Young Britons who support the UK leaving the European Union hold up banners in London on March 29. AFP
Once March 29 was imprinted on the minds of British people, as this was the date when the UK was supposed to leave the European Union (EU).
The UK public voted in a referendum to leave the EU almost three years ago. Since then, the UK Parliament has held a series of votes to determine the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.
But British lawmakers haven’t reached an agreement on any particular path. As a result, the UK and EU member states agreed to push the Brexit deadline to April 12, hoping this would allow UK lawmakers to get a Brexit deal through the UK Parliament, reported the Reuters.
However, on March 29, British lawmakers rejected UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal once again.
According to USA Today, the failure to reach an agreement was largely because hard-line lawmakers from Conservative Party didn’t feel the deal done with the EU sufficiently separates the UK from the EU. Meanwhile, many opposition Labour Party lawmakers were in favor of closer ties with the EU.
“There are no ideal choices available and there are very good arguments against any possible outcome at the moment,” UK Justice Secretary David Gauke told BBC News.
As a result, the UK has to announce a new plan before April 12, or leave the EU without a deal.
The European Commission said on March 29 that a no-deal Brexit on April 12 was now “likely”.
A no-deal Brexit could have a large impact on the UK and the EU countries.
For example, the UK would have to face the EU’s external tariffs, reported The Mirror. The price of imported goods for Britons could go up as a result.
Meanwhile, the UK would be free to set its own controls on immigration by EU nationals and the EU could do the same for Britons. There could be long delays at borders if passport and customs checks are strengthened.
Many EU countries have taken measures to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the German government would give British citizens living in Germany an initial period of three months during which their rights to live and work there would not change. However, they would have to apply for residence permits during that period.
The French Parliament has passed a law to give the government the power to introduce new measures to cope with a no-deal Brexit, reported BBC News. The law covers, among other things, the rights of UK nationals living and working in France.
As time is limited, more efforts are still needed. As German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas put it, “We are running out of time to prevent a disorderly Brexit.”