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Much heat & noise, rather less light in discussion of the “WTO option” and what happens under “no deal”. Don’t fall for simple answers. /1
I’m no lawyer & caveats apply. But here’s how it has been explained to me. (Thread.) /2
The EU has around 1,000 international agreements, multilateral & bilateral. Need to work out what happens to each when UK leaves. /3
They fall into three categories: (1) EU-only agreements (eg fisheries) where European Commission has sole competence. /4
(2) Bilateral mixed agreements, eg FTAs, aviation agreements. Legal view seems to be UK is party to these only as an EU member. /5
(3) Multilateral mixed agreements like the WTO, the Paris Climate Accord, where EU member states are signatories in their own right. /6
Agreements in set (1) will simply cease to apply to the UK on Brexit day. The UK just falls out of the EU & is no longer covered. /7
Same for (2): they cease to apply to the UK when it’s no longer an EU member. “No deal” = no rolling over FTAs, aviation agreements, etc. /8
1st phase talks are about how to unravel agreements in the 3rd category. UK & EU need to work out how to split rights & obligations. /9
Work on this has already progressed. eg both parties have already gone to Geneva with a joint proposal on TRQs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41581705 /10
As we see, this is already a mammoth task. Partners are not simply going to accept what the EU & UK bring them. They want a say. /11
Partner countries are concerned & unclear about how their existing agreements with the EU might be affected. /12
The EU & UK need to explain how all this is going to work to partner countries who want and deserve legal certainty. /13
UK gov suggest “copy&paste” to replace cat 1 & 2 deals that lapse on Brexit. I don’t see how that can work. /14
Each agreement is bespoke & crafted to suit EU as a whole, not one specific member. Why would copy&paste be a good idea for either side? /15
…then there’s the idiocy of “taking back control” to make your own trade agreements & then recycling the ones the EU negotiated for you. /16
TLDR: this is insanely complicated & walking away without a deal would only leave the UK with a bunch of orphan deals & angry partners. /17
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