Backstop Become Top Choices for Brexit Deal - Photo by Vox

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt asked Europe Union (EU) leaders to compromise on Brexit in order to secure the relation between the country and its neighboring Republic of Ireland and to protect peace in Northern Ireland.

Reportedly on Tuesday (02/12), the EU was steadfastly refusing to budge on the Northern Ireland backstop, and the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the current British government, was adamant that it must be axed or changed, or else they will not back the Withdrawal Agreement.

Hunt said that no one who grew up with bombs every week in Northern Ireland but also in Harrods, Hyde Park and throughout the United Kingdom (UK) could ever countenance taking a risk with peace, and nor will him.

According to Hunt, the best way to secure that peace is to do a Brexit deal that secures friendly relations between the UK and its neighbors. And that means sensible compromise on all sides, he added.

Also on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May pleaded with members of parliament to give her more time to secure a revised Brexit deal amid warnings from Brussels that the EU is still waiting for her to come up with a viable plan.

She promised to update members of parliament again on Feb. 26 and, if she had not got a new deal by then, to give them a say on the next steps in non-binding votes.

The EU’ chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Monday insisted there was no question of Brussels giving in to Downing Street’ demands on the Irish backstop.

May said in Parliament that she was discussing a number of options with the EU to secure legally-binding changes to the backstop: replacing it with “alternative arrangements;” putting a time limit on how long it can stay in place; or a unilateral exit clause so the UK can leave at a time of its choosing.

The backstop arrangement is the “insurance” policy in May’s deal to avoid a return to border checks on the island of Ireland.

Amid Brexit uncertainty, the UK trade deficit widened in 2018. According to the Office for National Statistics on Monday, Britain’ total trade deficit for goods and services widened from 2017 worth of GBP8.4 billion (US10.83 billion) to GBP32.3 billion in 2018, mainly due to a GBP7.2-billion increase in services imports.

The widening of the trade deficit was due mainly to a GBP6.6 billion narrowing in the trade in services surplus, the goods deficit widened by a lesser GBP1.8 billion, the office explained.

The largest contributors to the increase in services imports were transport, travel and other business services, said the office. In the three months to December 2018, removing the effect of inflation, the total trade deficit widened 0.6 billion pounds to 7.1 billion pounds.

Goods exports fell 0.7 billion pounds, while goods imports rose 1.9 billion pounds in the three months to December 2018. Meanwhile, services exports increased 2.1 billion pounds, with imports increasing 0.05 billion pounds.

The widening of the trade in goods deficit in volume terms was partially offset by a widening in the services surplus in the three months to December 2018, said the office.

While the study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research showed that a no-deal Brexit would hit German labour market particularly hard and more than 100,000 jobs in Germany could be affected.

A hard Brexit would have consequences for international trade and labour markets in many countries, including outside Europe. More than 600,000 jobs may be affected worldwide.

The observer said that a hard Brexit would disrupt global value chains. This is why Britain’s disorderly withdrawal from the EU has the potential to cause a significant loss of wealth. From an economic perspective it is crucial that a deal can still be reached.

A report said, that a hard Brexit would particularly affect German car industry. A total of 15,000 employees in the German automotive industry could be affected by the decline in sales.

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Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com