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Montevideo, November 16th 2018 - 07:37 UTC

EU offers closer post-Brexit relation if UK remains in the customs union

Thursday, April 26th 2018 - 09:23 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Britain says it will be dropping out of the EU’s single market and customs union after Brexit. Britain says it will be dropping out of the EU’s single market and customs union after Brexit.
The bloc’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has already suggested a customs union and closer relations in his comments at the Hanover trade fair earlier this week. The bloc’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has already suggested a customs union and closer relations in his comments at the Hanover trade fair earlier this week.
The House of Lords last week challenged May’s refusal to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, and the lower chamber is expected to hold a vote. The House of Lords last week challenged May’s refusal to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, and the lower chamber is expected to hold a vote.

The European Union could offer Britain a closer relationship after Brexit if Prime Minister Theresa May decides to stay in the bloc’s customs union, diplomats said. EU hopes London could change its stance on what ties it wants after Brexit after Britain’s upper house of parliament challenged the government on a key bill relating to May’s plan to quit the customs union.

Diplomats and officials in Brussels cite little progress in Brexit negotiations since the last meeting of all EU leaders in March. Back then, May won the green light from her 27 colleagues to start talks about the two sides’ future relationship.

The impasse is largely because Brussels and London have so far outlined conflicting stances on their new deal after Brexit.

Britain says it will be dropping out of the EU’s single market and customs union after Brexit. The EU says these red lines mean the only possible framework for future cooperation between Britain and the bloc is a trade deal. That, in turn, falls short of London’s ambition for a broad, bespoke deal.

But the House of Lords last week challenged May’s refusal to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, and the lower chamber is expected to hold a follow-up vote.

The Lords want to oblige the government to report on what steps it had taken to negotiate a customs union and May is now gauging the support of her divided Conservative party to any change of plans.

“A customs union would change the dynamic between Britain and the EU. It would show that the British really do want to stay close to Europe,” a senior EU diplomat said in Brussels. “If they did do that, I think the EU could be quite responsive.”

The bloc’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has already suggested just that in his comments at the Hanover trade fair earlier this week.

“If the UK’s red lines were to evolve, the (European) Union would be prepared to reconsider its offer. We are flexible, never dogmatic. We are open for business,” Barnier said.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • The Voice

    Many of us have had our heads buried in the sand since 1973 and two years ago we woke up and decided to take our country forward ourselves, free of the shackles applied by unelected Brussels bureaucrats.

    Hopefully Club Med, Poland and Hungary will follow our lead and all the whining twerps that want to remain will exit our shores to what renains of the EU and leave us to prosper in peace.

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 04:44 pm +1
  • darragh

    ”We are flexible, never dogmatic. We are open for business,” Barnier said.

    Hilarious - funniest thing I've heard in ages.

    Not getting desperate are we lads - starting to worry about all that British money you're not going to have to cover your pensions.

    Apr 26th, 2018 - 01:31 pm 0
  • The Voice

    After Brexit the EU will have the status of just another country. A country which people can travel to and from without red tape. A country where we can live and whose citizens can live here. There will be more limits on the exchange of workers. Goods will move across the EU border tariff free in both directions.

    Apr 27th, 2018 - 12:28 pm 0
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