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It is difficult for any country trying to deal with a block like the European Union and in the case of Brexit it does not help that the British government is saying; we want to get out of the EU but we want all those nice privileges of trading as an EU-member. And when you finally get a half-arsed deal like the one former Prime Minister Theresa May put on the table; it is kicked into touch by the House of Commons. In gallops a rather scruffy looking new Prime Minister in the form of posh boy Boris Johnson saying; “leave it to me. I will whip the EU into shape by threatening that I will walk away and crash out of the EU and let’s see who suffers the most”. The German carmakers, French cheesemakers and every other European who uses the lucrative British market, or the Brits who like to keep their dominance as the financial capital of Europe. Well, last night it appeared that Johnson had actually done a deal but… this morning Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party whose backing Johnson needs, poured cold water on the deal at the very last minute as a weary EU was just about to sit down and discuss it. He is going to need more than blustering threats, the Johnson charm and Irish luck to pull this off. And even if he can persuade the DUP back to his side, he faces the House of Commons, the very place where Theresa May came undone. And in all the uncertainty, the pound is yo-yoing up and down like a developing country currency. It improved to a seven month high against other major currencies on the back of the news that a deal is imminent. The Rand also benefitted trading below R19 for a pound and at R14.78 to the dollar earlier this morning. – Linda van Tilburg
EU and UK reach agreement on Brexit but the DUP still says no
By Ian Wishart, Nikos Chrysoloras and Kitty Donaldson
Without his Northern Irish allies, Johnson needs to pick up roughly 61 votes from a pool of just 75 available deputies – that will involve persuading hold-outs in his own party to side with him rather than the DUP. It’s the final, treacherous hurdle for the UK leader to clear before he can complete his ambition of leading Britain out of the EU.
We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment #GetBrexitDone #TakeBackControl
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 17, 2019
Negotiators in Brussels and London this week have gone from optimism to dismay and back again, with the pound twitching at every murmur. It rallied on news of the deal, touching $1.2990 before paring gains.
In a revised political declaration, the two sides pledged to:
- establish a wide-ranging free trade agreement;
- reach a deal on services that goes beyond WTO levels;
- agree equivalence for financial services firms;
- allow free movement of capital;
- establish visa-free travel for short-term visits;
- commit to a level playing field, with common high standards in state aid, competition, welfare, tax, and environmental matters.
Now, the many predictions about the costs or benefits of Brexit may be put to the test. At the very least, businesses and travellers may be spared the inevitable disruption that would have been triggered by Britain crashing out without a deal. For both sides, the agreement is a chance to move their political agendas on and to start focusing on their future trading relationship.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters in Brussels that he believes the deal can be ratified by the end of October. He called it a “fair and reasonable basis for an orderly withdrawal” by the UK.
In a nod to the painful wrangling of the past three years, he also compared getting the deal done to climbing a mountain.
Most importantly Johnson, who became the face of Brexit during the 2016 referendum campaign, needs to convince the DUP he is not selling them out and to persuade Brexit true-believers that this is a real separation rather than a pointless fudge.
Certainly, die-hard Brexiteers are sounding like they could hold their noses and let Johnson’s deal fly.
“The deal sounds like it could well be tolerable,” said Steve Baker, who leads that faction in Parliament.
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