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How both the EU and the Brits lost after Brexit?

Both the European Union and Britain are congratulating each other on each of their diplomacy in the negotiations, which led to a Deal signed and sealed within days, after years of negotiation on both sides. 

by Victor Cherubim

It’s only days since the UK withdrew from Europe officially. Quite naturally, it would hardly be expected of anyone to write at length about the outcome in a balanced manner. 

Both the European Union and Britain are congratulating each other on each of their diplomacy in the negotiations, which led to a Deal signed and sealed within days, after years of negotiation on both sides. 

For a layman, it is indeed a relief that the saga is over and that the Union Jack will not be raised again in Brussels and that EU negotiator, Michel Barnier would not have to travel back and forth on Eurostar to Kings Cross, to be chased by reporters. 

But, to those of us who do not know, there are negotiations and border issues which are continuing with Brussels on many issues, including immediate teething problems, particularly, bureaucratic form filling on imports and exports to and from UK to Europe, rather than the other way around.

Boris Johnson wants Britain to be “The Singapore of Europe”. But he has many more things on his mind, other than the dismantling of Lockdown and among others being chair of the G7 Meeting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall 11-13 June, with the attendance of the newly elected President Joe Biden and the COP26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow 1-12 November 2021. The point to note here is that it was all synchronised with the Brexit date of 31 December 2020, where the Brits expect to play an independent role in both the European and World stage.

What Europe and the Brits have wanted after the Brexit negotiations?

EU is happy that they don’t have the Brits on their backs. Britain did not want to bide by EU laws, among others. In this context both are pleased to say the least about the Deal on Trade. 

But the greatest thing that no one has noticed, which is happening “slowly but surely,” is a slow, drip by drip “disintegration process” in Europe, whilst Boris has masterminded a cohesion of the United Kingdom, with the rug pulled out of “Scottish Independence”. 

In Europe, what Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek Finance Minister states: “the moment you split up, still you’re going to end up with heavy costs for the weakest citizens on both sides!”

Who are the weakest citizens? 

In UK, the weakest known link to date, are its fishermen, who are clamouring that they have lost much of their livelihood, particularly as few knew of the “chartered trade “of many of their trawlers to the Europeans. Whilst a thriving fishing industry in Scotland has quite suddenly stopped functioning and faces a damaging and permanent loss of overseas customers within days because of the bureaucratic post Brexit paperwork. Exporters of fresh fish and seafood have been severely disrupted in delays. But the Scots are ingenious in many ways, some of their fishermen are daring to land their catch in Denmark to avoid the bureaucratic system. 

In Europe, the weakest are the comparatively poorer countries of the south of Europe. This was and is seen by the policies adopted by these countries to the pandemic. 

According to a new Euro News poll as well as data from Redfield and Wallace Strategies survey, Italy would be the most likely of the Big Four member states of EU, to consider exiting EU, if Brexit proves to be beneficial to the Brits in five years. 

Within days, Italy is on the brink of a political crisis as former Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has withdrawn his support from the ruling coalition, seen as not triggering any withdrawal from Europe, but for pursuing its own political objectives rather than the interest of the nation. This is a hiccup, but can it get to become a cough, is a worry for European political observers?

Charles Henri Gallois, of the Popular Union Republican Party and President of the French political movement “Generation Frexit,” has said: “I hate the EU, but I love Europe”. It was all about stepping up their demands for France to leave the EU after the bloc sparked outrage by signing a controversial Trade Deal with China. On the heels of Britain signing deals with 60 overseas countries after Brexit, the EU naturally did not want to be left behind?

Besides, the popular view is, after COVID-19, the economies of France and Germany are moving in opposite directions, according to observers. Germany’s economy is recovering faster from the pandemic. The French economy is slow at present, but not for long? 

Many would have noticed that the North and South of Europe are seen during the pandemic(s) as if they were different continents. So is the East and West of Europe.

The re-nationalisation of policies

Political observe believe there is shifting further and further away from any federation. But for comfort, they also believe, there is no immediate signs of either Italy or Greece or for that matter, any country leaving the EU. It may be not allowed to happen. 

Italy has repeatedly been clamouring with the EU over its growing deficit and has demanded from Brussels to reform the pension and infrastructure “to limit the limit” of higher spending of the already inflated debt of the EU due to Coronavirus. 

However, Hungary and Poland have recently increasingly clashed with the EU Commission over their pursuit for national policies, “defying rule of law requirements”. 

The discussions on the Coronavirus Recovery Fund of 2020 further threatened to cause additional splits, particularly as Sweden, Austria and Belgium were originally reluctant on the distribution plans of the Euro 22 Trillion Stimulus package into the economy.

The European Union is not going to go away just because of Brexit?

All the time there are nationalist noises, there is also a bedrock of European sentimental bubbling underneath. 

The history of Europe and the history of Great Britain have never been the same. They have been different, for a variety of reasons.

The beginnings of cooperation within Europe is the heart of the matter. EU was created to ensure peace in the Continent, torn by centuries of conflict and war. Europeans know the value of peace. Europe has also secured the “peace dividend”.

Britain has over centuries competed for trade and colonies with Europe. It is an island and like Sri Lanka. It has always had an island mind set. Britain is a small nation, whereas Europe is a Continent. Europe thrives without borders. Britain believes in borders, whether it be the cliffs of Dover or the devolved nation of Britain of England Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, each speaking a different dialect or language. 

What you can do during the pandemic?

If you feel out of practice talking to people in person during Coronavirus, you are not the only one. We have all been obsessed with living inside our homes, of reaching for the internet, of reading the latest news. Keep up our knowledge of what is going on not only in Sri Lanka, but around the world, and you will see what we miss being a closeted, cloistered and “comfy” nation, who think our island is our oyster.

Who would imagine that what happens within our island of Sri Lanka would be of much interest to the world?

We need more than cricket and tourists to contribute our wealth of knowledge to the world.

in Ayurveda, perhaps, our nuggets of pristine oriental medical breakthroughs may be much sought after in today’s Coronavirus World.

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