‘It will be WORSE’ Trade talks could be biggest stumbling blocks in Brexit, says director

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The director of the UK in a Changing Europe, Anand Menon, said the UK can expect Brussels to begin the “bumpy” talks on their future relationship with the EU at the December summit.

It comes as the UK government and the European Commission have confirmed that the next round of Brexit negotiations will be held next week, after the previous round of talks ended in deadlock over the UK’s exit bill. 

David Davis and Michel Barnier GETTY

The Brexit talks will not be easy, according to a director

Earlier in October, the European Council declared that Brexit negotiations have not yet made “sufficient progress”. 

However, Mr Menon said to the Brussels-based website Politico: “What matters is that the British Government’s slow, grudging recognition of the need for a transition period is taking off any immediate time pressure.

“Still, if it thought negotiations so far were tough, Britain should be steeling itself for a bumper ride ahead.

“There is no reason at all to assume that the negotiations to come will be any more straightforward. 

“Indeed, they promise to be far more problematic than what we’ve seen so far – and that’s leaving aside the inconvenient fact that the British government itself has yet to agree on what it actually wants.”

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Merkel believes the process will be successful

Mr Menon said negotiating an agreement on services regulations will be important and time-consuming as services account for 79 per cent of the UK’s GDP.

With regards to a trade deal, the director said regional as well as national parliaments will have to be in agreement. 

Mr Menon, who is also the author of “Brexit and British Politics”, said: ‘Every parliament will need to be satisfied that its country is getting a good deal. Another, potentially more serious problem, is that the mood in some of Europe’s major countries has turned sharply against free trade in recent years.”

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The EU hope that headway can me made in the December summit

Banks and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, have said that a deal should be negotiated quickly to ensure businesses do not make contingency plans. 

Mr Menon said: “Delaying an agreement could become a rather useful negotiating tactic for the EU”. 

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said last week: “I have absolutely no doubts that if we are all focused – and the speech in Florence was a contribution – that we can get a good result.

“From my side there are no indications at all that we won’t succeed.”