So, that was the third round of negotiations. I must admit, even I thought this was the week when the UK would get serious. In reality, nothing has happened. As Michel Barnier, the lead EU negotiator, said at the end of the week “we made no decisive progress on the main subjects”.
The situation is rapidly becoming a farce. From the very beginning the EU has made clear that citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border come first, and then talk of trade deals will follow.
David Davis signed up to this in the first round. It was not, as he promised, ‘the fight of the summer’ but something the UK just accepted. Now we are in September and the UK Government still does not have a position paper on the financial settlement. It has produced papers on other issues - which can’t be dealt with yet - the positions in which are not realistic. Michel Barnier put it well:
“The UK wants to take back control, it wants to adopt its own standards and regulations.
“But it also wants to have these standards recognised automatically in the EU. That is what UK papers ask for.
“This is simply impossible. You cannot be outside the Single Market and shape its legal order.”
The full text of his speech at the end of the negotiations is here:
And here are a few videos of the key sections.
For now, the talks are in deadlock. The UK Government needs to take responsibility and engage seriously with Brussels. A deal is possible, but will require two sides to make it. At the moment only the EU is stepping up to the plate.
This month I will be hosting a meet your MEP event discussing my work at the European Parliament, the EU referendum, and the future of Scotland’s place in Europe. If you want to come along you can register here:
Once again European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said that a future EU-UK trading relationship could only be discussed once the exit terms are confirmed. I increasingly feel that he says this every week but since the UK still hasn’t worked it out, that is understandable.
Japan would like a trade deal with the UK, but the EU is the priority so the UK is back of the queue.
Theresa May has proposed to use the EU-Japan trade deal as a model. Vote Leave, Take Control, get a smaller duplicate of the same deal you could have had five years earlier
Keir Stammer wrote a piece stating that Labour will seek to remain in a Customs Union with the EU and within the Single Market during a transition. I just hope that Jeremy Corbyn will back him up…
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has condemned Theresa May's Brexit strategy.
Iain Macwhirter wrote a brutal, and entirely correct, piece arguing that immigration has been great for Scotland. Anyone who lives here is one of us.
The Home Office has launched an inquiry into how a “seriously misleading” version of research into student migration was leaked to the press. The UK Statistics Authority chair has also expressed his concerns.
The Centre for European Reform has produced an interesting analysis on what the German elections mean for Brexit.
Brexit could harm African economies that trade with the UK, according to Peg Murray-Evans of the University of York.
The House of Commons all-party parliamentary group on EU Relations has made the case for continued membership of the Customs Union.
Two of the parties which may form a coalition with Angela Merkel’s have given their backing to an independent Scotland inside the European Union.
Finally, if you are in Edinburgh this Saturday the European Movement are campaigning against a hard Brexit. Anyone can join, so perhaps I’ll see you there!