The UK’s starting position in the Brexit talks will need to change significantly to secure a timely Brexit deal, according to new analysis published today in Nick Clegg's latest Brexit Challenge paper.
The paper, examining the impact of decisions taken to date on the Brexit negotiation, has been drafted with the assistance of a panel of independent experts and after extensive private consultation with decision makers in Brussels and other EU capitals. The new analysis of the negotiating variables in the Brexit talks concludes that Theresa May and her government will need to make significant adjustment to key red lines if they wish to secure their stated aim of a comprehensive new agreement within two years.
The two-year timescale as set out in Article 50 is already exceptionally tight, and will in practice be shortened by differences about money and the methodology/sequencing of the talks, the need to spend the last months of the process getting approval for the deal from national and regional parliaments in 27 other countries, and the impact of elections in other EU states.
The analysis concludes that the only practical way forward is early agreement on a transitional deal, which largely maintains the operation of existing arrangements, so that sufficient time can be created for a detailed and long term settlement. In order to secure such a deal in the UK's national interest, the Prime Minister will need to accede to a rapid in-principle agreement to pay a 'Brexit bill' without finalising a fixed sum, in return for an agreement from the EU to run divorce and FTA talks in parallel, and will have to accept that the European Court of Justice will have a role in policing any transition agreement.
Nick Clegg said:
"The cumulative effect of the Prime Minister's decisions to date has been to reduce the already slim chances of striking the deal she wants in the time available. This analysis confirms that something will need to give - on both sides, but most significantly on the part of the UK. The sooner the Prime Minister explains to the British people that any negotiation involves significant compromise, the sooner we will be in a position to strike the best possible deal for both the UK and the EU. At present, her red lines are internally inconsistent and based on a wholly unrealistic set of assumptions."
You can read the paper online here http://www.libdems.org.uk/brexit-challenge-paper-negotiations