Publications

Brexit: Time to compromise

31 October 2018
Andrew Duff (President of the Spinelli Group; Former Member of the European Parliament 1999-2014)



The failure to make progress on Brexit at the October meeting of the European Council was serious but not critical. Behind the scenes the two sides move closer to an agreement on a package deal. The EU is taking a pragmatic approach to the British request for a temporary customs arrangement. Both parties agree that the possibility of extending the transition period must be built into the Withdrawal Agreement. Theresa May knows that she will have in the end to accept a version of the Irish backstop.

The Political Declaration on the future relationship, which will accompany the Withdrawal Agreement, would help to seal the deal on customs and on Ireland. Its publication is planned to be in two stages to allow for first reactions to be registered before the final version is concluded in the format of 27+1.

Despite the quarrelling, no credible Plan B is emerging at Westminster. The likelihood is that the deal will be done with the EU in December and will pass scrutiny in both the European and British parliaments.

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