Brexit Britain from Abroad: Progress… But is it Enough?
The last time Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May had dinner together was in April in London, a little before the formal start of the Brexit negotiations, and the meeting was disastrous. On Monday evening, October 16, their impromptu dinner - in Brussels this time - took place in a visibly more cordial atmosphere. "Aimable and constructive," according to a Commission statement released Monday night.
The two leaders said they had "looked at the progress made so far" since the opening of the negotiations for the United Kingdom’s EU exit, and "agreed to accelerate efforts in the coming months " for an agreement on Brexit. However, the British prime minister did not get the assurance that at the EU leaders' council on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 October in Brussels his twenty-seven colleagues would give a go-ahead for a transition period, that is, a two-year extension for a gentle Brexit, or that they would finally accept the second phase of divorce discussions - the one most desired by London on the "future relationship" between the United Kingdom and the Union.
The twenty-seven European leaders should maintain their line, firm, and confirm that from their point of view, despite five rounds of negotiations since June, "sufficient progress" has not been made regarding divorce.
Cécile Ducourtieux, Le Monde
Davis Says EU Must Offer Concessions
Immediately before the start of the EU summit, the British government has called for greater scope for the Brexit negotiations from Europeans . "We know that EU negotiator Michel Barnier needs a little more room for his mandate. So far, this mandate is fairly tight. In addition, we would like to talk with him about the transition phase after leaving. And that he can prepare our future relations at least," said the minister for Brexit, David Davis to Die Welt. So far the EU side has rejected such a commitment.
The Europeans should reward the British government's concessions. In her speech to the European Council in Florence, Theresa May had made a "generous offer" with regard to the payment obligations, which was dared to be domestic. "I hope we will not get a simple no on Friday. The Prime Minister has taken a risk with the Florence speech. This should be reflected in the Council decision. "
Stefanie Bolzen, Die Welt
Ireland Warns Again Hard Brexit
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned the EU and UK not to "sleepwalk towards a cliff edge" on Brexit.
He said “we’re quite far back from the 'cliff-edge' but it’s incumbent on all European prime ministers that we don’t sleep-walk towards it.”
He also said the Irish government requires “a lot more detail” from the British on how to deal with the issue of the Irish land border between the north and south.
“It’s not enough to say you don’t want a hard border,” there “needs to be detail” and “language isn’t enough”.
He added that it is the UK’s responsibility to “put forward detailed proposals as to how we can ensure things remain much the same” after Brexit.
Yesterday, Ireland's European Commissioner Phil Hogan launched a stinging attack on the UK's approach to Brexit, warning: "We're now so close to the cliff edge of a hard Brexit that we can see the drop almost in front of us."
Mr Hogan also said that "it's painfully clear the UK government is not going to propose workable solutions for the benefit of the island of Ireland".
He also hit out at hardline Brexiteers who he claimed are "hooked on brinkmanship".
Shona Murray, The Irish Independent
May Writes to EU Nationals
The future rights of EU citizens in Great Britain are one of the key issues that the UK and the EU want to resolve in the first phase of the Brexit talks. Other topics covered during the first negotiating phase are the EU's financial requirements for London and a scheme for the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland .
It is only after clarifying these issues that the EU wants to begin negotiations on future relations that the UK wants . At the Thursday evening dinner of the EU heads of state and government, May wanted to urge their colleagues to take the talks of the next negotiation phase "as soon as possible", proclaimed from London government circles.
The Prime Minister said in the letter that she did not want to use EU citizens living in her country as a pledge in the Brexit negotiations with Brussels. "Nothing could be further from the truth," she wrote.
For the EU citizens in their country, they are seeking a "simplified digital procedure" to enable them to stay. To accompany this process, the government will convene an advisory council to include representatives of EU citizens in the UK. It should ensure a transparent and citizen-friendly procedure.
What if Brexit Does Not Happen?
Nick Clegg himself acknowledges that the ongoing legal process makes a Brexit in March 2019 almost inevitable. But he hopes that in a second stage, the negotiations will allow an agreement with Brussels that is very close to the status quo. "We can not go back. But the EU is moving towards a structure made up of different concentric circles. I believe that with a little imagination and flexibility on the part of the Europeans, we could return to one of its remote orbits. "
Denis MacShane, a former Europe minister under Tony Blair, shares this analysis. "Can Britain limit the Brexit to a simple political Brexit?" he asks in his recent book, Brexit, No Exit. He takes the example of Switzerland, where the vote to control European immigration in 2014 ultimately translated into a simple change in labor market rules. "Can we even leave the European treaties and find our own version of a relationship with the EU like that of Switzerland or Norway?” In this scenario, Brexit would take place, but the deep break of which most anti-Europeans speak would not take place. Strictly speaking, the outcome of the June 2016 referendum would have been respected, but reality would resemble a compromise between the two sides.
Eric Albert, Le Temps
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