Hard Brexit bill: €65bn for United Kingdom and EU27 firms

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and EU Council president Donald Tusk hold a press conference at Government Buildings in Dublin. Credit Niall Carson  PA Wire

European Council president Donald Tusk has threatened to freeze Brexit talks, insisting that the sequence of negotiations must be "Ireland first". Mr Tusk said the lack of a solid outline of the future EU-UK relationship, incorporating the Irish Border, was hampering progress thus far.

The European Union would make the point before EU leaders meet at a summit on March 22-23 that the EU was a long-standing and trusted security partner of the United States and thus not a threat to national security and that the Pentagon only needed 3 percent of USA annual steel production to serve its needs.

In a long awaited "Road to Brexit speech at Mansion House in London on 2 March 2018, Prime Minster May announced that she had set five tests against which any Brexit agreement should be judged".

He also said that while the European Union respects the result of the Brexit referendum, the same should be said for the British in respecting the Irish vote for the Good Friday Agreement.

However, despite Brexit not actually happening until next year, manufacturers will have to make a decision sooner regarding their future in the UK.

The EU was not being threatening towards Britain by preparing for a possible "cliff edge" Brexit, European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told reporters in Brussels. "So we will be firm on this", he added.

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Last year, she forced Ministers to give Parliament a say before the Brexit process was triggered.

Crucially, the bloc said Britain would be treated like any other third country in respect of financial services - which London had pressed to be included in a future free-trade deal.

"It's hard to see how any deal that did not include financial services can look like a fair and balanced deal", said Mr Hammond.

Michel Barnier said any attempt by Britain to gain a competitive edge through the use of what is termed "dumping" would jeopardize hopes the country has for a smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU. In the free trade agreement we can offer trade in goods, with the aim of covering all sectors, subject to zero tariffs and no quantitative restrictions.

Financial services is the only area in which Britain has a trade surplus with the European Union, making it very keen to preserve its banks' current access to continental Europe. She cites, by way of example, the ECJ's declaration that the U.S. Safe Harbour Framework for data sharing was invalid, as well as the Withdrawal Bill, which will import European Union law into United Kingdom law on day one, with United Kingdom courts then having to consider and interpret European Union case law where appropriate.

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