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PM Statement 18 December 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement to Parliament on 18 December 2017 about the EU Council meeting held on 14-15 December 2017.

The statement covers topics on

  • Russia
  • Jerusalem
  • Migration
  • Education
  • Brexit Negotiations

On Brexit Negotiations, as far as I’m aware, this is the first time that the PM has formerly acknowledged that the bill for leaving the EU, demanded by the EU, is between £35 billion and £39 billion.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on last week’s European Council.

Before turning to the progress on our negotiations to leave the EU, let me briefly cover the discussions on Russia, Jerusalem, migration and education.

In each case the UK made a substantive contribution – both as a current member of the EU and in the spirit of the new, deep and special partnership we want to build with our European neighbours.


Mr Speaker, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe.

Since then human rights have worsened; Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbas and the peace process in Ukraine has stalled.

As I said at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, the UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and to work with our allies to do likewise – both now and after we have left the EU.

So we were at the forefront of the original call for EU sanctions. And at this Council we agreed to extend those sanctions for a further six months.


On Jerusalem, I made it clear that we disagree with the United States’ decision to move its embassy and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. And like our EU partners, we will not be following suit.

But it is vital that we continue to work with the United States to encourage them to bring forward proposals that will reenergise the peace process.

And this must be based around support for a two state solution – and an acknowledgement that the final status of Jerusalem must be subject to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

PM statement on EU negotiations 11 Dec 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May updated the House of Commons on 11 December 2017, regarding negotiations for the UK’s departure from the EU.

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the negotiations for our departure from the European Union.

On Friday morning the government and the European Commission published a Joint Report on progress during the first phase. On the basis of this report – and following the discussions I held throughout last week – President Juncker is recommending to the European Council that sufficient progress has now been made to move to the next stage and begin talks on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. And President Tusk has responded positively by proposing guidelines for the next phase of the negotiations.

I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and our whole negotiating team for their calm and professional approach to these negotiations.

We have argued robustly and clearly for the outcomes we seek. A fair and reciprocal deal that will guarantee the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK and a million UK nationals living in the EU – so they can carry on living their lives as before. A fair settlement of the accounts, meeting our rights and obligations as a departing member state – in the spirit of our future partnership. And a commitment to maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland; to uphold the Belfast Agreement in full; and to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland while upholding the constitutional and economic integrity of the whole United Kingdom.

Let me set out for the House the agreements we have now reached in each of these areas.

Prime Minister Press Statement 20 Oct 2017

by Politicker 0 Comments

Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the press while in Brussels for a European Council summit.

The United Kingdom will take its seat at the European Council table for another year and a half, and we have important work to achieve together in this time.

But cooperation with our European friends will not stop in March 2019. The UK will stand alongside the EU, as a strong and committed partner, working to promote our shared interests and values. Nowhere is this more important than in our approach to the global challenges we face. Whether security and defence, migration or foreign policy issues – we face common opportunities and risks, and we must continue to address them together.

As I’ve said before, the UK is unconditionally committed to the security and defence of Europe. We share the vision of a strong, secure and successful EU, with global reach and influence. An EU capable of countering shared threats to our continent, working alongside a confident, outward-looking UK.

Yesterday we discussed a range of subjects including migration, the digital economy and some of the most pressing foreign policy issues, such as North Korea and Iran.

We stand united in our clear condemnation of North Korea’s aggressive and illegal missile and nuclear tests and urge all states, including China, to play their part in changing the course Pyongyang is taking. On Iran, we have reiterated our firm commitment to the nuclear deal, which we believe is vitally important for our shared security.

Exit from the EU

And last night at dinner, I spoke to my fellow leaders about my vision for a new, deep and special partnership between the UK and the European Union after Brexit. A partnership based on the same set of fundamental beliefs – in not just democracy and rule of law, but also free trade, rigorous and fair competition, strong consumer rights, and high regulatory standards.

I am ambitious and positive for Britain’s future and for these negotiations. But I know we still have some way to go. Both sides have approached these talks with professionalism and a constructive spirit. We should recognise what has been achieved to date.

The UK and the EU share the same objective of safeguarding the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU. EU citizens have made a huge contribution to our country and let me be clear that – whatever happens – we want them and their families to stay. While there are a small number of issues that remain outstanding on citizens rights, I am confident that we are in touching distance of a deal.

On Northern Ireland, we have agreed that the Belfast agreement must be at the heart of our approach and that Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances demand specific solutions. It is vital that joint work on the peace process is not affected in any way – it is too important for that. Both sides agree that there cannot be any physical infrastructure at the border and that the Common travel area must continue. We have both committed to delivering a flexible and imaginative approach on this vital issue.

This Council is an important moment. It is a point at which to assess and reflect on how to make further progress.

My speech in Florence made two important steps, which have added a new impetus to the negotiations. I gave a firm commitment on the financial settlement and I proposed a time-limited implementation period based on current terms, which is in the interest of both the UK and the EU.

Both sides agree that subsequent rounds have been conducted in a new spirit. My fellow leaders have been discussing that this morning and I believe that it is in the interests of the UK that the EU 27 continues to take a united approach. But if we are going to take a step forward together it must be on the basis of joint effort and endeavour. We must work together to get to an outcome that we can stand behind and that works for all our people.


May meets Junker in Brussels

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, went to Brussels for a working dinner with EU President Junker on 16 October 2017.

After the meeting a brief joint statement was issued.

“The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission had a broad, constructive exchange on current European and global challenges.

They discussed their common interest in preserving the Iran nuclear deal and their work on strengthening the security of citizens in Europe, notably on the fight against terrorism.

They also prepared for the European Council that will take place later this week.

As regards the Article 50 negotiations, both sides agreed that these issues are being discussed in the framework agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, as set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come.

The working dinner took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.”

So nothing has changed since last week then.

PM statement on leaving the EU

Following the Prime Ministers speech in Florence, she made the following statement to Parliament on 9th October 2017, regarding the Brexit negotiations.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on our plans for leaving the European Union.

Today the fifth round of negotiations begins in Brussels and this government is getting on with the job of delivering the democratic will of the British people. As I set out in my speech in Florence we want to take a creative and pragmatic approach to securing a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union which spans both a new economic relationship and a new security relationship.

So let me set out what each of these relationships could look like – before turning to how we get there.

Economic partnership
Mr Speaker, I have been clear that when we leave the European Union we will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union. The British people voted for control of their borders, their laws and their money. And that is what this government is going to deliver. At the same time we want to find a creative solution to a new economic relationship that can support prosperity for all our peoples.

We do not want to settle for adopting a model enjoyed by other countries.

So we have rejected the idea of something based on European Economic Area membership. For this would mean having to adopt – automatically and in their entirety – new EU rules over which, in future, we will have little influence and no vote.

Neither are we seeking a Canadian-style free trade agreement. For compared with what exists today, this would represent such a restriction on our mutual market access that it would benefit none of our economies.

Instead I am proposing a unique and ambitious economic partnership. It will reflect our unprecedented position of starting with the same rules and regulations. We will maintain our unequivocal commitment to free trade and high standards. And we will need a framework to manage where we continue to align and where we choose to differ.

There will be areas of policy and regulation which are outside the scope of our trade and economic relations where this should be straightforward. There will be areas which do affect our economic relations where we and our European friends may have different goals; or where we share the same goals but want to achieve them through different means. And there will be areas where we want to achieve the same goals in the same ways, because it makes sense for our economies.

Because rights and obligations must be held in balance, the decisions we both take will have consequences for the UK’s access to the EU market – and EU access to our market.

But this dynamic, creative and unique economic partnership will enable the UK and the EU to work side by side in bringing shared prosperity to our peoples.

Security relationship
Let me turn to the new security relationship.

As I said when I visited our troops serving on the NATO mission in Estonia last month, the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security. And we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or manmade disasters.

So we are proposing a bold new strategic agreement that provides a comprehensive framework for future security, law enforcement and criminal justice co-operation: a treaty between the UK and the EU. We are also proposing a far reaching partnership on how together we protect Europe from the threats we face in the world today. So this partnership will be unprecedented in its breadth and depth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence and security, and development.

Let me turn to how we build a bridge from where we are now to the new relationship that we want to see.

When we leave the European Union on 29th March 2019 neither the UK, nor the EU and its Members States, will be in a position to implement smoothly many of the detailed arrangements that will underpin this new relationship we seek. Businesses will need time to adjust and governments will need to put new systems in place. And businesses want certainty about the position in the interim.

That is why I suggested in my speech at Lancaster House there should be a period of implementation – and why I proposed such a period in my speech in Florence last month.

During this strictly time-limited period, we will have left the EU and its institutions, but we are proposing that for this period access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and Britain also should continue to take part in existing security measures. The framework for this period, which can be agreed under Article 50, would be the existing structure of EU rules and regulations.

Now I know some people may have some concerns about this. But there are two reasons why it makes sense.

First, we want our departure from the EU to be as smooth as possible – it wouldn’t make sense to make people and businesses plan for two sets of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU.

Second, we should concentrate our negotiating time and capital on what really matters – the future long-term relationship we will have with the EU after this temporary period ends.

During the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK; but there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new immigration system required to re-take control of our borders. And our intention is that new arrivals would be subject to new rules for EU citizens on long term settlement.

We will also push forward on our future independent trade policy, talking to trading partners across the globe and preparing to introduce those deals once this period is over. How long the period is should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new systems we need. As of today, these considerations point to an implementation period of around two years.

And as I said in Florence – because I don’t believe that either the EU or the British people will want us to stay longer in the existing structures than necessary, we could also agree to bring forward aspects of that future framework, such as new dispute resolution mechanisms, more quickly if this can be done smoothly. At the heart of these arrangements, there should be a clear double lock: guaranteeing a period of implementation giving businesses and people the certainty they will be able to prepare for the change; and guaranteeing this implementation period will be time-limited, giving everyone the certainty this will not go on forever.

Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Florence speech was to move the negotiations forward and that is exactly what has happened.

As Michel Barnier said after the last round, there is a “new dynamic” in the negotiations. And I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for all he has done to drive through real and tangible progress on a number of vital areas.

On citizens’ rights, as I have said many times this government greatly values the contributions of all EU citizens who have made their lives in our country. We want them to stay. In Florence, I gave further commitments that the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, will not diverge over time, committing to incorporate our agreement on citizens’ rights fully into UK law and making sure the UK courts can refer directly to it.

Since Florence there has been more progress including reaching agreement on reciprocal healthcare and pensions, and encouraging further alignment on a range of important social security rights. So I hope our negotiating teams can now reach full agreement quickly.

On Northern Ireland, we have now begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area and associated rights. And we have both stated explicitly we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland, and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland, to get this right.

Then there is the question of the EU budget.

As I have said, this can only be resolved as part of the settlement of all the issues that we are working through. Still I do not want our partners to fear that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership. And as we move forwards, we will also want to continue working together in ways that promote the long-term economic development of our continent.

This includes continuing to take part in those specific policies and programmes which are greatly to our joint advantage, such as those that promote science, education and culture and those that promote our mutual security. And as I set out in my speech at Lancaster House, in doing so, we would want to make a contribution to cover our fair share of the costs involved.

Mr Speaker, I continued discussions on many of these issues when I met with European leaders in Tallinn at the end of last month. And in the bi-lateral discussions I have had with Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Szydlo, President Tusk and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, they welcomed the tone set in Florence and the impact this was having on moving the negotiations forwards.

Mr Speaker, preparing for life outside the EU is also about the legislative steps we take. Our EU Withdrawal Bill will shortly enter Committee Stage, carrying over EU rules and regulations into our domestic law from the moment we leave the EU.

And today we are publishing two White Papers on trade and customs. These pave the way for legislation to allow the UK to operate as an independent trading nation and to create an innovative customs system that will help us achieve the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade as we leave the EU. And while I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality. So that is exactly what we are doing.

These White Papers also support that work, including setting out steps to minimise disruption for businesses and travellers.

Mr Speaker, a new, deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and a strong and successful European Union is our ambition and our offer to our European friends.

Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU. And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic it will receive a positive response.

Because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us – but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our European friends too. So while, of course, progress will not always be smooth; by approaching these negotiations in a constructive way, in a spirit of friendship and co-operation and with our sights firmly set on the future, I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong. And I believe we can seize the opportunities of this defining moment in the history of our nation.

Mr Speaker, a lot of the day to day coverage is about process. But this, on the other hand, is vitally important. I am determined to deliver what the British people voted for and to get it right.

That is my duty as Prime Minister. It is our duty as a Government. And it is what we will do. And I commend this Statement to the House.