European Union- UK Relations: The Post Brexit Era

European politics has seen a steady change in it. The sun that never set in the land of Britain is now in a continuous struggle to rise. It took almost three and a half years after Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union and in this “the role of the coalition government was very crucial that collectively set to formulate the British foreign policy.” The British ambition to lead Europe and “the government vision for Global Britain has been a driving force of Brexit.” The UK has always taken a leading role to respond to all the challenges and making out the best for the country. However, this role has been seriously affected by certain entities such as states, non-states, and other actors. Thus, with the changing dynamics of global politics and the rising role of other actors, the states are in a continuous need to secure their national interests. Though in starting it will face certain hurdles but then Britain aspires to be a great power that is independent and that has the sole decision-making authority in Europe. According to the UK’s Foreign Secretary “The UK as a force of good will be leading the world”.

Impacts on European Union, Future Prospects for the EU and Britain and the Significance of European Union is discussed under.

After the United Kingdom formally left the EU on 31 Jan 2020, it entered the transition period. It will only be a party to a single market and the customs union. Now under these circumstances, the UK will continue its relations with the European Union for some time and will also decide the future course of action in terms of trade and security. “The need for a transition period is because it will provide time for that new relationship to be agreed while ensuring that business will only need to adapt to non-European Union rules once the future deal is agreed.” Now, the transition period is not only necessary for the United Kingdom  only, but it will also be equally important for the EU. Both will be serious to chalk down future partnerships and collaborations.  Thus, they will put them in place when the transition period ends. The UK first needs to negotiate with the European Union on free trade agreements. It would want free trade and a tariff-free agreement where all the trade barriers must be removed. It needs to devise a strategy based on “level playing field rules but it is also necessary to note that all the checks and balances will not be removed.”  The United Kingdom needs to think and needs to plan out in all directions. It also needs to pen down all the terms and conditions before trading with all other nations, either be it the European Union, United states, China, Australia, and other nations around the globe. And this we have seen in their much popular slogan of Global Britain.

There was a mixed sort of reaction to Brexit. For Britain, the European Union was just a shackle from which it freed itself. And for states like France, it was a historic alarm that may threaten the European bloc. Whereas Italy still wants to strengthen its relations with the United Kingdom and calls for a “strategic and privileged partnership”. “As Britain is moving away from current arrangements it will be very uncertain that how Britain will devise new arrangements and whether they will be successful or not?” The European Union will always remain a centerpiece of the United Kingdom’s foreign relations. After Brexit, the UK’s foreign and security policy has remained uncertain and no government official has spoken properly on it. The UK needs to play smart to achieve turn its ambition of Global Britain into reality. It needs to recalibrate its structural, trade policy, developmental and immigration, foreign and fiscal policies. The Brexit is a step taken by the UK to reorder its prestige and has instilled a new wave of neo-nationalism in the entire region that may be disastrous for the whole continent.

The United Kingdom  was a member of the world’s largest organization and now it had an exit so it is important to know the consequences of this action and it is addressing the questions like what is the future of Britain after Brexit and also its relationships with the European Union. If it is going to get a more bright future and going to be more developed and well economically, politically, and strategically, and if it is going to make its market or cooperation broad across the world then it is possible that some other members can also exit. Britain has many options after Brexit. One option is ‘doing a Norway’ and joining the European Economic Area. This would minimize the trade costs of Brexit, but it would mean paying about 83% as much into the European Union  budget as the United Kingdom  currently does. It would also require keeping current European Union  regulations (without having a seat at the table when the rules are decided). Another option is ‘doing a Switzerland’ and negotiating bilateral deals with the European Union. Switzerland still faces regulation without representation and pays about 40% as much as the United Kingdom to be part of the single market in goods. But the Swiss have no agreement with the European Union on free trade in services, an area where the UK is a major exporter.

A further option is going it alone as a member of the World Trade Organization. This would give the United Kingdom more sovereignty at the price of less trade and a bigger fall in income, even if the United Kingdom were to abolish tariffs completely. Brexit would allow the United Kingdom  to negotiate its trade deals with non-European Union  countries. But as a small country, the United Kingdom  would have less bargaining power than the European Union. Canada’s trade deals with the United States show that losing this bargaining power could be costly for the United Kingdom. To make an informed decision on the merits of leaving the European Union, voters need to know more about what the UK government would do following Brexit. This is the first in a series of briefings analyzing the economic costs and benefits of Brexit for the United Kingdom.

 It is unlikely that Brexit might lead to the disintegration of the European Union. It is because Britain was partially integrated into European Union and it had its currency. Second, European Union has a quota for British citizens for employment, and now that quota will be provided to the people from member countries and it will build the confidence of people in the European Union.

Syeda Duaa Naqvi
Syeda Duaa Naqvi
Research student doing Bachelors in International Relations from National DefenseUniversity, Islamabad.