Brexit: UK and EU can still strike a trade deal that benefits both – Scotsman comment
The remaining bones of contention may be politically problematic for both Boris Johnson and his counterparts in the Europen Union, but they are far from insurmountable.
Is the UK seriously going to cause profound damage to its economy for the sake of restricting EU boats access to UK fishing grounds? There has to be a deal to be struck that benefits the UK industry while giving the EU much of what it is after.
If Britain is to have easy access to EU markets, it has to abide by at least similar regulations concerning state aid, workers rights and the environment, otherwise UK firms could potentially have a major competitive advantage over their European rivals – something Brussels could never allow. Why would they?
Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have both been talking tough. Johnson has said a no-deal Brexit is now “very, very likely” and claimed it would “wonderful”; von der Leyen stressed the two sides were still “apart on fundamental issues”.
But this sounds a lot like the storm before the calm, when both sides come to their senses, make the necessary concessions and get a deal done that benefits both sides. The danger is that it turns out to be such a thin deal that it is little better than none at all, but there is still hope this can be avoided.
This is what we think and we really hope we are right but, of course, we might not be.
At such a late stage, decisions could be made in haste and words might be spoken in anger as people get tired. Politicians are only human and individual human frailties can sometimes play a leading role in human history.
But Johnson must remember the confident talk about a trade deal that will have helped convince some people to vote for Brexit in the 2016 referendum and ensure he does his utmost to live up to those promises.
If he does not, he will have failed to act in the national interest and caused considerable unnecessary damage to the fledgling new Britain just as it is being launched into the world.
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