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05 September 2017

May to climb down - rather than crash over - the Brexit cliffs by end-September? Probably, a historic crash over!

It looks as though Prime Minister May’s `major statement’ apparently planned for later in September may have to be a massive climb down - rather than crash over - the cliffs. Sadly, the omens are not good.

The UK media is in a frenzy about “The Price” but the EU seems far more worried about the plight of its citizens in the UK – read Barnier’s speech at the press conference last week. The speech gives a very different feel from the upbeat assessment by DEXEU Minster Davis on Sunday’s Marr programme. Barnier highlighted the mistake – apparently not for the first time - of the Home Office (who was the MinIster in charge for many years?) in sending deportation letters to 100 EU nationals. That former Minister (now Prime Minister) even had to apologise for this “unfortunate error”.

But now POLITICO reports that the European Parliament – which must agree to the final deal – is about to publish a report with “danger zones where rights are likely to be put at risk (red). The chart was marked red for more than one-quarter of the 69 identified rights issues.”

Moreover, Irish Foreign Minister Coveney was still asking very pointed questions about “How do we do that [maintain the free travel area]” at yesterday’s Press conference with Barnier. Clearly, he does not feel that UK suggestions are anywhere near solving this problem.

Parliament’s co-ordinator Verhofstadt is quoted as saying that Parliament will aim to vote their report by the end of September, so ahead of the formal decision by the European Council on whether “sufficient progress” has been made.

© Graham Bishop

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