Posted on 05 Apr 2018
The one-year countdown to Brexit has begun. This month some of the key talking points have been Ireland, passports and negotiation guidelines.
The 12-month countdown to Brexit seemed to focus commentators' thoughts and begged the question - have people changed their minds about Brexit?
A summary of polling evidence by the BBC showed a slight drop in backing for Brexit raising the question of a second referendum. But while the idea of a re-run of the 2016 referendum did not appear to be popular, the evidence suggested that asking the electorate to vote on the terms of a deal was not straight-forward either.
At the beginning of the month, Guardian columnist Gary Younge gave some insightful and interesting opinions about the democratic powers of the EU, comparing the mixture of emotions the institution generates, from its increasing control over people's lives to its 'lack of accountability and transparency'.
He says 'paradoxically, one of the reasons the EU can perform so functionally is precisely because, while it does have to cater to elected governments, it does not have to respond to the popular will: its leaders don't go before the electorate."
Back to more practical matters, Theresa May hosted key business leaders from across the EU at Downing Street. The discussions focused on the UK's commitment to maintain high regulatory standards and to seek arrangements that will support industries across the EU and the UK, and the implementation period.
There were also talks between the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar who said Brexit should pose no risk to the peace process or the Good Friday Agreement. The talks called on the British government to produce a "realistic solution" to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland; more progress is expected on this in June.
In amongst all the Brexit debate, we came across Generation Brexit - an online platform which aims to 'crowdsource' a Millennial vision for UK-EU relations after Brexit. Its aim is to get young people to share their ideas and opinions about what they want from Brexit across seven main discussion topics, in seven European languages.
The best ideas will be sent as 'policy proposals' to Parliaments in Westminster and Brussels. Submissions are by the 24th June 2018 - the two year anniversary of the Brexit vote.
This month the British passport also took centre stage - with a typical Brexit twist.
Following the decision to revert back to the traditional blue and gold passport, British company De La Rue, which incidentally has a base in the North West at West Houghton, lost out on the contract to French-Dutch company Gemalto. There's now been an extension to the 'standstill period' with a final decision about the contract due on April 17th.
The new blue and gold British passport is due to be available from the Autumn of 2019.
There was however some positive Brexit news at the end of March. EU leaders approved guidelines for the negotiation of future relations with the UK after Brexit. Theresa May called it a new 'spirit of co-operation and opportunity' according to the BBC.
Finally, The Financial Times has a Brexit countdown timer - the exact hours and minutes left until when we leave the EU on March 29th 2019....maybe Theresa May has her very own version of it too!
Be Prepared for Brexit
The date phased transition starts to the new Customs Declaration Service
The date when phased transition ends for the new Customs Declaration Service.
The date when the UK plans to leave the EU, 29th March 2019, at 11pm.
March 2019 - December 2020
When trade deals struck by the UK will be able to come into force.
For more information about how Warrant Group can help your business prepare for Brexit, contact Andy Simpson, Head of Business Development.
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