By Emma Ross-Thomas
September 6, 2018, 9:30 AM GMT+3
Some of the hurdles to a deal with Brussels are starting to fall. What happens when Prime Minister Theresa May brings the deal back to Parliament is becoming the bigger question.
The path to a deal with Brussels is starting to emerge. And as many Brexit-watchers have long predicted, it involves postponing some of the toughest decisions until after exit day.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Germany has dropped a demand that the future relationship should be set out in detail alongside the separation. The U.K. is also now willing to settle for less detail on what future ties should look like. What this means is that all the opposition to May’s vision for Brexit – the so-called Chequers plan – doesn’t necessarily stand in the way of getting a divorce deal. Chequers is all about the future, and the two sides are now focused on just getting their split over the line.
Remember that Brexit is in two parts: first the separation agreement to ensure an orderly exit and to secure the transition period that companies desperately want. What follows is the future trade accord, which won’t be negotiated until after the U.K. leaves. The divorce agreement will be accompanied by a political statement on expectations for the future relationship. This document was once expected to run to 100 pages, but some officials now see something just a 10th of that size. European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has long said that Britain still has wiggle room on its future relationship even after the country has left – as long as the changes come before the end of the transition period.