Brexit will take years

Chronic. No, do not run away, dear readers. Yes, this is still a Brexit chronicle. But take it as a warning: whether you overdose on this chin shot or follow each twist with passion, the soap will last for years. Before we really know the consequences of Brexit, which is a major geopolitical and economic break, we will probably have to wait until the mid-2020s, at best.

The first step will be to negotiate the future free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. London plans to get there by the end of the year; Brussels warns that the deadline is too short, but that a partial agreement on priority files is possible.

But even under the very optimistic assumption that everything will be concluded by the end of 2020, this would only be the start of a new era. In an important speech on February 3, Boris Johnson outlined some of the broad lines of his goals for the free trade agreement. In particular, the British Prime Minister rejects automatic alignment with European rules. He wants, from 2021, to be able to diverge as he pleases. Very well, what will he do with his regained freedom? It is much more vague on this point. He simply promises that he will not embark on all-out deregulation. "We are not leaving the European Union to undermine European standards, we are not going to engage in commercial, social or environmental dumping. "


Admittedly, the promises of Boris Johnson, who is not a turnaround, do not engage many. But the UK, a country of 66 million people with a few major industries, cannot become a tax haven overnight or destroy its social rules. The British did not vote in favor of Brexit for this. On the contrary, the population is suspicious of American food standards, vigorously defends free healthcare for all and rejects climatosceptic movements. In short, Boris Johnson cannot afford to be Donald Trump on these subjects. It’s hard to imagine overnight a big shift towards the “Singapore-on-Thames” model stirred up by some of the ideologists of Brexit.

So what's the point of having the right to diverge from European rules if it is to do nothing with it? The answer will no doubt be gradual and difficult to follow with precision. Little by little, one regulation after another, changes will take place. The City could, for example, decide to end the bonus cap, which annoyed it so much when Brussels imposed it. GMOs, which retain a real movement in their favor in certain British circles, could be authorized more easily. But all of this will take years to materialize.


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