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Brexit divorce issues

Graphic News

December 4, 2017 -- Prime Minister Theresa May will meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to discuss three priority areas ahead of an EU summit on December 14-15.

The Commission wants Britain to pay its share of the EU’s €665 billion long-term liabilities — estimated to be 13%, or €86.4bn — on the day it leaves, due to be March 29, 2019. London calculates this figure should be nearer €32bn. Theresa May has increased the original offer of €20bn to €40-45bn.

This question of money is one of three issues which the EU wants to be agreed before negotiations can move on to transition and trade talks.

The second issue is citizens rights and the so-called right of “family reunification” for the more than 3 million EU citizens currently living in the UK. The EU wants free entry of extended family members — including parents and grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles – of EU citizens in the UK.

The third divorce issue, the Irish border question, is now proving to be the most intractable. The Irish government wants Northern Ireland to remain in the EU customs union and the single market, London says Britain will leave both institutions. Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wants an open border guaranteed in writing before the start of trade talks.

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