The Norfolk for Europe committee has been very aware that the C-19 emergency has taken up much public attention over the past few weeks, including our own, as we have all adjusted to the changes that were needed. However, the clock has been ticking away, and the transition year is now well under way.
We all know that we have left the EU, but the terms of our future relationship with the EU are still under discussion. A carefully thought-out and well negotiated trade deal with the EU is crucial to us all in the UK. The news suggests that, unsurprisingly, neither the UK nor the EU have the capacity to achieve this in the time available. As a result, it is imperative that the extension period be extended. This can only happen once, and the Uk government can ask for an extension of one or two years, though it could end early if appropriate. The government is adamant that it will not request one.
We must do everything possible to ensure that the pandemic does not simply drown out the transition issue in Parliament, and that the government thinks again.
Some suggest that the government may hope to use the coronavirus emergency to provide a useful cover for the cost of leaving the EU with a poor or even non-existent trade deal. We must make sure the public is made aware that there are two catastrophes, not one, lying in wait for us, just as we are reeling from the pandemic.
How can you help?
Please help us spread the word in one or all of the following simple ways:
Sign the European Movement petition to Delay Transition. Over 50,000 people have signed the petition. Add your signature now! Click on the image to go to the petition.
Keep an eye/ear on the local press, both written and broadcast. Engage where you can to emphasise the importance of a favourable Brexit negotiation.
Do you know local businesses who are concerned about the negotiations (e.g. farmers, manufacturers)? How do they view their prospects for next January? Do they have particular worries? The Farmers’ Union, for example, is very concerned about the protection of food standards. Health workers also have much to be concerned about: the government’s stock of PPE, amassed in preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit, has of course all been used up, and we all now know how hard it is to source more. The life-saving value of international cooperation on medical research has moreover been dramatically and tragically highlighted.
Please encourage them to voice them and write to their MP.