Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

European Union leaders give greenlight to 2nd phase of Brexit talks

European Union leaders give greenlight to 2nd phase of Brexit talks European Union leaders give greenlight to 2nd phase of Brexit talks
Melinda Barton | 18 December, 2017, 07:32

British Prime Minister Theresa May has hit back at critics of her handling of Brexit, writing in the Sunday Telegraph that she had "proven the doubters wrong" after securing an interim deal.

European Union leaders have ruled that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of Brexit talks, allowing negotiations to move on to discussions about Britain's future outside the bloc.

The EU is willing to start talks next month on a roughly two-year transition period to ease Britain out after March 2019, but has asked for more detail from London on what it wants before it will open trade negotiations from March of next year.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker commended May, saying she is a "tough, smart, polite, friendly negotiator".

They had a "sober and short" discussion on the transition period, an European Union source said.

The EU has said that during the transition period the United Kingdom will have to abide by EU rules and regulations as if it were member, but without a seat at the table.

In addition, five business groups-the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), EEF (manufacturers' organisation), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Institute of Directors (IOD)-have issued a statement warning, "Further delays to discussions on an EU-UK trade deal could have damaging consequences for business investment and trade, as firms in 2018 review their investment plans and strategies".

European Union officials are divided over whether Britain should continue to receive the full, unfettered economic benefits of European Union membership during a transition after it leaves, even if it loses political representation in Brussels.

The UK will also need to continue to respect the rulings of the the EU's top court, the European Court of Justice during the transition period, an anathema for hardcore Brexit supporters.

Philip Hammond said that although "technically" the United Kingdom would not be in the customs union or single market, the transition deal sought by the government would effectively "replicate the status quo" on trade and migration.

As BI previously reported, Fox promised cheering delegates at the Conservative party conference this autumn that the United Kingdom would sign 40 free trade deals the "second after" Brexit.

"Everyone appreciated her personal efforts and engagement", Christian Kern, Austria's prime minister said Thursday night.

Today, there was a very real glimpse of what that near future looks like. "The actual negotiations on the future relationship will only begin once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union".

"The most important decision we made today was that we will do this behind the scenes, and that we will protect the unity of the 27", Rutte added.