UK tries to parry claims it’s unprepared in Brexit talks
The British government is fighting back against criticism that it is divided and unprepared for Brexit, announcing it will publish a set of detailed proposals on customs arrangements, the status of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border and other issues. The Department for Exiting the European Union said yesterday that it would release the first set of position papers this week, more than a year after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.
The government says it hopes to persuade the 27 other EU nations to start negotiating a “deep and special” future relationship that would include a free trade deal between Britain and the EU. The EU says those negotiations can’t start until sufficient progress has been made on three initial issues: how much money the U.K. will have to pay to leave the bloc; whether security checks and customs duties will be instituted on the Irish border; and the status of EU nationals living in Britain.
The exit bill, estimated at tens of billions of euros, is to cover pension liabilities for EU staff and programs Britain committed to funding over the next few years. The government’s Brexit department said Britain wants to show that progress on the preliminary issues has been made and “we are ready to broaden out the negotiations” by the time of an EU summit in October.