Georgina Wright

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Michel Barnier greets Theresa May at the European Council summit in March. Photo: Getty Images

Georgina Wright tells Jason Naselli that the draft withdrawal agreement shows more concessions from the EU than were expected.

Much of the current debate around Brexit is about the withdrawal agreement, but actually the withdrawal agreement is just the first part of continuing negotiations between the UK and the EU. So, after seeing the draft agreement, released on 14 November, is the shape of the future trade relationship any clearer?

The only thing that is clear is that the UK and EU can’t start talking about the future until a withdrawal agreement is in place and it has gone through the British parliament.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wave an EU flag outside Parliament in Westminster. Photo: Getty Images.

Less than 180 days to go and the pressure is on. Talks between the UK and the EU are at deadlock, with the intractable Irish border problem the biggest stumbling block. But here’s the catch: they must also set aside time for the deal to be reviewed and ratified by both sides.

In the United Kingdom, parliament must vote through the withdrawal agreement into law, while on the European side, it must receive the support from member states and the European parliament.

We all know that the clock is ticking. But political process on both sides means the real deadline is not 29 March itself.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cars lined up for import and export at Grimsby docks. Photo: Getty Images.

Those hoping for summer respite from Brexit will be bitterly disappointed. Three months left to finalise the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and there is still no agreement in sight. There is also no guarantee that the final agreement—if one is reached—would make it through the UK parliament. The chances of extending Article 50 negotiations seem remote. Is it time to start planning for 'no deal'?

The European Commission certainly thinks so. In recent months it has published around 60 sector-specific notices highlighting areas for immediate consideration, from new licensing requirements to data-sharing rules, many of which are not covered by WTO terms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Theresa May meets Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on 3 July. Photo: Getty Images.

Negotiating Brexit was never going to be easy. At home, two senior cabinet members resigned over the white paper on the UK’s future partnership with the EU. Meanwhile, debates continue to rage in parliament over customs arrangement and the Irish border.

The next big test will be whether Theresa May can sell her position to the EU. Some of the best European political watchers have welcomed the government’s plan as a basis for constructive negotiations. But if the UK is serious about avoiding a no deal, it will first have to regain the EU’s trust by adopting a more nuanced negotiating style that reflects how other member states negotiate in Brussels.…  Seguir leyendo »

Theresa May speaks with other leaders at the Western Balkans summit in London. Photo: Getty Images.

Hold an idea long enough and there’s a good chance it will come back into fashion.

In 1962, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson famously said the UK had lost an empire and failed to find a role: 'Britain’s attempt to play a separate power role… a role apart from Europe… based on a "special relationship" with the United States… on being the head of a Commonwealth which has no political structure or unity or strength and enjoys a fragile and precarious economic relationship - this role is about played out.'

This neatly summarises the dilemmas confronting those charged with defining ‘Global Britain’ - the term coined to capture the UK’s post-Brexit foreign policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

The ‘Brexit War Cabinet’ at Chequers. Photo: Getty Images.

Reports of the meeting of the ‘Brexit War Cabinet’ convened by Theresa May, the British prime minister, at Chequers last week, suggest that an agreement of sorts has been reached on the UK government’s guidelines for a transition and a future trade deal with the EU. But though the Cabinet is united over the reported plan, all indications are that it will not be acceptable to the EU.

It has been suggested that the prime minister will propose, in a speech on Friday, a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) composed of ‘three baskets’: areas where the UK and EU would remain fully aligned; areas where the UK and EU would remain broadly aligned or seek similar outcomes through different means; and finally, areas where the UK and EU would diverge entirely.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pro-EU demonstrators outside Parliament as MPs debate the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

December marked a renewed sense of optimism for Brexit negotiations: the European Council gave the green light to Phase 2 on a transition and a future trade deal. And while official negotiations on the outline of trade deal will not begin until April or later, preparations have already begun.

But an internal document published last week by the European Commission suggests that a key sticking point for the future trade deal will be around dispute settlement.

The EU has been unambiguous: any extensive bilateral trade would require both sides to adhere to similar standards and agree to a robust institutional framework that enforces joint commitments and resolves disputes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Art installation 'The Globe' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Photo: Getty Images.

The  UK is not having the foreign policy debate that it desperately needs in this general election campaign. EU membership helped to shape the UK’s international priorities for more than 40 years, and Brexit will require the new government to think carefully about its role on the global stage. Yet, the party manifestos published this week do not spill much ink on broader ambitions for the UK. On the contrary, they suggest that Britain’s political parties have yet to figure out what British foreign policy should look like post-Brexit.

Theresa May, the prime minister, was the first to make reference to the UK’s international role post-Brexit in her Conservative Party conference speech in October last year.…  Seguir leyendo »

7 May: Emmanuel Macron addresses supporters in Paris after winning the presidential election. Photo: Getty Images.

The resounding election victory for Emmanuel Macron as French president – the youngest leader of France since Napoleon Bonaparte – has been greeted with relief and enthusiasm across Europe. He defeated Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National with more than 66 per cent of the vote, on a passionately pro-European platform, promising radical economic reform in France and deeper integration in the European Union.

The German government said his poll success was ‘a victory for a strong and united Europe.’ The reaction in London was rather more cautious: ‘France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities.’…  Seguir leyendo »