Update on Brexit: Will the political declaration be reached this weekend?

Update on Brexit: Will the political declaration be reached this weekend?

Following talks in Brussels, what news does Theresa May have as we approach the summit of European leaders this Sunday?

Update on Brexit: Will the political declaration be reached this weekend?

Seeing as Brexit is at the forefront of our minds and our news outlets, Accountancy Age are bringing you the latest updates as negotiations progress

We have already covered post-exit predictions, the furore in central government, and even discussed the highs and lows of Brexit negotiations in our new podcast series, AAnswers.

Following her trip to Brussels today, Theresa May has revealed there has been a draft agreement on the future relationship between the UK and EU.

According to the European Council, the political declaration has been “agreed in principle”.

The political declaration is not legally binding unlike the withdrawal agreement, which is currently proving difficult to settle.

If plans are followed, negotiators will use the political declaration as the basis for a trade agreement to be crafted during the 21-month transition period after 29 March when the UK will still be part of the EU single market and customs union.

It currently outlines how elements like UK-EU trade and security will work after the Brexit agreement deadline next March.

The declaration has a much broader focus, looking at aspirations for the nature of the relationship the UK and EU will have after Brexit. The way it is set out enables options to be kept open – it is by no means binding.

New additions to the declaration include commitment to respect the indivisibility of the EU’s four freedoms, a reference to the end of the free movement in the UK, aims to use technology to ensure the Northern Ireland backstop is not necessary, and a continuing role for the European Court of Justice in the interpretation of EU law.

Speaking about the political declaration earlier today, Theresa May said: “The negotiations are now at a critical moment and all our efforts must be focused on working with our European partners to bring this process to a final conclusion in the interests of all our people.

“The British people want Brexit to be settled, they want a good deal that sets us on a course for a brighter future, and they want us to come together as a country and to move on to focus on the big issues at home, like our NHS.

“The deal that will enable us to do this is now within our grasp.”

The Prime Minister is set to return to Brussels this Saturday for further talks with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.

Next steps include a meeting between EU leaders on Sunday to, hopefully, sign the political declaration off.

If an agreement is made, May will then have to win the support of her MPs, most of which are currently against the terms. If they do agree there is still the step of getting it agreed by the European Parliament.

While negotiations around the political declaration are moving, there are still disagreements over the withdrawal agreement, including talks with Spain over Gibraltar’s future and with France who are said to be seeking alterations to the wording of UK fishing rights.

This news has received a range of responses as predicted.

Brexit-supporting conservative MPs like Boris Johnson and Jeffrey Donaldson from the DUP have threatened to vote against the deal.

Jeremey Corbyn described the political declaration as “26 pages of waffle [which] could have been written two years ago”.

Further to this Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said the draft declaration is just an “agreement to have an agreement” and is “full of worryingly vague aspirations”.

 

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