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Bruno Waterfield @BrunoBrussels
, 10 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
Back to talks this week
EU has serious doubts over May's Chequers plan but will string her along in negotiations while focusing on boxing Britain into Irish “backstop”
Divisions among European governments over to respond to white paper - over what degree to be negative - while EU negotiators are pessimistic her gamble will be any sort breakthrough
No one sees this as a real landing zone apart from the British, is the view
EU priority will be Ireland and getting the withdrawal agreement over the line for this autumn
EU’s strategy will be to fudge a separate political deal on the future relationship, using elements of the white paper
Real substance of future relationship negotiations would then be left for 21 month, or longer, standstill transition period after Brexit on 29 March 2019
Withdrawal agreement will almost certainly include transition extension clause
EU will view a fudged political agreement on the future relationship as a sugar coating for the Irish backstop
Looks as if EU will play hard ball on the Chequers plan for customs to work “as if a shared customs territory”
Will push for a customs union, even if not by name, as defined under GATT (art 24)
Last week MEP Brexit steering group said, “there will be no space for outsourcing EU‘s customs competences"
This comment significant as it came just after Sabine Weyand had briefed them
If wheels come off the government then pressure will be on for May to ask for Article 50 extension - that would be required for Greening’s referendum plan to take place
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