Commenting on the Brexit negotiating documents published by the European Commission today, Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“It is clear that the EU has a fixed idea about the stages the Brexit negotiations will follow, with reciprocal rights of citizens and any exit bill needing to be discussed first, before we can move on to the future trading relationship.
“The European Commission and member states look unified in their approach to the negotiations, and are being transparent about their aims. We would urge whoever is Prime Minister after the election to publish as soon as possible a similar set of detailed negotiating priorities, beyond what was provided for in the Government's White Paper. Businesses know neither side can show their whole hand during the talks, but the more information that politicians can provide on their objectives, the more companies will be reassured that a good deal can be signed at the end of it.
“Today’s negotiating directives contain some welcome details for business on the EU’s intention to clarify what will happen to goods put on the market before the UK’s departure, and we’re pleased to see that their negotiators want to find ‘flexible and imaginative solutions’ to prevent the return of a hard border with Ireland. This will mean talking about any transitional bridging arrangements on customs and trade sooner rather than later. We don’t want a situation where changes are only discussed at the last minute. There are many of these kinks that will need to be ironed out over the next two years, so we will need plenty of flexibility from both sides.”