BREXIT UPDATE: The Timeline, The Backstop, No New Deal
Brexit is now almost two months away. Boris Johnson is still adamant the UK will leave October 31st deal or no deal. I will give you an overview of the timeline running up to October 31st and take you through some of the recent developments.
September 3 – The Brittish Parliament will return from its summer recess. What will happen there is still a mystery. There are different options. May’s deal is still on the table, so they could approve that. They can also urge Boris Johnson to ask for another extension, or they can just move forward and leave the EU without a deal. There actually is a fourth option. Just cancel the whole Brexit…
September 12 – October 7 – Another parliamentary recess, to give the parties in parliament time to hold party meetings. On the one hand, there is Brexit, but on the other hand, there is regular business as well. The budget for 2020 needs to be set, for example. The problem is, that the way the UK will leave the EU will have a large impact on that budget.
October 17&18 – European Council meetings. The perfect time to ask for an extension (which Boris Johnson doesn’t want) and start re-negotiations, or talk about what’s next after the UK leaves October 31st.
October 31 – Brexit.
I’ve been following the Brexit news this past week and below you will find a highlight of interesting reads.
Boris Johnson appeals directly to Donald Tusk to scrap Brexit backstop
Boris Johnson really does not want the backstop. One of the reasons is, that it will keep the UK in the EU from a customs point of view. Another reason is that he fears putting border patrols and checks at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland will make the historic conflict in that region flare up again. Johnson is proposing alternative arrangements like technological solutions.
In his letter to Tusk, Johnson said: “The changes we seek relate primarily to the backstop. The problems with the backstop run much deeper than the simple political reality that it has three times been rejected by the House of Commons.”
“The government will not put in place infrastructure, checks, or controls at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland,” he wrote. “We would be happy to accept a legally binding commitment to this effect and hope that the EU would do likewise.”
Read more in the article on Politco.eu here.
EU officials reject Boris Johnson’s new Brexit demands
In the meantime, both Dublin and Brussels have made it clear that they don’t want a border between the UK and Ireland. “The withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation and the backstop is not open for change,” a European Union source told The Guardian.
“We are ready to negotiate, in good faith, an alternative to the backstop, with provisions to ensure that the Irish border issues are dealt with where they should always have been: in the negotiations on the future agreement between the UK and the EU.”
Brussels sources ruled out any renegotiation to the withdrawal agreement, which contains the backstop.
Read more here.
Merkel sees room for a different solution to the backstop
After her meeting with Johnson last week, Merkel made it clear that she thinks a solution to the backstop problem is possible. It is up to the UK however to find one. “Wir schaffen das”, was Johnson’s response. Whatever solution they come up with, it will not be a new deal. The only option is a political declaration that can be added to the deal.
Throughout the Brexit negotiations, Merkel has often sought a politer, more positive tone towards Britain than those carried by the soundbites coming out of Paris. Once stripped of their rhetoric, however, the two countries’ positions have so far been closely aligned.
Read more here.
Macron tells Johnson Brexit backstop is indispensable
Marcron made it clear to Johnson that, like Merkel, he would also like to see a solution, but that the backstop is indispensable and that there will be no renegotiating.
Macron was careful to say that if no concrete solution based on the current withdrawal agreement were found in the coming month, it would be the UK’s sole responsibility. “It would mean that the problem is deeper, more political – a British political problem.” At that point “there will be a political choice to be made by the prime minister, it won’t fall to us”.
Macron appeared to have the upper hand as he smiled warmly while telling Johnson: “On Brexit my position is clear and I know how much that occupies your days and your nights.”
Read more here.
100 Companies are relocating from the UK to the Netherlands
Dutch news site nos.nl and Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad have both reported that almost a hundred companies will relocate to the Netherlands. This was confirmed by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency. A total of 325 companies, among which several large corporations have started talks with the NFIA about relocating to the Netherlands. Companies like Bloomberg, MarketAxess, and Discovery recently relocated. Most companies will not move completely, but leave offices open in the UK as well to have a presence in the UK market as well.
Read the original (Dutch) story here.
If you are thinking of moving your company to the Netherlands and would like to know more about the customs or other fiscal implications, please contact one of our specialists.
We’ve also created a step by step overview of what you need to do about the upcoming Brexit. You can find that overview here.