Brexit could be the biggest political divorce in history, possibly creating a liability of 75 billion euros. However, as UK and EU decide to part ways, trade and finance will remain the most affected ties. Talks have started to unfold the uncomfortable side of the divorce where the UK will likely have more to lose than gain. The final payment could also lay bare the differences between the two entities and exposes fault lines across Europe. Here are three things that you should know about the Brexit talks.
Talks are Intense But the Mood Has Improved
Government in the UK recently admitted that it has bills to pay to the European Union. This has considerably improved the environment of talks between the two. However, this doesn’t mean that either will adopt a dovish stance. The talks between the two parties are very intense. In fact, officials did not even take coffee breaks on Monday and were frequently running out of water. The biggest political event of the early 21st century will not come easy and the officials understand that too. Note that Boris Johnson, foreign secretary of the UK, had earlier commented that the EU could ‘go whistle’ for the settlement money. This offended the EU, creating chances of a heated debate.
What’s the Number?
People around the world are eager to know the final divorce bill payment to be made by the British. While some estimates suggest that the bill could be as low as 20 billion euros, most agree that a figure of 100 billion euros is not an impossible number in this deal. A net of 75 billion euros (removing EU’s liabilities to the UK) could be the final divorce figure. However, EU officials do not wish to pin down a number so soon. It is likely that the number will not be decided before the end of this year. The final figure could be revealed only at the end of the negotiations, or in autumn 2018 at a Brussels meet.
Citizen Rights Garner the Most Weight
The EU has made it clear that citizen rights should be talked about first, before UK thinks about discussing trade and single market access. 3 million EU nationals stay in the UK. The government can provide them a cutoff date till which they can live and work in the country. However, this only applies to citizens who have been living the UK for 5 years or more. The policy is unclear on citizens who have stayed for periods shorter than 5 years. Additionally, each citizen will have to apply to the government individually, which could add to the chaos of the situation. The EU says that the proposal doesn’t go ‘far enough’.
As Brexit talks begin to unfold, both parties will have to settle their issues quickly. If not, problems may spawn within UK and create political, economic, and social troubles.