Britain’s Divorce Process: Another Failure In The Making

Too many questions on Brexit – no trivial solution for an unknown territoryThe Brexit talks might not be wrapped up in November as the UK would like

This week the EU summit has been seen as the make or break summit. As the last chance to negotiate an orderly Brexit. It looked like a possibility during this intensive weekend in Brussels and it prompted rumors that a full agreement might be imminent. All of a sudden we were drowning in rumors and assertions, whirl and swirl secret deals being cooked up between the EU and the UK ahead of another crunch EU leaders summit on Wednesday.

Negotiators from both sides have been locked in talks to overcome differences on the biggest outstanding hurdle to a deal – how to keep the U.K. frontier with the Irish republic free of border checks after Britain leaves the European Union in March.

A deal that spells out the terms of Britain’s divorce terms and the future relationship with the European Union. Besides the Irish border issue the key areas still to be negotiated are the geographical indications of products and the governance of the implementation of the deal.

The chances that this key summit on Wednesday will end in acrimony as the time to clinch a deal runs short. In a clear sign of the lack of progress, a meeting of European Union governments that was scheduled for today has been canceled and according to EU diplomatic sources the British and EU negotiators called a pause in their talks on a Brexit deal on Sunday and will wait for the outcome of the summit before any resumption.

European Union officials said, that there is little chance that EU leaders will give Mr. Barnier new instructions. EU sources said that it was now unlikely that any agreement on the the Irish border would be reached until November.

All the current dancing is about finalising a divorce deal and a accompanying paper outlining the future relations between the European Union and the UK. As the summit date nears, the EU leaders had been hoping to declare progress, but all this is under a big question mark.

To save this summit from a failure, European Union leaders said that significant progress is needed before Wednesday summit.

The Wednesday meeting would be dominated by the unresolved issues in the divorce process, rather than focusing on the future relations.

Which means, that the Brexit talks might not be wrapped up in November as the UK would like. What the upcoming summit shows is that the divide increases the chances of a messy no-deal exit.


About the Author

Israel Rafalovich
Israel Rafalovich is a journalist now based in Brussels who has over 50 years of experience in Tel-Aviv, Brussels, Bonn and Washington, DC. He covers Europe and the European institutions and writes a weekly column on International Relations.