Brexit jargon-buster (part two)

Brexit jargon-buster – from A to I is here

It’s been 119 weeks since we published the following paragraph, and Russian interference in the UK is still in the news and no deals of any note have been struck with the EU…

Brexit news seems to have been put on hold as the government deals with claims that its most senior officials may have jumped the gun in blaming Russia for the Salisbury poison attack, after UK experts claimed they can’t yet prove that the novichock nerve agent used actually came from Russia.

But Brexit is pushing on in the background, and it’s now just 51 weeks until the UK is set to leave the EU – so here is our second and final installment of our Brexit jargon-buster.

And it’s now been 31 weeks since the UK left the EU – we’re more than halfway through our transition period and still no clearer on what will happen come December 31 this year.

To help try and make sense of it all, here’s part two of our Brexit jargon-buster.

Brexit jargon-buster (M – W)

Mandate – The government says that the British public gave it the mandate – basically, the authority – to take us out of the EU, when the 52% majority voted ‘leave’ in the referendum. See also, ‘will of the people’.

MEP – Member of the European Parliament. Amazingly, despite being one of the most vocal backers of the leave campaign, Nigel Farage has been an MEP since 1999, and picks up a good wage (and is due a tidy pension) from the EU.

No deal Brexit – This is the scenario where the UK leaves the EU without having reached any trade agreements during negotiations.

Norway model – Brexiteers always point to the Norway model, as an example of how a European nation can operate successfully outside of the EU, as Norway has an arrangement in which it still has freedom of movement, still abides by the rules of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), but makes a smaller contribution to the EU budget, and still has access to the European Economic Area (EEA). This means Norway is subject to around 21% of EU laws, but isn’t part of the customs union, and so can set its own trade deals.

People’s vote – The name given to a proposed second vote on the UK’s EU membership.

Passports – In a crazed bout of nostalgia, many leave-voters see the UK getting its blue passports back as a massive victory, despite the fact that the UK can have any colour passport it wants, regardless of whether or not it is in the EU.

Passporting – The arrangement under which British companies and foreign companies with bases in the UK are allowed to sell financial services across the European Union with no regulatory barriers. If UK companies can’t do this, it could have massive consequences for the UK’s finance sector.

Remoaners – A term used by some of those who voted leave to describe anyone who complains that leaving the EU will be bad for Britain.

Schengen area – The name given to the 26 European states, some of which aren’t EU members, that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders. The UK, along with some other EU states, are no part of the Schengen area.

Single market – This is simply how the European Union is treated as one territory with a free market in goods, money, services and people. It includes EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, that have secured access but retain some opt-outs.

Soft Brexit – A way of leaving the EU that allows the UK to stay as closely aligned to it as possible, whether by remaining in the single market or the customs union or both. Those in favour of a ‘hard’ Brexit don’t like this idea, as it might still allow EU citizens to settle in the UK with access to public services and benefits.

Tariff – A tax or duty paid on imported goods being imported, or sometimes on exported goods.

Tariff-free trade – This is when goods are imported or exported without having any taxes or duties imposed upon them.

Transition period – A sort of grace period, to make things easier during the period between the UK leaving the European Union and the start of new trade arrangements.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – A proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US, that has been put on hold since the election of Donald Trump.

Withdrawal agreement – A 585-page draft agreement that former PM Theresa May brokered with the EU that included terms of a transition period and the Irish ‘backstop’ (see part one).

World Trade Organization (WTO) – A global organisation dealing with the rules of trade between states. If the UK leaves to leave the European Union with no new trading relationship agreed, it will have to trade under WTO rules, which will lead to a significant increase in the costs to business.