Two important deadlines for the UK to exit the EU have been set by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and by the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Michel Barnier has given the British government two weeks to give “vital” clarification on the financial commitments it is prepared to make ahead of any talks on trade and the Prime Minister has said Britain will leave the EU on the 29th March 2019.

The Saturday Economist, John Ashcroft, explains what this means:

There can be no obfuscation. We are leaving at 23:00 hours on the last Friday in the month. Just a few details to be sorted out along the way. Well, quite a few actually. For now, the money is important.

The settlement figure acceptable in Brussels, will be unpalatable on the back benches. David Davis may have a figure in mind. For the moment Davis is loathe to release the “quantum of solace” for the EU. Any amount over £350 million per week will cause turmoil in the Tory ranks. Any amount offered may well be rejected by the Barnier band in any case.

Then of course, the Irish question is of problematic importance. Hard or soft border? Assuming the UK stays inside the free market and the customs union, the border issue will melt away. Theresa May has made it clear, we are leaving the EU, the single market and the customs union. What then is the solution for Ireland? Unification or the creation of a “Free State” akin to Hong Kong or Macau? An interesting debate to follow within the DUP and the thin Conservative majority.

For the moment the question of EU citizenship subject to ECJ regulation has moved to the sidelines. David Davis is looking to a wider audience for solutions. Meanwhile, John Lewis has launched the Christmas ad featuring Moz the monster. No one appears to have realised this is outrageous campaign propaganda to stay within the European Market.

Moz the Monster is clearly the threat of leaving Europe, troubling the child like David Davis, with difficulty sleeping at night. Finally the solution appears in the form of a night light. The darkness of departure can be switched on or off. This week, Lord Kerr delivered the night light. There is nothing inevitable about the Article 50 process, Lord Kerr explains. We can simply change our minds, turn the night light on and stay within the enlightened zone of Europe …. Yep and you thought it was just a TV ad about the “holiday season” …

The week in numbers!
The week in numbers

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