Editor’s note – As an organisation we’re determined to highlight the impacts of any current affairs on the Youth of this country, ensuring that we are aware of the decisions being made which could impact us now, and in the future. Following on from last moth’s article, our deputy editor James Sullivan-Mchale provides us with an analysis of how this week’s Brexit negotiations have a direct influence on our generation…
The Brexit Negotiations and its Impact on the Youth #2
• Possible Worker Shortages with serious repercussions
• Problems over role of ECJ (European Courts of Justice)
• No set policy over Northern Ireland- still uncertainty over cross border projects
• Possible positive consequences of a Hard Brexit. But is it just wishful thinking?
• Devolution Disagreements with Scotland and Wales
In news set to worry young people across the UK it was reported that in a survey 17% of businesses with EU national workers were seriously considering re-locating to another country. In an already crowded workplace this could raise the prospect of a generation with even smaller prospects if these businesses do leave. It was also claimed that 47% of EU nationals are considering leaving many work in areas such as nursing (in the NHS and private sector) meaning there could be a dangerous shortfall in these areas. Despite 31% of businesses seeing workers leave the country it does not appear that, as some claimed, these jobs have been filled by ‘British Workers.’ The main problems are actually being caused by the lack of solid progress in the negotiations which is creating uncertainty in these sectors especially for young people. This uncertainty was shown recently by the case of a Finnish academic working in London who was mistakenly sent a deportation notice. It was withdrawn by the Home Office but it shows the confusion surrounding current arrangements.
The role of European Court of Justice (ECJ) is to be the ultimate arbiter in cases concerning EU law. After we leave there is the problem of who has the final say over such disputes. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has announced that when we leave the EU we will also not be subject to the ECJ. But we don’t know what will happen to cases if there is a transitional period when we leave the EU. One suggestion is for the ECJ and the UK to appoint an arbitrator, basically a 3rd party who can be relied to give an impartial decision. However, more clarity is needed over these decisions and while there has been some agreement there has been nothing concrete signed.
Northern Ireland and the impact on the border on with the Republic of Ireland post Brexit is a real concern. Recently the UK Government has released a series of possible options about what could happen and these models vary considerably. Some of the cross-border projects could be allowed to continue as both sides are determined to avoid physical infrastructure which would be a hard border with cross-border points and checks. However, if by the time the UK officially leaves the EU and nothing has been agreed upon there are real concerns that this will happen. This may in turn be in breach of the 1989 Good Friday Agreement. One suggestion made is to create an exemption for cross-border trade that would mean small and medium sized businesses to transport goods freely across the border. However larger business would have to register goods brought across through an online system. Of course, this raises the prospects of people exploiting the system and increasing problems such as illegal immigration across the border.
Despite of all the negatives surrounding Brexit one recent survey found that if we have a hard Brexit then there could be a possible positive outcome for the UK. A study by Professor Patrick Minford has shown that a ‘Hard’ Brexit (one where the UK takes an isolationist stance from the EU) could be beneficial to the UK economy. This would allow the UK to strike new deals with developing economies and not have to remain within the strict tariffs imposed by the EU. IF the UK was to eliminate trade barriers and tariffs with the rest of the world it could lead to a boost of $80 Billion a year and an extra $40 Billion a year brought on by the aftermath. But while the economy could be boosted there could be an impact on jobs and unemployment could increase. Indeed, this was described by supporters of Open Britain as ‘Economic Suicide.’ There are still large-scale disagreements over this research with other distinguished academics arguing it contains mistakes and while right in principle would not work in practise. Again, this just fuels the worry of young people entering such a volatile and uncertain job market with the prospect that any company they join could fall to the economic problems meaning they may have to start their job search all over again.
There was also a problem developing over devolution and the fact that in Wales and Scotland the respective First Ministers Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon are worried about a possible “power grab” by Westminster. Indeed, Sturgeon has called some of the proposals ‘daft.’ Their major qualm seems to be over the customs union and their lack of control over its outcome. If this limits devolution longer term then this might ultimately lead to a decrease in political participation and would be a serious concern if it means in the future the voice of the Youth could be even more neglected if it is simply policymakers in Westminster dictating everything. In fact, Wales does not even have its own specialised Brexit Minister meaning there is a feeling that their needs are being passed over. However, in response the UK Government claimed that the Bill would lead to increased devolution in both regions and one prominent minister even said it would be a devolution ‘bonanza.’ The situation still remains very uncertain.