Brexit & Slovenia: Comments from the Govt., Chamber of Commerce, & UK Ambassador

By , 16 Jan 2019, 12:51 PM Politics
Brexit & Slovenia: Comments from the Govt., Chamber of Commerce, & UK Ambassador publicdomainpictures.com, Petr Kratochvil

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STA, 16 January 2019 - Slovenia regrets that the UK parliament failed to confirm the Brexit divorce deal last night. Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that the UK should rethink whether Brexit is really worth pursuing or whether this is a dead end and staying in the EU is the better solution.

A statement from the prime minister's office on Wednesday said that the divorce deal was a fair compromise, a balanced document, that allowed a regulated and controlled exit for the UK.

Slovenia will continue to support the approval of the deal in the EU, as the document is the best solution for the future and a necessary foundation on which to build relations after 2021.

Similar to the rest of the EU, Slovenia expects the UK government to present a plan on future steps as soon as possible. The statement also expresses hope that "the coming weeks and months will see enough political wisdom to avoid the worst outcome".

Slovenia's key wish is to preserve constructive and comprehensive cooperation even after Brexit, which must in no way infringe on the rights of citizens of Slovenia and other EU countries living in the UK. On the other hand, Slovenia will guarantee "an appropriate level of rights for UK citizens" living in the country.

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar also expressed regret over the vote. He tweeted last night that the EU had negotiated in good faith and with the wish to preserve constructive cooperation in the future.

Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee chair Matjaž Nemec commented on the situation for the press, saying that the process was "a good lesson for us" and that he hoped that "this will sober up the global political arena".

"When politicians become politicasters, when personal and party interests are put before those of the state and its citizens, there is populism that diverts attention from the real picture."

"All those who caused this in the UK have remained well hidden and no longer expose themselves, while regular people will start feeling immediately what it's like to be a third country citizen in relation to the EU," said Nemec.

He added it was hard to predict what would happen next. It is also hard to say whether the country will hold another referendum.

The House of Commons turned down the divorce deal with 432 votes against and 202 in favour last night. Subsequently, the opposition Labour Party requested a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Theresa May.

The motion will be put to a vote this evening and if May is ousted and a government coalition cannot be formed within a fortnight, the UK will face an early election.

However, this is not a very likely scenario, according to Jure Vidmar, a professor of public international law at the University of Maastricht.

While the divorce deal was voted down due to infighting in the Conservative party, "bringing down the deal is one thing and bringing down one's own party is a different matter altogether," he told the STA.

If she survives the vote, May has said she will present an alternative plan by Monday. But at least in the short term the EU will not be able to offer anything but some sort of a political declaration, said Vidmar.

These have already been offered and did not convince the sceptics. This could only be done by abolishing the Irish safeguard, which is impossible for the EU, he believes.

"Northern Ireland is the main issue of Brexit and it is practically impossible to resolve. The reintroduction of border controls in Ireland would undermine the peace treaty," said Vidmar.

A no-deal Brexit or an extension of the deadline are the two possible scenarios. The extension could lead to a new deal under which the UK would remain a part of the single market and the customs union, he believes.

The other possibility is a new referendum in which voters would decide between May's divorce deal and remaining in the EU, said Vidmar. An early election is not very likely but cannot be excluded.

All our stories about Brexit can be found here

Chamber of Commerce worried about impact of no-deal Brexit on exports

STA, 15 January 2019- The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) assessed ahead of today's Brexit deal vote in London that there is a 20% chance of a no-deal scenario and that this could reduce Slovenian exports by a fifth.

The GZS's analytics department estimates that Slovenian exports of goods to the UK rose by 11% to EUR 615m in 2018, while exported services were up 9% to EUR 210m. In case of a no-deal Brexit, goods exports could fall by up to 20% in a year, although they would later probably rise again.

A similar reduction would also be experienced by Slovenian exports to other EU member states with close trade ties to the UK, the chamber wrote in a press release.

A no-deal Brexit would present a strong blow in particular to the movement of people, goods, services and capital, with cooperation already being affected by the current uncertainty.

A direct impact has been felt above all by multinationals and regional companies with a two-way value chain and in particular involving Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Indirectly affected are the supplier companies, meaning also a number of Slovenian companies.

A no-deal Brexit would also mean the reintroduction of border checks and thereby a fourfold increase in the time needed to cross the border. Slovenian hauliers conduct EUR 40m worth of transport for British clients a year, the GZS said, while also highlighting additional costs related to the diverging of standards for products and services.

UK Ambassador Sophie Honey July 2018.jpg

HMA Honey in July 2018. Photo: JL Flanner

UK Ambassador: Britain Remains Open for Business, Despite Brexit

STA, 16 January 2019 - British Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey assured Slovenian businesses on Wednesday that they would receive ample support, regardless of how the UK leaves the EU, with or without a divorce deal.

The UK will provide businesses the maximum scope of information and clarity so they can prepare for future relations, she told an event on the future of economic cooperation post-Brexit a day after the British Parliament voted against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

She said the British government has prepared advice for British businesses while the Slovenian authorities were doing everything they can to prepare companies for any changes.

The ambassador also stressed that the UK would remain an ideal destination for Slovenian exports and start-ups.

All our stories about Brexit can be found here

 

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