Philip Hammond: UK must be pragmatic in Brexit talks

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 19, 2017

Barnier will welcome Davis in the Berlaymont building, the headquarter of the European Commission, along with Sabine Weyand, the EU's deputy negotiator, the UK's Brexit secretary Olly Robbins and other officials at 11:00 am.

"The question is not whether we're leaving the customs union, the question is what do we put in its place in order to deliver the objectives which the Prime Minister set out in the Lancaster House speech".

Ruth Davison, the Scottish Tory party leader, is another prominent soft Brexiteer. The talks must be completed and endorsed by parliaments by the end of March 2019.

He pointed to comments made by Chancellor Philip Hammond that Brexit meant the United Kingdom would definitely be leaving the single market and customs union.

The European Court of Justice could be asked to rule on whether the deal requires approval by each EU state.

But without a strong advocate for EEA membership in May's cabinet, it doesn't look like a realistic prospect.

Britain faces the hard fact that the community has more pressing matters to discuss than Britain's parting wishes.

The Prime Minister's uncompromising approach to the negotiations might not be the one her Government now follows.

After failing to secure a parliamentary majority in a national election last week, May's conservatives are in coalition talks with a small, far-right, protestant Northern Irish party, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Both sides are keen to ensure that people and goods keep moving smoothly across the border and that nothing undermines the peace agreement that ended decades of bloody conflict in Northern Ireland.

"We will build the broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans and that means giving parliament the maximum amount of time to scrutinise these bills by holding a two-year session of parliament", the government said in a statement. Again, rather than impoverish its businesses, services and economy, European Union nationals are generally seen as vital to the 65-million-population country's well-being.

"All the options are balanced and come with obligations", an European Union official working on Brexit said, noting that May had seemed to be looking for a sweeping free trade deal like that agreed previous year with Canada but that some of those calling for "soft" Brexit cited arrangements such as those with Norway and Turkey.

"But what we are trying to get is tariff free access to the single market".

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said it had been "crystal clear" about its approach to Brexit talks.

Davis will lead a team of experienced negotiators to Brussels, confident that he can get a positive outcome and secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union, said his spokesman. With a hung parliament, this will be an uphill task. Back then, Prime Minister Theresa May was still talking as though Britain held all the cards.

Because things can change quickly and drastically, as evidenced by many unpredictable turns and twists since the Brexit vote in June a year ago, including the recent snap election and its unanticipated result, it may be wise not to rule out anything.

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