Prime Minister Theresa May says a draft political declaration with the European Union on future relations after Brexit lays the groundwork for a future free trade agreement with the bloc as well as allowing the country to forge new trade deals with other countries.
She told lawmakers that the deal will help protect jobs, give British fishermen more control, avoid a hard border with Ireland, and allow for a “smooth and orderly” departure from the European Union.
May also says she has been clear in talks with Spain’s leaders that British sovereignty over Gibraltar will be protected.
May said the British people “want Brexit to be settled.”
She added that the rights of EU citizens living in Britain will be protected along with the rights of Britons residing in EU countries.
May’s Brexit plan faces harsh opposition in Parliament
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo says he is willing to discuss directly with the Spanish government their bilateral relations after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
But Picardo warned Thursday that the sovereignty of the British territory at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula is non-negotiable.
Spain has never dropped its claim of jurisdiction over the rocky outcrop, and its government has balked at the possibility of its post-Brexit future being decided between London and EU authorities without direct Spanish involvement.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has threatened to vote against the planned Brexit agreement unless Spain’s misgivings are addressed.
Picardo told Gibraltar’s parliament that as long as issues such as sovereignty, jurisdiction and control of the territory are off the table, he is happy to discuss close cooperation with Madrid.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says the agreement with the European Commission on the draft political framework on a future relationship represents the “right deal” for Britain.
Speaking outside her Downing Street residence, May said Thursday that the deal “delivers on the vote of the referendum” and will give Britain control of its borders, money and laws.
She also says the deal will protect British jobs and security and maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom.
May’s plan faces a significant challenge in Parliament, where a debate is expected next month.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pledging to do everything to reach an agreement with Britain securing its orderly exit from the European Union.
Merkel said Thursday at a Berlin conference of Germany’s main employers’ organization that “Britain’s withdrawal is shaping up to be more difficult than a fictitious withdrawal of another member country,” simply because of the complexity of regulating the border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland.
Merkel said: “I can tell you that I will do everything so that we get an agreement — a disorderly withdrawal is the worst possible way for the economy but also for the mental situation of our future relationship.”
She added that “there will certainly still need to be many discussions, particularly in Britain.”
The pound is rallying on the news that the European Union and Britain have agreed on a draft declaration on the future of their political relations after Brexit.
European Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday that a deal had been agreed on in principle and requires the final approval of EU leaders at a summit on Sunday.
The British currency, which has been volatile since the 2016 Brexit vote, jumped 1.1 percent to $1.2915 on the news.
The deal on future relations comes after Britain and the EU agreed on a divorce deal that settles the terms of Britain’s exit. The state of future relations are of particular concern to investors as they would influence how closely businesses can continue to trade across borders.
While Britain and the EU are expected to rubber-stamp the Brexit deal Sunday, the pact faces significant opposition in the British parliament, which could yet vote it down, with uncertain consequences.
European Council President Donald Tusk says that the European Union and Britain have agreed on a draft declaration on the future of their political relations after Brexit.
Tusk said in a Tweet Thursday that “the (EU) Commission President has informed me that it has been agreed at negotiators’ level and agreed in principle at political level.”
Tusk, who chairs meetings of EU leaders, says he has sent the draft political declaration to Britain’s 27 European partners.
He says the draft declaration still requires “the endorsement of the leaders.”
EU leaders are due to meet in Brussels on Sunday to rubber-stamp the declaration and a separate divorce deal.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is to meet Austria’s chancellor to build support for her Brexit plan ahead of a possible Sunday summit.
May plans to meet Thursday with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency.
The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure, but are still working to nail down a separate political declaration on their future relations after Brexit.
Kurz told the Austria Press Agency in remarks published Thursday that his trip to London is designed to help May build support for the deal, which faces opposition in the British Parliament.
He also says he hopes to get a “realistic picture” of May’s chances of getting majority support for the bill.