Brexit and the new plan for Northern Ireland
Brexit the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union is scheduled to occur October thirty first. But will it still happen after recent events in Britain's parliament welcome to the Brookings Cafeteria the podcast about ideas and the experts who have them I'm fred dues have a governing conservative majority and the coalition partner the Democratic Unionist Party has had serious concerns with the Northern Ireland component of the Brexit deal three times and it was defeated three times theresa may herself then lost power this summer and was replaced by Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson has about brexit three and a half years after British voters approved the referendum why are we still talking about brexit. These short answer is because the UK parliament a lot of activity. There has the first thing that happened was Boris Johnson managed to do the impossible which was renegotiate theresa. May's deal on Brexit he managed has not ratified the brexit deal so over the last year almost sense you and I spoke to resume brought the deal before parliament Cav majority coalitions Theresa may started negotiations with the EU in early twenty seventeen right before she did that Cova on fighting Russian disinformation find it at foreign policy dot com slash podcasts were on your podcast APP and now on the interview Amanda will come back I presumably and yet they can't get what they want passed through their parliament. Part of the clue is in your question they do not in fact development as a component of city and regional economic development you can follow the Brookings podcast network on twitter at policy podcasts to get information about and links to Oliver she decided to have snap elections as a way of getting herself a larger majority it was a disastrous result for her she ended up with a minority government and so she had members of his own party for voting against the government on a crucial brexit deal so part of the reason they have not been able to get their deal through is because they don't asked a partnership between Brookings and foreign policy recent episodes include a conversation with Victoria Newland on how to heal the NATO alliance and Alina partner with the Democratic Unionist Party the hard line Unionist Party from Northern Ireland which made it a bit more difficult for her to negotiate with the EU on the specifics of I think it was march correct and here we are in late October in fact today is Thursday October twenty fourth releasing this on Friday October twenty fifth still talking the deal so when Boris Johnson came in he had the same situation where he was dependent on the up he then made life more difficult for himself by expelling twenty-one renegotiated the deal but still has not been able to get it through parliament let's even though Theresa May and Boris Johnson their prime minister's because they have a majority coalition and parlance the US Europe Center Director. Tom Right if you want more podcast content from roofing expert on tough global challenges subscribe and listen to and now the hard part podcast talk about that Northern Ireland component in more detail in a few minutes but can you just explain the events of the last few days even including today about what's been going on this but to the brookings cafeteria thanks for having me I was looking at the calendar you were last on the show. In December of two thousand eighteen talking about Brexit Brexit was going to occur in you get the unpopular backstop for Northern Ireland removed and replaced with a protocol for Ireland he then brought it to parliament for a vote in a very special sooner fellow in the center on the United States in Europe you're at Brookings also on today's show Joseph Perella fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program speaks to the issue of talent shows including dollar incense the Brookings Trade podcast the current and our events podcast for more content checkout a recent edition of the current beaches special Saturday sitting was required was because parliament had previously passed legislation known as the Ben Act that said if parliament had sitting of parliament on a Saturday the first time parliament has set on a Saturday since the Falklands war about thirty seven years ago that was on October nineteenth the reason that that Anson Parliament did not approve his deal on Saturday the nineteenth instead they passed another act the let win amendment which emended not approved a deal by October nineteenth the government had to ask the E. U. for an extension to the October thirty first deadline unfortunately for borstal issued already tried once on Saturday so instead brought the implementing legislation which is what the let one amendment said had to pass in order for the his deal and said we don't trust you to complete all of this before the brexit deadline they were worried that people would vote on the deal in principle the European Union asking for an extended deadline Boris Johnson then this past Tuesday could not bring this principle vote back to parliament because will not pass the implementing legislation and that the UK could still end up crashing out on the thirty first with no deal so they force Boris Johnson to send the extension requests not to be made the second thing which people had not expected to happen was that parliament finally supported the deal so the deal got through with a thirty the deal parliament then took a second vote which was on the program motion and that's the timetable for passage of this Boris Johnson wanted the deal to get through in vote majority but it's important to realize that that was on the second reading of the deal and that only opened up the process for negotiations and they're still needs to be a third reading in this Bhai phone calls and by exchange of documents if they are not able to reach a decision by Friday than it is very possible that there will have to be a special summit next week three days parliament by vote of sixteen said that is too fast we are not going to support that timetable so where we are now is waiting to see if the e U attention deadline of January thirty first twenty twenty so that would give the parliament about three months to take additional action the easiest thing for the e U to do of the extension that would be offered in the letter that Boris Johnson sent which was mandated by this Ben Act that parliament had passed a couple of weeks ago they asked for an you make that decision by Friday so the day that this podcast is being released right now they are hoping not to have to convene a meeting of leaders they are doing been on October thirty first either in an organized way or in a No delay the thing that you leaders are currently haggling over is what would be the timing in April he had been pushing for much shorter extension than what German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others were requesting so the debate that seems to be has to be out of here by October thirty first let's just call it a day there's generally agreement that an extension will be granted so I think it is safe to say that Brexit is not going to happen be to grant the request on the date that the UK requested that would keep them out of British domestic politics and they simply would be responding to what they were given this implementing legislation for the brexit deal and then moved to elections or does he hold elections I hope that he gets a bigger majority and however French President Emmanuel Macron has been pushing back on that he's never been supportive of a long extension and when this extension request was debated in Happening with you leaders this week is whether or not they go with this. January deadline or whether they go with something much shorter macron has been suggesting an extension one of only a couple of weeks essentially technical extension that says fine if the British parliament needs a couple of more weeks to consider the legislation fully let's Grant Boris Johnson decides we could be looking at an election in early to mid December which not only coincides with a lot of religious holidays but also tends to be a very out to them the problem of course is it's very difficult for macron to know how much time parliament needs to complete its scrutiny of the bill the general expectation is that mccrone is eventually going and bring the bill back trying to get it through more easily because he has more conservative members on the bench that's of course a gamble if he doesn't end up winning to get overruled and that the e will offer an extension until the end of January but that's the issue that everybody is currently waiting to hear from the EU on I was reading some the election and also saw the election if it's hell could be right around Christmas time which is obviously a very important period in British culture yes absolutely so the way the British election they don't want the UK to come back in January and asked for yet another extension at the same time people in the EU do not want to be responsible rules work is that you need twenty five working days or essentially five weeks to prepare for an election so depending on when the EU makes its decision depending on what could they say okay this is it we officially say no more extensions and this is the deadline is that possible so this would be the third extension reports the suggested the possibility of another parliamentary election in Britain could that occur yes absolutely I think it is very likely that we are going to have the initial deadline was supposed to be March that was then pushed to May or April depending on how things played out in April the EU gave the UK. It's thrall agreement bill that Boris Johnson has brought before parliament as I mentioned. Parliament took a vote at the second reading of the bill there now needs to be a process his bill through parliament but it would come with this clause requiring a second referendum the second possibility is going to be through the general elections if we end up. Sion's in the UK very soon the thing that Boris Johnson is going to have to decide depending on the US decision is whether or not he tries to push through gene for a second referendum Labor's position has been a bit ambiguous on this because Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the Labour Party essentially supports Brexit at this extension until the end of January and the UK then goes to elections in early December it then it's going to take a little while for the government to get up and running if it is against the extension request and what Boris Johnson does next and what's the timeline on the making of the current expectation is that the EU was going not a conservative government again but it is a labor or an opposition government they're going to want to try and renegotiate the brexit deal and so there was also concern in Brussels his position is elect me as prime minister I will negotiate a better brexit deal and then we will have a second referendum on whether you want my deal or whether you scrutiny of the bill and there's the possibility to amend the bill one of the things that people are wanting to amend is to include a provision for a second referendum for the UK crashing out with no deal and so I think they have been willing to entertain some of these extension requests to ensure that there is not no deal but they're certainly tiredly we won't have a second referendum we will revoke our notification of wanting to leave and we will make this entire brexit process stop some people have argued that mark unpleasant time for people to be marching around campaigning and then going to polling stations now the EU does grant an extension that would be the second or third extension introduced in the next session of Congress when they come back the UK's parliamentary system does not have that and so what you need to do periodically often once a year so that is the legislative option that some proponents of a second referendum are trying to use this of course would be of concern to Boris Johnson that he could perhaps get the American term or removed from power or is it all about the election so those are all very excellent questions so taking them in turn on the prorogation that was Swinson who's the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK was pushing for a second referendum people's vote I think they're calling it is that even a possibility into elections before there is further consideration of this withdrawal agreement bill it will depend on what the outcome of the elections are the conservative government certainly is not going to campaign continues to be a lot of discussion about a second referendum the question is how you would get there and there's a couple of different possibilities one is this want to leave Jo Swinson as you mentioned of the Liberal Democratic Party has a position that says if you vote for the Lib Dem's in the election we will just make brexit stopping undemocratic because it would overrule the results of the referendum she would argue that it is democratic because you would be voting for her position knowingly going into government the reality is that the of evil leaders to discuss this in person I do think that the EU leaders in the European Parliament generally want there to be an extension or are they just going to say you guys proroguing parliament but you're right that the supreme court in the UK ruled that Boris Johnson had unlawfully advised the queen to suspend I'm trying to prorogue parliament for five weeks which many saw as being very politically motivated to stop parliament from taking steps to stop a new deal brexit into parliament in most cases this would be enough to get rid of the prime minister but he has managed to soldier on about a week ago parliament was prorogued for a very short period of time second extension up until October thirty first and so if this one goes until January this would in fact be the third extension one thing that the EU was worried about is if they able to do that how does he continue to have support as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister and another question I think that came up can he be somehow impeached news great fatigue within the EU about how long this debate is dragging on Briggs Austin many people are calling it also read a news report this week that job two years we have elections and that resets things in Congress so legislation that was introduced that doesn't pass by the end of that term goes away and would need to be re controversy a couple of weeks ago where Boris Johnson decided to prorogue parliament which is a fancy word for suspended parliament if you think about the American system essentially every Thursday the British parliament is expected to be voting on the Queen's speech to be voting on the legislative agenda that was laid out by Boris Johnson and there's questions about time the queen came and delivered a speech setting out Boris Johnson's agenda which he wanted to do since he's now replaced Theresa May and has his own agenda today Jeremy Corbyn and the opposition into calling a vote of no confidence in him because that would be one way to trigger early elections but the opposition her government's policy agenda similar to the State of the Union address in Washington and then parliament ends up voting on that and moving forward Boris Johnson took the unusual step you're prorogue parliament for a short period of time you close parliament existing legislation goes away the queen comes in and makes a speech outlining yeah parliament managed to pass the Ben Act that we were talking about earlier forcing the government to ask for this extension to the EU so they did not essentially achieve the aims in before we go to Northern Ireland and that has to do with Boris Johnson so and political standing I think it was in September that he prorogued parliament the UK Supreme Court said he wasn't actually whether or not parliament is going to support this legislative agenda in part because they don't have the legislative majority that we were talking about in the past now normally of negotiations over the last year or so and you just recently testified to a house foreign affairs subcommittee on the issues regarding Northern Ireland. Can You I remind listeners if a parliament boats down a government speech that is essentially seen as a vote of no confidence in the government which could end up bringing the government down people are has not wanted to do that because they want to guarantee that there's not a no deal brexit before they moved to elections so yes there would be a mechanism to bring down the government at this vote of no-confidence but opposition parties have been resisting that while these brexit debates play out let's turn to Northern Ireland now it's been a sticking point in all kinds of the Democrats are not going to get a sufficient number of seats to form a government themselves they would need to go into coalition with the Labour Party who was not going to support in immediate rebel occasion so essentially it's a bit of an election ploy by the dams but they are continuing to advocate for this change to the legislation on political questions for a few more minutes and in the European Parliament where things stand now Dallas understand what's been going on and what to expect next and Brexit I'm joined today by Amanda Sloat the Robert. I'm not going to want to do that why all of these brexit debates are playing out we've also had a very unusual situation where Boris Johnson has essentially been goaded in Northern Ireland so once the UK leaves the European Union it in theory would leave the customs union and the Single Market Northern Ireland will remain what the backstop issue was that you referenced earlier so the biggest challenge for getting a brexit deal completed concerns the handling of the border next time I'm fred differently from the rest of the UK and so the backstop was expanded to apply to the entire UK this created problems for hard line brexit tears who feared that they would get trapped in the EU customs union indefinitely and not be able to negotiate free trade agreements with countries like the United States and others so what we have now the initial suggestion had been that this backstop apply only to Northern Ireland itself but the DUP who was propping up as government did not want Northern Ireland to be tree backstop and the backstop said that all of the UK would remain in a customs union with the European Union and that additional single-market provision would apply mechanism a protocol for Northern Ireland that would take effect as soon as the transition period ended in it says several things one the entire said hopefully we in the UK can address the border in discussions about what our future relationship looks like during the transition period so the expectation got paramilitary groups to decommission their weapons it led to the removal of checkpoints on the border it established an assembly in Northern Ireland which enabled what we call the troubles absolutely that was signed in April nineteen ninety eight and it did a number of things it ended up reducing the British military presence is no questions back to the fore and has raised a lot of concern about what's going to end up happening with the border as a result of Brexit so what are the new Michael Infrastructure on the border which would be very practically challenging for people but also quite psychologically devastating since one of the main benefits of the Good Friday agreement the UK will leave the EU customs union however Northern Ireland will remain aligned with EU rules on Ryan goods and agricultural products crossing the border in Northern Ireland this was all an effort to try and minimize the need for customs checks on the border in Northern Ireland Sean is that once the UK leaves the EU there will be a transition period of fifteen months to years depending on what they decide during which time the UK will remain under say in policing and governance arrangements and the unionist community felt confident in the sense that the violence was ending and that there was not going to be a change in the constitution a different policy ideas that are being talked about instead of a backstop for Northern Ireland so I had to remind listeners what the backstop was the e with that Boris renegotiated with the European Union is that the backstop was removed completely so the insurance policy is gone instead what we have is a the end other regulations at the same time because of the unique situation Northern Ireland the legacy of the conflict there is a desire to avoid putting any final status unless there was a referendum and so unfortunately what's happened with Brexit is it led to a resurgence of identity politics it has brought these constitution boarder is how you ensure that any goods that are crossing that border from Northern Ireland into Ireland comply with EU health and safety what their future relationship looks like with the you said is if we are not able to reach that agreement or if we don't come up with mechanisms to address the border then we're going to have this systems union and on value added tax so you have a fairly complicated situation where in regulatory terms Northern Ireland is going to follow gene part of the EU rules and structures but will not have a say and so that will give people time to transition to the new arrangements and it will also let the UK and the EU decide powersharing between the two communities and it really put to rest a lot of these identity questions because nationalists were able to feel secure in that they had a much great a you customs area but is going to have to follow provisions of the EU customs area itself and so what that means is rather than handle is on customs and it is in some way similar to what the Northern Ireland only version of the backstop had been which is that Northern Ireland remains in the Mitt to number of EU single-market provision things like goods and agriculture there simply is no way around that there has to be some regulatory alignment there the complicated thing been removing a lot of these checkpoints that were physically dividing the island in the Good Friday Agreement was the agreement broker the nineteen ninety s amongst the factions that ended Britain to Northern Ireland will have to be checked at that point instead but sounds like an administrative and regulatory challenge to say the lease absolutely and that's checking goods on the Irish border in north South sense you will now check goods instead in an east west sense in the Irish Sea so goods that are moving from great and so it says that the UK could apply exemptions and reduced rates in Northern Ireland but they can't be lower than the rates in Ireland itself one of the main differences between only something that people are very concerned about so goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland wouldn't be subject to a customs tariff unless they are seen as at risk of continuing a rebate value added tax was the final sticking point in all of this Northern Ireland will remain in the UK's VAT area but aligned with e VAT laws into the EU so Great Britain of course can ship things to Northern Ireland if they stay in Northern Ireland that's fine if there's a risk that things are going to move from Northern Ireland down to the Republic of Ireland then they would have to be checked and the EU customs would have to be applied and so then you get into a complicated situation where the seller of the goods would potentially have to apply for a rebate or get this protocol and the Northern Ireland only backstop is the idea of consent this was one of the things that the Democratic Unionist Party had been quite concerned about and they said going to be approaching the three year mark of having no local governance in Northern Ireland and so what this consent mechanism says is that four years after the transition period if Northern Ireland is going to be treated differently from the rest of the UK we need to ensure that there is consent from the local people there there had been lots of discussions about how you the Northern Ireland Assembly will vote on whether or not this protocol should continue if the vote passes by a simple majority then these provisions will continue committee would have to try and come up with new mechanisms to handle the Irish border sounds massively complicated clear as mud what's move onto final topic here. Asians would apply for eight more years if the assembly votes against these protocols for years after the transition then they would lose force after two years and a joint you best do this especially given that the Northern Ireland Assembly which would be the body to give this consent has been suspended since January of two thousand seventeen so we are soon system that has tried to rely on cross community support the mechanism then says if the deal does have cross community support so majorities from unionists and nationalists communities than the roll on the ground in Northern Ireland the United States for decades has had a bipartisan approach to peace in Northern Ireland dating back to the government was essential in those negotiations back then does the trump administration have a role should it even have a role the trump administration has not been playing an active for another four years the GOP is concerned about this because it doesn't necessarily give them a blocking majority and introduces the idea of majority voting into a city to Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter expressing support for peace talks pledging financial support from the United States in support of that we then had a long period that's what role if any has the trump administration played in negotiations between the UK and the EU and I'm struck again by irreverence to the Good Friday peace accords because I know the United States where the US had voiced to help negotiate peace in Northern Ireland George Mitchell of course helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement Richard Haass was involved in getting the great to Decommission Weapons Gary Hart played that role during the Obama Administration so there has been a long history of American involvement the trump administration decided not to have an envoy for Northern Ireland the decided as part of Tillerson's effort to reduce the number of on voice generally that this role was going to be done by the State Department and so he essentially has been cheerleading extremists in the UK that are advocating a no deal brexit donald trump has been arguing order in Northern Ireland that would end up being a solution that would work for everybody beyond benign neglect I would argue that the trump administration has actually played a damaging role has in the past you could envision an administration of a different nature that the US would-be involved in some sort of shuttle diplomacy between the British government the Irish government the political itself it would be a way of saving money they didn't see the necessity of it with the assembly there and so the US has not been involved on the ground in playing an honest broker role in parties on the ground either to try and get the assembly itself stood up which is a problem that it is not sat for so long or to try and find some sort of arrangement for the Royal Trade Agreement would not support an agreement that harmed the Northern Ireland peace process and so this is a message that she the chair of the ways and Means Committee and others Oh Nancy Pelosi went with the delegation in the Spring to London Dublin and Belfast and said very clearly that the US Congress which is responsible for ratifying any Bilal in these discussions it is no surprise that president trump sees the E. U. as what he is described as an economic fo he has described Brexit as a great thing would end up being very damaging for the situation with the border in Northern Ireland if it was to leave without a deal there has been some pushback on this from Congress House Speaker have been making very clear that if the U K does leave without a deal if they have an arrangement that hurts Northern Ireland it is going to make it very difficult if not in the UK should just leave the European Union and then move quickly to have negotiations with the United States on a free trade agreement the problem with that approach discussions all right then we'll talk again in a few months thank you you can learn more about brexit on our website Brookings Dot Edu that we really are only at the end of the beginning right now we are trying to finalize the divorce settlement and even if the UK parliament eventually ratifies the agree around Brexit knows a fast moving story so I appreciate your time today absolutely and I fear we could be having a similar conversation months from now on it's important to remember more inclusive form of talent development both of these issues impact the ability of cities and states to grow and prosper yet local and state economic. Hi This is Joseph Perella Fella here at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program in recent book the Harvard Economists William Kerr argued that talent is the world's most precious resource on clear and unequal which limits the supply of prepared workers and at the same time private sector hiring and training norms have shifted in ways that undermine that is four times more valuable than the country's physical capital stock and ten times more valuable than all the urban land in the United States so given this relative value so this is why the nation invest nearly one trillion dollars per year in education but even with this investment talent development pathways in the United States are economic development interests talent matters to business attraction high profile economic development competitions such as Amazon's second headquarters came down to talent about two percent of these incentives are about one billion per year go to job training this is a striking disconnect for two reasons first workforce like is it a free trade agreement is it a customs union so many questions there so even if this is wrapped up in the next couple of months we are sadly far from the end of these brexit's impossible to get a bilateral free trade agreement with the US approved by Congress. Amanda I want to thank you very much for walking us through this deep dive into the issues jobs and leave workforce preparation to the education and training system the reality today that workforce capabilities are paramount to core do that is very important their value proposition should focus on their distinct capabilities things like strong economic research find development policy is still struggling to address these labor market challenges historically the job of economic development was simply to focus on well drives business site selection decisions ninety five percent of executives rate the availability of skilled labor as either very important or important in their site selection factors and then second the return on investment from customized job training incentives as measured by job creation is about ten times higher than it is not surprising that an overwhelming body of evidence concludes that economies grow when they develop and deploy their people in ways that maximize their productive potential official resources and the ability to coordinate and recruit businesses to broader regional training efforts so let's take financial resources as an exam and talent matters to business expansion two in one survey four in ten mid sized businesses said they could create more jobs if they had workers to fill them in a recent report. C. Flu Argue that economic development organizations need to evolve to focus more on these types of talent development issues but how the in the United States that is undoubtedly true the collective knowledge and capabilities of the US workforce is worth an estimated two hundred and forty trillion dollars and that infusion would nearly equal the entire federal government's annual spend on job training this is but one area in which economic development could evolve finally released book economists Tim Bartik offers a useful scenario in which localities in states cut their incentive spending and half to about twenty five billion per year but increased the ample financial resources refers to the estimated fifty billion dollars in economic development incentives that local and state governments provide to businesses each year yet women it then needs to be ratified by the European Parliament at that point we move into the transition period and the two sides then need to decide what their future relationship looks like the Brookings Cafeteria is brought to you by the Brookings podcast network which also produces dollar in sense the current Antar events podcasts email your the report is filled with many more arguments and practical examples of how economic development organizations can practically utilize their research resources and relationships to support talent development share of customized job training incentives to about twenty percent of total incentive spending infusing about four billion dollars in training resources into the economy each year follow us on twitter at policy. podcasts you can listen to the Brookings Cafeteria and all the usual places visit US online at Brookings Dot Edu until and deployment you can find that report on our website at Brookings Dot out of traditional tax incentives and so our recommendation is that state governments recalibrate their incentive programs to focus more on job training in a reason Ryan provide design and support our intern this fall is Aylwin Fain finally my thanks to Camilla Ramirez and Emily Horne for their guidance and support part of the UK but it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland which is you member state and will stay in the EU and so the challenge with handling the in the Brookings Cafeteria podcast is the product of an amazing team of colleagues starting with audio and now here's metro lands with Joseph Perella fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program questions and comments to me at BCP at Brookings Dot Edu if you have a question for a scholar include an audio file and I'll play it in the answer on the air to near Gaston Roberto Producer Chris Camp Bill Fining Director of the Brookings Institution Press Does the Book Interviews and the Baylor and Eric.