The EU / UK joint report on Brexit is a fudge. Most glaringly, it has fudged the issue of Ireland, kicking the can down the road yet again. However, unless a way is found to do the impossible of allowing Northern Ireland to be part of single market and outside it at the same time the fudge says:
"In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement."
It also says: "the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom..."
In other words, the whole UK will remain bound by EU rules forever.
This is not Brexit: just capitulation by a weak and wobbly Tory government!
Now is the time for Brexiteers to declare that no deal is better than this fudge. But Tory Brexit supporters are too scared of a general election and a Corbyn win to rock the boat. Tory flag waver Jacob Rees-Mogg cravenly concedes defeat:
“Arlene Foster saved the day and the Prime Minister has done well to secure a deal that Brexiteers can live with."
Yet again the Tories have shown that they put their own interests above those of the country. It is time for the rest of us to demand the Brexit we voted for.
This EU / UK joint report on Brexit reads as if the whole lot was drafted in Brussels, which indeed it was. It uses EU jargon to muddy the waters and hide the dangers lurking within.
The consequences of this agreement are frightening. Not only will the UK be bound to the Single Market and the Customs Union forever, but also the financial consequences are probably under estimated.
Take one paragraph: "In particular, the value of the RAL, as audited by the European Court of Auditors, will be adjusted to take into account the actual implementation of the Union’s commitments, taking into account decommitments and assigned revenue. The UK opt-outs leading to non-participation in Union programmes existing at the date of withdrawal will continue to apply in respect of the financial settlement."
What on earth does this mean? The RAL stands for Reste à Liquider which, according to the Huffington Post ( http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adam-hamdy/eu-referendum_b_10625150.html ) is "a fancy monicker for the EU's unfunded future liabilities." According to the HP "The EU commits to expenditure on the assumption that member states will continue to fund it. So it might agree to fund a €100 million infrastructure project over three years, but only receive the money for it over a much longer six-year period. This creates a gap between income and liabilities. The original idea behind the Reste à Liquider was to enable the EU to smoothly manage its commitments and not to be tied to receipts from member states."
"The only problem is that the gap between income and liabilities has kept growing to the point where it now stands at around €220 billion (in 2016). Total unfunded liabilities now equate to approximately 25% of the entire EU budget over the last six-year cycle, or over 140% of the EU's annual budget. The liability gap is so large that the ECR Policy Group has warned that the EU may soon be unable to pay its bills. The liabilities are starting to look a lot like an unapproved overdraft that's getting out of control."
The Court of Auditors is so unreliable that they were recently raided by the fraud squad. The EU's finances have never been properly audited, let alone the RAL. So the commitment for the UK to fund all EU expenditure "Committed" before the withdrawal date (according to the EU sometime in 2021) is basically a blank cheque. There is no way that anyone can actually put a figure on these unfunded future liabilities and who knows what additional financial commitments the EU will agree to before 2021. A European Army? The building of the capital of the United States of Europe?
The estimate of a net cost of £36 - £39bn is just a guess. The UK has no legal obligation to fund any of these " future liabilities", so why should we commit ourselves to pay for an unknown figure just to allow the EU27 continued free access to the UK market?
In the last year the UK trade deficit with the EU27 has been £90bn. This will continue and expand if this dodgy deal is allowed to stand. The UK just cannot afford to finance the incompetence of this Conservative minority administration. The country should rise up and demand that as we voted for Brexit, we should have Brexit and have it without this stitch up by the EU.