While Boris Johnson warns Angela Merkel that the UK is ready to go without a trade deal if the EU won’t compromise, Liz Truss warns the PM the post-2020 border arrangements may result in smuggling and a legal challenge from the WTO. Ros Taylor and Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz (LSE) round up the week’s Brexit news.
Boris Johnson has told Angela Merkel that the UK is ready to leave without a trade deal, calling it the ‘Australian option’. The ‘Australian’ moniker caused a lot of amusement among experts:
I hope the UK is looking forward to selling Germany as many cars as Australia does under its amazing terms. https://t.co/nlfdxlb8zz
— Dmitry Grozoubinski (@DmitryOpines) July 7, 2020
Back in February, France said an ‘Australia-style’ deal with the EU was ‘for the birds’.
Liz Truss has written to Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove about her concerns regarding future border arrangements, according to a leaked document published by the Business Insider. She warns of a legal challenge from the WTO over temporary prioritisation of the trade from the EU; she foresees increased smuggling because UK ports are not likely to be ready to carry out checks; the unity of the UK may be in jeopardy, since EU tariffs will likely apply to Northern Ireland; and all of this is said to undermine the UK’s international trade policy and international standing.
On the subject of the WTO, the UK has nominated Liam Fox to lead the Organization. The former trade secretary is an enthusiastic Brexiter and won out over Peter Mandelson for that reason, according to the Guardian.
Others are also concerned that Brexit might break the Union. Hollyrood has announced that it will fight to keep its own food standards if these were to change as part of any future free trade deal.
🔥🔥🏴 🥊 🏴 NEW: Edinburgh/SNP says it will fight London/Tories is they legislate to force Scotland to accept whatever food standards emerge from post #brexit trade deals. This is only start of how Brexit threatens to break Union. Stay with me 1/thread
— Peter Foster (@pmdfoster) July 8, 2020
“Between now and next May’s Scottish parliament elections, Britain must pass through more Brexit turbulence; transitional arrangements expire on 31 December. In every scenario, the SNP then complains that English Tories have wrenched pro-European Scots from their home continent without consent,” writes Rafael Behr in the Guardian.
A number of British supermarkets have said they will not stock hormone-fed beef or chlorinated chicken if Britain does a trade deal with the US that permits these foods.
The number of nurses coming to the UK from the EEA has fallen for the third year in a row. More have arrived from India and the Philippines, but the overall flow is likely to be drastically reduced by the pandemic.
On LSE Brexit
The emerging post-Brexit strategy for universities may cause reckless damage to the sector, write Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon, particularly the decision to charge EU students full fees:
What do staff in Portuguese and German universities think about Brexit? Jens Jungblut of the University of Oslo says they’re determined to continue academic partnerships, but also see opportunities in the UK’s departure.
The good news is that despite the tense political atmosphere, the UK has reached a deal with the Netherlands, France, and Belgium to “allow direct Eurostar train services from Amsterdam to London later this year“. Previously passengers had to get off the train in Brussels.