For some time we have been wanting to write an update on Brexit negotiations. When the UK will indeed exit the EU, there may well be some changes for both UK (non-EU) citizens and vice-versa for Italian citizens in the UK (e.g. visa, permit of stay, etc.). Despite growing impatience with the pace of negotiations, it may well take more than the remaining year and a half left for finalizing a Brexit deal.
For some time here at Vademecum Italia we have been wanting to write an update on Brexit negotiations. The reason for the delay has simply been not knowing what to write. It seems that so much has been said but so little progress has been made.
There may be several reasons for P.M. Theresa May’s inability to move Brexit negotiations forward. Politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to have their motives for undermining Mrs. May’s success. A recent Independent poll found that a majority of Brits now favor remaining in the UK. Leaders such as Sadiq Khan and Tony Blair have suggested the possibility of a second referendum. Some even hint that EU leaders may want a punitive outcome to negotiations. Whatever the cause, it seems that negotiations are proceeding slowly.
According to a recent CNN report, some progress has been made in negotiations regarding citizens’ rights. This is certainly the most pressing matter for the thousands of EU citizens living and working in Britain as well as British citizens abroad in the EU. Although many believe not a lot will actually change after the UK leaves the EU, this is one of the main stepping stones which must be surpassed in order to reach an agreement.
Another more difficult problem –as with any ‘divorce’–is the economic question. How much will the UK have to pay to leave the European Union? This appears to be the major stumbling block and point of contention.
Another issue at hand for Britain is that of converting EU regulations into UK laws. Little or no progress has been made in this area. Unless the necessary measures are taken, Britain would lack many laws, including labor protection laws, at such a time as it does actually leave the union.
Despite growing impatience with the pace of negotiations, it may well take more than the remaining year and a half left for finalizing a Brexit deal. This possibility lead London Mayor Sadiq Khan to comment that not reaching a deal on time would lead the UK economy to ”fall off a cliff.” Some business leaders are also calling for a Brexit deal to be made as soon as possible as firms need to make decisions which have consequences for jobs and investments. Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who is part of the Open Britain campaign which favors close EU ties, noted that business groups ”are alarmed by the Government’s lack of progress.”
In the midst of this pessimism, a more positive chord was recently struck by German Chancellor Merkel. Despite commenting that she is not clear on what has happened so far, she encouraged British citizens to be optimistic, not too critical, and predicted that an agreement will be reached on time.
Sharing in Chancellor Merkel’s optimism, we at Vademecum Italia hope that there will be more concrete information to pass along to our readers in our next Brexit update.