Not really euphoric, but moderately confident. For the first time in weeks, the British government seems convinced that a new dynamic has settled in negotiations on Brexit. It is now considering possible that the next European Council on 14 December, confirms that “sufficient progress has been made” to pass on to phase two, the post-Brexit trade negotiations.
“It is now time to clear the entire ship rocks and move forward,” has held the chief formulas to the punch of the British government, Boris Johnson. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, visited Côte d’Ivoire, commented that the UK is now willing to pay more than double what he originally proposed to adjust the financial element of the divorce or with the European Union. No precise figures are not advanced, but by and large, the final amount to be paid over several years could approach 50 billion. This corresponds roughly to what the European Union implies from the beginning of negotiations. In July, before the British Parliament, Boris Johnson let go, grandiloquent, the EU could “always running” to recover that amount then deemed “astronomical.”
Follower of the consummate art of transforming a successful defeat, he now believes that a “fair offer” London is expected to break the deadlock. The amount in question is not the price to pay to leave the EU but the payment obligations and previous commitments. It includes commitments on investment projects or agricultural spending in the budget during the settlement of long-term obligations such as pensions of EU officials, or that of loans already committed.
Before the House of Commons, Elizabeth Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, declined to elaborate on the amount advanced. “Our negotiating team is currently in Brussels to discuss the Brexit” Has she said, declining to comment on “speculation about a financial agreement.”
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, however, should formally present the draft regulation at a meeting next Monday in Brussels with the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council President Donald Tusk. In September, during a speech in Florence, the First Minister had proposed a settlement of around 20 billion euros and promised that the UK would fulfill its other commitments. The bloc had demanded details. What they should now get if you believe the carefully distilled leaks in the British press.
Curiously, the reactions in the British press precisely, including the most Eurosceptic, were relatively mild, as if, after months of insults and bravado, a certain realism was beginning to emerge. The Daily Mail, for example, always the first to blame the EU for everything and anything, was relegated far information on its website, highlighting just in capitals that the sum would be paid for decades.
The British government estimated that the financial issue was the biggest obstacle to further negotiations. The question of the situation of European citizens who live in the UK and the British settled in the EU seem to be settled. However, crucial Ireland and Northern Ireland are far from settled. The Irish government asked for firm commitments, and written in London on the future and notably on the question of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the only land border between the United Kingdom post-Brexit and the European Union. This question is fundamental to Ireland economically but also politically. In recent weeks, the tone between London and Dublin is mounted very seriously, reaching levels forgotten for years.
Initially, London seemed to think that a statement of good intentions could suffice. As with the financial issue, it is not excluded that the UK government is committed specifically on the issue in the next few days. London no longer hides ready to make concessions in order to advance to the second stage negotiations.
The European negotiator mandated by the bloc, Michel Barnier, has responded to rumors of a close agreement on the financial issue and the rest with his usual eloquence. “We’re not there,” he said, “we continue to work.”