Commenting on the EU Council of Ministers’ decision that Brexit negotiations cannot move to phase two, Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said,
The EU Council’s decision is disappointing, unnecessary and damaging for both the UK and the EU. It means continued uncertainty for business on both sides of the channel and yet more delay in providing clarity on transitional arrangements. It is now of paramount importance that both parties accelerate the speed of the negotiations and address all outstanding phase I issues ahead of the December meeting.
The value of a deal on transition is disappearing by the day. It is a bargaining chip which will soon disintegrate in negotiators’ hands. The consequences of prolonging agreement on transition will be felt by the UK and the EU. Firms are implementing or preparing to implement their Brexit contingency plans. They can still take their foot off the accelerator if a transitional deal is agreed, but without progress soon, it may be too late. While still hoping for the best, businesses are planning for the worst in order to protect customers and clients. This puts UK and EU jobs, capital and inward investment at risk.
What is welcome, if overdue, is the commitment from the EU-27 to begin internal discussions on their future trade relationship with the UK. Such thinking is already well advanced in the business community. We strongly recommend an approach based on mutual regulatory recognition and continued mutual access to skills and talent. We will continue to make the case for this in the coming weeks and months.