Cry for Help and Employers: Hurry up with that Brexit! London and Brussels have to make much more haste with the Brexit. If they do not agree on the time and the British leave the Union without agreement by the end of March next year, it will be disastrous for companies, workers and communities on both sides of the Channel.
British and European trade unions and employers’ organisations say this in a collective cry for help to the European leaders of state and government, who will have the Brexit again on their agenda next Friday.
On behalf of 45 million employees and 20 million employers, the four organisations (BusinessEurope, the Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress and the European Trade Union Confederation) are calling on the leaders to put a great deal of urgency into the negotiations.
“We are calling on the British government and the EU to bring pace and urgency into the negotiations, making measurable progress,” said the four organisations. “Decisions will have to be taken in June and October to finalise the divorce agreement and transitional arrangement and put economic interests and jobs, rights and livelihoods at the centre of people.”
The four organisations, which met earlier this month in London, are particularly concerned about the Irish / Northern Irish border, for which the British have still not offered a real solution.
If it remains, Northern Ireland will stay in the Customs Union with Ireland and the rest of the EU, and there will be a trade border through the Irish Sea, between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
London and Brussels, after an initial ‘unacceptable’ from Prime Minister Theresa May, agreed on this fall-back option at the end of last year. The four organisations also want a future trade relationship with as few obstacles as possible.
The call to speed up is directed to both capitals, but can only be meant for London. Ever since he took office, European top negotiator Michel Barnier – ‘the clock ticks’ – is always pressing for an emergency.
He is still aiming for a draft agreement late this autumn so that by the end of March the European Parliament and the 28 national Parliaments can have their say about it.