There are, according to the slightly strange Peter North, over 300 agreements covered by EU Law that the UK will need to deal with post-Brexit.
With the mood music from Brussels turning from chilly to freezing over the past few days, we have to understand that there is no 'Soft' Brexit option. Indeed, the only questions should be from the reverse perspective. What are the key issues that will really de-stablisise the UK post-Brexit that we need to focus on, rather than the enormous list of important but not urgent stuff.
For me 5 stand out above all others -
1. People - We need to give people in the UK stability, at the end of the day, we need to allow all EU citizens in the UK by the time indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Ideally, we would have reciprocal arrangements with the EU, but if not then so be it - the damage here is one sided and people who left the UK in the first place should not be a deal-breaker.
2. Airspace - This is complex and we will likely leave the agreed EU area, companies need to prepare for this (probably easier from them to move their HQ, a la the Banks) so that air traffic is not grounded. The are work-arounds to the problems and it does not suit the EU to have the Western Air Corridor in a mess, but this is a key day to day process that needs arranging.
3. Euratom - The EU energy agency and policy is something to be avoided at all costs, however in the immediate term we do need a cover of some sort of transitional arrangement to keep options open and the nuclear industry as is working. I personally don't see being a rule taker from the EU on this as being so bad for 5 years or more from now. By the mid-2020's Fracking, Solar, Wind and ultra-cheap US LNG imports will mean it is likely Europe asking us for power rather than the other way around. There is so much cheap LNG coming on stream that there is no long-term problem. The real problem lies with our own energy policy however, which is a deranged as the EU one!
4. Irish Border - This does need a solution that does its best to avoid a hard border. Even the EU want to agree this so hopefully this is one area where sense can prevail. A real hard EU approach will be to demand Ireland becomes one country and stoke new civil war, it feels unlikely but remains a possibility if we can't agree.
5. Trade - WTO trade is not so bad for the UK and we can adapt, however various commissions like the Chemical regulations could provide a shock to the economy and so some of the manufacturing businesses supply lines will be threatened.
There are many more issues around legal standing, drugs regulation etc which while seemingly critical, I don't think matter day one of a hard brexit and we will, as ever, muddle through.
Time to focus on the few key matters, at least we will have the £60 billion to spend on various things having not paid the exit fee!