Disclaimer: the information in this article is accurate at time of writing (Thursday), but by the time the article is published, all this information could be incorrect or obsolete. But then again, you clicked on an article about Brexit. If you’re familiar with the issue, I’m sure you know constant updates that become outdated almost immediately have been the norm for the past three years.
As things stand right now though, it looks like there was finally a breakthrough with Brexit negotiations and the United Kingdom’s plan to leave the EU by October 31 could actually happen.
The draft agreement was forged just weeks before Britain was due to leave the bloc, ending over four decades of economic and political ties with its nearest geopolitical neighbours.
As I write this, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in a crucial Brexit meeting with EU heads of states, after announcing with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that a new deal had finally been reached.
Both EU leaders and political observers are still wary that the UK will leave by the Halloween deadline though.
Juncker said the new deal is “a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions.” One of the main issues of contention was the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain a member of the EU.
Politicians from all sides agree that they do not want infrastructure at the frontier between the border, believing it would exacerbate tensions over Britain’s control of Northern Ireland. A ‘backstop’ that would have practically kept Ireland in the EU customs union until an alternative for the border was found had been shot down in Parliament when former UK Prime Minister Theresa May had proposed it.
Whatever the text says, Johnson has been adamant that the UK will leave the EU on October 31. But the UK Prime Minister isn’t out of the woods yet. The European Council looks set to approve the text of Johnson’s deal, but if the House of Commons refuses to endorse it when it meets in London for a sitting this weekend, we could be back to the stalemate.
According to media reports, the final approval by the House of Commons remains a tall order. Until now, the Democratic Unionist Party has said it would not back the deal. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also indicated the party would not back the deal.
Brexit Party MEP Nigel Farage is also not betting on the Brexit deal, according to reports. “There is going to be an extension,” he said in a statement. “Another extension, another failure by the political class to get us out of the EU.”
Johnson has apparently reassured Juncker he could get the deal through parliament, when the two men spoke on the telephone earlier Thursday. Juncker, in turn, said he would do his best to ensure it would be approved by the EU.
Even three years after the UK vote that triggered Article 50, Brexit is unfolding as it always has: with chaos, uncertainty and repercussions that will be felt the world over.