EU leaders agree to move Brexit talks to next phase :

EU leaders agree to move Brexit talks to next phase :

Context

EU said it would give the green light for Brexit talks to move to the crucial phase 2.

Backdrop

Two days after parliamentarians inflicted a major legislative defeat on the British government, Prime Minister Theresa May won a domestic political reprieve, as the EU said it would give the green light for Brexit talks to move to the crucial phase 2

Transitional Arrangements to be covered

Welcoming the “sufficient” progress that had been made on addressing the issues in the first phase of negotiations, the European Council said that the talks would now cover transitional arrangements as well as the longer term relationship but warned that progress was contingent on the commitments made in the first phase to be “respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible”.

Transitional period

The Council also insisted, in its guidelines for the next phase of negotiations also published on Friday, that during any transitional period (Britain has proposed a period of around two years) EU rules, regulations, budget, trade policy and laws would continue to apply to Britain.

Tough road ahead

These conditions are unlikely to go down well among so-called Hard Brexiteers who are keen for free movement, and the application the European Court of Justice’s rulings to stop applying to Britain from the earliest date possible (March 29, 2019).

A Milestone

Whatever the challenges, the developments mark a milestone in the British government’s progress towards the Brexit deadline, which the government is currently attempting to enshrine in legislation

The First Phase

The first phase involved difficult negotiations on three major issues:

  • What the rights of EU citizens in Britain would be and vice versa
  • How much Britain would have to pay to “divorce” the EU
  • And how exiting the single market and the customs union could be reconciled with keeping an open border between Ireland (an EU nation) and Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom and therefore set to leave the EU)

Parliamentary battle

A further parliamentary battle is expected next week when the government attempts to push through an amendment that would enshrine the deadline of March 29, 2019 in legislation — something that a number of Conservative MPs have also indicated they will oppose.

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