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Sunday 4 June 2023 Dublin: 18°C
Rene Rossignaud/PA Images
# Wish list
Here's what the European Union will ask for during Brexit talks
We have a good idea of what Britain wants – so what will the EU be asking for?

IN ANY NEGOTIATION, there’s a list of things each side wants.

Both sides sit down and discuss what they both want: pushing aside the details of the things they agree on, and eyeballing each other over the things they don’t.

We can assume that Britain wants the same thing the British electorate voted for: autonomy over regulations; freedom to set prices on agricultural products and set quotas on fishing; and to be able to refuse people from entering Britain.

At the same time, ‘Brexiteers’ want access to the EU’s single market, or a deal as close to free trade as possible.

What does the EU want?

After being handed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter on leaving the EU yesterday, EU president Donald Tusk rejected demands for immediate parallel negotiations.

Taking a firm tone, Tusk said London must make headway on the bill for the split, safeguarding the rights of three million European citizens living in Britain.

That’s Europe’s main concern – ensuring that their citizens already living in Britain are protected in some way.

Northern Ireland, and the UK’s unique relationship with Ireland have both been highlighted as the third most important priority.


Britain EU Matt Dunham / PA Images Matt Dunham / PA Images / PA Images

EU fishing fleets are increasingly anxious about keeping their access to bountiful British waters.

European fleets obtain one-third of their catch in the exclusive economic zone around the British Isles; in the long term, EU fleets could lose a combined 500 to 600 vessels if they were excluded from British waters, representing up to 3,000 fleet jobs.

From 2011 to 2015, European fleets caught 700,000 tonnes of fish and seafood in British waters, valued at about €612 million, the NAFC said in a report published in January.

And depending on whether Britain negotiates a “hard” or “soft” exit, the viability of dozens of fishing centres, from Concarneau in France and Rostock in Germany or Gdansk in Poland, could be at stake.


NY: British Foreign Minster Boris Johnson speaks at UN Security Council stakeout PA Images PA Images

Theresa May gave a warning in her letter to Tusk that failure to clinch a deal on trade would affect Britain’s cooperation on terrorism and security.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson contradicted these comments slightly, saying London was committed to European security and that it was “not some bargaining chip” in the Brexit talks.

Tusk added he was sure that a “wise and decent” Britain would not do so. Not a good sign…


Brexit Ben Birchall / PA Images Ben Birchall / PA Images / PA Images

Interestingly enough, the EU’s guidelines for Brexit state that Spain must have a say over whether any post-Brexit deal applies to the British territory of Gibraltar, over which the two countries’ governments have rowed for 300 years.

British Conservative MPs have since warned that the sovereignty of the overseas territory is non-negotiable.

Meanwhile over here, Sinn Féin TD Peadar Toibín has said that the deal has shown that Ireland has lost out when it comes to Northern Ireland.

According to Tóibín, the draft EU Brexit Guidelines state “after the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom”.

Spain has ensured its role in determining the future of Gibraltar by gaining assurance that whatever is agreed in the future must be acceptable to Spain. The Irish Government on the other hand have secured no such cast iron say over the future of the north of Ireland.

“This is a major mistake by our Government and it needs to change before this draft becomes the official negotiation process.”

…and Scotland wants?

Britain Scotland Stuart Nicol / PA Images Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Drawing Room of Bute House, Edinburgh, Scotland, works on the final draft of her Section 30 letter to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May requesting permission to hold a second referendum. Stuart Nicol / PA Images / PA Images

Scotland wants to remain in the EU.

Today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote a letter to May telling her that Scotland did not want to leave Europe’s single market, and would hold another referendum on Scottish independence.

“The people of Scotland must have the right to choose our own future,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has called for a new vote by early 2019.

Whether they vote to leave or not – effectively breaking up the United Kingdom – is an entirely different question.

With reporting by © AFP 2017

Read: Article 50 is triggered, but how are people around the border reacting?

Read: The number of Brits visiting Ireland has plunged

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