Brexit Bites, 11 December 2017

Dec 11, 2017

In a significant breakthrough on Friday, the UK and EU are ready to move on to trade negotiations after agreement was reached on the Irish border and other issues.  Negotiations were hailed as “difficult” and UK negotiator David Davis raised some eyebrows over the weekend when he sent signals that the UK wasn’t really committed to what it signed up for.  In other news, Chartered Accountants Ireland is calling for a sense of urgency and clarity to be injected into the next phase of talks to give businesses much needed certainty.  See below for more on this story.

Breakthrough in Brussels

The European Commission announced early on Friday that it will recommend to the European Council that sufficient progress has been made in the Brexit talks to enable the talks to now move on to trade.  Guidelines will be agreed at this week’s European Council meeting which takes place on Thursday and Friday.

For Ireland and Northern Ireland, guarantees have been given that there will be no hard border between the UK and Ireland as the UK would keep its rules aligned with the EU’s. The Common Travel Area and the Good Friday Peace Agreement will also be upheld.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said “Ireland supports Brexit negotiations moving to Phase 2 now that we have secured assurances for all on the island of Ireland – fully protecting GFA [Good Friday Agreement], peace process, all-Island economy and ensuring that there can be no hard border on the Island of Ireland post Brexit”

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that while there is still a lot of work to do: “I will always be sad about this development, but now we must start looking to the future, a future in which the UK will remain a close friend and ally.”

Is the UK going back on its word?

However over the weekend, David Davis might have sparked an upset when he said the deal “was more of a statement of intent that it was a legally enforceable thing.”

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said last night that “the commitments and the principles… are made and must be withheld in all circumstances, irrespective of the nature of any future agreement.” Mr Davis said on radio this morning that his comments were taken out of context and that the UK was seeking a frictionless border.

The UK Prime Minister will reportedly address the UK Parliament today where the “deal” is expected to top the agenda.

Brexit shorts

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