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Europeans adopt position on post-Brexit relationship with London

Ⓒ AFP – – | The European commissioner for negotiations with London on Brexit Michel Barnier addresses the press on the 2nd day of the European summit on 23 March 2018 in Brussels. EU adopts “guidelines” for future relationship with London

The 27 leaders of the European Union on Friday adopted their common position for the upcoming negotiations of the post-Brexit trade relationship with London.

On Friday morning, before leaving her counterparts, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a “new dynamic in the negotiations” to ensure a “strong” partnership between the two blocs in economic and security terms, despite their divorce scheduled at the end of March 2019.

The prospect of Brexit did not stop the Europeans from displaying an unfailing solidarity with Mrs May on Thursday night in the case of the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal on 4 March in Salisbury on British territory, which caused strong tensions with Moscow.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, the body that brings together heads of state and government, also asked the 27 to give a green light “in principle” to the agreement for a post-Brexit transition presented at the beginning of week by the negotiators, Michel Barnier for the EU and Britain’s David Davis.

“Today we are taking a decisive step in this difficult and extraordinary negotiation,” said Barnier Friday morning, who reported on the discussions at the 27th.

The guidelines set by the leaders of the 27 will allow the French and his team to begin the discussion on the framework of the future partnership with London, “which must respect the principles and identity of the EU and the single market”.

Donald Tusk has said it again: the UK’s decision to leave the single market and the customs union will in fact give rise to “friction” in the future commercial relationship.

– Reciprocal compromises –

At lunch on Thursday, Theresa May said the interim agreement reached on a 21-month post-Brexit transition on Monday had “compromised each side” but provided “certainty” for businesses and businesses. to citizens concerned by Brexit.

The EU insists that a future free trade agreement will preserve the indivisibility of its single market, once again recalling one of its basic principles in this negotiation: no “à la carte” trade, sector by sector.

Ⓒ POOL/AFP – ERIC VIDAL – |

The 27 are pushing for, ultimately, maintaining zero customs charges and the absence of quantitative restrictions.

– Irish border –

But the main stumbling block in the discussions remains the question of the Irish border.

The British have agreed to include in the draft withdrawal agreement currently on the table the option of a “common regulatory space” including the EU and the British province of Northern Ireland, at least until what they propose another satisfactory solution.

“Once we have reached the stage where we can discuss the future relationship, it is there, we believe, that the solution to the Irish border will be found,” said a senior British official on condition of anonymity.

A point of view echoed by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, for whom “making sure you have as close a relationship as possible” with London is the “best way to avoid a hard border” .

After a breakfast centered on Brexit, the leaders will discuss the future of the euro area: a “political” debate, promises the French presidency.

Emmanuel Macron will try Friday to convince the countries that have adopted the single currency to support his proposal to adopt in June a “road map over ten years” for the euro area, giving it a specific budget to revive European policies ambitious.

France then intends to go into detail during meetings with Germany in April and May and then put on the table of the European summit in June a strong proposal of the full weight of the Franco-German couple.

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