The Malta Independent 11 December 2018, Tuesday

On many points, Brexit agreement places UK at a disadvantage - Alfred Sant

Saturday, 17 November 2018, 09:04 Last update: about 23 days ago

The future relationship between the EU and the UK is still unknown and most of the agreement that has been reached on Brexit places the UK at a disadvantage. As a result, the political situation in the United Kingdom has become dramatic, Alfred Sant said during the TV programme Kalamita.

Pending a final agreement on their future relationship, the UK and the EU have agreed to negotiate further about how this will be achieved. Meanwhile the UK still has to follow EU regulations without having a say or a vote in them.

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“There is no doubt that as an agreement – The Europeans got what they aimed for whilst the British gave up on a lot of things. Eventually if the agreement is ratified, the United Kingdom will feel undermined. This could create a strong resentment against Europeans within the UK and if things turn sour, further problems might be created,” said the Maltese MEP.

Alfred Sant said that during the negotiations, the EU maintained unity by means of a fundamental principle – that the UK cannot leave the EU, and at the same time continue to enjoy certain EU membership benefits while shedding the disbenefits. However within the UK, different political fractions have held too many diverging opinions, within Theresa May’s Conservative Party, as well as within British Labour. Some claim that the government is surrendering too much, while others argue that the government is not open enough. Such arguments are made by those who support Brexit as well as those who are against it.

“Those who are opposing the agreement did not offer any other alternative until now – Some of them are pushing for a total cut, but they are not presenting their scenarios for the future. What is certain is that the large majority of the British people want the country to move forward”.

The Maltese MEP argued that under current proposals, ties between the EU and the UK will not be cut abruptly. For a period of two or more years, things will stay relatively unchanged as future arrangements will be sorted out.

The Irish situation could remain problematic. Apparently, the Irish Government is not fully convinced that the diplomatic solution reached is satisfactory. Meanwhile, Mrs May is getting a lot of criticism and very soon she might be facing a motion of no confidence. Dr Sant said that the BREXIT agreement has been initialled  by diplomats from both sides. A second go ahead was needed from the British Cabinet, then further from the British Parliament, as well as from the European Council and later, the European Parliament and National Parliaments. 

“There is a lot that is negative for the UK in this agreement and we still have to see whether a second referendum will take place,” Sant said.

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