Brexit Update: Calls for an Extension Get Louder
The coronavirus outbreak has a big impact on the lives of many people. Businesses are affected as well. Governments are in overdrive to keep coronavirus in their countries under control. The current situation has an effect on international relations as well.
Brexit Negotiations and Coronavirus
Several of the main participants of the Brexit negotiations have been infected with the coronavirus. Chief Brexit Negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier already told the world on March 19 that he got infected. The Chief Brexit Negotiator for the UK David Frost was self-isolating because he was showing mild coronavirus symptoms.
Another major player in the negotiations who has become infected is Prime Minister Johnson himself.
Johnson announced his diagnosis in a remarkable video posted on social media, in which he said he would continue to lead the UK government's efforts from self-isolation in an apartment in Downing Street. Minutes later, his secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock, also said he had the virus and would work from home.
The Prime Minister said he'd been tested on the advice of England's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty. A matter of hours later, Whitty said he was going into self-isolation after displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Read the full story here.
Voices Calling for an Extension Get Louder
A recent poll has found that over two-thirds of the people in the United Kingdom want the government to ask for an extension of the Transition Period. They want the focus to be on fighting the coronavirus, not on negotiations.
The poll of over 2,000 adults revealed such an extension was supported by all age groups, social grades and UK regions, and also had relatively high support among Conservative and Brexit Party voters.
The call for an extension to the transition period has been echoed by numerous bodies and pressure groups, including the Scottish and Welsh governments.
Two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) said they agreed with the statement: “The government should request an extension to the transition period in order to focus properly on the coronavirus.” However, just a third (36 per cent) agreed with the statement: “The Brexit transition period must end on 31 December whether a deal has been fixed or not.”
Read the full story by The Independent here.
The UK Logistics Industry is also calling upon Boris Johnson to ask for an extension.
The UK logistics sector has demanded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson extends the Brexit transition period, due to end in December, warning that the “once in a lifetime” coronavirus pandemic must be dealt with first.
The Freight Transport Association, which represents UK logistics... called for the Brexit transition period to be extended so they can “concentrate on the serious issues which the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on the industry.”
Elizabeth de Jong, the FTA’s policy director, said: “Logistics is facing unprecedented challenges, both in terms of keeping the UK economy supplied with all the goods it needs to function, as well as coping with the increased disruption to staffing levels caused by sickness and self-isolation and concerns about the viability of their businesses.”
Read the full article by Business Insider here.
As Boris Johnson himself conceded last week, Brexit is “not a subject that is being regularly discussed” at the moment.
The outbreak has buckled economies across the continent, bringing many to a near stand-still. Analysts yesterday told Brits to brace for “a recession of a scale we have not seen in modern history,” and warned of historic slumps across the Eurozone.
Read more on why Prime Minister Johnson should ask for an extension in the full article on Forbes here. The article, written last week, mentions 55% of people in the UK wanting an extension. That number is now 66%.