[Editorial Analysis] What Brexit means for the EU and its partners

Mains Paper 2: International
Prelims level: Brexit
Mains level: Various international organizations and their aftermath challenges disputes

Context:

• On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union.

A structured exit:

• This is largely thanks to the Withdrawal Agreement that we negotiated with the U.K., which enabled us to secure “an orderly Brexit”.
• One that, at least for now, minimizes disruption for our citizens, businesses, public administrations, as well as for our international partners.
• Under this agreement, the EU and the U.K. agreed on a transition period, until the end of 2020 at least, during which the U.K. will continue to participate in the EU’s Customs Union and in the Single Market, and to apply EU law, even if it is no longer a Member State.
• During this period, the U.K. will also continue to abide by the international agreements of the EU, as we made clear in a note verbale to our international partners.

Element of continuity:

• By leaving the Union, the U.K. automatically, mechanically, legally, leaves hundreds of international agreements concluded by or on behalf of the Union, to the benefit of its Member States, on topics as different as trade, aviation, fisheries or civil nuclear cooperation.
• We now have to build a new partnership between the EU and the U.K.
• That work will start in a few weeks as soon as the EU 27 Member States have approved the negotiating mandate proposed by the European Commission.
• To setting out our terms and ambitions for achieving the closest possible partnership with a country that will remain our ally, our partner and our friend.

Shared and deep links:

• The EU and the U.K. are bound by history, geography, culture, shared values and principles and a strong belief in rules-based multilateralism.
• Our future partnership will reflect these links and shared beliefs.
• We want to go well beyond trade and keep working together on security and defense, areas where the U.K. has experiences and assets that are best used as part of a common effort.
• In a world of big challenges and change, of turmoil and transition, we must consult each other and cooperate, bilaterally and in key regional and global fora, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the G20.

Challenges ahead:

• It is perhaps a cliché but the basic truth is that today’s global challenges — from climate change to cybercrime, terrorism or inequality — require collective responses.
• The more the U.K. is able to work in lockstep with the EU and together with partners around the world, the greater our chances of addressing these challenges effectively.
• At the very core of the EU project is the idea that we are stronger together; that pooling our resources and initiatives is the best way of achieving common goals.
• Brexit does not change this, and we will continue to take this project forward as 27.
• Together, the 27 Member States will continue to form a single market of 450 million citizens and more than 20 million businesses.

Conclusion:

• The European Union will continue to be a partner you can trust.
• A steadfast defender of rules-based multilateralism, working with our partners to make the world more secure and fair.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Economic Survey 2019-20, consider the following statements:
1. The expenditure on social services (health, education and others) by the Centre and States as a proportion of GDP increased from 6.2 % in 2014-15 to 7.7 % in 2019-20 (BE).
2. India’s ranking in the Human Development Index improved to 129 in 2018 from 130 in 2017.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both
(d) None

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Do you think the Brexit is a big blow for the European Union? Critically comment.

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