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Fri Dec 1, 2017, 06:47 PM

Brexit: All you need to know about the UKs EU departure [View all]

Q: Why are the next few weeks so important for Brexit?

A: Brexit is not due to take place until March 2019. However, the negotiations on phase one of the process are due to be completed by the Summit of European Leaders which takes place in mid-December.
That involves three vitally important preliminary issues. EU negotiators have insisted they must be concluded before talks can progress to the next phase, which will focus on trade between the European Union and United Kingdom.
British prime minister Theresa May is meeting President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday, which is the deadline for her to table the offer on those three issues. The 27 remaining EU leaders will make a final decision at the Summit in Brussels on December 14 and 15.

Q: What is the first issue?

A: The so-called Divorce Bill: This is the money Britain must pay to the EU for exiting the union. Britain railed against this initially because it is a net contributor. But over time, it has ceded the principle and is now willing to pay very close to the EU’s demand, which is €60 billion. It is reported the British government is now willing to pay up to €55 billion.

Q: And the second of the three issues?

A: The rights of EU citizens in Britain after Brexit and the rights of British citizens in the EU after the UK departure. This proved to be a sticking point but may be largely resolved ahead of the summit. In November Britain offered EU citizens living in the UK a two-year grace period during which they could apply for settled status. The British government said the process would be “seamless”. But that met with criticism from the EU Parliament which said such a right should be automatic. In subsequent talks both sides have come closer to agreement.

Q: And the last issue?

A: This is the most difficult one and aims to settle the question over how the Border between the South and North will operate after Brexit.
The Government has been looking for assurances from the British that the relationship between both territories will remain effectively border-less, as is the case at present.
However, that is tricky because if there is what’s called “regulatory convergence between North and South”, it might mean a divergence between the North and the rest of the UK, because the North would still be (informally) using the EU regulatory framework.
And that has got the DUP’s hackles up. Party leader Arlene Foster has said there could be “no arrangements agreed that compromise the integrity of the UK single market and place barriers, real or perceived, to the free movement of goods, services and capital between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom”.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said it was regrettable that the Brexit question in the North had been reduced to a green versus orange issue.

More at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/brexit-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-uk-s-eu-departure-1.3312699

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