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Brexit has had a very uneven impact among the 27 EU member countries. First and foremost, of course Ireland getting cut from a "landbridge" to the rest of the EU and all the concerns over NI, the Border and the Protocol.

Then, to a lesser extent, the countries having a strong trade with the UK, or fishing fleets in the UK waters, mostly countries on the western side of the continent.

But Ireland, north or south, is a very faraway country seen from Bucarest, Ljubljana or Bratislava and Brexit had a relatively smaller impact in those countries in eastern Europe. Over there, Brexit is not the prominent, almost existential issue that it represents for Ireland. In a large number of EU countries, Brexit doesn't have the mind-share it has in Ireland, not anywhere close.

The AZ vaccine, on the other hand, and the strong-arming tactics of the UK government to ensure that all the doses produced in the UK be delivered to the UK while happily accepting over 8 million doses from AZ factories on the continent exported to the UK, in the name of "free trade": this has hit all the EU27 pretty much equally. It has shown that the Tories are not merely a nuisance to their nearest neighbors but can stick it up even to the most remote regions of Europe.

For over a year now, the Covid crisis has being issue #1, issue #2 and issue #3 to just about every government in Europe, in a way that Brexit has never ever been. That's what's different.

As for the financial services equivalence and the Trade agreement ratification, I don't expect it is going to move as smoothly as it is expected in Whitehall (while they're still crowing about having pulled a fast one over the Continentals, smart lads that they are).

by Bernard on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 08:35:21 PM EST
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