Germany and UK prepared to drop key Brexit demands

Raab says some on EU side see Irish Border as ‘pressure point’ and are using it to their advantage


Claim: British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said some in the EU were using the Irish Border issue to pressure the UK. Photo: Getty Images
Claim: British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said some in the EU were using the Irish Border issue to pressure the UK. Photo: Getty Images

Both Germany and the UK are prepared to drop some key Brexit demands in order to get a divorce deal done “within months”, sources have said.

It is understood that Germany is ready to accept a less detailed agreement on the UK’s future economic and trade ties with the EU.

The UK side is also willing to settle for a vaguer statement of intent on the future relationship, postponing some decisions until after Brexit day, according to officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Economists said this would reduce market concerns of a hard Brexit for now and encourage hopes of a transition period. Sterling jumped and British government bonds rose yesterday afternoon following the reports that Britain and Germany are preparing to drop key demands, paving the way to a deal in the coming months.

Downing Street insisted there was no change in the UK’s position on the need for “proper” information about the future relationship to be available by the time parliament votes on the withdrawal agreement.

Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, speaking in the House of Commons, said some within the EU saw the issue of a hard Irish Border as a political “pressure point” and were using it to their advantage in negotiations.



Progress: Michel Barnier held talks with the Brexit select committee. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)Progress: Michel Barnier held talks with the Brexit select committee. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Progress: Michel Barnier held talks with the Brexit select committee. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey had outlined current arrangements across the Border, including cameras, food standards checks, and cross-border work on smuggling.

Describing the Border issue as “ridiculously over-hyped”, she added: “All of these things with us leaving the EU are no different, really, [and] can be solved by genuine co-operation and the willingness to make it work.

“Do you understand why some people perhaps are using this as an issue to make it as difficult as possible?”

Mr Raab replied that a “regulatory Border” was different to a hard Border and the UK government did not wish to see “additional substantive infrastructure”.

He said: “There are clearly some in some quarters of the EU who appreciate this is a political pressure point on the UK. And this is a negotiation, people apply pressure points and I think you are right about that.”

Separately, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told a delegation of MPs that Theresa May’s proposals for a future trade deal were “dead”, it has been claimed.

Mr Barnier held talks with the Brexit select committee on Monday to discuss progress in the negotiations, and made it “crystal clear” that the Chequers plan was unacceptable, according to Labour’s Stephen Kinnock.

During exchanges with Mr Raab, the anti-Brexit campaigner insisted Brussels had spiked the plans.

He said: “I can tell you absolutely, unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt that Chequers is dead in the water.

“Mr Barnier made it crystal clear that Chequers is completely unacceptable to the European Union.”

During the session of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee yesterday, Mrs May’s Europe adviser rejected suggestions that he should tell the prime minister to put the Chequers plan “out of its misery”.

Irish Independent

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