April 26, 2018

European Union sources: United Kingdom to agree Brexit divorce bill before trade talks

19 June 2017, 02:39 | Kenneth Drake

The chancellor said Theresa May had set out her desired outcome in her Lancaster House speech in January.

Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly insisted the Government is prepared to walk away from the talks, claiming no deal is better than a bad deal.

Despite signals from both France and Germany last week that Britain would still be welcome to stay if it changed its mind, Brexit minister David Davis insisted on Sunday there would be no turning back.

'Now, the hard work begins. Negotiators aim to wrap up a deal by the end of 2018 so that it can be ratified before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc in March 2019. Both sides need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world's biggest trading bloc and the fifth largest global economy.

On the upside, Britain could do trade deals with other countries and would no longer be bound to the EU's agriculture and fishery policy, an important point for the Scots, who have a large fishing industry.

'What can you say of meaning about such chaos?' the diplomat asked.

But the turmoil of the euro zone crisis, fears in Britain about immigration and a series of miscalculations by former Prime Minister David Cameron prompted Britain to vote by 52 to 48 percent for Brexit in a June 23 referendum past year.

The government's current weakness has helped fuel criticism of its approach to Brexit, although pro-EU campaigners' hopes that it could rethink the decision to leave the European Union have come to nothing. Even if a trade agreement has been sealed, it could be introduced gradually during an "implementation phase" after Brexit.

Without a parliamentary majority to support her controversial Brexit strategy, May's three main aims of leaving the single market, creating a new trade deal to replace customs union membership and withdrawing from the European Court of Justice are in danger. For Major, "a hard Brexit was not endorsed by the electorate" and was "increasingly unsustainable", while Cameron believed "there will be pressure for a softer Brexit".

"But what we are trying to get is tariff free access to the single market".

British chancellor Philip Hammond said he would not agree to a deal that would "destroy" Britain. 'It's a bit of a dog's breakfast at the moment because there is a lot of manoeuvring and a lot of moving parts'.

"They are right to say it", Moscovici added.

That's the finding of a poll by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, which questioned 9,935 people in 10 countries including Britain about the EU.

May (pictured below) has been under pressure over the consequences of leaving the European Union, but she has repeatedly said that there would be no change in the process.

And the source told the BBC that it was understood the talks would broadly follow the EU's preferred sequence, dealing with issues of citizens' rights and a framework for calculating outstanding financial liabilities before moving on, possibly later in the year, to deal with the UK's future relationship with the EU.

European Union leaders have given chief Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier no authority to so much as talk about future trade with Britain until he clinches outline deals on Brussels' priority issues, including London's exit bill.

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