Worth remembering that other European countries have elections where the UK’s place in the EU will be a factor.
The Brexit seesaw has ended, through a large majority and every Tory candidate being required to commit to the negotiated deal before standing.
Confirmation of intent followed, with amendments to the deal announced. A few aspects which were bribes to outliers have gone but the most important change is for the 31st December 2020 to be enshrined in law as a leaving date.
The current EU negotiator Michel Barnier believes that concluding a trade deal by then is not possible, although his UK counterparts remain adamant.
Boris Johnson has spoken of his wish to work together with the EU as friends and sovereign equals, to redouble our trading relationship. He is not however openly allowing any room for discussion on timing.
Pro or Anti Business
There is a reasonable argument that removing uncertainty is good for business. We now know there will be no second referendum and that barring strange events, rather than no deal, a leaving agreement will be in place.
That clarity at least forms a path but the possibility of no deal in a year’s time remains. Or a political compromise which allows both sides to say they have won, yet still leaves much to be finalised.
From a freight and logistics viewpoint, costs, documentation, journey time and potential delays are not simply passing details. They are vital to success for all involved and for the clients they serve.
We should also remember that around 350,000 EU nationals work in the UK’s transport industry. People who are part of the efficiency we value, although without a currently defined place in the future.
They and their employers will be concerned, neither can we be certain of the stance their home countries will take on a complex issue.
The EU’s Perspective
Our thoughts are naturally on the UK’s position, although others involved in negotiating a trade deal have contrasting wishes to balance:
- Open trade with the EU is essential to us but also important in the other direction.
- If the solution is too good, will this encourage other countries to leave the EU.
- Offering a deal which gives the UK more than their other partners risks offence.
Add in that key players such as France and Germany have their own political issues and any deal has to be ratified by 27 countries. The odds are long on a perfect agreement within a year, which would support our supply chain.
The saving grace is that we, British business, have a right to a say, not least in import export arrangements. Efficient logistics keep the country trading and money flowing to the exchequer, without which no government can succeed.