After what seem like years of a phony war, British and European Union negotiators finally agreed on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU earlier this week, and Theresa May announced it in the House of Commons. The deal covers more than 500 pages of legal and bureaucratic prose, and few but the negotiators have read it in full. But those who have say that it confirms the earlier leaks: After leaving, Britain will continue to be subject to EU rules and regulations more or less indefinitely but, as a non-EU-member state after March, the country will have no say or vote in designing them.
It doesn’t sound like a very attractive package, but May argues that this deal fully achieves the Brexit that the voters chose two years ago. It’s hard to square this claim with the “red lines” she vowed a year ago to never cross:
Red Line: Britain will leave the single market and its regulations.
Deal: Britain will sign on to a “common rulebook” of regulations that will in fact be the EU single-market rulebook.
Red Line: Britain will leave the Customs Union in order to sign free-trade deals with non-EU countries such as the U.S.
Deal: Britain will stay indefinitely in a customs union with the EU, which will make it impossible to negotiate free-trade deals with others, and Britain will only be able to leave it by agreement with the EU and with the consent of an international arbitration body.
Red Line: Britain will be out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Deal: Britain will be subject to ECJ jurisdiction on regulation and trade matters, and U.K. courts will take account of its rulings.
The Great Betrayal