Brexit Bulletin, 12 November 2018

Nov 12, 2018

Are hopes fading that a Brexit deal will be reached by the end of the month?  The UK cabinet was due to meet today to debate the UK’s Brexit proposals but this has been cancelled. Negotiations are continuing but no certainty has emerged from either side. 

Will it, won’t it?

We are still in the dark about whether a special EU Summit will be required later this month to advance a Brexit deal reached between the UK and EU.  There have been mixed reports emerging from both camps about the possibility of agreement.  In the UK, the Prime Minister cancelled a meeting today where she had planned to present her Brexit deal to cabinet; throwing more doubt on whether a November summit on Brexit will take place.

Agreement on how to avoid a hard border on island of Ireland is apparently still being negotiated in Brussels.  There have been some reports that a deal is within grasp and that the framework for a solution on the Irish border which involves a UK wide customs arrangement has been broadly agreed.

The UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed solution involves keeping the whole of the UK inside the EU’s customs union until a free trade deal is agreed. While this might keep businesses happy, the Prime Minister might just run the risk of it being seen as a betrayal of the referendum result by her pro-Brexit cabinet, who want to see a clear exit strategy.  The EU sees the backstop as a form of security in the event of a no deal and that’s why Taoiseach Leo Varadkar does not want a time limit imposed on any such arrangement.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said last week that it is “clear that more work is needed in Brexit negotiations. We remain determined to reach a deal”.

Another EU Summit is scheduled to take place in December and it’s hoped some form of framework can be agreed at that meeting; otherwise there are just a number of weeks before the UK leaves the EU.  If a deal is agreed between the UK and the EU, it has to then be approved by the House of Commons and the EU member states.

Read all of our Brexit updates and Back to Brexit Basics on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.