Three ways the British election result could impact Denmark

Three ways the British election result could impact Denmark
Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix
The British Conservative Party and leader Boris Johnson are celebrating a landslide victory in Thursday’s general election.

Johnson looks set to gain a majority of around 86, much larger than expected and enough to enable him to pass his Brexit withdrawal deal through parliament without support from other parties.

That means the UK is all but certain to leave the EU by January 31st and Brits living in Europe will no longer be EU citizens.

The British PM will need to negotiate a new trade deal and future relationship, encompassing customs and tariffs, with the EU by the end of 2020, under the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

Brits in Denmark

There are two ways British nationals living in EU countries, including Denmark, can look at the result.

“There is bad news and less bad news for us,” Kalba Meadows from British in Europe and France Rights told The Local prior to Thursday’s vote.

“The bad news (should Johnson win majority) is that the UK would leave the EU, there would be no second referendum, and we would lose our EU citizenship on Brexit day,” Meadows said.

The less bad news is the protection offered to Brits in the EU by the Withdrawal Agreement, she explained.

“One important point worth making is this: if the government fails to negotiate a future relationship/trade deal by December 31st, 2020 and there's no extension to the transition agreement, then the UK would automatically default to trading on WTO terms – this is often referred to in the media as a second no deal point.

“However – and this is important – the Withdrawal Agreement would remain in place as an international treaty and the rights that it includes for us would remain covered.

“They cannot be removed even in the absence of a trade agreement. Once the Withdrawal Agreement is in force, we will be covered by it for our lifetimes whatever happens with future negotiations,” she said.

READ ALSO: REMINDER: What the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement means for British citizens in Europe

Danish jobs could be endangered

A potential economic slowdown in the UK resulting from Brexit could impact Danish companies.

It should be noted that, particularly with the future relationship yet to be negotiated, it is difficult to predict the long-term economic outcome.

But the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) expects a downturn of some form in the long term, DR reports.

Over 60,000 Danish jobs are connected to exports to the UK, the organization’s head of international trade Michael Bremerskov Jensen told the broadcaster.

The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), a private interest organization made up of approximately 10,000 Danish companies, said that it expected Brexit to occur by the end of January, with Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement now likely to be passed by the Conservative majority.

“It’s a shame the UK is leaving the EU, but at least there is some clarity over the process now,” DI’s head of European Politics Anders Ladefoged said in comments provided to The Local.

“The most important thing for companies is for Brexit to happen in an orderly and predictable way. The Withdrawal Agreement means that companies will benefit from a transitional arrangement that extends current EU rules until a future trade agreement is in place,” Ladefoged said.

“There are only 11 months in principle to reach this agreement [by December 31st, 2020, ed.]. DI’s assessment is that this is not enough, and we therefore hope that the new British government will agree to extend the negotiation period and thereby the transitional arrangement by one or two years,” he added.

Danish fishing

Danish fishermen catch as much as 40 percent of their fish in British waters, and the country’s fishing industry has closely followed Brexit developments since the 2016 referendum confirmed the UK’s intention to leave the EU.

Prior to the vote, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, director of industry interest organization Danmarks Pelagiske Producentorganisation, told DR the country’s fishing sector “needs to move on”.

“This is because it’s so important to reach an agreement between the EU and the UK in which we can retain our permissions to fish in British waters and retain the distribution of quotas internally in the EU,” Sverdrup-Jensen said.

“It is absolutely crucial for the 16,000 people on Denmark who are employed in the fishing sector or fishing-related work that a sensible agreement is made with the UK,” he added.

READ ALSO: Danes worry about Brexit but reject cherry picking over free movement

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