Recently, the British Parliament voted three times on Brexit. Based on the outcomes, the most likely scenario will be a postponed Brexit. Politicians and the public are now realizing what Brexit really means; in other words, realizing all the complex elements organized by the EU legal framework and how much businesses and the public had profited from this framework.

There has been a lot of discussion in general about potential customs inspections delays. One specific effect people did not think of when voting for Brexit is the impact on the supply of radioisotopes for diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening diseases like cancer. Production takes place on the European continent and currently, import into the UK can be rapid and without formalities because, the UK is currently part of the customs union. Brexit would mean that these short-living isotopes may be delayed or stopped by customs. As the half-lives are, in some cases, short, a minimal delay may affect quality (e.g., reduce potency), cause shortages, and be a serious threat for the health of the British public.

Another example is the import or export of product between the UK and USA. Right now, there is no trade agreement between these countries because this is a responsibility of the European Commission representing the common market (customs union) which covers the UK. Negotiations of a new trade agreement can only start when the UK has left the EU. We all know how complicated it is to negotiate such a deal. With the unclear outcome of Brexit, we can only guess how future relationships may look.

And how will Brexit move forward? Prime Minister May indicated that next week she will request the EU council to postpone Brexit until 30 June 2019. In a first reaction, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberal party in the European Parliament and parliamentary member of the delegation of the EU that negotiated the deal rejected twice now, indicated that this could be acceptable if the UK would come up with a proposal on what a deal could look like. If not, a delay is not acceptable for the EU as they want to move on with the process of reforming the Union. In this case, the UK would stumble into an unorganized Brexit (“crash out”) with consequences for UK and EU which they cannot completely oversee at this moment. This “unintended” Brexit is everything but a win-win situation.

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