Brexit Blueprint delayed ahead of June summit
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has decided not to present EU leaders with the proposed blueprint outlining the future UK - EU relationship. May was due to share the UK’s plans ahead of the European Council meeting in Brussels at the end of June. Sources within government are now saying the May will publish the white paper after the summit.
Brexit Secretary David Davis is said to be disappointed that the release of the UK’s blueprint was being delayed. He had previously described the plan as the “most significant publication on the EU since the referendum.” The pro-Leave former Brexit minister David Jones said: “I’m afraid it will be kicked down the road to the October Council, by which point it will be far too late.”
Allies of Theresa May have said that the white paper will be published in July, however according to a Downing Street spokesperson the plan “will be published when its ready.” Downing Street said: “The prime minister provided an update on the negotiations with the EU… setting out plans to provide greater detail of the future relationship in a white paper due to be published shortly. The business representatives expressed their support for this approach.”
However, leading business figures have said that executives who have met with May are “starting to disengage” after repeatedly making the same case to the government to no avail. “We have repeatedly raised the same issues, such as the need for frictionless trade after Brexit, but it is now a Gordian knot that we can’t help untie,” the executive said.
UK government ministers are in a stalemate over plans for t a customs relationship with the EU. This leaves a gap in May’s blueprint. In addition, the delicate issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland needs to be properly addressed. The UK government is expected to publish a plan to avoid a hard border before the June summit takes place, whether or not this happens remains to be seen.
Business executives meet at Downing Street
Some of the UK’s most prominent business executives met at Downing Street to have their say on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Among their concerns was the issue of the border in Northern Ireland. After the meeting, a number of business leaders were pessimistic on what impact they could have on negotiations. “It’s not only ‘What’s the point?’, it is ‘What can you actually do?’”
“When you keep circling round and it keeps coming back to Ireland, and you know the solutions being proposed are not acceptable to the EU, you get in this desperate spiral of: ‘What the hell can we do?’”
A delegation from many of Europe’s biggest industrial companies such as; Nestlé, BP, Vodafone, Eon, and BMW, alerted the UK Prime Minister that they would not invest in Britain as long as Brexit-related uncertainty continued. With pressure mounting from all sides, Theresa May needs to find the right answers, as the uncertainty of a ‘no deal’ could worsen what is already a bad situation.
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