Brexit one year on: So how's it going?

Press quote (The Guardian)
25 December 2021

Asked how Brexit has gone so far, Charles Grant, director of the think-tank the Centre for European Reform, says that, ironically, the most obvious post-Brexit negotiating successes for the Johnson government have been in areas where it has managed to stay close to the EU, not move away – such as the “rolling over” of EU trade deals. These have included agreements “rolled over” with Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey and South Korea which have become bilateral ones with the UK. The only entirely new trade deal is that recently signed with Australia. The UK, he says, has also managed to secure agreement over flow of data with the EU, though this could soon be under threat as we seek to weaken privacy rules.

In other areas, Grant says the UK has been weakened, particularly in its influence and power on the European and world stages.

“Lord Frost refused to have any form of structured relationship on foreign and defence policy post-Brexit with the EU – though the EU wanted one – and we are paying a very heavy price as a result,” he says.

“We lack intelligence about what is happening in the EU because we don’t have any regular system of meetings with people in Brussels. We can’t influence what is going on because we are not in the room. On issues such as Russia, China and climate issues the British – even outside the EU – could have a degree of influence because we have good people and real expertise.”