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Brexit: Deal or No Deal? This isn't a Game

Almost a full year has passed since the UK left the EU, on the basis of the temporary Withdrawal Agreement. The negotiations to secure a deal between the two have continued all year, even in the midst of a pandemic. The UK and EU were meant to reach a deal by 31st December.

At the eleventh hour this looks unlikely to happen. Yesterday was the deadline to put forward a deal for the European Parliament to scrutinise and ratify. Now both sides claim they can still find an agreement by January 1st.

No deal isn't a political victory. It is a failure to protect citizens. A no deal will plunge millions into financial insecurity in the middle of an economic crisis. It is irresponsible of politicians to be playing games with peoples livelihoods at stake.

If a deal cannot be reached, the real option should be to agree to an extension of the transition period. This should have been decided on in June, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered any attempts to reach an agreement. Now, the coronavirus continues to disrupt and threaten lives, with a new strain found in the UK. It is not weakness to extend the transition but action to safeguard the well-being of UK and EU citizens who are impacted by Brexit.

Right now, thousands of citizens across the UK and EU cannot predict what their future will be. Whether they will still have the freedom to live where they choose, or the right to work in their country of choice in 2021. Young people, who should be given opportunities and flexibility, will lose the chance to work and study in new places with social protections guaranteed. A no deal would cause young people to lose up to £108,000 over their lifetime. This will be on top of the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis that will mostly be burdened by young people. The climate crisis needs international action, which so far Brexit has hindered. Brexit will undermine the EU’s ability to raise climate ambitions, meanwhile it is doubtful whether the UK and its conservative government will commit to climate goals that as an EU member it would be required to comply with.

FYEG will continue working with all our members to build a European green wave regardless of EU status. We see key issues that caused distrust with politicians and the EU institutions in the build up to Brexit - migration, economic insecurity, social security - as issues that should be addressed with humanity and international cooperation. We will continue to fight for the rights of young people across Europe to live where they choose.