The EU is poised to publish a set of position papers on “divorce” issues such as the Irish border – suggesting Brussels is unwilling to move onto the second stage of talks – according to a series of leaked documents.
The papers carry the date 6 September, and are due to be published in the coming days, the Guardian reports
Included among the papers is an insistence that responsibility for “solutions” to the question of the Irish border be placed on the UK, and that any goods in transit on Brexit day be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ, meaning firms would be liable to fines from Brussels for breaking EU VAT and customs rules.
It also wants the UK to legislate for the continued protection of special foods such as Spanish cava and Parma ham to ensure they are protected from British copycats.
The papers also warn that the government must guarantee EU data protection standards on classified EU documents and request that Britain not discriminate against EU companies that are carrying out state-funded infrastructure projects.
The Irish border is the main challenge, however, with the papers acknowledging it is “different from other papers”.
The fact all five papers focus on separation, or so-called divorce, issues – rather than the future trading relationship – underscores Brussels’ refusal to move talks onto trade or transition. Earlier this week, Brexit secretary David Davis warned that divorce issues could last “the duration” of the negotiations, putting further pressure on the government to secure a deal at all.
EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to set out his thinking on Brexit in a press conference today, as the government gears up for a two-day debate on the Repeal Bill.