Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 202, 10 December 2020

Brexit: "Large gaps remain" despite Boris Johnson's last-minute dinner in Brussels to save a no-deal
Harini Madhusudan

In the news 
On 9 December, Boris Johnson flew to Brussels and met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for to save the deal. According to initial reports, both sides remain "far apart." The WSJ stated that the talks between the both, "ended without breakthrough Wednesday night with both sides saying they would decide on the future of the talks by Sunday." The BBC quoted a Boris Johnson spokesman stating: "Very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged."

On 7 December, the UK government announced Boris Johnson visit, amid growing apprehension on both sides that the Brexit trade talks will fail. The announcement came a day after the UK and EU resumed negotiations and stated that the trade talks 'has reached a critical stage.'  On 10 December, the EU leaders are expected to meet in Brussels for a two-day summit where they could sign off a deal if the two sides reach an agreement. 

Also on 7 December, the UK introduced the Internal Market bill that would allow the UK to override elements of its original Brexit treaty with the EU. The bill sought to reinstate controversial parts that the House of Lords have already voted to scrap. However, on 8 December, the UK government declared an "agreement in principle," with the EU to drop the controversial parts of the bill that would be seen as a breach of international law. 

Issues at large
First, the sticking points between the UK and Europe. After ten months of negotiations between the two, significant differences remain regarding the fishing rights in the UK waters and the clauses for a 'level playing field' with terms for market protections. The EU expects the UK to adhere to its rules on workers' rights, environmental regulations, and state aid. Concerning the fishing rights, the EU has warned the fishermen will no longer have special access to the EU market to sell their goods, without the ongoing access to the UK waters for the EU fleets. The EU also insists on a set of shared rules and standards to ensure businesses in one country do not have an unfair advantage over their competitors in others. Additionally, the two sides disagree on how any future trading disputes would be resolved. 

Second, time is running out. In the likelihood of the EU and UK reaching a deal, the proceedings would have to be turned to legal text and translated into all the EU languages which would then be ratified by the EU Parliament, all before 31 December 2020. Within the UK Parliament too, the MPs would have to vote on the legislation implementing the parts of the deal reached. With time running out, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the negotiations has put the two sides in a fix. 

Third, the UK and the EU have hardened their stances over the past months, both sides standing by their positions. The deadline of 15 October, set by Boris Johnson, is long gone and the situation remains tricky because the two sides have been unable to reach a common ground. The UK argues in favour of retaining control over their sovereign decisions, and the EU expects the UK to abide by the common standards of the region. Through the process of the negotiations, the parties have ensured not to step away from their demands. The situation was made tougher after Boris Johnson took charge of the process. 

In perspective 
If both fail to reach an agreement, the trade between them will not change overnight. However, the prices of many goods would increase in the UK, the free movement of labour would be affected, travel rules will change, and the UK will likely apply a points-based immigration system. Businesses trading will involve more paperwork and would make the movement of goods more challenging. On the flip side, the UK will have more freedom to strike deals around the world. The UK, as part of the EU, had trade deals with more than 70 countries. Since leaving in January 2020, it has struck similar deals with at least 50 of them. 

The introduction of the UK internal market bill was untimely and had seen the EU launch legal actions against the UK. The decision by the MPs to vote down the changes to the bill can be seen positively. 

October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 447
The US: Protests against the Texas anti-abortion law
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 444
Brazil: Anti-Bolsonaro protests across the country

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 441
Yemen: Houthis continue to capture territories
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 439
Europe: Pride Marches in Serbia and Ukraine
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 437
Brazil: Protestors call for the impeachment of Bolsonaro
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 435
Guinea: Another coup in Africa
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 431
Climate Change: Hurricane Ida destructs the US Gulf Coast
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 422
Europe: Measures to curb pandemic trigger protests
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 418
Peru: Protests a sign of challenges facing Castillo
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 362
Iran: Another act of
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire
February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt

January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars
December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists

November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal
January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings
December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019

November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar