Sunday 23 December 2018

Realistic alternatives to Brexit

As mentioned in my previous post, Brexit is a watershed moment for the UK, as the leader of the major opposition party, Jeremy Corbin, recently said the Parliament "must get on with the vote and move to consider the realistic alternatives".
On December 11 Brexit vote was postponed, and since then the agreement on the UK's withdrawal and future relations had been unchanged. In this perspective, the British Prime Minister promised a "meaningful vote" will take place in the second decade of January 2019. Mrs. May also underlined that a hard border on the island of Ireland will be avoided, as the Prime Minister won "fresh guarantees" at last EU summit.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission is focused on the role played by Russia through social media, which are considerd a powerful tool to affect public opinion. As it is know, more than 80 Million Facebook accounts had been illegally harvested by Cambridge Analitica, a British political consulting firm, that targeted people with messages to modify their voting choices. 
There are evidences that Russia is responsible of  80% of disinformation activities in the EU, as Russian interfereces in the Brexit referendum campaign had been detected. Brexit is obviously viewed as a  weakening of the EU, which is one of Russia's interests.
That's why politicians in the EU should focus on preventing this from happening in the future.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Pressure for a second EU referendum

On December 3rd, Mrs. May's Spokeman made clear there will be no new referendum while she is Prime Minister. Notwithstanding the Prime Minister publicly ruled out another vote on Brexit time and time again, since January 2018 we have seen a build-up of pressure for a second EU referendum. The Prime Minister's deputy David Lidington, and Justice Secretary David Gauke, have been in talks with labour politicians to see if there is support for a second vote or a Norway-style deal. Norway, which is not member of the EU, has a high level of access to EU market and almost the same level of tariff and trade barriers with EU countries. On the other hand, Norway accepts a relevant amount of EU regulations and directives, which include the "four freedoms", the free movement of  goods, services, people and capital.
The British Prime Minister knows that her proposal on Brexit, which has been agreed by 27 EU countries, hasn't the votes needed to get a majority in Parliament. The vote on Mrs May's deal will return to the House of Commons by the end of January 2019. 
If she were to fail to secure the votes required, then a second Brexit referendum could be on the table. Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party and a number of conservative Members of Parliament would back a people vote. At the moment we can still see three scenarios for the future of the UK-UE relationship: accept a negotiated Brexit, stay in the EU or leave with no deal.   

Sunday 9 December 2018

Calling for a second Brexit referendum

There is a growing chorus of voices calling for a second Brexit referendum in the UK. They are related to the ongoing criminal investigation conducted by the UK's Electoral Commission, which is an independent body set up by the UK parliament. It oversees elections, and its investigation includes illegal overspending and illegal use of data during the EU referendum.
It seems that some money which supported the former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, was supplied by Arab banks and Russian multimillionaires. Actually, according to the UK's Electoral Commission, there are criminal level of proofs which show that, in the months before the 2016 EU referendum,  Arab banks were invited by the Russian ambassador in the UK to meet a Russian businessman. Consequently, the Electoral Commission is looking at Russian interference and illegal campaign spending during the EU referendum.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

General elections or a second referendum

After more than 33 million British voters had decided in favour of leaving, on 29 March 2017 the UK triggered the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, becoming the first EU member state to do so. Since then the UK has been attempting to strike up a free-trade deal with the EU outside the single-market once it had left the bloc. Under this model, the UK would not have to contribute to the EU budget and would not be bound by the European laws, and applying  regulations and directives concerning immigration, environmental protection, customs, and so on.
Until now, under the terms of EU's customs union, goods that have been legally imported into the bloc can circulate throughout its member states with no further custom checks.
If a trade deal weren't to be agreed between the EU and the UK, a safety net provision would be stated within the withdrawal agreement, with the aim to prevent a hard border being erected between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As soon as the UK leaves the EU because of Brexit, a physical border could be erected between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This will raise concerns about the future of the "Good Friday Peace Agreement", a deal signed in 1998, which helped to end conflict in Northern Ireland between nationalists and unionists. The EU single-market covers all members states and four other countries, such Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. It allows people, goods, services and money to move as within a single country. Britain would be able to trade freely within the bloc while also striking trade deals with non-EU countries. It would also make financial contributions to the EU budget and accept the free movement of people, goods, services and money.
In this perspective, the UK's Prime Minister believes she is doing the right thing to the country, as Britain needs a deal which protects jobs and borders at the same time. If the UK were to leave the EU with no deal, the country would face deep and grave uncertainty. 
The House of Commons will vote on 11 December on Mrs. May's controversial Brexit deal. And if the Prime Minister were lo lose a vote of that sort of importance, then a question of confidence in her government would be inevitable. Meanwhile, Labour party plays waiting game over general elections or a second referendum.