual interest to find timely agreements.
If the UK leaves without the Withdrawal Agreement
If the British Parliament refuses the Agreement, starting from 1st February UK immediately becomes a “third country“, like any other country in the world.
The weight of the Lords
The odds of exiting with serious collateral damage are remote.
The House of Lords, whose members are partly appointed by Queen Elizabeth II and partly by virtue of ecclesiastical and noble offices, normally does not hinder the legislative work of the elective Chamber, unless supreme national interests are concerned.
This was the case last September, when Lords opposed the House of Commons‘ attempt to exit without an agreement with the EU.
During the last few hours the battle between the Upper House and the government is raging.
That is, a few kilometers from the European coasts and after 47 years of belonging, the United Kingdom will no longer be a member of the world’s first commercial power and will instead have to face it every day.
On family reunification and refugees – in particular children left in France and victims of various abuses – Church, members of the House of Lords, liberal and Labor opposition have accused the government of serious blame and insensitivity, forcing the House of Commons to examine new bill by today. The government was defeated three times by Lords.
Industry, trade, environment, investments: free trade area?
Premier Boris Johnson knows the stakes for the UK economy very well. 440 million European consumers against 66 million British.
The economic strength of the world’s first commercial power, the European Union, against that of a country that makes $ 2.6 trillion of GDP against the $ 17 trillion of the EU. British producers and traders will no longer have free access to the European market. They will have to undergo duties and restrictions like any other country in the world.
Unless there are commercial agreements, which Boris Johnson would like to have immediately for a free trade area. Indeed, with a rough or soft exit, England will still be considered a country without privileges towards the EU. But with some duty, to respect the commitments already made in certain sectors (including the Community budget).
From February 1st, if it has not ratified the Agreement by midnight on January 31, UK will not be able to participate in mixed working groups with the EU to negotiate a beneficial exit (for both) and will have to undergo the diktats of Brussels in the environmental, social, industrial, energy, financial, etc.
In the meantime, Brussels is recording important capital movements and economic interest shifts. For reducing risks, or for seizing new opportunities.
How European laws change
There are many “European laws” that economic operators and public authorities need to know in order to take decisions. They will no longer be applicable in England (unless specifically agreed) and all will have to be adapted to the new situation. There are hundreds of laws, in all that regulate the economic, social and financial life of Europe and which will lapse for the United Kingdom.
Often these are rules that producers and traders will still have to respect if they want to sell or trade with the countries of the European Union. But in the future, England will no longer be able to negotiate within the European institutions.
Check the eMindMap of all EU legislative texts affected by Brexit, by clicking the banner: