British Prime Minister Johnson finally presented his new Brexit proposal to the European Union on Wednesday (October 2), which was labeled as “two borders and four years.” The EU’s initial response is welcome, but the details are still to be studied.
Wednesday is the last day of the Conservative Party Congress. Johnson’s Brexit proposal can be described as “a lot of expectation”, and it can be said that “no one cares.” No one cares because the Irish border issue, which is the last difficulty of Brexit, is not logically resolved. Therefore, it is impossible for Johnson to propose a solution that has not been mentioned in the past three years of the UK-Europe negotiations. The expectant is how Johnson will repackage the old proposal of the old tooth.
Johnson’s “drag word”
The problem with the Irish border lies in one point: how can the UK re-establish border inspections between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after leaving the EU single market and customs union, so as not to undermine the 1998 Belfast Agreement? Peace situation.
Due to the different regulations on the regulation of goods in the two places after the Brexit and the related tax payment, the inspection is inevitable. Therefore, the British and European sides have only one trick called “Backstop”: “Don’t Northern Ireland alone stays within the EU single market and customs union, and is separated from the big island of the island, forming a “one country, two systems”, or leaving the entire United Kingdom temporarily within the customs union (and other means to ensure commodity trade) Will not lead to border inspections on the island of Ireland) until there are other ways to solve the problem.
Two kinds of bottom-up schemes, the former was approved as “split Britain”, while the latter was approved as “fake off-the-job” in which the British were not trapped in the EU system. Former Prime Minister Theresa May chose the latter, and his Brexit agreement was rejected by Congress three times.
If Johnson’s so-called new plan is to be summed up in one sentence, it is “it can’t be solved now. We hope together that there will be a solution in the future.” To put it bluntly, it is no different from the logic behind the “Bottom Solution”.
What is “two borders, four years”?
First, Johnson proposed to keep Northern Ireland (excluding the big distraught island) in the EU’s single market for the uniform regulation of agricultural products, food, and industrial products to avoid border inspection needs on the island of Ireland. However, in order to avoid excessive “split Britain”, Northern Ireland will withdraw from the EU’s customs union and be with other British territories. Therefore, in theory, this arrangement will bring about “two borders”: one commodity-regulated border is on the Irish Sea and the other is a customs border on the island of Ireland.
At the same time, in order to appease the Northern Ireland people’s pursuit of autonomy—especially to persuade the Conservative Party’s ruling coalition, the Northern Ireland Democratic Unity Party (DUP), to now have no meetings in the past three years due to the split between the Republican and the Unitarians. The Irish Parliament will vote every four years after the transition period of the Brexit decision to decide whether to continue to stay in the EU regulation.
However, in order to avoid the problem of border inspections between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after the Brexit and the different customs zones, Johnson only proposed to use “e-declaration” and directly in the place where the goods were handed over, and asked the EU to amend it. The tariff system provides special arrangements for the special conditions of the island of Ireland – this is actually a variation of the “high-tech solution” that the British suspects have long been vetoed by the European Union.
He stressed that “the trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland only accounts for 1% of the trade between Britain and Europe”, suggesting that if the two sides are determined, this small problem can not be solved, and it can be ignored.
However, in addition to the difficulties of the customs border, if the future Northern Ireland Parliament decides not to follow the EU regulation, the border inspection seems to be even more inevitable. In this regard, Johnson has only one sentence: “There must be a premise for all kinds of new arrangements, that is, both sides have unwavering persistence in not building border inspections in the future.”
To put it bluntly, Johnson’s new plan is just another “bottom plan” that is a procrastination strategy (although this is no longer called a “bottom plan”), and this new plan only has a chance to solve the Irish border issue, but it does not tell everyone. How to solve the problem.
Hard and soft psychological warfare
Johnson, who has been holding high the “bottom scheme is dead”, is willing to let Northern Ireland stay in the EU regulation. It is considered to be part of the bottom-up plan, so it is a clear concession. It can be seen that Brexit is imminent, and under the EU’s insistence, Johnson can only be “hard and soft.”
However, his “speaking hard” has given the suspected European political allies who had resolutely opposed any “reinforcement plan” to a lower level: whether it is the Democratic Unity Party or the Conservative Party’s extreme suspected European representative Steve Baker. Also welcome the new proposal. Therefore, in the UK, the only difficulty is whether Johnson can fight for more than 20 opposition party members to support his new program.
On the other hand, his “soft hand” concession is also full of calculations. At the party assembly, he stressed that this is a “fair and reasonable concession” of Johnson. I hope that through this seemingly concession and actually delaying the problem, the responsibility of “no agreement to leave the EU” will be pushed to the EU: if the EU is really Reluctant to give up the original “Bottom-fixing plan”, “the impact of the “no agreement to leave the EU” on the economy and people’s livelihood caused by the United Kingdom will not be the responsibility of Johnson who has extended the hand of friendship.
Although up to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, down to the EU negotiator Michel Barnier, the proposal “progress”, but to study the details of Johnson’s additional legal documents delivered to the EU (Johnson requirements) This document is completely confidential, but Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament member responsible for Brexit, confessed that “this is a calculation that will pass through Brussels.”
This is an English-European psychological war, Johnson has already made a move, but whether the EU with the hills will eventually obey the intention, or another fight back, remains to be seen.