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Brexit – The Possibilities

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Baskar Sundaram

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There are still multiple options available that can unfold over the next few weeks

Officially, The UK is due to exit the European Union on 31 October 2019. The current Prime Minister –Boris Johnson has said that he is “cautiously optimistic” of reaching an agreeable Brexit deal; however, UK would leave by the deadline “whatever happens”.

Earlier in September though, the parliament passed a bill that would compel Mr. Johnson to ask for an extension to Brexit. Tabled by Labour MP and The chair of the UK’s Brexit committee – Hilary Benn, the bill has provisions to stop UK from leaving without a deal. Mr. Johnson might be forced to write to the EU at the EU summit on 19 October 2019, after the EU leaders meet for final European Council summit and ask for an extra three months. Unless he returns with a deal – then gets it approved by MPs – or gets the Commons to back a no-deal Brexit.

As of now, there are multiple scenarios in the fray, each representing a different version of Brexit.

 No deal Brexit – The current default status is that UK will leave EU on 31st October 2019 without any deal. Even if the PM requests an extension it would be upon the EU countries to agree on it. Exiting without striking a deal would mean that the UK would exit with no trade arrangements in place. It would be immediately be required to follow World Trade Organizations (WTO) rules to trade with EU and other countries. While the risks involved could be exaggerated, many feel it may cause a damage to the economy as no deal Brexit would lead to severe disruption to trade, supplies of medicine, fresh foods etc.

A Brexit deal – Mr. Johnson has repeatedly expressed that he wants a Brexit deal. What cannot be excluded from the possibilities is that he manages a Brexit deal with the EU and gets it through the British parliament. He wants to renegotiate the terms of the withdrawal agreement. So far, his efforts in the EU have not received much appreciation.

Delay Brexit – Boris Johnson will have till 19 October 2019, to either pass a deal trough in Parliament or to get the MPs to approve a no-deal Brexit. If there is no solution reached by then, as per the directives of the Hillary Benn bill, Brexit would be pushed until 31 January 2020

Cancel Brexit – While the current government is not contemplating and chances are very remote, there however exists a legal option of cancelling Brexit by revoking the Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Article 50 is the only mechanism for a member state of the European Union to leave the bloc. UK had invoked Article 50 in March 2017, thus began the member state’s withdrawal,

According to experts, No-deal Brexit is the most likely outcome for the UK although many believe it would not resolve issues around the rights of EU citizens, the Irish Border and British obligations to the bloc’s long term budget.

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