The Brexit Deal: What You Need to Know
Uncertainty over Brexit has been one of the most significant issues facing the world of international expansion, but now it seems the situation is changing. After months of speculation, setbacks and periods of seemingly endless confusion, a clearer picture of the UK’s Brexit position is finally beginning to emerge.
Following a period of apparent deadlock in negotiations between the UK and EU, it was announced on the 8th of December that a written agreement had finally been reached, allowing both parties to move to the next negotiating stage. Here, Galvin International explores the key points and major implications of the deal, and what the next stages of Brexit may bring.
The Key Points
The most significant points agreed upon in the joint document relate to three areas which had previously been the subject of controversy, debate and contention from both sides.
The first of these is the so-called ‘divorce bill’ – the financial settlement that the UK will be expected to pay to the EU in order to fulfil its outstanding financial obligations. The question of what would be an acceptable amount to pay had already been a matter of significant controversy – some estimates placed the potential bill as high as £80 billion, while a handful of hardline Brexit supporters insisted that the UK risk a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario by paying nothing at all. Although the government has not disclosed the exact divorce bill amount now agreed upon, sources have indicated that it will be somewhere in the region of £35-39 billion.
The second issue agreed upon in the new document is on the matter of citizen’s rights. As well as allowing over three million EU citizens to live and work in the UK in accordance with freedom of movement currently enjoyed by EU citizens, the deal also covers reunification rights for their relatives.
However, the main aspect of the joint document that broke the negotiation deadlock is the one relating to the issue of the Irish border. Opposition to any Brexit deal that would necessitate the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic had led to significant gridlock in negotiations. This gridlock was dispelled when the UK agreed that, in the event of no satisfactory solution to the Irish border being found, it will maintain ‘full alignment’ with the rules of the single market so that no hard border is necessary. This is a particularly significant agreement, as it raises the likelihood of the UK maintaining close ties to the EU and single market following its exit.
What Happens Now?
Although this is a major step forward, and certainly offers a welcome degree of clarity, there are still some reasons to be cautious.
No sooner had the arrangements for a deal been set in place than the Brexit secretary David Davis referred to the document as an informal, non-binding agreement. EU negotiators and leaders expressed their anger at Davis’s comments, and several indicated that they will now take a harder line against the UK in the next rounds of the negotiations. Similarly, the government still faces dissent from ‘hard Brexiteers’ within its own party who will push against the proposed deal – although the recent vote to allow Parliament a final say on the eventual day may help amplify more moderate voices.
How Can Galvin International Help Your Business?
While more progress needs to be made, international expansion remains a viable opportunity for success. It is therefore vital to have the right guidance and support as your business expands overseas.
Galvin International’s expansion concierge service provides the clarity and practical support your business needs during periods of global growth. From market analysis to on-ground implementation, we untangle the complexities of the expansion process, working closely with you to develop bespoke strategies that ensure your expansion is a success.
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