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Britain's CBI to call on UK, EU to 'get a move on' over Brexit
Economics

Britain's CBI to call on UK, EU to 'get a move on' over Brexit

2 min. 06.11.2017 From our online archive
First and foremost the sides must arrange a transitional period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, CBI President Paul Drechsler will tell the organisation's annual conference in London.

The Confederation of British Industry -- a body representing 190,000 of the country's businesses -- will say on Monday that the European Union and UK government must "get a move on" in Brexit discussions.

First and foremost the sides must arrange a transitional period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, CBI President Paul Drechsler will tell the organisation's annual conference in London.

"I'm reminded of a prime-time soap opera, with a different episode each week," Drechsler will say. "Each one becomes the Big Story, until the next one rolls around. And the effect is that genuine steps forward such as the Prime Minister's Florence speech don't get the recognition they deserve."  

In that speech on September 22, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for  a two-year transition -- or "implementation" -- period for the country after it leaves the European Union, during which it will still adhere to the bloc's rules and regulations. That would allow UK businesses time to prepare for the country's final split with the bloc.

Drechsler will say"the alarm has already rung" for 10% of companies which have begun moving staff or slowing recruitment. 

"Without a transitional deal, when EU leaders gather in Brussels for the March summit, a total of 60% of businesses will have done the same," he will tell the gathering of 1,000 people."To Whitehall and Brussels, the Bundestag and the Assemblée Nationale, I say this: Now, more than ever, business is looking for political leaders across Europe to step up."

BT Group Chief Executive Gavin Patterson told the conference that if a transition period is not agreed by January then businesses like his will begin activating 'hard Brexit' plans, Faisal Islam, Sky News's political editor Faisal Islam reported on Twitter.

UK and EU negotiators will meet in Brussels for the next round of Brexit discussions later this week. They will be little more substantive than "talks about talks" and that has angered Brussels, the Daily Telegraph reported on November 3.

Brexit negotiations have been deadlocked. The EU wants to focus on citizens' rights, how much Britain will pay for commitments made while it was a member and Northern Ireland's border with the Republic, which will be the only EU/UK land frontier post Brexit. 

Only when discussions are far enough advanced will negotiations move to the areas the UK wants to talk about; trade and the future relationship between it and the EU.

The European Council -- made up of heads of state or government of all EU member states -- next meets on December 14 and December 15, according to its website. It could decide then that 'sufficient progress' has been made to move onto the second phase of discussions.

(Alistair Holloway, alistair.holloway@wort.lu, +352 49 93 739)