UK and EU in ‘Brexit’ breakthrough

Report of a breakthrough in talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union that will allow ‘Brexit’ to progress to the next stage.

BBC – Brexit: ‘Breakthrough’ deal paves way for future trade talks

PM Theresa May has struck a last-minute deal with the EU in a bid to move Brexit talks on to the next phase.

There will be no “hard border” with Ireland; and the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be protected.

The so-called “divorce bill” will amount to between £35bn and £39bn, Downing Street says.

The European Commission president said it was a “breakthrough” and he was confident EU leaders will approve it.

They are due to meet next Thursday for a European Council summit and need to give their backing to the deal if the next phase of negotiations are to begin.

Talks can then move onto a transition deal to cover a period of up to two years after Brexit, and the “framework for the future relationship” – preliminary discussions about a future trade deal, although the EU says a deal can only be finalised once the UK has left the EU.

A final withdrawal treaty and transition deal will have to be ratified by the EU nations and the UK Parliament, before the UK leaves in March 2019.

But it is still not simple from here due to the precarious position of the May led Government.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down, said there was still “more work to be done” on the border issue and how it votes on the final deal “will depend on its contents”. Mrs May depends on the party’s support to win key votes in Westminster.

What has been agreed?

  • Guarantee that there will be “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic and that the “constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom” will be maintained.
  • EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa will have their rights to live, work and study protected. The agreement includes reunification rights for relatives who do not live in the UK to join them in their host country in the future
  • Financial settlement – No specific figure is in the document but Downing Street says it will be between £35bn and £39bn, including budget contributions during a two-year “transition” period after March 2019

Brexit: All you need to know

The cost is high:

A figure is not mentioned in the text of the agreement but Downing Street says it will be between £35bn and £39bn – higher than Theresa May indicated in September but lower than some estimates. It will be paid over four years and the precise figure is unlikely to be known for some time.

The prime minister said it would be “fair to the British taxpayer” and would mean the UK in future “will be able to invest more in our priorities at home, such as housing, schools and the NHS”.

So Brexit still has a difficult and potentially very expensive path to follow.

4 Comments

  1. Missy

     /  December 9, 2017

    I was going to post on this, you beat me to it Pete. 🙂

    One thing that needs to be cautious about with regards to calling this a deal, it isn’t a signed deal as such, just an agreement on those aspects that were required to be settled prior to moving on to Trade Agreements. The UK position remains that it will be an all or nothing deal, either everything is agreed or nothing is agreed, so if the Trade deal isn’t agreed then this agreement is moot.

    There is a lot of differing information, and differing spin, on this, I haven’t had a chance today to fully read & digest the deal or the analysis, but from what I can gather there are some areas which may not be as loose in the deal as some may think.

    Also, it should be noted that after this agreement was announced Donald Tusk gave a speech in which he stated that he wants the UK to be subject to all EU laws – including any new law – during the transition phase. This has given some on the Leave side a bit of a pause in wondering exactly what the EU will try to demand in the second round of negotiations, and more importantly how much Theresa May will give away.

  2. JohnO

     /  December 9, 2017

    That’s the cost over four years so not really that high. In fast not much higher than the UK net annual contribution to the EU now.

  3. Trevors_elbow

     /  December 9, 2017

    Family reunion….. what a cup of sick that is. May is hamfisted….

    • Missy

       /  December 9, 2017

      I am thinking that is a nothing concession, if the EU citizens in the UK wanted family reunion it would have already happened under Freedom of Movement, the fact that very few family members have come over when they could just walk in with no extra paperwork makes me think that it won’t be a big deal. This is something that looks good but poses a small risk to the numbers of EU citizens in the UK.

      It needs to be noted that the rights apply to those already here – not those that enter after Brexit (at least I understand that is what it says – still need to read it in full), and the UK have managed to get the right to deport the criminals, so the staying is subject to police checks etc. So I don’t see the EU citizens rights deal as being too much of an issue, basically what everyone (except the extreme xenophobic) has said should happen.

      It is a little concerning about the continuation of the ECJ jurisdiction for the period of time that has been agreed, but again maybe not so bad in the long run.