Brexit: UK publishes EU negotiation plans

FILE- In this Oct. 15, 2015 file photo, a member of protocol adjusts the British and EU flags at EU headquarters in Brussels. As Britain prepares to vote whether to leave or stay in the European Union on June 23, 2016, goodwill between the continent and the island nation is fraying on both sides. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Britain will publish a cluster of documents in the coming days laying out the government’s position on topics ranging from data protection to judicial cooperation. Five papers are due to be published in the week starting Monday, the Department for Exiting the European Union said in a statement on Sunday. The next round of negotiations is due to start on Aug. 29.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government wants to push discussions with the EU beyond a focus on settling divorce arrangements to its future relationship with the bloc to bring clarity to anxious businesses, citizens and investors. With the clock ticking down to the March 2019 departure date, Brexit Secretary David Davis has an added sense of urgency to try and get a discussion on trade going.

Last week, Britain issued proposals for a future customs agreement with the EU and a solution for Northern Ireland to avoid a return of border posts with the Republic of Ireland which might inflame tensions.

Britain’s Brexit department said on Sunday it would issue two formal position papers this week along with a batch of proposals for discussions on future relations ahead of the next round of negotiations scheduled for later this month.

“In the coming days we will demonstrate our thinking even further, with five new papers – all part of our work to drive the talks forward, and make sure we can show beyond doubt that we have made sufficient progress on withdrawal issues by October so that we can move on to discuss our future relationship,” Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said in a statement. Britain is “putting forward imaginative and creative solutions to build a deep and special partnership with our closest neighbours and allies.”

In July, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said talks on future relations had become less likely to start in October because of a lack of progress on issues such as how much Britain should pay to leave the EU, the future rights of British and EU citizens, and how to manage a land border in Ireland

EU officials said progress had been difficult because Britain had no position at all on many issues and that an already-tight timetable could be delayed ahead of the scheduled March 2019 exit.

“It’s basically about ensuring that when we leave there isn’t a situation where goods on the market that have been validated and checked, all of sudden we have a need for businesses to have to go through compliance checks,” a spokesman said.

Further papers on the future relationship will be released outlining the UK’s plans for civil judicial cooperation with the EU, dispute resolution in light of Britain’s intention to end the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction over British matters, and on data protection.

 

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