An ambitious partnership with the UK after Bre…

An ambitious partnership with the UK after Brexit:

On August 2nd, 2018, Michel Barnier, lead Brexit negotiator for the
EU, published an op-ed about future relations with the UK. He outlines
the EU’s position clearly, one that has not changed since the
beginning of negotiations.

He repeats: “The biggest risk caused
by Brexit is on the island of Ireland.” The EU proposes that “Northern
Ireland remains in a common regulatory area for goods and customs with
the rest of the EU,” until a “better solution” has been devised in the
future.

He then speaks directly to the implications of the UK deciding to leave the single market:

“The UK knows well the benefits of the Single Market. It has contributed
to shaping our rules over the last 45 years. And yet, some UK proposals
would undermine our Single Market which is one of the EU’s biggest
achievements. The UK wants to keep free movement of goods between us,
but not of people and services. And it proposes to apply EU customs
rules without being part of the EU’s legal order. Thus, the UK wants to
take back sovereignty and control of its own laws, which we respect, but
it cannot ask the EU to lose control of its borders and laws.”

He ends with this statement: “If the UK understands this, and if we quickly find solutions to the
outstanding withdrawal issues, including the backstop for Ireland and
Northern Ireland, I am sure we can build a future partnership between
the EU and the United Kingdom that is unprecedented in scope and depth.“

The
timing of this op-ed corresponds with the UK government attempting to
persuade German and French leaders to soften the UK position. Barnier
makes clear: the deal offered by the EU cannot change. The UK has to
come to terms with this and figure out what that will mean politically
for the fragile state of May’s government and Brexit legislation in parliament.