Between phase one and two: Brexit and its discontents
By Brigid Laffan
‘March 2018 is an important month in the Brexit negotiations following the publication, on 28 February, of the draft Withdrawal Agreement. The Commission’s draft was intended to put the December 2017 Joint Report into a legal framework. The latter signalled the willingness of the EU 27 to move into Phase Two, and discuss the future relationship with the UK.
The timing of the publication of the draft was significant, as it pre-dated Theresa May’s speech on the future relationship, schedules for Friday 2 March. The EU27 had repeatedly called for clarity on what the UK was looking for in its future relationship before beginning Phase Two negotiations.
May’s speech was followed by the publication of President Tusks’s negotiating guidelines on 7 March, and the European Council in March is the next staging post in the Brexit saga. I will concentrate here on two things: the question of the Irish border and the future trajectory of the negotiations.’