18, October 2019
You might be forgiven for thinking they had something to celebrate. EU leaders were all smiles despite their order of business being to partially break their 28-nation alliance as smoothly as possible. They have given the green light to a new Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated under British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Under the agreement, Brexit will not result in highly controversial border checks in Ireland as Northern Ireland would be aligned to the EU’s, as well as the UK’s, customs rules and single market. That’s a big problem for hardline unionists in the UK and so Johnson might fail to get his deal endorsed when it’s put to a vote in the House of Commons on Saturday.
If Johnson’s agreement is rejected, business leaders and workers’ representatives insist efforts must continue to ensure Britain does not crash out of the EU at the end of this month without a deal.
The Brexit debate has been raging now for years. More than three years have passed since the UK referendum took place, but the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the process continues.
The ball is now firmly back in the UK’s court. That is the message being sent out loud and clear by EU leaders. But of course it’s not that simple because they know the potentially dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit. That possibility still exists.