Prime Min­is­ter makes big Brexit speech

The Week - Junior - - Home News -

On 22 Septem­ber, UK Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May gave a speech in the Ital­ian city of Florence. She spoke about her plans for the UK’s de­par­ture from the Euro­pean Union (EU), which is an or­gan­i­sa­tion of 28 Euro­pean coun­tries. The UK voted to leave the EU af­ter a ref­er­en­dum (spe­cial vote) held in June 2016. Leav­ing the EU is known as Brexit. The Prime Min­is­ter’s speech came ahead of the fourth round of of­fi­cial talks with the EU, which started in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, on 25 Septem­ber.

What did she say?

Theresa May used her speech to out­line new ideas fo rw hat the UK and the

EU’ sr ela­tion­ship should be like af­ter the UK leaves. At the mo­ment, the UK i s still part of the EU, and it will be un­til

March 2019. At this point, the talk sw ill fin­ish. May used her speech to pro­pos eat wo-year tran­si­tion pe­riod af­ter of­fi­cial talks end, dur­ing which the UK would con­tinue to fol­low the

EU’ sr ules, and get used to Brexit. The tran­si­tion pe­riod, May said, “will not go on for­ever” and would end in 2021. She also sug­gested that there would be some pro­tec­tion for the rights of EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK.

Any­thing else?

May said that in re­turn for a two-year tran­si­tion pe­riod, the UK will pay money to the EU un­til 2020. This money is for prom­ises the UK made be­fore the coun­try voted to leave, and the amount has be en es­ti­mated at be­tween £17.6 bil­lion and £40 bil­lion. The Prime Min­is­ter said that the UK would “cover our fair share of the costs ”.

She also said that, af­ter Brexit, she wants the UK to en­joy a spe­cial trade agree­ment with the EU, in­stead of copy­ing deals that other non-EU coun­tries have.

What was the re­ac­tion?

The EU’s head of Brexit talks, Michel Barnier, de­scribed the speech as a “step for­ward”. Talks have been tak­ing place for four days ev­ery month since June, but haven’t been go­ing very well. Nei­ther side can agree o n cer­tain is­sues, in­clud­ing how much the UK should pay the EU. EU lead­ers wel­comed May’s speech, but said the points needed to be “re-con­firmed” dur­ing fur­ther of­fi­cial talks.

Has the Prime Min­is­ter’s speech made a dif­fer­ence?

The speech was sup­posed to ease the talks, which started again last Mon­day. There are still some dif­fi­cul­ties, though, as the EU wants cer­tain is­sues, in­clud­ing the ex­act amount the UK will pay upon de­par­ture, re­solved. The UK, mean­while, says it will only dis­cuss how much it will pay once its fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU is clear.

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