Brexit talks in danger of collapse

A breakdown of Brexit talks won't stop the U.K. from leaving the EU, but it will force the U.K. to accept very restrictive default trade rules that could significantly weaken its economy.
By Kristy Douglas | Oct 17, 2017
UK Prime Minister Teresa May is struggling to keep the Brexit process on course, according to sources who said that lingering disagreements with the European Union could potentially sink the deal completely in the next few weeks. They describe growing worry that May cannot win key concessions from the EU and the the EU is becoming less inclined to strike a deal.

The U.K. will leave the European Union in March 2019, deal or no deal. But a departure with no deal would force the U.K. to trade with the EU under WTO terms. These would impose steeper tariffs on many British goods and tighter restrictions on British banks wishing to operate on the European mainland.

"If there's no deal, there will be significant problems that were completely avoidable," Dominic Cummings, director of the Vote Leave campaign that built public support for Brexit, told the Independent. He added that May and her team have "provided a grotesque case study in uselessness" in the way they have gone about the negotiations.

Brexit separation expenses that the EU demands the U.K. pay are a central point of disagreement. May's government will not spell out how much it is willing to pay until the EU offers some concessions on trade and the transition process, but the EU insists that settling the UK's monetary dues must come first.

May promised in a speech in Florence last month to settle the bill. And she will be in Brussels this week to work with EU officials on trying to break the deadlock in negotiations.


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