May’s "breakthrough": 7 takeaways from the Brexit negotiations

The two sides have moved forward, but what do we actually know about how Brexit will look?

On Friday, following disputes about the Northern Ireland border, the BBC reported that the UK government and the EU made “sufficient progress” on the first phase of negotiations, meaning that talks can move on to next stage.

But what do we actually know?

1. Single-market

According to Buzzfeed, which has reportedly seen the EU’s “draft guidelines” for the next stage of discussions, the UK could remain in the single-market following the March 2019 departure date as part of the transitional arrangement. This would mean that freedom of movement would continue until the post-Brexit transitional arrangement ends, as well as the free movement of goods, capital and services. Such a move would give fuel to the likes of UKIP and hard-line-Brexiteers in the Conservative party.

2. Customs union

Buzzfeed also reports that the guidelines outline that such a transitional arrangement could involve the UK’s continued membership of the customs union.

3. Northern Ireland

In what is being hailed as a significant win for the government, the two parties agreed in stage one talks that there will be “no hard border” in between Ireland and Northern Ireland, according to the BBC.

4. The so-called “divorce bill”

The site also reports that the UK will likely pay a “divorce bill” somewhere in the region of £35 billion and £40 billion. Compared to higher figures that have been discussed in the press over the past year, this can be seen as a relative win for the UK, however, it will likely anger hard-liners.

5. Good news for the pound and business

The news of progress has gone down well in the financial markets and with business. According to the Independent, sterling is up against the euro and the dollar, and several business entities have praised the advance in discussions.

6. Citizens' rights

According to the BBC, “EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa will have their rights to live, work and study protected”. This will result in relief for the many citizens living all across the United Kingdom.

7. Taking a leaf from Canada’s book

It’s looking likely that the eventual deal the UK ends up having with the EU will be similar to that of Canada’s one with the union. Reuters reports that the EU’s Michel Barnier said on Friday that if the UK leaves the likes of the single-market and customs-union, the Canada option – which took seven long years to agree - will probably be the long-term option.

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