The UK is on course to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. The British government and the European Commission have agreed in principle that all UK nationals living in France by that date will enjoy the same rights as they do today as will existing spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, children, dependent parents and grandparents as well as children born or adopted outside France after the Brexit cut-off day.
Talks have now moved on to the second phase of negotiations, concerning our future relationship with the EU.
The UK economy will be worse off in every way after Brexit, no matter what deal is struck with the European Union, according to a leaked government report. The Whitehall analysis concluded that growth over the next 15 years would be 8% lower under a no-deal scenario, about 5% lower with a free-trade agreement with the EU and about 2% lower if Britain stayed in the single market outside the European Union. Pro-brexit Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith said the report should be taken with a “pinch of salt”.
EU ministers propose that the transition period following the UK’S departure from the bloc in March 2019 should run until 31 December 2020. The aim of the transition (or implementation) period is to minimise disruption to trade and travel immediately after Brexit. During this time, the UK should continue to abide by the bloc’s rules (including any new ones) but no longer participate in decision-making, says the EU.
Downing Street said there was “some distance” between what the EU wanted and what the UK wanted on the transition period. Theresa May says freedom of movement should end on Brexit day in 2019 whereas the EU says citizens’ rights should continue as before throughout the transition period.
French president Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May met in the UK in January to strike a series of agreements on AngloFrench cooperation, covering security, defence, foreign policy and more. However, Macron warned: “If you want access to the single market – including the financial services – be my guest. But it means that you need to contribute to the budget and acknowledge European jurisdiction.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond has sparked a furious backlash from anti-eu Conservatives by calling for a soft Brexit with only “modest changes” to our current relationship.