Brexit Talks Due to Resume

EU negotiations are to resume in a week, and David Davis is urging Brussels not to begin discussions on Britain’s future relationship with the EU alongside withdrawal talks. There is growing concern that if the talks continue at the current pace it will be impossible to begin discussing future trade till the end of the year.

The proposal put forward by the EU is that key aspects of withdrawal should come prior to trade talks. These include a financial settlement (i.e. the ‘divorce bill’), the future of EU citizens living in the UK, and the position of Northern Ireland. However, Davies is keen to begin trade negotiations as soon as possible.

“I firmly believe the early rounds of the negotiations have already demonstrated that many questions around our withdrawal are inextricably linked to our future relationship.

“Nowhere is that point truer than on the question of Northern Ireland. It is simply not possible to reach a near-final agreement on the border issue until we’ve begun to talk about how our broader future customs arrangement will work.”

Pressure from the EU for the UK to pick up the pace is increasing, as Barnier sets the bar at October 2018 for wrapping up talks. A recent Observer opinion poll shows that trust in the Conservatives to carry out the negotiations has dropped by 6%, from 39% to 33%, since June. This supports the growing fear that talks are not going as planned, and the continued lack of apparent competency and clarity are creating concern as to the outcome of Brexit for the UK.