The high price of Brexit

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD - London

Leav­ing will hike cell charges and li­cence fees for Brits.

Leav­ing the Euro­pean Union with­out a di­vorce deal could in­crease Bri­tons’ mo­bile phone roam­ing charges, up­set data shar­ing and force mo­torists to get an in­ter­na­tional li­cence to drive in Europe, the gov­ern­ment said.

Re­cent sig­nals from Brus­sels have buoyed hopes that the United King­dom and the EU can agree and ap­prove a proper di­vorce agree­ment be­fore the UK leaves on March 29, though the sides are still di­vided on about one fifth.

But many busi­ness chiefs and in­vestors fear pol­i­tics could scup­per an agree­ment, thrust­ing the world’s fifth largest econ­omy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would weaken the West, spook fi­nan­cial mar­kets and silt up the ar­ter­ies of trade.

Bri­tain has stepped up plan­ning for the ef­fects of such a de­par­ture and on Thurs­day pub­lished 28 tech­ni­cal no­tices cov­er­ing the im­pact on ar­eas, rang­ing from en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards to cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for man­u­fac­tur­ers.

A “no-deal” Brexit, the gov­ern­ment cau­tioned, would make life for UK cit­i­zens and busi­nesses more com­pli­cated, more ex­pen­sive and more bu­reau­cratic.

Bri­tish busi­nesses, for ex­am­ple, would have to rush to en­sure they could still re­ceive per­sonal data about Euro­pean cus­tomers, while many man­u­fac­tur­ers would need to have their ex­ported prod­ucts retested by Euro­pean Union safety reg­u­la­tors.

Brexit Min­is­ter Do­minic Raab said a no-deal Brexit was un­likely, but that the United King­dom would man­age the chal­lenges and even­tu­ally flour­ish.

Still, the no­tices of­fer a glimpse of just how com­pli­cated the gov­ern­ment be­lieves the di­vorce could be­come af­ter 46 years in­side the Euro­pean club.

The no­tices also cov­ered the im­pli­ca­tions for space pro­grammes, trad­ing in drug pre­cur­sors and re­port­ing CO2 emis­sions for new cars.

The Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce wel­comed the no­tices as pro­vid­ing more clar­ity but said busi­nesses needed more pre­ci­sion from gov­ern­ment in or­der to plan for a no-deal Brexit.

“Busi­nesses now face the frus­tra­tion of yet an­other wait for fur­ther an­swers,” BCC di­rec­tor-gen­eral Adam Mar­shall said.

“Many com­pa­nies tell us they are deeply con­cerned by the im­pres­sion that key in­for­ma­tion they need to pre­pare for change is be­ing held back.” – Reuters

Pic­ture: Reuters

NOT IN MY NAME. Pro-EU de­mon­stra­tors protest out­side par­lia­ment in London.

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