The European leaders approved a political summit in the 60-year European Union (EU) talks on Saturday at a non-UK summit.
Below are the main lines to be followed by the European negotiator for Brexit, the Frenchman Michel Barnier, in the up to two years of negotiations and that the leaders will be able to adjust in the future for a final agreement before the 29 of March of 2019.
– First, divorce –
The 27 insist on a “gradual approach”, that is to say in which the United Kingdom agrees to the terms of the divorce before initiating a discussion on its future relation with the EU, including a commercial agreement, possibly from the end of 2017 if they are registered ” Sufficient progress “.
The guidelines specify that the objective is to achieve “orderly withdrawal” and to avoid “significant uncertainties”. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, prefers to negotiate divorce and the future relationship simultaneously.
EU policy lines recognize that the complexity of the talks on a future trade agreement makes it difficult to close by the end of March 2019, opening the door to “transitional arrangements”, provided that this period is “clearly defined” And “limited” in time.
– Rights of citizens –
The EU has made the right of European citizens living in the United Kingdom and of the British living in the other countries of the bloc a priority, especially when European immigration into British territory was one of the issues that pushed the Supporters of Brexit in the June referendum.
According to policy lines, the 27 want to guarantee “the right to acquire permanent residence after five consecutive years of legal residence” for both the 3 million Britons living in the EU and 1 million Europeans in the United Kingdom.
European standards now guarantee people the right to live and work wherever they want in the bloc, as well as access to social benefits for themselves and their families.
– Check-out –
The bill to be paid by London for the financial commitments made with its European partners under the various European programs and funds is considered one of the thorniest issues.
According to European sources, Brussels estimates the amount to be paid by the United Kingdom with 60,000 million euros, a number criticized by the British.
“This is the most politically sensitive issue in the first phase,” estimates a senior European official, who is better off tackling it sooner than later.
“Sometimes when you have to go to the dentist, you want to postpone the visit as much as you can, but you have to deal with it,” said the source.
In their guidelines, the leaders stress that Brussels and London must “respect the obligations arising from the entire period of membership of the United Kingdom to the Union.”
– North Ireland –
The issue of the border between Ireland and Britain Northern Ireland is another priority for Europeans, especially after Dublin has warned against a possible return of the conflicts to which the 1998 Good Friday Accords ended.
Faced with the possible return of border posts and “taking into account the unique circumstances” of the island of Ireland, the guidelines point to the need to find “flexible and imaginative solutions, even with the aim of avoiding a physical border.”
The 27 also supported Ireland’s request to reflect in the minutes of the summit, other than in the guidelines, the possibility of Northern Ireland becoming automatically in the EU if it decides to reunite with its neighbor, a hypothesis contemplated in the Peace Agreements.
– Gibraltar –
The inclusion in the guidelines of this small enclave of 32,000 inhabitants, ceded by Spain to the United Kingdom in 1713 but claimed by the Spanish kingdom for decades, generated an increase of the tension between London and Madrid.
The main lines of the negotiations establish that any agreement on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU that applies to this territory located in the south of the Iberian peninsula must have the previous Spanish and British agreement.