Pandemic did not live up to expectations, but became pretext. Why Britain is waiting for “hard” Brexit

Coronavirus could push London and Brussels to a sensible compromise within Brexit, but Boris Johnson invariably ignores the position of the British community.

This was reported by the Bloomberg agency.

At the moment, relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are governed by transitional norms. In fact, cooperation remains on the terms preceding Brexit, however, the transition period expires already in 2020. Until then, the parties must come to a long-term agreement. Otherwise, Britain will leave the EU without a deal, which will hit its economy. London has the right to request an extension of the transition period, but this must be done by July. Moreover, Boris Johnson demonstrates that he does not intend to delay the process, despite the negative consequences.

According to Bloomberg, the administration of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unanimously insists that London needs to extend the transition period to 2021 or even 2022. For example, the Scottish government explains its position by the fact that the level of GDP of the autonomy could drop by 1.1% in two years and lead to losses of 3 billion pounds [3.8 billion dollars].

It would be logical to expect that the United Kingdom would prefer to avoid rising costs and uncertainty, given the deplorable consequences of the corona crisis, but the government is refusing compromises for a number of reasons.

First of all, Brexit provided Boris Johnson with sudden career growth and popularity, according to the media. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is now becoming a hostage to the situation. Although the polls show that the British public prefers an extension of the transition period, people are unlikely to appreciate the continuation of payments to the EU budget.

At the same time, London hoped that the pandemic would weaken the EU, but there was no significant split, and Brussels continues to stand its ground in the framework of the negotiations on Brexit.

Finally, it is obvious that leaving the EU single market in one way or another will lead to costs, but they can be conveniently “masked” by the consequences of the pandemic, which is projected to reduce the level of GDP by 13% this year. The corona crisis is also becoming an excellent justification for moving supply chains from the EU. The problem is that this process will not be easy, given the weakened economy and debt-burdened companies. Nevertheless, this does not prevent Johnson from concluding a limited deal and presenting it as a victory, the agency said.