3rd September ’17 – Editorial

Brexit and it’s many conundrums.

Since June 23rd 2016, the one thing that every man woman and child can be certain of is; that we know NOTHING about the outcome of Brexit!

In fact for the best part of 9 months we didn’t even know when Article 50 was going to be signed. Well, we do now.  It was signed at the end of March this year (2017)

I think it is fair to say that in June 2016 few people, actually thought Britain would vote to leave the EU. So much so, that few people seemed to make any plans for such an outcome.  The British government of the day and the Civil service appeared to have no strategy for the outcome what’s so ever.

There is much debate as to WHY did Britain vote to leave the EU. Some say it was because of sovereignty, other because of immigration and some because of the apparent waste and non-accountability of EU spending.

There is even more debate about what’s going to happen next. Well, the simple answer is nobody knows. There are some simple straight forward assumptions that we could make: –

  • The EU is going to try and get Britain to pay for ‘the error’ of its ways.
  • EU citizen’s already residing in Britain are likely to be allowed to stay, on the same grounds as they entered. Similarly, British Citizens in the EU may be allowed to stay on the same terms.
  • The right of access between the 28 countries is unlikely to change for short term for non-working visits, such as holidays.
  • Working Visas may well be necessary, and easily obtained for ‘short term’ employment (for example; 6 months.
  • The British and EU police, anti-terrorism and security services will carry on working together for the greater good.

 

It seems to me that these are sensible decisions in everybody’s interest.

Why don’t the powers that be release a joint statement informing everybody where they are now, in terms of where issues are agreed or unresolved. This would lend clarification and a better understanding as to what is likely to happen long term to all interested parties.

One area which is a definite contentious point is the ‘Divorce Bill’ and the reasons why the EU’s negotiator is not prepared to discuss anything else until that’s settled.

 

The Divorce Bill.

While I don’t believe anyone has seen an actual final settlement figure, there has been possible amounts quoted from €25Bn to €113Bn. What we have also has been omitted, is any allowance for what Britain has already invested into the infrastructure of the EU.

So where are these possible figures coming from, or likely to come from.

The British Liabilities could consist of: –

Outstanding budget commitments.

The EU has planned expenditure, the current budget runs from 2014 to 2020. It might be that the EU will hold us to our share. As this expires the years after the Article 50 deadline one wonders how much that might actually be?

EU officials’ pension

The EU pensions, like the British state pension and the British Civil Service pensions are unfunded. They come out of income. Therefore, it could make the funding of future EU pensions harder without our continued contributions.

 

Contingent liabilities

It appears that the EU want us to pay an upfront fee of between €9-€12 in case any of the countries that the EU have lent money to default. It’s fair to say that we would get this back, if none of the countries default.

Other costs of withdrawal

These costs relate to costs such as relocating offices from London and the like.

And to our credit: –

Budget receipts

Money that the UK would have got from the EU budget.

Rebate Credits

Repayments of outstanding credits from earlier contributions.

Asset shares

It might be reasonable to assume that as Britain contributed to such infrastructure as the fabric of the EU and the European Investment Bank.

Other considerations.

The EU negotiators are insisting on ‘three crucial’ points before continuing.  “First of all, we will have to agree on the three crucial points” – namely the rights of citizens, the divorce bill and the border with Ireland – “then we will talk about the rest”, Mr Tajani stressed.

Whilst the House of Lords question the legal necessity of paying a ‘Divorce Settlement’

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldeucom/125/125.pdf#page=5

What is painfully clear is currently no one actually knows with absolute certainty what is going to happen. Whilst it is down to the Government and EU to reach agreement and finalise the details of The Divorce Bill it will be the people on the street who are directly affected. People have their lives and businesses on hold as they await the decisions which will affect them for ever. I, personally hope the awaited outcome is soon, transparent, considered and is executed very differently to actual Brexit itself.

These are the personal views of the Editor, and whilst every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, much of this article is still speculation.

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