In this Brexit Perspective we discuss the third round of formal Brexit negotiations that took place in Brussels this week, amid continued disagreements between the EU and UK sides over the pace and scope of the talks.
Despite another long week with dozens of negotiators and experts from both sides thrashing through complex political and legal issues, to the outside world, there is little yet to show for their efforts.
Any emergence of clarity or details of a future trade relationship and the regulatory framework covering the EU and UK, sought after by business, remains a distant prospect.
The week’s formal agenda, as was the case with the previous round, focused on the main issues surrounding the UK’s immediate exit from the EU, namely on citizenship issues, the financial settlement (the ‘divorce bill’) and other so-called ‘separation’ issues, as well as work on the Ireland/Northern Ireland border issue.
At the Thursday closing press conference to the week’s talks, Barnier emphasised that time is passing quickly and that all parties face a clear deadline, of midnight 29 March 2019 (the date of UK exit). He continues to exert public pressure on the UK to progress the negotiations and said: “The fundamental question for which we need an answer is whether on this day, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union in an orderly manner, with an agreement, or whether the United Kingdom will leave the European Union with no deal…”.
Contact: Louise Harvey, Chair, FTI Consulting Brussels, Head of FTI Consulting Brexit Taskforce