16 April 2017

Britain no longer pragmatic

Two 'leave the EU' campaigners whom we rarely hear from these days are Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

€60bn Payment before trade deals can be discussed

The European commission said earlier this month that talks about a potential trade deal would occur only once “sufficient progress” had been made on Britain’s €60bn divorce bill and the position of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens on the continent.

The European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency employ about 1,000 people, many of them British, and provide a hub for businesses in the UK. It is understood that the EU’s chief negotiator hopes the agencies will know their new locations by June, although the process may take longer. Cities such as Frankfurt, Milan, Amsterdam and Paris are competing to take the agencies, which are regarded as among the EU’s crown jewels.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Britain failed to secure the backing of any of the 27 countries for its case that trade talks should start early in the two years of negotiations allowed by article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. The position will be announced at a Brussels summit on 29 April.

Another senior diplomat said initial sympathy with Britain had fallen away in many capitals, due to the approach of Theresa May’s government. “Of course, we want to protect trade with Britain, but maintaining the single market, keeping trade flowing there, is the priority, and so we will work through [the EU’s chief negotiator] Michel Barnier,” the source said. “Britain used to be pragmatic. (dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.) That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, and we need to protect our interests