Brexit Bulletin, 26 November 2018

Nov 26, 2018

At a summit of EU leaders yesterday, the EU27 endorsed the Brexit withdrawal agreement and political declaration on the future relations between the UK and EU.  And they were clear that this is the only deal on offer.  If the UK Parliament rejects the agreement, there will be no re-negotiation.  The Institute’s Tax and Public Policy Manager Cróna Brady contributed to panel discussions in London (for the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) and Dublin (for the Chartered Accountants Ireland Public Sector Group) this week on the status of the Brexit agreements.

Speaking yesterday after the special EU summit, European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed that the EU27 had endorsed the withdrawal agreement and political declaration on future EU-UK relations.  Acknowledging the uncertainty that still lies ahead, Mr Tusk said "Ahead of us is the difficult process of ratification as well as further negotiations. But regardless of how it will all end, one thing is certain: we will remain friends until the end of days, and one day longer.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he regrets the decision of the UK to leave the EU and speaking at the summit said that "the best outcome for Ireland and I think for Britain and the European Union would be for the UK to stay in the European Union, to stay in the single market and customs union. But we respect their decision not to do that."  The Taoiseach acknowledged the position of the EU27 that this deal was the only deal on offer and could not be re-negotiated. 

DUP leader Arlene Foster told RTE that her party could only support Theresa May if the backstop agreement is removed from the withdrawal agreement.

Uphill battle

Now, the UK Prime Minister must convince the UK Parliament that this is the right deal for the UK and that continues later today with a statement in the House of Commons.  And there are reports in the media that Mrs May faces an uphill battle with Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the DUP and many Tory MPs set to vote against it. It’s understood that a vote on the deal will take place on the 11 December.

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