Brexit up­date

The McGill Daily - - News - Ni­cole Gau­vreau | News Writer

Euro­pean Union (EU) lead­ers met in Gothen­burg, Swe­den on Novem­ber 16 and 17 to dis­cuss jobs and growth within their con­ti­nent. Talks quickly turned from the is­sue at hand to that of Brexit ef­forts, or lack thereof. Since the le­git­imiza­tion of Ar­ti­cle 50, the leg­is­la­tion stat­ing the UK’S in­tent to leave the EU, in par­lia­ment nearly eight months ago, Brexit ef­forts have strug­gled to reach the se­cond stage of ne­go­ti­a­tions to leave the Euro­pean Union. Is­sues raised in­clude those of how much the UK will need to pay the EU upon its exit, the cur­rent bor­der dis­putes be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the Repub­lic of Ire­land, and the rights of EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK and of UK cit­i­zens liv­ing across the EU (the only is­sue raised whose the­o­ret­i­cal progress has been deemed suf­fi­cient).

UK Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May has said the gov­ern­ment is will­ing to pay more al­imony than orig­i­nally stated. Specu- la­tion puts the fig­ure at £40 bil­lion (C$67.7 bil­lion), which is still less than the EU’S re­quest for £60 bil­lion (C$101.56 bil­lion). Even if this new sum re­ceives ap­proval from the re­main­ing 27 EU mem­bers, the bor­der dis­putes with Ire­land re­main a dire mat­ter.

An EU work­ing pa­per states that trade trade rules must re­main the same on both sides of the Ir­ish bor­der to avoid a hard bor­der. This ef­fec­tively re­quires North­ern Ire­land to re­main in the cus­toms union and sin­gle mar­ket, both things the UK gov­ern­ment hopes to avoid when leav­ing the EU.

With­out any sort of deal, the UK and would have to abide by the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s reg­u­la­tions.

The UK has stated that it will up­hold the Good Fri­day Agree­ment that de­com­mis­sioned para­mil­i­tary groups, and opened the bor­der be­tween Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land. Ire­land, and cit­i­zen groups in North­ern Ire­land, have made it known that they will not ac­cept a hard bor­der on the is­land. Varad­kar has stated that the Ir­ish gov­ern­ment will ac­cept noth­ing less than a writ­ten prom­ise on the surety of the Ir­ish bor­der.

Given the prob­lem of the Ir­ish bor­der, it seems in­creas­ingly un­likely that Brexit talks wil move on to the se­cond round at the EU coun­cil meet­ing on De­cem­ber 14 and 15. UK Brexit ne­go­tia­tor and finance sec­re­tary Philip Ham­mond is con­fi­dent that he will have a pro­posal ready by that date. Should the pro­posal not be ac­cepted, the UK has threat­ened to sus­pend ne­go­ti­a­tions un­til the EU is ready to take the UK’S pro­pos­als se­ri­ously. Sus­pend­ing talks would fur­ther post­pone the with­drawal process. mean­ing that the de­par­ture of the UK from the EU would be de­layed un­til March 2019.

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