Csepregi Zsolt Dobrowiecki Péter D'Onofrio Alessandro Dr. Stepper Péter | 2020 | 2020E38 | 2020-11-11
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on 31 January 2020 that, as per his pre-election promise, he “got Brexit done.” After three years of tiring negotiations, the United Kingdom ceased to be a member state of the European Union. According to the plans, the still ongoing transition period would end with a UK-EU agreement on 31 December 2020. At the same time, the transition period puts London into a delicate situation, as it is no longer part of the EU, has no say in its decisions, but is still obliged to align with its rules, while also remaining member of the single market and customs union. It is no coincidence then that the British government has emphasised the importance of negotiating a trade deal with the EU before the end of the transition period. Nevertheless, negotiating a complete and mutually accepted deal and concluding the ratification process before 31 December 2020 is an extremely daring enterprise—especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) that also had widespread and disastrous effect in Europe. Currently, British negotiators have very limited space for manoeuvre, which may lead to the UK having to choose one from two unattractive options: leaving the EU at the end of the transition period without a trade deal or signing a piece-meal deal, but most likely on EU terms.