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1,222 days since the 2016 Brexit referendum and we’re no closer to Brexit, yet the EU has graciously granted another Article 50 extension, but this time it’s a unique type of extension coined by EC President Donald Tusk, called ‘Flextension’.
It’s unique because it grants the UK Parliament more time to get its house in order, and allows the official Brexit date to fall on any day the UK Parliament chooses between October 31, 2019 and January 31, 2020.
Which is pretty awesome of European Commission president Donald Tusk, extremely generous of European Union president Jean-Claude Juncker, and it demonstrates patience personified by the leaders of the EU27 countries.
Who’d have thought that a staunch Brexiteer like myself would feel such gratitude for the generosity and patience shown to the dysfunctional UK House of Commons by EC/EU/EU27 leaders?
Really folks, we should thank them sincerely — for the problems related to Brexit aren’t on the EU side as they’ve consistently delivered one message with one tone and one conclusion, while UK politicians have been all over the map. And if they aren’t squabbling with the EU they’re squabbling among each other, to the end that Brexit is no further along today than it was back on June 23, 2016 when Britons voted to leave the EU.
The present House of Commons couldn’t agree that water is wet or that the sky is blue. How EU heads have put up with all the mixed messaging coming from the UK side over the past 40.5 months (1,222 days) since the June 23, 2016 EU referendum is beyond comprehension.
(UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is new on the job having served a grand total of 96-days at this point, so we can hardly put the blame on him)
All in all, the EU side has shown class and consistency throughout the entire Brexit saga.
Although I have disagreed with some of their ideas or bargaining positions relating to Brexit etc., (and hey, they’re in business for the EU, not for me) they’ve demonstrated they’re a world-class operation and deserve that recognition.
That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for your time!
If you want to verify today’s Brexit news, please read these two short BBC articles:
Well, that didn’t take long!
Boris Johnson has been UK Prime Minister for 85-days and suddenly the UK and the EU seem to be getting along better, and a new and apparently worthwhile Brexit deal is agreed between the parties.
Of course, there’s no pleasing every side. Such agreements are enormously complex and there will always be concerns and doubts in various quarters.
The ‘devil is in the details’ as they say. But with sufficient goodwill on both sides, the UK and the EU are from this moment onward, moving forward on a better and more holistic path.
Quotes from the Brussels Summit as the New Brexit Deal was Announced
- EC President Donald Tusk: “A deal is always preferable to No Deal.”
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “the UK and EU have agreed a great new deal” and “the UK is leaving the EU as one United Kingdom.”
- Jean-Claude Juncker said the deal is “fair and balanced” and that, “there is no need for a further extension.”
- And the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier said, “the new deal should provide legal certainty in every area.”
- The DUP’s Arlene Foster said her party “cannot support the deal” although DUP support is crucial to passing this deal in Parliament. Interesting times, indeed.
Finally a Deal Worth Signing!
This isn’t Theresa May’s Brexit deal warmed-over. The Northern Ireland backstop for example, isn’t part of this agreement.
Also, Northern Ireland remains within the UK and in the UK Customs Union.
However, unlike England, Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland remains within the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market which is ultra-important for the Northern Ireland economy and is much more convenient for the Republic of Ireland — thereby negating any need for a hard border between the two Irelands.
Further, Northern Ireland’s seat of government (Stormont) has the opportunity to opt out of this arrangement every four years.
As regards the rest of the deal, the new agreement allows the entire UK to leave the EU (at the end of 2020) as one United Kingdom (the same way it joined). And the leisurely schedule allows UK and EU businesses sufficient time to make preparations for a new regulatory environment beginning January 1, 2021.
All-in-all, quite impressive.
I must reiterate that no one side was ever going to get everything they wanted out of a Brexit Deal, but that really isn’t the point.
What is the point is that the present era of economic uncertainty is ending. And that’s good for the UK, good for the EU, and it’s an agreement that’s respectful of Northern Ireland’s unique position in all of this.
A hearty, Well Done! to leaders and negotiators on all sides of the Brexit paradox.