Brexit Britain from Abroad: Confused UK Giving Mixed Messages as EU Waits

Government Orders Study of EU Migration Benefits

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Thursday announced the launch of a study of the "costs and benefits" of EU immigration, to be completed by September 2018 - just over six months before Britain is set to leave the bloc.

Rudd said she had asked the government's Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to give the government "the most accurate picture possible of the extent to which the UK economy uses EU labor."

The study will consider the regional distribution of EU migration, including which industries are most reliant on it. It will also look at the role of temporary and seasonal workers in British economy.

"We will ensure we continue to attract those who benefit us economically, socially and culturally," Rudd wrote in Britain's Financial Times newspaper. "At the same time, our new immigration system will continue to give us control of the volume of people coming here," she said.

Deutsche Welle

Mixed Messages

The mixed messages from the U.K. government on the issue can be attributed, in part, to the fact that though they are committed to negotiating an exit from the EU, May’s Cabinet may not be on the same page on the issue. Lewis, for example, campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the EU, as had Rudd, and May, thoughmore tepidly. One of those who campaigned most vocally for the U.K. to leave the EU was Boris Johnson, who is now the foreign secretary, and who on Thursday, while on a trip to Australia, said he believed in an “open approach” to immigration.

The extent of free movement of labor—a fundamental pillar of EU membership—  the U.K. permits after Brexit will possibly determine how much access it has to the European single market after it leaves the EU in March 2019. U.K. leaders are clear they are leaving the single market, but many U.K. companies are loath to relinquish not only access to one of the world’s largest markets, but also the talent pool of European workers. Thursday’s remarks from their government are only likely to add to their uncertainty.

Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic

EU Urges UK To Quicken the Pace

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has fired a diplomatic shot across the bow of his UK counterparts by warning that the pace of talks may not be sufficient to reach a critical milestone in October.   

Reporting to EU 27 ambassadors on the second round of talks last week, Mr Barnier suggested it may be necessary to move to more frequent than monthly negotiating rounds if the crucial benchmark of “sufficient progress” is to be met which will allow the opening of talks on the future EU-UK relationship, specifically trade.

The heads of government of the 27 will decide whether the yardstick has been met.

Mr Barnier’s concern at what he sees as a lack of preparedness on the UK side is widely shared – an Irish diplomatic source expressed concern about whether an agreement on the phase one “divorce” issues could be reached in time for the October summit.

Patrick Smyth, The Irish Times

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