Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageBrexit: What We Know

By AFP     Dec 15, 2017 in World

As Brexit talks resume in Brussels on Tuesday, there is still huge uncertainty over how Britain will leave and what future UK-EU ties could look like -- with only a year to go until departure.

Here is an outline of what we know so far about the UK's departure from the European Union:

- Timing -

Following Britain's vote to leave the EU in a June 2016 referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May officially gave notice to the 28-member bloc on March 29.

This set the clock ticking on a two-year process that should see Britain pull out on March 29, 2019.

Withdrawal negotiations with Brussels began in June 2017, focused on three issues: the financial settlement, EU citizens' rights and the Irish border.

EU leaders endorsed an interim deal on the divorce terms at a summit in December but the agreement still has to be thrashed out into a legally-binding text.

Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, wants the full negotiations wrapped up by October 2018 to give the European Parliament time to ratify any final deal.

- Transition -

In a speech in September 2017, May said Britain would seek a time-limited "implementation period" after Brexit to give businesses time to adapt to the new relationship between Britain and the EU.

It would last "around two years", although this loose phrasing has caused divisions in the British cabinet.

The EU has agreed guidelines for negotiations on the transition period, which it says would run from exit day on March 29, 2019 to December 31, 2020.

May has said Britain intends to leave the European single market in order to end the free movement of people from the continent and quit the customs union.

But the EU says Britain would be bound by the same conditions of membership during the transition period, angering many pro-Brexit politicians in May's Conservative Party.

- Brexit bill -

Britain has said it will continue EU budget contributions until the end of 2020, even though it plans to leave the bloc in March 2019.

It has also agreed to pay a one-off "divorce bill" of £35 billion to £39 billion (39-44 billion euros, $49-$54 billion) to settle outstanding commitments.

- EU citizens -

The preliminary agreement in December sets out residency rights and benefits available to more than three million EU citizens living in Britain and another one million British nationals living in the EU.

The deal guarantees their post-Brexit rights, with family members also able to claim residence.

- Ireland -

Neither the EU nor Britain wants customs posts returned to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, fearing the economic effects on cross-border trade.

Britain has agreed that if a hard border seems unavoidable it could align itself with internal market and customs union rules to avoid this happening.

- Trade -

Britain wants to strike its own trade deals with countries outside the bloc and has therefore ruled out a customs union with the EU.

It has instead said it wants a "customs partnership" with the EU or an alternative "frictionless arrangement", without giving more details.

Some pro-EU politicians in Britain and the country's big business lobby have asked to remain in the customs union in order to preserve economic ties.

The EU wants "clarity" on what Britain wants before embarking on full negotiations and says this can only happen from March this year.

Brexit minister David Davis has called for a "Canada plus plus plus" deal, referring to the trade agreement struck between Brussels and Ottawa.

burs-dt/rjm/wdb

More about Britain, Eu, Brexit
More news from