No ‘reciprocal rights’ deal for expats before negotiation starts
Last week, reports surfaced that the government was close to agreeing a ‘reciprocal rights’ deal for EU nationals in the UK and Brits residing in another EU country. This was followed by a letter signed by 80 MPs to European Council president, Donald Tusk. The letter called on him to allow early discussion on the issue of ‘reciprocal rights’ to take place. It argued that people should not be used as “bargaining chips” in the negotiations.
No negotiation without notification
However, the request was dismissed by the EU’s lead negotiator, Michel Barnier who tweeted “no negotiation without notification”. Tusk has since responded to the letter saying that the “only source of anxiety and uncertainty” was the decision on Brexit. He also adds that the EU is ready to start negotiations including that of this issue. But this could only happen when Article 50 is triggered. And that was a matter for the UK only, which the the EU council fully respects. Tusk tweeted his response, which you can click on below to see in full.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 29 November 2016
We thought this tweet was a pretty good summing up of where the two sides are at the moment…
@faisalislam ‘Brexit means Brexit ‘ has an evil twin, ‘ no negotiation without notification’
— tnd (@tndfr) 29 November 2016
The government has also previously declined to give assurances to EU nationals already living in Britain that they could stay. The Independent reports that Mrs May was concerned that doing so could lead to a ‘huge influx’ of migrants heading to the country before Britain left.
There really is no ‘cake and eating it’
Another area that EU leaders have been consistently clear on is that access to the single market is not possible without the four freedoms – of goods, services, capital and people. The EU’s stance to not budge on this is likely to prove difficult for the government. This is despite Boris Johnson’s best attempts.
The latest affirmation of the EU’s position comes from Jeroen Dijsselbloem who is the head of the Eurogroup nations. He told the European Parliament that Britain could not continue to be the financial centre for Europe unless it is bound to all of the EU’s rules.
We can’t allow the the financial services centre for Europe and the eurozone to be outside Europe and the eurozone and to go its own way in terms of rules, regulations and requirements etc”
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup nations
The EU can play the waiting game
Politico has an interesting analysis of the stance, which is worth a read. In its report by Paul Taylor and Charlie Cooper, waiting it out is a good strategy for the EU. As time progresses and the reality of Brexit becomes clearer, Britain may well be suffering from an economic slowdown. They conclude that the EU’s negotiating hand is stronger.
Support for Merkel to hold a tough stance on the UK
The Guardian also reports that the chancellor has strong support from Germans to hold a tough stance in negotiations. A poll conducted by the Körber Foundation found that 58% of Germans think that their government should take a firm negotiating position.
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