This week we hit peak Barnier — the height of the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s influence. From now until the finish of Brexit negotiations, politicians will frequently muscle into his limelight and pitch their ideas for finalizing a deal — which has eluded civil servants — or coping with “no deal”.
U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab proved that point today, publishing dozens of British contingency plans. Raab’s speech sounded like an in-flight safety video, but at least now the U.K. has plans should there be an emergency Brexit landing.
Our main guests on the podcast this week — Jill Rutter and Joe Owen of the Institute for Government — explain that it’s not just the contingency plans that count, but also how they are communicated to the people who need to cope with Brexit. Most organizations, ranging from the National Health Service (NHS) to 145,000 businesses who trade only within the EU and have never filled out a customs form, remain clueless about how to cope with a no-deal Brexit.
Rutter and Owen published a paper this week on what Brexit surprises we may expect between now and March 2019, and tell EU Confidential about the problems of the lack of Brexit safety net, and the “doom loop” that may lock the negotiators in.
Did you know the U.K. government has signed non-disclosure agreements with some of the organizations helping it with Brexit contingencies? And what is the British parliament’s role if there’s no deal come 2019? All that and more in this week’s episode.
On the podcast panel, Lina Aburous and Alva Finn discuss their reactions to a Swiss holiday accommodation business that’s decided to ban women who wear headscarfs or other Islamic dress.