The German finance minister says in an interview with the BBC: «We have a strong and open invitation to the United Kingdom: if you want to intensify trade relations with the EU, call us. We respect the values and the people of the UK, and will appreciate if we can restore our exchanges».
In an explanation, the minister called for the treaty to be reconsidered and added that the post-Brexit obstacles that have emerged are poisoning the lives of European corporations «literally every day». And all because the cost of fulfillment of any contract has increased, and with such an intensity of exchanges it is necessary to pay just every day. Germany’s share in British foreign trade is 8 percent, and it is Albion’s second largest trading partner.
At the same time, the Germans back in April projected their GDP growth for the year at 0.4 percent, which is ridiculous for the traditionally powerful Germany. Industry is just beginning to rise after the blow, bank rates are somewhere out there, in the clouds, and now it is still necessary to pay customs at increased rates and puzzle over the new British certification of goods.
And the Germans simply led the process — all major European industrialists agree with them. The other side of the coin is the following: pressure is also exerted on the EU structures, which has moved the customs levers against Britain to an extreme position.
The minister is lobbying primarily for the car industry, especially electric car manufacturers, and is asking the EU to freeze new export levies for three years, given that the British for their part have also raised the price of entry.
«The Brexit treaty will not be reconsidered just because the UK car industry and the EU, which can’t afford tariffs on electric cars, want it that way», EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton responded to the calls.
A number of experts involved in the discussion of this topic said that there is nothing to blame on Brexit now. All these years it was necessary to develop the chemical industry and produce their own batteries for electric cars in order to minimize their cost price. But it turned out that the Chinese were already there. So, buy from them at triple the price.
A UK government spokesman spoke in the same vein as his European counterpart:
«The (EU-UK) Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the world’s largest free trade agreement. It protects the interests of all sectors of our industry and opens up new horizons for British business».
But business will sooner or later shake this boulder any way it can. In the meantime, the queue of European vans at the port of Dover is still standing. According to the idea, they wanted to install modern terminals for biometric control of passports there, and it would be as easy to get to the island as to enter the subway. The idea was supposed to be implemented in 2022, now the plans are for the fall of 2024, but the port director doesn’t really believe in these terms, and they are still stamping the waybills there.
All possible territory has already been allocated for parking lots, even the docks have been demolished. Now they decided to «take back the land from the sea». In reality, the construction of peninsula on the English Channel has begun, where truckers from Europe will wait in line. Customs and certification are still to come!
The House of Lords recognized back in the spring that it would indeed be good to simplify things somehow, at least on 72 specific items. For example, to mutually recognize professional qualifications, let’s say, in the accounting sector, to facilitate visas for parents whose children study in Britain, and to help artists to go on tour.
It must be said that this conundrum works in the opposite direction, too. For a British band to get on tour in the EU, you need to think hard first. A third of British bands have done just that and refused to travel.
For a start, any band entering the EU on tour from a third country — and the UK is now a third country — is only entitled to three concert stops, that is, in three locations. Then you have to go home and do it all over again. It would be fine to pick up a guitar, a backpack and go. But if you’re Elton John with your five-year Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, the following happens to you.
You have to pay £1,500 for each truck, but that’s okay. For every instrument — every maracas, Hutsul dulcimer or drum cymbal — you have to draw up an entry declaration with an inventory number. This is professional equipment and it must be taken out of the EU on the same declaration.
Usually big money is made at concerts due to all kinds of «merch». From now on, it makes no sense, because the T-shirts have to be Made in EU, or pay for imports. And if they are made in the EU, you have to sell them all, because at the border, when you leave the EU, you will pay export duty.
As a result, the producer of the tour came to Elton John with a proposal to interrupt the European tour, but they decided to go through with it, especially since it brought in a billion. But what about the other performers? They make 80 percent of their money from touring, ticket sales and merch.
«You have to take music to the cities, — says Elton John, a big patron of young people, in an interview with Culture. — You have to see how they react in Italy, in France and you already know what to write next».
British music is a serious industry that generates 200,000 jobs and an annual turnover of 6 billion pounds, with the vast majority of that amount coming from the touring component. Suffice it to say that 85 percent of the entire touring truck market is controlled by the British. If you stop them — no one in Europe will see any Ed Sheerans.
Although electric cars are also important.
Of course, when the Agreement on Trade and Cooperation was drafted, it was assumed that everything would not go smoothly, everything cannot be foreseen, but in time everything will somehow settle down. One of the authors of the Agreement, Deputy President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, believes that in the near future «no one is going to put the Brexit agreement in the shredder», but admits that the door is still open.
The EU is more likely to count on Labor leader Keir Starmer walking through that door if he wins next year’s general election. They are by no means pro-European, but if this thin matter is weighed, there are more disappointed with Brexit among Labor, at least for now, than among the Conservatives.