Brexit: We now know the precise second Britain will go away, however little else is definite


In an opinion piece printed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Friday UK Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned Brexit would formally happen at 11 p.m. GMT on March 29, 2019.

She additionally warned that she would “not tolerate” any makes an attempt to delay this eleventh-hour departure — which can fall at midnight in most European capitals.

“Let no-one doubt our determination or question our resolve, Brexit is happening,” May wrote.

On prime of that, enterprise and EU figures have warned that the clock is working down on Britain’s probabilities of making “sufficient progress” on the phrases of its exit for the European Union to agree to begin talks on a transition interval and future relations — together with, crucially, commerce — after a crunch EU leaders’ summit subsequent month.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, right, says it's vital to agree Britain's "divorce bill" soon if talks with David Davis, left, are to move forward.

Britain’s Brexit secretary, David Davis, and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, ended the sixth spherical of talks Friday in Brussels, Belgium, with speak of some progress on the three key parts of the UK’s exit — what it would pay, the Northern Ireland border, and residents’ rights. But as anticipated no main breakthrough was introduced with all eyes on subsequent month’s summit.

Most considerably, Barnier informed reporters it was “absolutely vital” to take care of the so-called divorce invoice inside the subsequent couple of weeks if the UK needs to start talks on its future commerce relationship with the bloc.

Here’s what we nonetheless do not find out about Brexit:

How a lot will Britain pay?

The stickiest problem is the “divorce bill,” or what the UK can pay to settle its monetary obligations to the bloc — though Barnier mentioned Friday he needed to see “sincere and real progress” on all three parts earlier than transferring ahead.

Speaking in Florence in September, May mentioned she would honor monetary commitments the UK made whereas an EU member, however EU leaders complain that her phrases haven’t translated into a particular financial provide from British negotiators.

May has additionally insisted that there will be no closing settlement on the monetary settlement till there’s additionally settlement on the longer term buying and selling relationship between the EU and UK. Different sums have been bandied about over the previous few months, from 20 billion to 100 billion euros.

Assessing the result of the sixth spherical of talks on Friday, Barnier mentioned: “On the financial settlement, we need to work over the next few weeks on the objective interpretation of the undertakings entered into by Prime Minister May in Florence. I think this is absolutely vital if we are to achieve sufficient progress in December.”

He added: “It is just a matter of settling accounts, as in any separation.”

Asked by a reporter if he would want “clarifications or concessions” from the UK inside the subsequent two weeks for talks to enter the second part, on future relations, in December, Barnier mentioned, “My answer is, yes.”

Davis, in the meantime, mentioned that “substantial technical progress” had been made on monetary settlement points and reiterated that the UK would “honor the commitments we have made during the period of our membership.”

The fifth spherical of talks ended final month in obvious impbade, with Barnier saying discussions with Davis had failed to supply progress on the important thing problem of how a lot Britain ought to pay to go away.

May faces stress from inside her authorities — and from mbadive parts of the UK citizens — to not provide an excessive amount of to settle Britain’s account. But on the similar time, the calls from UK and worldwide enterprise leaders for larger certainty because the clock ticks down towards March 2019 could power her to offer floor as a way to transfer on to dialogue of future relations and commerce.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron talk in Brussels, Belgium, on October 19 during a summit of EU leaders.

Where will residents’ rights stand?

Another stumbling block is what occurs to UK residents residing elsewhere within the European Union and EU residents residing in Britain after Brexit.

May informed the UK House of Commons final month that Britain and the EU have been united on the important thing rules of EU residents’ rights, and have been inside “touching distance of a deal.”

It’s a sophisticated problem with doubtlessly far-reaching penalties. Roughly three million folks from different EU international locations reside within the United Kingdom, whereas round 1.2 million Britons reside elsewhere within the European Union.

The UK printed new element Tuesday on a “streamlined, low-cost and user-friendly” course of for these EU residents looking for to realize “settled status” in Britain after Brexit, saying it needed to supply them rebadurance.

Barnier mentioned Friday that the edges have been “making a fair degree of progress,” together with clarification from the UK on how the method will work and the way residents can enchantment if their purposes for settled standing are unsuccessful. But, he mentioned, there are “still a number of points that need more work,” together with on household reunification, folks’s proper to “export” social safety advantages and the function of the European Court of Justice.

Davis mentioned the 2 sides had continued to make progress on residents’ rights and “are now seeking political solutions to the last outstanding issues on both sides.” It is a “key priority” for the United Kingdom to retain the sovereignty of its courts, Davis mentioned.

What will occur in Northern Ireland?

Both sides agree that they need to keep away from a “hard border” between the Republic of Ireland, which can stay a part of the European Union after Brexit, and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom.

There is free motion throughout the border and plenty of companies have services on each side.

A key query is the right way to keep away from the necessity for border checks if Northern Ireland, as a part of the United Kingdom, is not a part of the EU single market and customs union after Brexit.

Free motion throughout the border was a key a part of the Good Friday Agreement, the 1998 accord that helped carry peace to Northern Ireland after a long time of sectarian battle.

David Davis and Michel Barnier say some progress but no major breakthrough has been made in the latest round of Brexit talks.

Davis mentioned Friday that the 2 sides had had “frank discussions about some of the big challenges around the border” and that the UK was firmly dedicated to to avoiding any bodily infrastructure there.

“We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and Customs Union. But that cannot come at cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom,” Davis mentioned. “We recognize the need for specific solutions for the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. But let me be clear. This cannot amount to creating a new border inside our United Kingdom.”

Barnier mentioned the 2 sides had widespread objectives. “The unique situation of the island of Ireland requires specific solutions,” he mentioned.

The ‘Brexit Bill’

May, who heads a minority Conservative authorities since a disastrous snap election in June, faces a battle to get the EU Withdrawal Bill, often called the Brexit Bill, by means of Parliament.

She’s introduced her intention to place ahead an modification including the exact time and date of Brexit to the invoice earlier than it goes earlier than lawmakers subsequent week for additional scrutiny. But what’s not but recognized is what influence the numerous amendments put ahead by different lawmakers could have on the laws.

May wrote in her opinion piece Friday that the federal government would take heed to any proposed modification to enhance the invoice. “But I am just as clear of this: we will not tolerate attempts from any quarters to use the process of amendments to this Bill as a mechanism to try to block the democratic wishes of the British people by attempting to slow down or stop our departure from the European Union,” she mentioned.

Not too late to overlook all of it?

Meanwhile, the person credited with authoring the clause which permits a rustic to go away the European Union — Article 50 — has mentioned it is not too late for the United Kingdom to alter its thoughts.

May wrote to the European Council President on March 29 this yr to formally notify him of Britain’s “intention to withdraw from the European Union.”

But Lord John Kerr argues that the letter was solely a notification of the UK’s “intention” to withdraw and that Article 50 has been “misrepresented” within the present political debate.

“The fact is, it is a political decision that has been made in this country to maintain there can be no going back,” he informed an Open Britain occasion in London on Friday.

“Actually, as far as Brussels is concerned, as far as the treaty is concerned, this country still has a free choice about whether to proceed. As new facts emerge, people are entitled to take a different view and there is nothing in Article 50 to stop them. And I think the British people have the right to know this, they should not be misled.”

CNN’s Simon Cullen contributed to this report.

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