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EU Firms Push For Progress On Brexit

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

15 November 2017

EU businesses have said that they are concerned by the slow pace of Brexit talks and called on the UK to offer concrete proposals on the three key areas of negotiations.

Representatives from BusinessEurope and the UK's CBI organisation met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on November 13. According to BusinessEurope, the discussion focused on the importance of progress in the Brexit negotiations, and the need for an urgent agreement on a "status quo" transition and launch of discussions on a future economic relationship.

Speaking after the meeting, Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope, explained that the business community is "extremely concerned with the slow pace of negotiations and the lack of progress only one month before the decisive December European Council."

She emphasized that businesses want to avoid a "cliff edge" scenario and are therefore seeking a "status quo-like" transitional arrangement, in which the UK remains in the customs union and the single market.

The leaders of the EU27 are due to meet from December 14-15, when they are expected to deliver their verdict on whether "sufficient progress" has been made on the three key points of negotiation. The EU requires that progress must be made on citizens' rights, the financial settlement, and the Irish border before talks can shift focus to the future EU-UK relationship.

May said in Florence in September that the UK "will honor commitments that we have made during our period of membership." The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the two sides must now "work on the precise translation of the commitments" made by May in this speech.

Marcegaglia said that the UK Government should "make good on its Florence commitments by providing concrete proposals on the three issues critical for talks to move to the next phase." She added that the EU should "look constructively on these proposals once received."

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI, said that the business groups present had highlighted "the mutual importance of seeing real progress before Christmas." She said that attendees had made clear the damage that a "no-deal" scenario would do to trade, and that a transition period reflecting the current arrangements is the priority for businesses both in the UK and the EU.

Fairbairn said: "Moving to the next phase will enable discussions to gather momentum, so negotiators can focus on the future economic relationship. It's in everyone's interests that a good, unique final deal reflects the strength and depth of our existing relationship and integration."

TAGS: expatriates | tax | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | value added tax (VAT) | export duty | trade treaty | United Kingdom | agreements | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Expats | Europe

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