As the UK PM has rejected the possibility of a 3 months Brexit, in favour of a rough 2 years one, about which she is “optimistic”, there is still a possibility of making her rough optimistic ride both smooth and certain. It will also solve the problems with participations of the various “stakeholders” (Scotland, Wales, NI, Banks, MPS, etc). And it will be still within the framework of Article 50, without any attempts to correct its defects — as she wants.
Her view of Brexit negotiations is the classical political talks with negotiating tables, handshakes and group photos followed by more and more such talks. This process usually lasts for years or decades, as the illusive agreements drift further and further away. The Canadians have been negotiating their deal with the EU for seven years.
We propose a different model, the tried and tested model used, not by politicians, but by business people. It works. It's fast. And it's certain.
The recipe follows in the table below:
|Brexit Recipe (Roadmap?)|
|1||The UK Government prepares a draft of the “UK‐EU ‘Brexit’ Treaty” which is to define the relationships between the UK and EU after Brexit.||3 months||Since it is the wish of PM to have an agreement between the UK and the EU as part of the Article 50 “negotiations”, providing a draft version of such agreement (treaty) will make it clear for all the parties concerned what this agreement is to be. |
Without it, everybody is making demands and articulating slogans without a clear understanding what the agreement, the demands, and the slogans mean in practice.
|2||The Draft Version 0 (V0) is published on the UK Government website, and all interested parties are requested to acquaint themselves with that draft and to provide to the UK Government any alterations to that draft that they believe are necessary within 30 day of the publication.||1 month||In this way the government will give everybody opportunity to “have a say” in the “Brexit negotiations”.|
|3||The UK Government takes into accounts any useful proposals and incorporates them into the Draft Version 1 (V1).||1 month||Much of the input will be duplication and most will be useless. But there could be some valid useful comments and proposals which should be incorporated into Version 1.|
Any substantive proposals which the government will decide to disregard, should be published on the government website with clear reasons for the rejection.
|4||The Draft V1 is translated into French. And English and French copies are posted to the European Council with the official notification letter.||1 month||This will start off the Article 50 procedure.|
This can consist of 1 or more cycles.
Each cycle taking 6 months.
If there are more cycles than 1, the subsequent cycles will involve versions of the draft resulting from the previous cycles.
|5||The European Council will translate the Draft into the EU member languages (Polish, Hungarian, etc) and send it (English, French, Native copies) to the governments of the EU member states for their approval or any suggested amendments, to be returned to the EC within 60 days.||3 months||This is necessary for all the EU member states agreeing the treaty.|
|6||On receipt of the responses from the member states the EC will either accept Draft V1 and this Draft will become the “UK‐EU Brexit Treaty”, or produce an amended version of this draft (V2) and send it to the UK government for approval.||1 month||European Council Response.|
If positive, the end of the negotiations.
Otherwise, the ball is kicked to the UK side.
|7||On receipt of Draft V2 from the EU, the UK Government will either accept it and call it “The Date”, or decide that no agreement is possible and call it “The Date”, or amend Draft V2 and send it back to the EC as Draft V3, and another cycle will follow.||1 month||At this stage the positions of the parties will become clear.|
And it will be for the UK government (a) to accept the EU amendments, and thus end the process, (b) to end the negotiations without reaching an agreement, or (c) to propose its own counter‐amendments and start another cycle of the negotiations: “GO TO STEP 4”.
The times are suggested time limits.
The actual times will vary depending on the efficiency of the parties concerned.
But time limits should be observed.
|11 months, if agreed in 1 cycle.||17 months, if agreed in 2 cycles.|
23 months, if agreed in 3 cycles.
As it can be seen from the table above, it is possible to conduct the whole Article 50 procedure by exchange of written documents without any meetings.
Such procedure provides greater control over the time, than a chain of meetings between party representatives. It also provides greater transparency and clarity of what is being done.
But procedure itself does not provide certainty of outcome.
The certainty of outcome comes from clarity of understanding of one's own objectives and of the needs of the opposite side.
The objectives will be achieved only (a) if they fall within the scope of the practically achievable and (b) if they satisfy perceivable needs of the other side.
The position of the EU, so far, has been “no negotiations about the future until the UK is out of the EU [any discussions to be limited to termination of the currently active relationships]”.
This is a perfectly correct logical position, and the UK will need to give the EU some compelling reasons to change it, because, if this position remains unchanged, then this will be the answer in Step 5, and the steps 1 to 4 will be a waste of time as far as a “Soft Brexit” attempt.
But then, she can fallback on the 3 months Brexit and deliver the plain simple Brexit, keeping her “Brexit is Brexit” pledge, and she will have given everybody a chance to have their “say”, and have made her best to make them all happy.
And, of course, it will still be possible to have any useful deals with the EU after the UK is out. And, having learnt the new way of negotiating deals, she will be able to use this new skill to make those deals a success.
The most difficult part of the procedure is the preparation of the original draft (V0) — Step 1.
To start off, one can use the text of the EU Treaties as a template to provide the document structure.
Any irrelevant parts should be deleted, and the relevant parts replaced with the proposed provisions of the post‐Brexit UK‐EU treaty.
Once Version 0 is prepared, the subsequent versions of the document will be the result of the proposed alterations and amendments.
For more articles to make sense of Brexit see:
Brexit — the Reasons and the Purpose
EU “Single Market” and “Soft” and “Hard” Brexits
Who Should Have Say in the Brexit Negotiations
Sample Notice to Terminate Membership of the EU
Brexit Deal and the Life After
Brexit Mess — How to Sort It Out
Brexit Uncertainties and How to Remove Them
The Practical Consequences of UK Leaving the EU