Britain and the European Union still seem poles apart in the latest round of Brexit negotiations despite efforts from London to try and break the deadlock.
Three issues are dogging the talks and even an intervention from British Prime Minister Theresa May aimed at moving the stumbling blocks has failed to see any significant progress in this week’s round of talks.
May is asking for a two-year transition from March 2019 which will keep Britain in the single market at a price – and she offered around £10 billion to help shore up the EU budget.
But the EU maintains that to stay Britain will have to observe the bloc’s rules and standards, including freedom of movement.
The sticking points
Britain wants to start talks on a trade dealbetween the UK and EU, but the EU negotiators won’t discuss the terms until the three sticking points are cleared – which means reaching agreement on:
- Maintaining the rights of EU citizens remaining in Britain after Brexit
- Resolving freedom of movement problems over the EU border between Eire and Northern Ireland
- Britain agrees a ‘divorce settlement’ to settle financial commitments with the EU
European Council President Donald Tuskhas welcomed a new approach from Britain, explaining that “this shows that the philosophy of having a cake and eating it is finally coming at an end – at least I hope so.”
“We will discuss our future relations with the UK once there is so-called sufficient progress. The sides are working and we work hard at it. But if you ask me I would say there’s not sufficient progress yet, but we will work on it.”
The stalemateseems to be the EU won’t talk trade, which is Britain’s biggest Brexit concern, until the budget question is settled.
But Britain won’t commit to paying towards the EU until the government knows what sort of deal the country is likely to receive in return.
“By being creative in the ways we approach these issues, we can find solutions that work both for the remaining EU states but also for the UK and maintain that cooperation and partnership between the UK and the EU,” May said.