UK caves in to EU demand to agree divorce bill before trade talks

Thank goodness they did “cave in” quickly. They would never have won, and wasting another month arguing futilely, on top of all the time that TM has already wasted, would have been unforgiveable.

Apart from anything else, I think agreeing citizens’ rights first entirely the proper way to do things, to ensure that people aren’t used as “bargaining chips” when it comes to discussing trade deals. Shame on the UK for ever thinking that they could be.

As regards the “divorce settlement”, well it would make no sense to spend 12 months in talks and then throw it all out of the window because no agreement could be reached on the settlement, so it makes sense to sort that out first too.


Anna, all of us who live in a EU country different from that of our birth need to know where we stand.
It has been clearly established that the main worry of oldies in France is the cost of healthcare and yet we have heard not a peep from Maybot et al.
One can only hope that once agreement is reached on residence for Brits in Europe, we will also have agreement on the bi-lateral arrangements UK has with the other countries regarding the funding of our healthcare.
I cannot imagine that the NHS and Social services want a huge influx of pensioners back into UK.

Jane, you have been told how to ensure your healthcare in France is covered in your retirement, whatever happens with Brexit, by looking into PUMA. Your recent response was that you refuse to deal with them for some reason. Why are you creating barriers that do not exist?

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Well that is one small part of the big picture it isn’t it, along with a whole raft of other legislation connected with Brits in the EU and Europeans in Britain. Pensioner S1s, workers S1s for posted workers, migrant workers’ rights, cross border workers’ rights, the right to join family members, cross-border pension arrangements, portable benefits, recognition of professional qualifications, driving licences… so many different pieces of legislation affecting so many different categories of people, and everyone worrying about the particular area that will affect them most. UK pensioners on S1s are obviously worried whether the pensioner S1 will continue to exist, but that’s just one of many aspects to be hacked out. I’m sure the EU has a complete list of all the legislation that need to be reviewed and will pin the UK down to working through it methodically. I honestly don’t think TM had any real grasp of the complexity of the task - I seem to remember her gaily promising a month or so ago that residence rights would be all sorted by June, like you can reach agreement on all that in a couple of sessions.

Either way, as Aquitaine says, pensioners who are established here have a safety net and even if in some cases they need to start contributing a little more towards their healthcare costs, it won’t be disastrous. Other categories could potentially be far worse affected if their livelihoods were to be pulled out from under their feet because they no longer have the right to exercise their activity here, or their family members lose their right to reside. But I trust the EU will ensure this doesn’t happen.

Equally the compressed timetable makes it sensible to try to get as much done in parallel as possible and having made progress on trade talks the UK might have had something to bargain with for the “Divorce bill” (as you say, the possibility of work having to be discarded).

I doubt that this will be the last “cave in” though. We have a weakened government (Mrs May probably fatally), no clear idea of what we want to achieve except “control of our borders”** and an inexperienced negotiating team. Whatever we can salvage from this cluster**** will be a bonus but we won’t be in the driving seat for negotiations.

** both Tories and Labour bash on about “the bast deal for the UK” - without really clarifying what that is. I guess so that however awful the deal they can claim it was the best that could be achieved. Corbyn wants no increase in tariffs for doing business with the EU but I am really not sure what he can possibly offer that would induce the EU to move away from the stance that cannot expect to have the same access to the market as a non-member than do the member states (there has to be some advantage to membership, after all). Like Corbyn May was a “limp Remainer” but I think she will struggle to separate herself from some of her own rhetoric regarding immigration. Mind you she U-turns so fast she sometimes pirouettes so she might change her stance on that one - at least her weakened position might give her an excuse.

I’ve seen that argument before but I don’t really get it. Unless you are going to have different teams of negotiators, which brings to mind the saying about too many cooks. One set of negotiators should surely focus on and discuss one thing at a time, it’s complex stuff and will be exhausting enough as it is, without trying to get to grips with the intricacies of two topics simultaneously. I don’t see how having two completely different topics on the table at the same time is going to help. How many meetings do you go to where there is no agenda, and the chairman opens discussion on two totally separate agenda items at the same time? Doesn’t sound productive to me.
But I do like the mental image of May pirouetting, but aren’t you supposed to smile happily as you pirouette? Haven’t seen her smile happily in a while. If ever.

There are two different things going on here; Brexit and future trade deals. It has always been clear that the trade talks will start as soon as possible but that cannot happen until the main business, leaving the EU, has reached the appropriate stage. At this point in time parallel talks are impossible.

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I don’t disagree David, perhaps trying to rationalise May’s stance a little.

The fact remains, though, that going in with an unrealistic demand and backing down on the first day does not bode especially well. I know that there is an approach to negotiating which is, essentially, demand the unreasonable, then work towards a consensus where you get at least some of what you really want but I’m not sure that’s what happened here - unless you count talking about trade within the two year window rather than insisting we wait until we are actually out before negotiating our trading position as a win.

I don’t know how these things work but it’s hard not to wonder whether the unrealistic demand was at May’s insistence, and Davis knew there was no point pursuing it.

David, we can downsize but there are many people who cannot. I belong to Ecreu which is concerned for all holders of S1’s.

Not sure why you think any downsizing will be required by anyone!
If people are on a low income and have lived here for 5 years they will be eligible to join PUMA and they won’t have to pay anything extra.
If they’re on a higher income then yes they may have to pay contributions, but only in line with their income and circumstances. But I would be surprised if a person or couple with no other income than their UK state pension would have to pay anything at all, of course it depends a bit on the exchange rate.
In practical terms, the disappearance of the S1 would make absolutely no difference to them. You seem convinced that everyone has to pay through the nose to join PUMA. It’s not like that at all. The whole point of the scheme is that everybody pays in according to their means and ability to pay, so that everyone has access to healthcare without any hardship for anyone…

If the UK refuses to make a deal with the EU then existing agreements will be “out of the window” regardless of what we as individuals want. Unless we just dig into our bank accounts and pay yet again.

Why have you posted that comment as a reply to me? All I was pointing out is that parallel talks are not possible.