News

16.08.2017

Brexit negotiation phase I

Focus on finance, civil rights and Northern Ireland.

Until the House of Commons' elections on 8 June 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May was the undisputed "iron" lady of hard Brexit. Sayings like "Brexit means Brexit" or "better no deal than a bad deal" had been enough for political survival so far. Now it is over - in light of the serious loss of mandates for the Tories. At present, however, there is complete uncertainty about Britain's approach to the negotiations. Three groups, on which Theresa May is now dependent, could have a decisive influence due to the small parliamentary majority of only three seats:

1. the Northern Irish Protestants (11 seats)

2. the Scottish Tory deputies (13 seats)

3. the last remaining Tories from London, who were always against the Brexit

Since all three groups are in favour of a "soft" Brexit, the probability of a less hard exit variant has increased.

The British continue to call for parallel negotiations on Britain's EU withdrawal and future status. However, the EU Council has defined a 2-phase approach in its guidelines. Only if significant progress is made in the exit negotiations led by Michel Barnier it is planned to bring forward the negotiations on the future status of Great Britain. This mandate could only be changed at a considerable loss of time (new special summit). Whether such a step would lose or gain more time is therefore an open question.

In phase I of the negotiations, the following priorities will be at the top of the agenda alongside technical issues:

1. mutual recognition of the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa

2. settlement of the remaining financial liabilities of Great Britain

3. regulating the relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland in order to avoid a border occupied by customs officers

Much remains to be done until 29 March 2019, the last day of Britain's EU membership.

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