Details of the withdrawal treaty terms between the UK and the European Union are due to
be announced at the EU Summit in October, but is a deal likely to be agreed by then?
Europe’s Chief Negotiator for Britain’s exit from the EU, Michel Barnier, set this target date
for finalising details on key issues – including the Irish border, citizens’ rights, the transition
deal and, crucially, a free trade agreement where tariffs on goods will be lifted.
Barnier has made it very clear that the EU rejects the customs proposals laid out in the
Chequers white paper on Brexit – namely that after the separation the UK could collect tariffs
at the border on the bloc’s behalf.
However he has stated that the EU is open to a post-Brexit customs union (which is strongly
opposed by The Prime Minister, Theresa May) and that there’s been a “real step forward” in
plans for future security.
Regarding Ireland, Theresa May wants to avoid a hard border because she feels it would
isolate Northern Ireland from the UK, while Michel Barnier has recently suggested he’s
“ready to improve” the EU’s proposal because he sees it as “the biggest risk” to the deal.
The Prime Minister has been meeting key EU leaders over the summer break, encouraging
them to lean on Barnier in the hope that this will result in the UK being able to remain in the
single market for goods – but opt out of free movement rules.
Whether this has had the desired effect will become more obvious in the coming weeks.
There is certainly a lot of effort going in from both sides to agree a mutually beneficial treaty,
so it will be very interesting to observe how far each side is willing to compromise?
The clock seems to be ticking fast ahead of the summit on 18-19 th October – and as
negotiations seem far from finalised, the prospect and implications of a “no deal” Brexit has been widely reported.
There is still much to discuss and debate so keep checking in for updates and join our forum to have your say!