Brexit Bulletin: Future Planning

(Bloomberg) -- Today in Brexit: While the Irish border and customs arrangements are the most pressing concerns, work on everything else needs to accelerate. And there’s a lot left.

The U.K. Parliament is in recess but London has its homework to do. Brussels expects British negotiators to return next week with a clear plan about how the government proposes to solve the Irish border problem. The European Commission insists a backstop – the solution that will have to do until something better comes along – can’t be the government’s U.K.-wide customs arrangement with the European Union.

But amid all the talk about the Irish border and the endless customs union debate, it’s easy to forget there’s still a lot else that needs to be hashed out by October. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, used a speech in Portugal over the weekend to spell out the differences. The system for settling disputes – which the EU maintains must include a strong European Court of Justice role but which the U.K. wants to be run by joint political committee – also needs to be included in the final text of the Brexit treaty.

Brexit Bulletin: Future Planning

The details about the foundations of the future relationship – which includes trade, defense agreements, financial-services arrangements and regulations for industries such as fishing – are supposed to be completed by October, too.

A senior EU official raised British hackles last week, accusing the U.K. of chasing “fantasy” ideas and failing to accept responsibility for the consequences of walking away. In a background briefing for reporters, given on the condition of anonymity, the official laid out areas of dispute. From the EU’s perspective, here’s where these stand:

  • Mutual recognition of standards and regulations in areas such as food safety and financial services
  • Security: The U.K. can’t stay in Europol or take part in the European Arrest Warrant system, the EU believes
  • Foreign policy: The EU is unlikely to comply with a U.K. request for a significant say in decision making
  • Galileo satellite navigation system: The U.K. can’t turn the program into a U.K.-EU joint project and have privileged access which could give it the right to turn the system off unilaterally, the EU says
  • Data protection: The EU is unlikely to allow the U.K. to have a bespoke agreement that would lead to the EU losing its autonomy over privacy rules

There’s much work to do over the summer to lay the plans for the full-scale negotiation on the two sides’ post-Brexit ties. “Time is running out,” Barnier warned on Saturday. “If we want to lay the foundation for our future relationship before the withdrawal of the U.K., we must accelerate.”

Today’s Must-Reads

  • The Financial Times’s Tony Barber argues there’s a fierce battle emerging over the future of the EU that’s been ignited by the crisis in Italy
  • Bloomberg Opinion’s Mohamed A. El-Erian says markets fear a populist backlash in the country

Brexit in Brief

Air Agreement | The U.K. is ready to agree to an “open skies” agreement with the U.S. this summer that will keep planes between both countries flying after Brexit, the Daily Telegraph reports, citing four unidentified sources. The newspaper also says the EU has moved to shut the door on British and other non-EU companies participating in the European Defense Industrial Development Program.

Carry On Spending | Britain will help to determine the EU’s 1 trillion-pound budget up to 2027 after European countries defied Brussels and invited British officials to take part in negotiations, the Times reports. The European Commission was opposed to the plan devised by individual member states, the newspaper says.

Scotland in Brussels | Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her goal for the U.K. to remain in the customs union and single market in a meeting with Michel Barnier in Brussels.

Dynamic Deals | Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson repeated his call for the U.K. to make a clean break from the EU when it leaves the bloc, warning Prime Minister Theresa May that Britain won’t be able to take full advantage of the split unless it does.

No Plan B | The government’s preparations for for a “no deal” Brexit have largely ground to a halt, the Financial Times reported. This will make it almost impossible for Theresa May to walk out of negotiations with the EU in the next 10 months, the paper said.

Hunky Dory | A Bank of England spokesman refuted suggestions of a rift between the central bank and the U.K. Treasury after a report in the Financial Times said the institutions are at “loggerheads” over the future of City of London regulations after Brexit.

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