The Brexit negotiations, which have officially started this month, are meant to last until 2019 and would presumably end in a positive manner for all the actors involved. Or so the theory goes! Unfortunately, last year’s events and public statements have hurled us into a world of unpredictability, where an often unchecked rhetoric went from a “hard” to a “soft” and now an “open” Brexit with little regard for those who really matters – the citizens.
In this author opinion the key priority for any side involved should be the protection of interests of both the UK and EU citizens. They are those who must not suffer the consequences of a political decision. The citizens must not incur restrictions as regards the guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour and should not lose their already acquired rights. The legal saying Angliae jura in omni casu libertati dant favorem – The laws of England are favourable in every case to liberty – must remain into force, but not only for the UK, yet for the EU also.
A second priority should be the settling of the financial issues generated by the Brexit process. We must answer the question Is Brexit more like a “divorce” or “cancelling a club membership”? and decide whether we are dealing with the “EU is a club” model where “the UK may not claim a share of the EU’s assets, but would still have to pay for the commitments to which it agreed to” or we are dealing with a “divorce” and “then all assets and liabilities should be split”. No matter the answer, it cannot affect, on the medium term, two of the most successful EU policies, the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy whose European budgetary provisions should be salvaged for the Multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020. Moreover we should put the basis for the next MFF 2020 – 2027 that has as priorities an adequate funding for the cohesion and agricultural policies meant to ensure economic growth and convergence, on the same working basis.
We are also living in a world where “the night is dark and full of terrors”, where a wide range of risks and threats are affecting us all, indiscriminately and thus the security issues must also be taken into consideration. It is in this context that as a result of the negotiation process we must ensure that the UK – EU post-Brexit cooperation in the area of Foreign affairs and Security Policy should be kept and consolidated.
We understand the need of discretion as regards the way the negotiations are being dealt, but we must however emphasize that they are a matter of wide interest and the European citizens must not be kept in dark. The Brexit negotiations are at the same time an economical but also a political issue and have far reaching implications for the future of Europe. A series of possible bilateral relationship models have been discussed but we must emphasize on the importance of finding that model that satisfies first and foremost the need to protect the interests of the citizens, a model that would help us to build bridges between us and not raise walls of separation.
From this process we need to have a better Europe, a more efficient one, a Europe of citizens where the European citizens are the key actors of the political landscape. This brave new Union must become in the end a results focused Union, more united, cohesive and also more flexible. A social Europe, an inclusive Europe is the logical consequence of a negotiation that takes into account the rights of the citizens, and where there would no longer be Member States factions but a single European voice. Consensus would thus be reached on a positive agenda and concrete projects such as the future of the Eurozone, the Schengen area or social issues, areas where everyone who is willing and able to contribute must be allowed to take part.
The article was first published on Generation Brexit website here