March 18 2018

Germany: no punishment for UK, but EU exit good for no one

March 18 2018, 05:16 | Van Peters

While the European Union negotiating team led by Barnier has been ready for months, British efforts on Brexit stalled even after it triggered the two-year process on March 29. There remain concerns that the Tory Government will not last the full two year negotiation timeline - which is expected, at first, to focus on European Union citizens, the exit bill, and the position of Northern Ireland.

"We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared European values, leading in the world, and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens". "The United Kingdom will no longer enjoy the same rights and advantages as European Union member states ..."

As for the four-week cycles, as Barnier confirmed, will split into four parts, with just the few first days, namely the first week of each cycle to be Barnier - Davis negotiations.

A year has passed since voters chose to pull the United Kingdom out of the EU. And almost three months have ticked away since Prime Minister Theresa May started the clock on a two-year period that should end in 2019 with Britain's departure.

A general election wiped out May's parliamentary majority earlier this month and her position has been weakened further in the wake of a deadly fire in a London apartment building. But there is a compelling need for political realism and recognition of the limits to what a minority government with a vulnerable Prime Minister can achieve.

He said he wanted post-Brexit trade with the European Union that was not just free from tariffs but also delays and bureaucracy.

The EU says Britain can't leave without settling its bill, paying up for all its commitments that are still ongoing, including projects that might reach into the next decade, as well as the U.K.'s share of EU staff pensions.

The vote came as a profound shock to Brussels against a backdrop of rising anti-EU sentiment, with many - including now US President Donald Trump - predicting the bloc's eventual break-up.

Barnier said his priority was to clear up the uncertainties that the Brexit vote had created.

Mr. Barnier has said he hopes to conclude the talks by October 2018, leaving six months to ratify the deal. He added that the scheduled Brexit talks were an important milestone since then.

"We hope that the government will listen to the voices of the manufacturing industry, the employers and the unions in regards to what needs to be done on membership of the single market and customs unions as without both we anticipate a negative impact".

Barnier, meanwhile, made clear that a price would have to be paid for the unprecedented split.

Davis, answering a question, said Britain's negotiating position had not changed as a result of his Conservative Party's poor showing in recent elections. "It's not about punishment, it's not about revenge".

The government's current weakness has fuelled criticism of its approach to Brexit and given rise to notions that the government might pursue a softer tone.

"There is a growing consensus across the parties, in business and amongst the public, that an extreme "hard" Brexit of the kind put forward by Theresa May at Lancaster House is no longer politically viable and would be economically disastrous".

The EU wants to secure the rights of more than three million Europeans living in Britain - and over one million Britons living on the continent.

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond warned that the "no-deal" option would be "a very, very bad outcome" and that May's "no deal is better than a bad deal" mantra now seemed long gone.

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