They are increasingly clear where they want to go – and the German election on Sunday – may cement the roadmap.
What exactly is it that Britain is proposing that will make life so much better for `them’ that they might wish to change course? Nine months after the “Lancaster House” speech, still not a word about practical details… just calls for a brave new unspecified world. Moreover, the calls for a new type of partnership on economics and security seem to fail to recognise the length of time that such negotiations take:
· On the EU side, such a profound Treaty might require an Intergovernmental Conference to prepare the ground – two years
· Formal negotiations – another two years??
· Unanimous ratification by all EU27 states and probably by many sub-national bodies –, especially if some countries decide on referenda – two years at least
· Converting lofty Treaty language into precise changes to the texts of EU Directives and Regulations so that all economic actors know exactly what they can/cannot do:
o Consultations by Commission with stakeholders (as part of Better Regulation Agenda) – one year
o Commission prepares vast numbers of legislative text changes – a year?
o Council and Parliament (as co-legislators) agree the exact text – another year?
o Implementation phase to allow national laws to be changed – usually two years.
· Grand total: 11 years (NOTE: EU and Canadian leaders agreed to a new trade framework in 2004 and it has just come into force … 13 years later)
So UK business – in relation to its EU trade – goes over the cliff in 553 days. Or is it 553 days + 2 years of Implementation Period. Eleven (or nine?) years later, the detailed legislation that enables them to trade in the EU will be in force. What happens in the interim?
© Graham Bishop
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