Brexit: 200,000 Jobs Lost as EU Gets Tough
Article 50 will trigger a series of events, including the possibility of thousands of jobs being lost and a harder “uncompromising” position by the European parliament.
The latest quarterly report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors published on Wednesday shows that 200,000 construction jobs could be lost if the UK no longer has access to the single market, after Brexit campaigners promised that the economy could only improve by controlling immigration. At the same time, the European Parliament is warning that it would take a tough stance towards the UK demanding that Britain continues to follow European law as it transitions out of the EU.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report
Figures showed that 8% of the employees in the British construction industry come from the EU and losing them would affect infrastructure projects. After the two Brexit bill amendments proposed by the peers—including the one on guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens—were removed in the House of commons on Monday, it isn’t clear what the fate of EU nationals would be after Brexit. The report said that the construction sector is in a crisis and in demand of skilled workers. The RICS Head of UK Policy, Jeremy Blackburn, said that "A simple first step would be to ensure that construction professions such as Quantity Surveyors feature on the Shortage Occupations List." He also added: “It is in all our interests that we make a success of Brexit, but a loss of access to the single market, has the potential to slowly bring the UK’s £500bn infrastructure pipeline to a standstill.”
The report stressed the necessity of the government to secure access to the single market or, alternatively, facilitate the employment of non-EU workers for companies.
According to a Financial Times article, senior Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are preparing a resolution that outlines the European parliament’s “uncompromising” demands that would be part of the negotiations. The suggestions by the economic and monetary affairs committee were agreed by a cross-party group of senior MEPs which are going to adopt the resolution in April, after article 50 is triggered. Guy Verhofstadt, parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, will follow this as a guideline for his Brexit negotiations.
The documents, which were seen by the Financial Times, reveal that parliament will set out the priorities based on which it can exercise its power to veto Britain’s Brexit terms and shape any future trade relationship.
Such priorities include: the power of the European Court of Justice to oversee any transition deal, that Britain will have to “fulfil all its commitments” to the EU budget during the transition period, and that Britain will have to follow common tax standards.
The documents express a desire to find middle ground, without, however, dismissing the possibility of no deal at all. They stress that both the EU and the UK “will need to find a relationship between UK and EU markets that works” and that a transition to “avoid disruption in financial markets” is necessary. The economic committee also writes that “the possibility of no agreement cannot be excluded” and the EU needs “to prepare for such an event”.
The document also refers to a strict adherence to European tax rules, sensitive transparency standards for trusts as “part of any Brexit deal.” Britain’s obligations to the EU budget and the European Investment Bank should also be enforced through the transitory period.
The submission also supports MEPs’ demands for more management and control of the City of London’s euro clearing. Clearing houses in London guarantee contracts between parties by acting as the middle man, managing risks in swaps and derivatives. London’s advantage, based on the widespread acceptance of English law and use of the English language, has made it into a global hub, handling 70% of the daily euro clearing business which translates to around €930 billion (£792 billion) of trades per day. European Union officials have repeatedly asked to move euro clearing to the Eurozone, but Britain has defended its right to clear trades, especially in 2015 when it won a court battle to continue doing so.
The committee argues that “current legislation has to be adjusted" so that clearing and management of euro derivatives trading is “under the responsibility of EU institutions”.
The documents reveal that the European parliament will have the power to stop any deal for Brexit that they consider unfavourable. Theresa May will have the arduous task to navigate through their demands while trying to satisfy her government’s goals in achieving a deal that will work for everyone, including the European parliament.