- Almost three-quarters of our experts do not expect a deal to be reached with the EU by the end of the year
- Just over half think that the transition period will be extended
- 80% think that leaving the transition period without a deal would be just as or even more economically damaging than if the UK had left the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement
- Our panel think that, on balance, the UK’s Covid-19 response has been worse than Germany, France, the Netherlands Italy and Spain
- Three-quarters of the panel do not expect any member states to leave the EU in the next decade
The views of social scientists reflect the continued uncertainty over whether the transition period will be extended.
53% of the 100 experts surveyed think that, despite the government’s promise not to extend the transition period, the terms will be extended beyond 31 December 2020. 32% think an extension is unlikely to happen. The remaining 15% put the issue at 50:50.
There is more consensus on the consequences of no extension. Just 16% expect a deal to be reached with the EU by the end of the year, whereas 71% do not expect a deal to happen in this time.
In the context of Covid-19, there has been some discussion about whether no trade deal with the EU would cause the same level of economic disruption as had the UK left the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. 80% of the panel think that leaving transition without a trade deal would have a similar or more damaging economic impact as a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
US trade deal
Formal negotiations on a US-UK trade deal have now begun. Social scientists are split on whether a deal with the US can be completed within the next five years: 42% do not think a deal will be reached, while 38% think a deal can be done by the middle of the decade (with the remaining 20% unsure).
We asked our panel to rate the UK and the EU’s economic response to Covid-19 on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is extremely poor and 10 is excellent. The panel rated both the UK and EU responses at 4.6 out of 10.
55% of our panel thought that the UK’s exit from the EU had made its ability to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak more difficult, whereas just 3% thought it had made it easier. 42% thought it had made no difference.
How the UK compares on Covid
Social scientists are broadly negative about the UK’s comparative response to the outbreak, when lined up against other western European countries—views that largely align with those of the public.
87% think that the UK has responded worse than Germany and 59% that it has done worse than France.
Responses regarding other countries are more ambivalent. 42% think the UK has responded worse than the Netherlands, against 11% who think better. 40% think the UK’s response has been worse than Italy, with 19% who think better. And 35% think the UK’s response has been inferior to Spain, with 19% thinking it has been better.
We also asked whether, on balance, it was likely that any member state would leave the EU in the next ten years. 24% said that it was likely while 76% said it was not likely that the EU would see the departure of further member states.