POLITICS

Brexit Briefing: EU Gotta Fight For Your Rights

All you need to know from the world of Brexit this week.

29/06/2017 16:26 BST
HuffPost

If you like what you read, make sure you subscribe to our Commons People podcast here for even more analysis about what goes on in Westminster.

1) EU Citizens Can Stay In The UK After Brexit, But There Are Some Changes.

belterz via Getty Images

A year after the referendum, and EU citizens living in the UK finally got some clarity on what the future holds for them after Brexit.

On Monday, the Government released details on what it will offer those who have made their homes in the UK - and it provoked a mixed response.

The key points is that EU citizens living in the UK before a certain date (to be decided) will be allowed to stay forever.

However, all of the estimated 3.2million EU citizens who wish to stay after Brexit will have to apply for a new immigration status, evidence of which they will have to produce when the go for jobs etc.

Some media outlets branded this as an ID card system which effectively creates two-tiers of citizens. I disagree with the outrage, and you can read my reasons in a blog here.

The EU reacted with the caution you would expect from the opposite side in a negotiation. Its chief negotiator Michel Barnier called for “more ambition, clarity and guarantees”  as he said the “goal” was to get EU citizens the same rights as they currently enjoy.

One of the key areas up for negotiation is which body acts as an arbitrator in any dispute. The EU want the European Court of Justice, a proposal categorically ruled out by the UK.

Brexit Secretary David Davis indicated during an interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday he would accept the creation of a new body, potentially made up of both UK and European judges.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that this proposal is being looked on favorably by Brussels.

Another area which could form part of the negotiation is that EU citizens would lose their “settled status” right if they leave the UK for two years. This is a significant change which seriously weakens their current rights.

2) Some EU Citizens Aren’t Going To Stick Around To See If The Home Office Has The Ability To Process 3.2million Applications.  

Andrew Bret Wallis via Getty Images

One of the key problems the Government needs to solve is how it will process 3.2million applications from EU citizens who want to stay in the UK within the two period it has set itself.

That job might be made easier if a report from Deloitte proves accurate. According to the research, 47% of highly skilled workers from the EU are considering leaving the UK in the next five years.

There is regional variation though, as in the Northern Powerhouse region only 21% of EU nationals are considering moving to another country, compared to 59% in London.

The report also found that while the UK is the most favored global destination for workers - ahead of the US, Australia and Canada - perceptions have shifted since Brexit.

For those based outside the UK, 21% now find the UK less attractive, compared to 48% for those based here.

Deloitte surveyed 2,242 EU and non-EU workers, half living in the UK and half living outside, to assess their views on what makes Britain attractive and how likely they would be to come to, or leave, the country.

3) Brussels Has Realised It Will Have Less Money To Spend Now The UK Is Leaving.

seb_ra via Getty Images

Alongside citizen’s rights, another bone of contention between the UK and the EU is divorce bill. The Institute of Economic Affairs calculated on Monday the UK should write a cheque for no more than €30billion - way below the €100billion figure being kicked around in Brussels.

The EU will need as much money as it can get if Gunter Oettinger - the man who counts the money in Brussels - is right.

On Wednesday he presented a paper that warned the UK’s departure from the EU would take up to €12billion from the bloc’s annual budget of €150billion.

In a statement, Oettinger said: “If Europe is to tackle new challenges, the money must come from somewhere.

“We can either spend less or find new revenues.”

Seeing as the EU is regularly unable to explain what about 2-4% of it’s annual spend goes on, perhaps Brussels taking a closer look at its own books will be a positive upshot of Brexit.

4) Maybe Theresa May Did The Right Thing Keeping Hammond And Davis Off-Air During The Election.

PA Archive/PA Images

A key to any successful negotiation is presenting a united front - something the Cabinet seems unable to do at the moment.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis seem unable to agree how long a post-EU transition period would last, or if that arrangement would include the UK’s membership of the customs union.

In an interview on Radio 4 last week, Hammond suggested a transitional period could last four years.

At a Times event in London on Tuesday, Davis said any such arrangement would come to an end within three years, and the UK would definitely be out of the Single Market and customs union after March 2019.

The difference may seem small, but it further highlights the division right at the top of the Government over where the emphasis on Brexit should lie.

True believers like Davis want to see the UK freed from the shackles of Brussels as quickly and cleanly as possible for fear that Britain will get sucked into a situation where it never actually leaves (see my Hotel California Brexit theory from last week). Hammond and his cohort want to rip the plaster off as slowly as possible to enable a smooth transition.

It’s not just Davis who Hammond is clashing with. In a speech to German politicians and business leaders in Berlin on Tuesday he made a slight dig at Boris Johnson’s “pro-cake and pro-eating it” Brexit policy.

Hammond quoted a German proverb which translates as “a compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece”, before adding: “Wise words, with some applicability to the Brexit negotiations, although I try to discourage talk of ‘cake’ amongst my colleagues.”

Boris, Hammond, Davis….I know what you’re thinking: What’s Liam Fox been up to?

The International Trade Secretary is delibrately staying out of the public bickering, and instead focusing on laying the ground work for trade deals after Brexit.

He had lunch with the Australian Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday,  delivered an optimistic speech to Tory backbenchers about his work on Wednesday, and is overseeing the hiring of a team of trade negotiators.

Fox genuinely seems more concerned with getting on with his job than bickering with colleagues in public.

Don’t Get Angry, Get Blogging…

At HuffPost we love a good blog, and here are the finest Brexit-penned entries from this week. Have a read, and if any of them provoke an urge in you to speak your brain, send a blog to ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com and you could find yourself in this very newsletter.

James Black on why Northern Ireland is now at the ‘forefront’ of Brexit

Martha Spurrier on why, behind the soundbites, the government offer to EU citizens restricts their rights 

Richard Tice on why we have had a year of economic success, and Brexit to thank 

Joan Pons Laplana on why “for 17 years I never felt a foreigner in the UK... all that changed on 23 June 2016”