Though everyone is confident of the U.K. heading out of the European Union, no one is sure about exactly how it will happen – or what it will look like. And much like actual divorces, Brexit has been a long drawn-out and messy ordeal that is now tentatively earmarked to occur by the end of October this year.
However, the scenario surrounding the exit continues to be muddled, as the U.K. looks inward to decide on what to haggle with the EU, and to put together processes in place that would be a symbiotic win-win for both the parties involved. Curiously enough, there seems to be no clear answer on what the country wants out of this exit.
One of the primary concerns for the U.K. is the issue of logistics, with the transportation corridor between the U.K. and mainland Europe being shuttered on both ends by customs processes in the case of a no-deal Brexit. But with the date of Brexit moving from late March to late October, the contracts that were struck with private players are now running the risk of being renegotiated or even worse, terminated.
For instance, the U.K. had hastily put together a ferry program that was supposed to go live in March post-Brexit, which was then dropped when the date was postponed. The problem though, is the U.K. government losing £85 million as the contracts it signed with three different ferry firms fell apart. However, renegotiating a ferry deal with private businesses might be necessary as ferries relay the bulk of the trucks between the island nation and mainland Europe.
Meanwhile, the fluidity in the exchange of power from Theresa May to her successor is still questionable. Boris Johnson, likely to be the next prime minister, has promised to leave the EU by October 31, terming it as a “do or die” situation while also alluding that a no-deal Brexit would not be hard after all and be “vanishingly inexpensive.”
Then again, for any spectator with an eagle-eye view into the Brexit proceedings, the idea of an inexpensive divorce can be dismissed as the country has already lost several billion pounds in the dragged-out negotiations. A no-deal Brexit will only be adding salt to the wound, as experts warn that a hard Brexit will wreck the jobs of thousands of people across the country.
On July 14, Business Insider came out with a article that revealed the U.K.’s ill-preparedness for the upcoming October deadline, as it has come to light that the emergency plans put in place to lessen the disruption in case of a no-deal Brexit have not been shifted to October. The measures were to help reduce chaos at the British borders and maintain a rather seamless flow of goods and services through to Europe in case of a no-deal Brexit.
The document on the emergency plans was distributed to the ministers and key transportation bureaucrats within the Department for Exiting the EU, HMRC, the Border Delivery Group and the Department of Transport. The document explains the measures that were to be put in place in case of a hard Brexit, which now run the risk of expiring before the expected date of leaving or just after departure.
The U.K.’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report criticizing the current preparation level of the government towards a no-deal Brexit situation, pointing out that the pace at which the concerns are being addressed will not be enough for a smooth transition.
These contingency plans affect the logistics movement between the U.K. and the EU in a myriad of ways post-Brexit. For example, one of the measures was an agreement that allowed British trucks to pass through the EU customs without any connectivity issues. This agreement will go void by the end of this year, with the common consensus among transport officials tilted towards pushing the date to at least the end of 2020.