Commentary on Johnson’s promise – no-deal Brexit more likely

No controls on goods traffic between the UK and Northern Ireland – now Johnson admits that it was a lie.

Once again had to admit an untruth in connection with Brexit: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga (Keystone)

Boris Johnson is known for not being so truthful. Before his furious election victory, the prime minister had promised that there would be no controls on the movement of goods between the UK and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Ultimately, the unity of the United Kingdom should be preserved. Only now has the Johnson government admitted that this is not the case. In order not to blame the Brexit negotiations with the EU, London confirmed for the first time that there would be controls. Johnson had lied.

The subtle admission from London has so far been the only bright spot in the negotiations with Brussels. The tone between the chief negotiators is irritable, they hardly make any progress on the matter. If this continues, a no-deal Brexit is becoming more and more likely. It is therefore time for both sides to break free from their dogmas and deal with one another pragmatically. Neither the EU nor the UK can be interested in exacerbating the economic turmoil of the Corona crisis through a disorderly Brexit. In the UK, the Bank of England anticipates the deepest recession in over 300 years. Anyone who believes in this situation that they still have to burden a society with the costs of a hard Brexit is simply acting irresponsibly.

Ideological goals instead of economic reason?

Nevertheless, there is a great danger that Johnson will once again be guided by ideological goals instead of economic reason. It will soon become clear which path the prime minister is taking. By June 30, he has to decide whether to extend the transition phase that runs until the end of the year, in which nothing changes for citizens and companies. Johnson has so far refused, which does not mean that he may change his mind.

Thanks to his rhetorical talent, he could convince the Brexiteers in his party to choose the sensible option of leaving the EU. Because with an extension, there would be more time to continue the complex negotiations on the future relationship in peace. The economy would have planning security and would not have to prepare for a no-deal scenario at the end of the year. That would be entirely in the interest of the EU.

There are some reasons for a hard Brexit

From a London point of view, there are also some reasons for a hard Brexit. Great Britain would then no longer have to pay billions into the EU budget. With part of the money, tens of thousands of customs officers would be rewarded, which so far have not been needed; But there is also scope to design a new economic model for the kingdom. And who knows, maybe it will work out with Great Britain, a competitor on the doorstep of the European Union, who can react faster to changes in globalization than a lazy 27-state federation.

The extent to which London can assert itself against its main trading partner can, however, be assessed much better in a year or two – then the effects of the Corona crisis are clearer. So long should Johnson negotiate with the EU and get the best possible for his country. However, it is feared that he might be tempted to conceal the damage caused by a hard Brexit with the much greater damage caused by the corona crisis.

Posted at 10:05 am today

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