Brexit News for Saturday 17 June

Brexit News for Saturday 17 June
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

UK hires top New Zealand trade negotiator to head post-Brexit deals

Britain has hired New Zealand’s former trade head Crawford Falconer as chief trade negotiation adviser to manage the UK’s free trade deals once the country leaves the EU. The Department for International Trade (DIT) has appointed the former ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because the UK has little recent experience in trade talks – for the past 40 years trade deals have been managed by Brussels. Mr Falconer will be responsible for developing and negotiating free trade deals with countries outside the EU; striking deals with a range of countries covering specific sectors and products; developing the DIT as a “centre of excellence for negotiation and British trade”; and supporting the UK as a member of the WTO. – Telegraph

  • Top candidate Jonathan Fried declined trade negotiator’s role over salary – Times (£)

Brexit talks ‘to focus on withdrawal first’…

Formal Brexit negotiations will first focus on issues to do with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as part of a sequenced approach to talks, the European Commission has said. The BBC has been told by EU sources that the talks will follow the EU’s preferred pattern of exit negotiations first, with the future relations between the two sides at a later date. The UK’s Department for Exiting the EU said it still held the view that both withdrawal and future relations should be agreed at the same time. Brexit negotiations are due to start on Monday in Brussels, but that will be the only day of talks next week. The talks are set to continue every month throughout the summer. The European Commission said “separation issues”, such as citizens’ rights and the UK’s financial obligations, would be discussed first as part of its sequenced approach to talks. – BBC

  • The four key people in Brexit negotiations- City A.M.
  • The key points you need to know for Brexit talksSun
  • Brexit negotiations: All you need to know – City A.M.

…as Britain suggests it will refuse a deal without future agreements

Brexit will not end in a deal with Brussels if the future relationship with the bloc is not set out in the terms, Britain’s Brexit department has claimed.Tough talk came from the UK today as Theresa May’s divorce team refused to negotiate with no guarantees for the coming years. Brussels has done most of the threatening until now, but Britain is beginning to set out what it wants from the talks, which will begin on Monday. A spokesman for Britain’s Brexit department said: “As we set out in the Article 50 letter, our view is that withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship must be agreed alongside each other. “We believe that the withdrawal process cannot be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account. “The withdrawal and future are intimately linked.” – Express

Hammond reportedly taking up ‘Remain-lite’ plan days before talks open…

Philip Hammond is drawing up detailed plans for a ‘softer’ Brexit that will prioritise “protecting jobs” over Britain’s ability to strike free trade deals after Britain quits the EU. Senior Whitehall sources have told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Hammond is pushing for a bespoke deal under which Britain would retain associate membership of the EU’s customs union, but retain the freedom to negotiate separate deals on trade services. As he entered a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg yesterday, the Chancellor made clear that he was not giving up his battle to resist Brexit. “My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity,” he said, in an apparently open challenge to hardline Brexiteers. – Telegraph

…as he claims the ‘majority of people’ agree with him…

Philip Hammond has insisted that the “majority of people” in Britain want a deal to leave the European Union that protects jobs and economic growth. In his first public comments since the election, the Chancellor said it was his “clear view” that most people want the talks to “prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity”.,, Mr Hammond is expected to reinforce his message when he appears on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 tomorrow morning, and then his delayed Mansion House speech on Monday. – Telegraph

  • Hammond refuses to confirm UK will leave EU single market FT(£)
  • Forget the Single Market myth – we have little to lose from being outside it – Lord Lamont for BrexitCentral

…while Brussels picks €100 billion as its minimum ‘Brexit bill’…

A fraught €100bn reckoning will begin next week as Brexit negotiators clash for the first time on Britain’s exit bill. In Brussels, the spreadsheets are primed. In a secret briefing session ahead of the June 19 start of face-to-face negotiations, the European Commission recently presented its estimates to diplomats from the 27 remaining EU states. The figures cast new light on the make-up of the EU’s demands, areas of potential compromise and negotiating tricks to bring a deal together. Both sides know the battle over the Brexit bill could make or break the process. – FT(£)

  • Brussels calculates minimum Brexit bill the EU will thrust at David Davis before talks Express

…and the Government is yet to submit opening position papers  

The British Government has still not sent papers outlining its opening position for Brexit talks to the European Union, despite negotiations beginning on Monday. EU sources told The Independent Brussels had sent its “positioning papers” to London four days ago and while similar documents were expected in return, nothing has arrived as Theresa May’s administration struggles to get on its feet. – Independent

Prince Andrew gets behind Brexit, telling businesses to see the ‘glass as half full’

Prince Andrew got behind Brexit yesterday – telling businesses to see the “glass as half full” and suggesting there will be “opportunities” outside the EU … he told the BBC: “You can either look at it as a glass half-empty, which is: ‘Oh my God, why have we done this?’ “Or you could look at it as a glass half-full, which is: ‘OK, that’s where we are. There are opportunities that we’ve got to make’. You may lose one thing but you may gain something else.” – Sun

  • Prince Andrew says there may be ‘fresh grass’ for British business after Brexit – Telegraph
  • Prince Andrew’s thoughts on Brexit are the musings of a tired, middle-aged man – Independent

Sir Keir Starmer urges May to drop what he calls “extreme Brexit”

Labour will work with MPs from across the House of Commons to force Theresa May to change course on Brexit after last week’s general election wiped out her majority, Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary says… Starmer said: “She’s got to ditch that white paper. She’s got to take a different tone and approach; be much clearer about the single market and the customs union; she’s got to be clear that no deal is not viable; and she’s got to be clear about how she’s going to allow parliament to have a much greater role in scrutiny of that as you go through the process.” – Guardian

  • Keir Starmer says UK set for bad Brexit deal with David Davis stance – Express

Support for EU referendums on the rise across the continent

Most EU citizens don’t want their countries to leave the Union but support a referendum on membership, according to a survey by Pew Research Center published Thursday. Support for a national referendum on EU membership was particularly high in Spain (65 percent), France (61 percent), and Greece and Italy (both 57 percent). – Politico

Juncker’s former most senior British official knighted in Queen’s Birthday Honours

A retired Eurocrat tasked with trying to persuade Britain to stay in the EU has been knighted in the Queen’s Honours list. Jonathan Faull, who was Jean-Claude Juncker’s most senior British official, will become a Sir for “services to UK relations with the European Union”. He headed up a task force negotiating a package of reforms aimed at persuading Brits to stay in the EU prior to the referendum. Earlier this year he said people who believed Britain would get an easy ride in Brexit talks were “deluded”. During a speech in April he said “nobody should be surprised” if the UK government struggles to achieve its goals. Mr Faull retired in December after spending 38 years in Brussels. – Sun

Irish PM to meet Theresa May to talk post-Brexit borders and DUP deal

Ireland’s new prime minister will meet Theresa May on Monday to discuss Brexit and insist the Conservative Party’s alliance with the DUP does not affect the border with Northern Ireland… Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Brexit will be high on the agenda amid concerns of a return to a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland once Britain leaves the EU. – Express

RT Howard: France is out to bully Britain in Brexit talks – this is how we should respond

During his meeting with Theresa May on Tuesday, France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, made a statement that may reveal much about what lies ahead during the pending Brexit negotiations. “The door”, he asserted, “remains open, always open” for the United Kingdom to return into the welcoming arms of the European Union. Superficially amiable and innocuous, it should act as an ominous warning sign of the tactics that British negotiators will have to confront. These tactics will be deployed by the European Commission as well as supporters such as Mr Macron, a passionate Europhile who will work to influence Brussels from behind the scenes as well as to make his own unofficial and unilateral bid to thwart Britain’s departure. – RT Howard for the Telegraph (£)

John Redwood: Either in or out – there is no ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit

I do not know how many more times I have to argue the obvious. There is Brexit, or there is staying in the EU. The EU has made it crystal clear you cannot stay in the single market without accepting freedom of movement and paying contributions, two things the people clearly rejected in the referendum and again in the General election. You cannot stay in the Customs Union if you want to have free trade deals with the rest of the world. The Labour Manifesto in 2017 stated they accepted the decision of the referendum. They set out policies to negotiate a range of new free trade and investment agreements with non EU countries that assume we are leaving the single market and the Customs Union. – John Redwood for The Commentator

Alexander Fiuza: ECJ boosts prospect of Brexit deal

A landmark decision from the European Court of Justice recently ruled a trade deal with Singapore would have to be approved by every one of the EU’s 38 national and local parliaments. This will leave it vulnerable to being derailed by fits of protectionist whimsy or far-left Walloons in Belgium. This ruling matters for us because it sets a precedent for the Brexit deal. Were it to meet the requirements set by the Court to need unanimous approval, then – if Germany wants a punitive Brexit Bill, if Bulgaria wants freer movement to Britain, if Spain wants more power over Gibraltar – they could veto the deal in a fit of pique. On the face of it, this would seem a devastating blow for the prospects of any mutually beneficial arrangement. – Alexander Fiuza for CommentCentral

Stephen Pollard: The truth is that illegal immigration is out of control

…it’s little wonder that the figure isn’t published given how it exposes the official statistics as being almost entirely useless. The report even says it is “obviously wrong” not to publish the Home Office figures: “Keeping them secret may save ministers from embarrassment but it makes proper policy planning impossible.” When we voted for Brexit we voted to take back control of our borders. Yet this revelation shows just how distorted the entire immigration debate has been. Successive governments have failed miserably to control immigration. Illegal immigration is literally out of control. Last year Rob Whiteman, the former head of the UK Border Agency, said that there could be one million illegal immigrants here. – Stephen Pollard for the Express

Brexit comment in brief

  • Another Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition? Not this side of Brexit –  Henry Hill for ConservativeHome
  • Michael Gove is back – and that’s good for all of us – Eleanor Doughty for The i
  • Five scenarios: working out the least worst Brexit option – Oliver Wright for The Times (£)
  • Quel dommage! Don’t deny teenagers the great gift of a foreign exchange trip – Zoe Strimple for the Telegraph (£)
  • Modifying Norway’s model is the key to a business-friendly Brexit – Andrew Sentance for the Telegraph (£)
  • Did the Chief Whip knife Jones – and other pro-Leave Ministers – in this reshuffle? – Iain Dale for ConservativeHome
  • This exciting Brexit future feels like all the rubbish bits from the past – Marina Hyde for the Guardian
  • A business friendly Brexit John Redwood’s Diary
  • Softening Brexit means betraying Brexit – Spiked Podcast

Brexit news in brief

  • Tom Brake appointed Lib Dem Brexit spokesman after Clegg defeat – Lib Dem Voice
  • EU referendum has changed perceptions on second passports – Independent
  • First major post-Brexit survey shows no surge in support for Irish unity – Belfast News Letter
  • HSBC: London jobs flight to EU can be stemmed if Brexit is shelved – Independent
  • Food will not get cheaper after we leave EU, says Gove – Times (£)
  • Who is Michael Gove? – Sun
  • Gina Miller’s money failed to help the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats –  GBO
  • Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl dies at 87 – BBC