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Brexit Talks – What has been achieved, and what can we expect?

Brexit Talks – What has been achieved and what can we expect?

How have the talks between the EU and the UK been going?

Michel Barnier, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit, has said there has been no conclusive progress achieved on the main issues, while UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, maintains progress has been reached on some issues.


The divorce bill:

The primary stumbling block in negotiations at the moment relates to the size of the bill the UK will have to pay to cover its unresolved responsibilities once it leaves the EU. Once this figure has been agreed upon, the talks shall move on to other difficult issues such as; future customs arrangements, citizen’s rights, and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Commenting on the UK’s current offer, Michel Barnier has said it must be increased before the talks are to progress. Member states will decide at a summit in Brussels on 14th and 15th December whether “sufficient progress” has been achieved on the main issues before they move on to the next stage of the negotiations.

Failure to reach a deal:

Barnier noted that if the EU fails to reach a deal with the UK, people need to be prepared for it, as it is a possibility. In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, Barnier said: “It's not my option, but it's a possibility. Everyone needs to plan for it, member states and businesses alike. We too are making technical preparations for it. On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will become a third country.”

“No deal is better than a bad deal.” - UK Prime Minister Theresa May
“No deal is better than a bad deal.” - UK Prime Minister Theresa May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said that leaving the EU with no deal would be better than a bad deal. No deal would leave the UK without an agreement on trade. As a result, the UK would function under World Trade Organisation rules. Such a scenario could see customs checks and tariffs on goods. Other areas of major concern in the event of a “no deal” are Britain's position as a global financial centre, as well as the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Theresa May is currently (at the time of writing) holding 'inner cabinet' talks with of some of her senior ministers in an effort to make progress on the stalled EU talks. It is expected that the UK's divorce bill will be top of their agenda.

Uncertainty:

With negotiations ongoing, and the fact that the divorce bill has yet to be decided, very little is certain. With uncertainty comes instability. Businesses need to be organised and ready for all eventualities. A bad deal, or a “no deal” could spell disaster for those who fail to prepare.

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