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PM Mansion House Speech 2 March 2018

Today, 2 March 2018, at the Mansion House in London, Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech on the future economic partnership between the UK and the EU.


(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)

I am grateful to the Lord Mayor and all his team at the Mansion House for hosting us this afternoon.

And in the midst of the bad weather, I would just like to take a moment before I begin my speech today to thank everyone in our country who is going the extra mile to help people at this time. I think of our emergency services and armed forces working to keep people safe; our NHS staff, care workers, and all those keeping our public services going; and the many volunteers who are giving their time to help those in need. Your contribution is a special part of who we are as a country – and it is all the more appreciated at a moment like this.

Five tests
Now I am here today to set out my vision for the future economic partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union. There have been many different voices and views in the debate on what our new relationship with the EU should look like. I have listened carefully to them all. But as we chart our way forward with the EU, I want to take a moment to look back.

Eighteen months ago I stood in Downing Street and addressed the nation for my first time as Prime Minister. I made this pledge then, to the people that I serve:

I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.

We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.

When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.

When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.

When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few.

We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

That pledge, to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.

And for me that means five things:

First, the agreement we reach with the EU must respect the referendum. It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money. And a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again. But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours.

Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.

Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the UK voted for our country to have a new and different relationship with Europe, but while the means may change our shared goals surely have not – to work together to grow our economies and keep our people safe.

Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators. A country that celebrates our history and diversity, confident of our place in the world; that meets its obligations to our near neighbours and far off friends, and is proud to stand up for its values.

And fifth, in doing all of these things, it must strengthen our union of nations and our union of people.

We must bring our country back together, taking into account the views of everyone who cares about this issue, from both sides of the debate. As Prime Minister it is my duty to represent all of our United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; north and south, from coastal towns and rural villages to our great cities.

So these are the five tests for the deal that we will negotiate.

  • Implementing the decision of the British people
  • reaching an enduring solution
  • protecting our security and prosperity
  • delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country we want to be
  • bringing our country together, strengthening the precious union of all our people.
  • Speech by Michel Barnier at BusinessEurope Day 2018

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    Speech by Michel Barnier at BusinessEurope Day 2018

    Brussels, 1 March 2018

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    2018 is an important year. Not only for BUSINESSEUROPE – congratulations on your 60th anniversary – but also for the European Union. As President Tusk told you this morning, 2018 should be a year when the EU makes progress on many fronts:

  • deepening the Economic and Monetary Union
  • building a European defence in coherence with our allies
  • modernising the rules for a Digital Single Market
  • addressing Europe’s social dimension more strongly
  • to name but a few.

    2018 is also the year when we need to conclude the negotiations with the United Kingdom on its orderly withdrawal and define the framework for our future relationship. The outcome will have an impact on millions of citizens and many of your businesses.

    So, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure for me to speak to you at the end of your day. Thank you, Madam President, Emma MARCEGAGLIA, and Markus BEYRER for this invitation to continue our dialogue about Brexit.

    On 23 June 2016 the British people made a choice to leave the EU.

    We regret the decision but we respect it and now we have to implement it.

    Our responsibility is to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal is orderly. Because a disorderly withdrawal would be a very bad outcome. And I recommend that everyone, on both sides, measures the consequences of a “no deal”.

    So we have worked on this orderly withdrawal, step by step, since the opening of negotiations in June last year.
    In December, we reached agreement on our three priorities: citizens’ rights, the need to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and the financial settlement. We are now in the second stage of the negotiations, and we have three tasks to pursue in parallel. Let me illustrate this with a slide.

    First, we need to draft the Withdrawal Agreement, which should deal with all consequences of the UK’s departure. For business, important separation issues include customs procedures, the movement of goods, intellectual property, public procurement, data protection and Euratom.

    Yesterday, the European Commission presented a draft text – a complete text – which we will now discuss with Member States, in close coordination with the European Parliament. We needed to publish this draft because we have to move forward. In 13 months the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. It is time to start negotiating on the basis of a legal text.

    Donald Tusk speech at BusinessEurope 2018

    An extract, related to Brexit, from the speech given by Donald Tusk at Business Europe on 1 March 2018

    Brexit is indeed, as your programme puts it, the “one big question” that hangs over everything. Yesterday, Michel Barnier published a draft Withdrawal Agreement, which will be discussed by Member States in the coming days. But I am absolutely sure that all the essential elements of the draft will be accepted by all. I would like to underline here again that Mr Barnier has the full support of both the EU institutions and the EU27.

    Recently, London has definitively confirmed its red lines, including “no customs union” and “no single market”. We acknowledge these red lines without enthusiasm and without satisfaction. But we must treat them seriously. With all their consequences. And one of the possible negative consequences of this kind of Brexit is a hard border on the island of Ireland. The EU wants to prevent this scenario. Hence, if no other solution is found, the proposal to “establish a common regulatory area comprising the Union and the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland”. And, until now, no-one has come up with anything wiser than that. In a few hours I will be asking in London whether the UK government has a better idea, that would be as effective in preventing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Everyone must be aware that the UK red lines will also determine the shape of our future relationship. Next week I will present the draft guidelines in this respect. Here I want to stress one thing clearly. There can be no frictionless trade outside of the customs union and the Single Market. Friction is an inevitable side effect of Brexit. By nature. Thank you

    Keynote speech by President Donald Tusk at the BusinessEurope day

    Brexit: EU publishes draft Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement

    The European Commission has today published a draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.


    Press Release:

    The draft Withdrawal Agreement translates into legal terms the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on the progress achieved during phase 1 of the negotiations, published on 8 December 2017, and proposes text for those outstanding withdrawal issues which are mentioned in, but not set out in detail, in the Joint Report. It also integrates the text on the transition period, based on the supplementary negotiating directives adopted by the Council (Article 50) on 29 January 2018.

    The draft Withdrawal Agreement consists of six parts – including introductory provisions, citizens’ rights, other separation issues such as goods placed on the market before the withdrawal date, the financial settlement, transitional arrangements, and institutional provisions – and a protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland. This protocol operationalises the third option outlined in the Joint Report, in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. This is the fall-back solution of the Joint Report, which applies in the absence of other agreed solutions. This draft protocol does not prejudge discussions on the other two options.

    The draft Withdrawal Agreement is published online in accordance with the Commission’s transparency policy. The Commission has presented the draft Withdrawal Agreement now to first allow for time for consultation with the Member States and the European Parliament and, subsequently, for negotiation with the United Kingdom. Given that the Withdrawal Agreement needs to be agreed and ratified before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is important to leave sufficient time for negotiation.

    Next steps

    The draft Withdrawal Agreement will now be sent to the Council (Article 50) and the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group for discussion, before being transmitted to the United Kingdom for negotiation.

    The European Council (Article 50) has called on the United Kingdom to provide further clarity on its position on the framework for the future relationship, with a view to its meeting on 22 and 23 March, where it is expected to adopt additional guidelines.

    The overall Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement will need to be concluded by the Council (Article 50), the European Parliament, and the United Kingdom according to its own constitutional requirements.

    The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 30 March 2019.


    On 15 December 2017, the European Council (Article 50) welcomed the progress achieved during the first phase of negotiations as reflected in the Commission’s Communication and the Joint Report of 8 December 2017.

    It called on the Commission as Union negotiator and the United Kingdom to complete the work on all withdrawal issues, including those not yet addressed in the first phase, to consolidate the results obtained, and to start drafting the relevant parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. It stressed that negotiations in the second phase can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible.

    The European Council (Article 50) guidelines of 29 April 2017 as well as the general principles and the procedural arrangements for the conduct of the negotiations established in the Council negotiating directives of 22 May 2017 continue to apply in their entirety to this phase of the negotiations.


    Draft Withdrawal Agreement

    Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government

    Negotiating Directives adopted by the EU Council

    The European Council (Article 50) guidelines of 29 April 2017

    European Council (Art. 50) Guidelines for Brexit negotiations, 15 December 2017

    Questions & Answers: Publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom

    EU negotiating documents and position papers

    Statement by Michel Barnier 27 February 2018

    Michel Barnier made a statement regarding Brexit, in French, at a Press Conference following an EU General Affairs Council meeting on 27 February 2018.


    In the lack of the provision of this statement in any other language, my interpretation of the speech is as follows:

    In his statement, Barnier mentions that he is concerned that “the clock is ticking” and that there is little time left for negotiations with the UK between now and Autumn 2018, when the EU requires talks to have completed.

    He announced that their draft text of a treaty for the Withdrawal Agreement will be released on 28 February 2018 ready for discussion with the remaining 27 member states and EU Parliament before being presented to the UK. The document consists of 120 pages containing 168 specific articles and will represent the Legal form of the commitments agreed to with the UK in December 2017.

    The document in addition to the topics of Citizens Rights, Financial demands and Ireland will also cover the EU positions on other issues regarding the withdrawal.

    Details for the Transition (Implementation) period are included in the Draft document and Barnier mentioned that there are still important differences of opinion with the UK regarding what is meant by the Transition (Implementation) period:

    • The EU proposes that it end on 31 December 2020 while the UK wants a longer period – which is not possible.
    • The EU wants to continue freedom of movement of Citizens during the Transition (Implementation) period whereas the UK wants the cut-off date to be the date of withdrawal
    • There remain differences regarding
      • The opt-in option for Justice and Home affairs
      • The ability for the UK to conclude International Trade agreements
      • The participation of the UK in committees of experts
      • Consultation mechanisms during the Transition (Implementation) period regarding Fisheries and Foreign and Defence policy.

    Currently, given these differences between the EU and the UK, the Transition (Implementation) period has yet to be agreed. Barnier states his readiness to discuss and negotiate these details with David Davis.

    His final comments related to the future relationship between the EU and the UK and he mentioned that the EU had held numerous internal seminars with the remaining 27 member states and the EU Parliament covering topics such as Aviation, Fisheries, Security, Defence and Foreign Policy.

    These seminars were used to emphasise the principles of the European Identity, the integrity of the internal market and the four freedoms which are non-negotiable as far as the EU 27 are concerned and Barnier will negotiate with the UK on that basis.