Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

United Kingdom made no estimate of Brexit's economic impact

Blower cartoon December 4 Blower cartoon December 4
Melinda Barton | 06 December, 2017, 15:58

For anyone who slept through Monday, the deadline set by the EU27 for the United Kingdom to make "sufficient progress" on the three key article 50 issues - the financial settlement, citizens' rights and the Irish border - in order to move on to phase two of the Brexit talks passed - and in fairly dramatic fashion.

In Germany, Stefanie Bolzen and Hannelore Crolly of the centre-right Die Welt say events have "taken a risky turn" for Mrs May, despite EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's insistence that the talks were "not a failure". "But on a couple of issues some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation". "I'm very confident that we will reach an agreement in the course of this week". "We think sterling can outperform, but prefer gains versus the euro or yen", said ING currency strategist Chris Turner.

"But I have to say that we were narrowing our positions to a huge extent today, thanks to the British Prime Minister, thanks to the willingness of the European Commission to have a fair deal with Britain".

So what happened? After a weekend of frantic last-minute negotiations, Ireland, the EU27 and the British government had all signed up to an agreement - or at least, a form of words - that they all thought would be signed off on Monday.

But any solution will need the support of Northern Ireland's pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 members of parliament are propping up May's government.

London has broadly agreed to numerous EU's divorce terms, including paying out something like 50 billion euros. Mrs May will be accompanied by the Brexit Secretary David Davis for the discussions with Mr Juncker and Mr Tusk. It is choosing a majority which is based on the DUP and trying to keep the Conservative Party together, whereas in actual fact there is a vast majority in this House, and in the country and in the House of Lords in favour of us staying in the Customs Union so we keep the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland together and we don't harm our trade.

Mrs May's planned meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk was delayed, as was an expected statement by Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. "Both governments understand what each other is asking for".

London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan said the deal reportedly being discussed in Brussels would have "huge ramifications for London", which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

The so-called "divorce bill" - the money May's government must pay into the European Union budget as part of its current membership obligations - has reportedly been resolved.