Q: Why do EU negotiators feel the need to have an Irish Backstop?
A: The simple answer is that the EU has one set of tariffs (a tariff regime that’s part of the EU’s Single Market) and it’s expected that the UK would enact their own tariff structure after Brexit (as part of the UK’s modern industrial strategy) that might conflict with the EU’s tariff structure.
In Business for the EU or the UK?
European Union leaders feel the UK should remain in the Single Market to make life easier for the EU by ensuring that all tariffs are duly collected and remitted to the proper EU department and once you consider the serious budgetary pressures of Brussels-based politicians it’s understandable why they feel that way.
The question though is; Should the UK give up some amount of sovereignty (the ability to sign its own trade deals) so that another country or bloc can ease their budgetary pressures? What kind of logic is that?
Keep in mind that the day after Brexit, the EU becomes a competitor trade bloc and why should the UK help their competitors? Do other countries do that for the EU? (No) For that matter, do other countries do that for the UK? (Also; No)
The simple answer, of course, is that no countries do that. Ever.
The exception is where countries have reciprocal free trade deals with each other.
In the NAFTA countries (NAFTA remains in force until USMCA supersedes it) those countries collect and remit tariffs, levies, and fees on behalf of the others all the time, and nobody thinks a thing about it because it’s just normal business. That’s what valued trading partners do for each other.
See the problem here? The UK and the EU need a reciprocal free trade deal to solve any remaining Brexit issues — and more importantly — to prevent future problems in the relationship.
The UK and the EU have taken each other for granted for so long, that both sides think that taking each other for granted should remain the default mode even after Brexit.
Which is completely unreasonable — and such liberty-taking will eventually result in messy, unpredictable, and ultimately, disastrous results for business on both sides.
Living in each other’s back pocket since 1973 has been fun, hasn’t it? (Depends upon whom you ask, but for a time there were benefits for both sides) But that part of the relationship has ended and it’s time to create an honest relationship, one based on mutual respect, formal lines of communication, and healthy self-interest.
A Zero Tariff Free Trade Agreement with Equivalence Standards Solves All Remaining Brexit & Future Relationship Issues
So get on it!
Waiting and hoping isn’t going to get the job done, nor is each side trying to out-bluff the other going to get the job done, as we’ve seen over the past 2 1/2 years. Someone needs to grab the bull by the horns now before the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019 and do what needs to be done.
Playing the eternal political blame-game as each side waits for political support in the other country to collapse isn’t what clear vision and leadership excellence is all about.
So, instead of defaulting to the failed Us vs. Them problem solving modality of the 20th-century, today’s leaders must move boldly towards a Win-Win problem solving modality, especially between Europeans sharing a hemisphere and as fellow NATO allies. And there’s no excuse good enough to do otherwise.
When you begin with a clear vision and add great leadership to carry out that vision, the results can only be good. Europe’s people on both sides of the English Channel deserve that good/better/best future!
Written by John Brian Shannon