Note: longer version of article originally published at The Conservative Woman on Saturday 04 April 2020
A weekend update on some recent key Brexit-relevant story headlines, choosing five which, while not necessarily meriting a full-length article, nevertheless warrant two or three paragraphs of comment, rather than merely a couple of lines.
(NB: (£) denotes article behind paywall.)
A Brexit delay could last longer than you think – Spectator Coffee House
Stephen Daisley summarises what are merely some of the latest instances of – purely coincidentally, obviously – predominantly if not entirely Europhile and anti-Brexit opinion attempting to exploit the current coronavirus outbreak ostensibly just to ‘delay’ Brexit.
However, their argument has one major flaw. Much COVID-19 modelling predicts that the current outbreak will subside, but only to be succeeded by others of (hopefully) lesser magnitude, in which case the world could then be in periodic coronavirus mitigation mode for a decade. On that basis, the delayers’ ‘only for as long as it takes for us to deal with the current health crisis‘ mantra is exposed as the sham which, considering its sources, it almost certainly is.
One further point needs making. With global economic activity depressed anyway by COVID-19, the anti-Brexit lobby’s alarmist argument against leaving without a deal because of the alleged adverse economic impact becomes much weaker. Tory MP John Redwood has, rightly, made the point that the complaints being made about disruption to supply chains relating to exiting the EU on either a Free Trade Agreement or a WTO-reversion No-Deal are already being experienced many times over in response to the virus.
A delay must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to happen; both Johnson & Gove must continue to resist siren calls for an extension to the Transition period from Continuity-Remainers desperate to exploit COVID-19 as an excuse to stop Brexit happening at all.
Should the UK stay in Erasmus+? – Briefings for Britain
One of the more risibly desperate attempts at anti-Brexit propaganda, during both the EU Referendum campaign and its aftermath, was the claim that even voting to leave the EU signified Britain’s automatic disqualification from participation in its youth-exchange programme, which has long been open to nationals of non-EU countries.
The details, as distinct from the fact, of that participation, fall to be considered as part of post-Brexit Britain’s future relationship with the bloc, not as part of its withdrawal from it. Despite the Department for Education’s provisional commitment to a continuation, albeit on condition that it remains in Britain’s interests, a combined BrexitFacts4EU and Campaign for an Independent Britain report finds that the scheme is not meeting most UK students’ needs. Our negotiators should therefore be careful not to make too many concessions in other more vital areas merely to secure continued UK participation.
Post-Brexit EU to lose 49 million of its population by 2020 – Global Britain
Obviously, the precise effects of such a population shift northwards and westwards depend on its demographics, but with the major recipients in the population change being countries with relatively more generous welfare systems, it does not seem unreasonable to expect calls for a greater degree of welfare budgets’ centralisation and pooling at European level to intensify.
As it nears the exit, Britain must ensure that any negotiations with the EU r-27 over future migration rights take account of the likely existence of higher-population countries on Britain’s doorstep, and also that it both restricts and time-limits any ongoing contributions it might concede as the price of obtaining a trade deal.
European law will hold sway for years to come, say senior judges – Times (£)
A misleading headline from The Times, in that the judges themselves made no mention of ‘for years to come‘, but did warn that the power of the European Court of Justice, as distinct from the UK Supreme Court, to rule over questions of EU law, even in disputes between British companies, would continue until Britain’s final exit, which in legal jurisdiction terms, might not be until after the end of Transition.
It does, however, emphasise the importance of Britain’s EU negotiators not conceding any extension of ECJ jurisdiction after the end of the Transition period, in order for Brexit to re-establish fully the sovereignty of Britain’s legal system. It also stresses, once again, the absolute necessity that Brexit should not be delayed, whether by the deployment of COVID-19 as a transparently specious excuse or for any other reason.
Brussels parliamentary group calls on UK to seek Brexit extension – Financial Times (£)
An entirely predicable demand for a Brexit ‘delay’ from the ultra-Europhile European People’s Party grouping in EU Parliament – from which, remember, Tory former Prime Minister David Cameron was obliged by backbench and grassroots activist/membership pressure to withdraw Conservative Party MEPs – and equally predictably backed by what the FT coyly describes, without naming them, as ‘senior British government officials’.
With the Eurozone crisis, already serious enough anyway before the devastating impact of coronavirus on the stressed economies of the bloc’s weaker southern members, becoming more grave by the day, it is likely to become the near-exclusive focus of Eurocrats and a considerably greater priority than concluding Britain’s exit agreement. This is merely the latest in a line of transparent attempts by those, both on mainland Europe and in Britain, who for varying disingenuous reasons wish to see Britain’s exit from the EU not happen. The EPP’s demand should be unceremoniously dismissed.
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