Taking Positions?

Those looking for insight into the UK’s negotiating position on Brexit will be disappointed by the two position papers released earlier this week. Meanwhile, those looking for something to criticise will also find little substance. The papers regarding trade of goods and confidentiality basically say that existing rules will continue to apply to goods placed on the single market prior to Brexit, and to confidential information already received. Perhaps there is little more to expect at this stage, as the EU remains intransigent on its order of play – the divorce needing to precede striking a new relationship. More divisive (with both the EU and Eurosceptics) is the paper released this afternoon on the role of the ECJ. For some, any role for the EU court will be an affront to sovereignty, whereas for others the workability of a deal on the single market will require a degree of indirect oversight. The paper strikes a relatively pragmatic tone toward the latter – whether the EU sees it that way is another matter.