EU, UK in hide-and-seek game on money, transition
10 November, 2017
The EU Member States will start drafting guidelines on transition period and future relations with the UK only after hearing a clear British money offer. Such a stance became clear last Wednesday during a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels. But while France and Germany were strongly defending such a position, other Member States argued that working out the texts in the last minute could prove counterproductive.
According to a document prepared for the ambassadors' meeting, the EU will make a review of Brexit talks on 20 November, and will begin drafting the guidelines not earlier than 29 November. “There will be no guidelines, if there is no sufficient progress,” an EU source said. A new, short round of talks was scheduled for 9 and 10 November, with few believing there could be any progress achieved then.
In a tweet, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that “more progress is needed on three key topics – citizens' rights, the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and the financial settlement. At the same time, UK's Brexit secretary David Davis stressed that if the EU moves on the future relationship framework, the talks could be accelerated.
According to analysts, the two sides have engaged in a kind of hide-and-seek game waiting for the other to make the first step. While the EU is waiting for UK money offer to start drafting guidelines, the UK wants to see what the future relationship might entail before making an offer on the divorce bill. Such a dangerous game may easily lead to a hard Brexit, which would be bad for both sides, experts warn.