What the EU guidelines really say about Brexit

The posturing over Gibraltar looms large in the news but other important details have been missed by media commentators. Here are three examples:

1/ The European Council “will remain permanently seized” of Brexit and “update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary”. In other words, the Commission shouldn’t get ahead of itself and the Council will step in, if necessary, to change the negotiating guidelines at any time.

2/ The EU is worried about competition from a low-tax, low-regulation developed economy on its doorstep, so any deal offered by the EU will include restrictions on the UK that deliver “a level playing field” post-Brexit.

3/ The “unique circumstances on the island of Ireland” will mean a hard Northern Irish border will be avoided at all costs – it’s more likely the Irish Government will be responsible for customs arrangements for the whole island and the ‘hard border’ will be on the west coast of mainland Great Britain.

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