We are off to the start of an interesting and momentous week as the early stages of the Brexit talks get underway. This morning, David Davis and Michel Barnier are in Brussels to begin preliminary talks on Brexit. You’ll remember that the UK voted to leave the EU a little over one year ago and British Prime Minister, Theresa May has started the official proceedings to take the UK out of the EU.
A number of internal scufflesares still bedeviling Britain after the last general elections in which theConservativess lost their parliamentary majority. Theresa is however undeterred and she says, “I think there’s a unity of purpose among people in the UK. It’s a unity of purpose having voted to leave the EU that their government gets on with that and makes a success of it.” This piece looks at some of the pressing concerns surrounding Brexit talks.
The EU is not sure of what Britain wants
The first problem that Britain needs to solve as it goes to the negotiation table is the need to present a united front on what it wants from Brexit negotiations. Theresa May has made it clear that she has a duty to get the best deal for Britain and she is prepared to walk away from the table because “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The problem however is that the EU doesn’t seem to know what constitutes a good deal or a bad deal for Britain.
Manfred Weber, head of European People’s Party in the European Parliament while speaking on a German radio station this morning observed that the position of Britain on Brexit remains much of a mystery. In his words, “our big problem is that we have no picture, no idea at all what the British want.” He notes that the EU has a united front for the Brexit talks but that Britain is coming to the table “in chaos”.
Manfred also observed that the onus is on Britain to make its demands clear otherwise, the Brexit negotiations will be a fruitless exercise. In his words, “It’s not as if Europe is leaving Britain; Britain wants to leave the EU. They should finally tell us what the aim is. We keep hearing that they don’t want a ‘Norway model,’ they don’t want a ‘Swiss model,’ they want to leave the customs union, the internal market, they want to limit migration. We keep hearing only what they don’t want, but we don’t have any picture of what future relations will look like.”
French President thinks it is not too late to kill Brexit
The “surprise” victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French elections has reduced the populist clamor in Europe and it has strengthened the hopes of the continued survival of the EU. Interestingly, Macron still thinks that Britain can still retrace its steps to end its Brexit ambitions. Macron observed that the Brexit agenda has done more to disunite Britain than to unite the country towards a common purpose.
Macron has advised Britain to take a critical look at whether she wants to go ahead with the Brexit talks because “once it (the Brexit process) has started we need to be collectively clear that it’s more difficult to reverse course.” He however, notes that the EU is open to keeping Britain in the EU noting that “of course the door is always open as long as the negotiations on Brexit have not finished.”