Are we going to get a deal?

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The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29t 2019. That's a month and three days from now. In the two years that have passed, the British government and the EU were supposed to negotiate a deal to make the UK's leave as smooth as possible. The Prime Minister Theresay May did negotiate a deal and the EU members accepted it, eventually, but the British government didn't. Now it looks like the chances of the so called no-deal Brexit are as high as ever. What would that mean and how would it affect the world?

Of course the people that are going to be mostly affected are the Brits. First things that we need to deal with, are borders and customs. One of the basic ideas of the EU, is free trade. There are no tariffs between the EU members and people, money and products can move freely. That will come to a stop without a deal. Each shipment that comes from the UK to mainland Europe, needs to be checked and there might be expences. Same goes the other way around. This would make British products more expensive for other EU countries, and vice versa. 

The people of the UK could at least first suffer from shortage of food and medicine, as a lot of those products are from other EU countries. The crossing points would be filled with lines of trucks and deliveries could be days late, as the officials at the border would have to go through all the paperwork for every truckload. 

In the mainland, many corporations and businesses have prepared for the tulls, and for example in France, and as the no-deal Brexit seems more and more possible, international companies are transferring employees from the UK to other EU countries.

Traveling might get harder for EU citizens. Right now I could go to the UK without even having a passport, I could just take my driver's lisense, and that would be it. In a month or so, I might even need a visa to go there. If I got sick on that trip to UK, I could go to the doctor's and my social security in Finland would pay for it, after I've gotten it for free in the UK. After Brexit, I might have to pay quite a lot for a simple checkup. 

Airlines are also facing problems, as they would lose their right to fly between the EU and UK without any extra work. Many airlines have tried to make deals between the UK, as most EU countries want to keep the airspace open. After all, cities like London are very busy when it comes to air traffic, as it's also one of the used layover places when taking connecting flights to America from the Eastern Europe. 

A totally different problem that might end up being the most affetive one, is the Ireland and Northern Ireland border. The North is a part of the UK, as the larger part of the island is a country of its own. Nowadays, there is no physical barrier at the border, but while it's unlike there will be a wall (May is not Trump after all) the situation will be a problem for many. Travel across the border is free and easy, and a lot of people cross it on a daily basis to go to work, for example. 

Of course also other EU citizens than Irish live, study and work in the UK. In the case of no deal, those people would be allowed to stay in the country for a while, but after some time they would have to apply for settled status. Things might be harder for the British people living in other EU countries, as there is no clear instruction on how their status as a resident would change. It's possible the EU negotiates this with the UK, and Brits in EU countries can go about their lives as if they were EU citizens, or then each country decides on their own what they will do.

The biggest risk with the no-deal Brexit however, is the economy crashing. It's most likely that the pound will lose some of it's value, which will mean more expensive products for the British, as well as other countries that use the pound, like the Isle of Man, which is a British territory. The country's economy would shrink, which would affect the rest of the world, since the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world and the second largest in Europe after Germany. Estimates can be wrong, but it's possible that the world's economy will suffer even more than in 2008. 

What about good sides? There aren't many, but one is that each country's competition over British goods will get better, since the UK would have to treat each of it's trading partners, techically every country, equally, according to WTO. As an example, let's take carrots. In the UK, the carrots imported into the country would require tariffs from every country, making the price of imported carrots to go up. This would be a good thing for the British farmers, as they could sell their carrots at a lower price, but people would buy them more, so they actually get a lot of profit despite the individual price being lower. Same goes to other countries and their carrot industry. Let's say, in Canada, the price of carrots imported from the UK would cost more, giving the Canadian farmers the possibility to make their carrots a little more expensive, but still so that they are the cheapest. 

It's obvious that Brexit will affect the whole world on some level, but countries have had time to prepare for that. The no-deal Brexit is most likely going to cause the most harm to individuals, governments and the economy. May still has one month to come up with a deal that's going to satisfy everyone, so let's hope she does. However, the situation is still a mess and all we can actually do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.


Submitted: February 26, 2019

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