Brexit Bites, 13 November 2017

Nov 13, 2017

The sixth round of Brexit talks concluded in Brussels on Friday and no major progress was reported while a leaked document tells us that the European Commission is demanding that Northern Ireland remain within the Customs Union and Single Market after Brexit. In other developments, our Ulster Society talked Brexit with members in Newry while the UK government have reportedly been given two weeks to put forward a proposal on the financial settlement that is proving so problematic.

UK will not tolerate a hard border in Ireland

The UK government has insisted that it does not want physical border infrastructure on the island of Ireland while the EU has said that a hard border can only prevented in Northern Ireland if the integrity of the Single Market is upheld post Brexit. 

The EU’s comments come in the aftermath of a leaked European Commission document which stated that the EU has demanded that Northern Ireland remains within the Customs Union and Single Market after Brexit in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Speaking at a conference following the end of the latest round of talks last Friday, the chief Brexit negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier said that there had been ongoing and frank discussions on Northern Ireland but on all issues Mr Barnier said “do not expect from us today, at this stage, announcements or decisions.” However the UK repeated its line that an agreement cannot be reached on the border issue until the EU and UK begin a dialogue on trade. 

The border issue is one of the three issues that the EU wants clarity on before it can move on to the topic of trade.  Commitments are also needed on the financial settlement and citizens’ rights before the EU decides in December whether the talks can advance to the future trading relationship between the EU and the UK. 

With little progress made in the latest round of talks, the prospect of a no deal situation is looming again. As Mr Davis said in the post-talks conference at this stage, “This is a serious business”.

UK given bill deadline

Another round of Brexit talks have ended with what looks like the same take away. Some progress made but a lot more to do. It would seem that the only way to really advance the talks is for the UK to offer a financial settlement that the EU will be happy with.

Latest reports put the bill at over €60 billion.  The UK has indicated that it would pay around a third of this amount and that it is going through what it owes line by line.  There are reports that the UK has two weeks to make an offer on a settlement; otherwise trade talks could be delayed until March 2018.

It’s over 16 months since the Brexit referendum and the same length of time until Brexit day and it’s difficult to say that any substantial progress has been made in the talks. The UK government has had other concerns in the past week with the emergence of several scandals. Trying to forge a Brexit policy with a fragile and divided cabinet has become an increasingly difficult task.

Ulster Society talks Brexit with members in Newry

The Ulster Society held the last of its regional meetings with members in Newry last week. Ulster Society Chair Pamela McCreedy gave an overview of the work, events and priorities for the Society during her term and invited feedback from members.

Speaking at the event was Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation for the Institute. Brian’s talk focused particularly on the changes Brexit may cause for businesses and advisers working in border areas and some of the key areas businesses should focus on to get Brexit ready.  Institute Director of Education Ronan O’Loughlin also addressed the meeting to update on the recognition of the professional qualifications.

Brian will also be a speaker at the Ulster Society’s Brexit – What Next for Northern Ireland?  half day conference at Titanic Hotel tomorrow Tuesday 14 November.

Photos from the breakfast in Newry can be viewed at the Ulster Society Flickr account.

Brexit shorts

  • EU and Irish business leaders meet Theresa May today to voice Brexit concerns
  • Taoiseach says Ireland is unlikely use its veto if border plans are not satisfactory after first phase of talks
  • The Tánaiste urges business to plan for Brexit
  • Brexit will hit the north of England hardest, says report
  • Brexit can still be reversed, says author of Article 50
  • Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated

Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.