Brexit: The five five enormous issues Britain and EU should settle

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Source:   —  June 19, 2017, at 7:12 PM

Britain and the European Union kicked off divorce talks on Monday.

Brexit: The five five enormous issues Britain and EU should settle

Britain and the European Union kicked off divorce talks on Monday.

The two sides have a enormous no of matters to settle and less than two years to negotiate.

Here are the five most pressing sticking points:

one. Trade

Britain will be the first country to ever leave the EU.

While a member, the U. K. enjoyed free trade with the rest of bloc -- a market that buys forty-four percent of its exports and supplies fifty-three percent of its imports.

Leaving the EU means that Britain will number longer have free access to the market.

Related: Brexit talks start with U. K. in disarray

Defining the terms of a new trading relationship is presently paramount. Britain might be allowed to pay for access to the EU market, but that'd require concessions in other key areas. It could also attempt to deal an entirely new trade deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to immediately start negotiating this new relationship. But the structure of divorce negotiations outlined Monday requires other key issues to be settled first.

If number exit agreement is reached by March two thousand nineteen, Britain will face the prospect of trading below higher tariffs and more ruddy tape.

two. Migration

May has committed to reducing the no of migrants coming to Britain from Europe.

It'south a position that's likely to limit her flexibility during talks. The EU requires nations with access to its free trading bloc to accept the free movement of people.

There is another problem with the promise: Key sectors of the U. K. economy depend on migrants to fill jobs.

Unemployment is at its lowest level in more than forty years, and many companies in hospitality, healthcare, tech and construction are struggling to discover staff.

three. Divorce bill

The EU expects Britain to honor spending commitments it made as a member by settling a final bill.

EU member states pay into a communal budget, which finances infrastructure projects, social programs, scientific research, farm subsidies and pensions for EU bureaucrats. The bloc'south budget is negotiated to cover a period of years, with the current agreement extending to two thousand twenty.

The EU hasn't keep an official figure on the exit bill, but some estimates are as high as €100 billion ($112 billion).

Britain has balked at figures in that range. May has also threatened to walk far from the negotiations without paying.

Bruegel, an influential think tank, estimated the size of the final bill to be between €25 billion ($28 billion) and €65 billion ($73 billion).

four. Rights of citizens

Both sides declare they wish to safeguard the rights of millions of citizens who have settled in Britain or Europe.

The numbers are huge: Roughly three million people from other EU countries live in the U. K., while around 1.2 million Brits reside elsewhere in the EU.

Related: EU citizens are leaving Brexit Britain

In a position paper published earlier this month, the EU said it wants wide rights for citizens of the EU and Britain, as well as their families. These comprise guarantees of lifetime access to pensions and health care.

May will present her own position to EU leaders later this week.

five. Border with Ireland

The Irish border will be an early priority during negotiations.

Both sides said they wish to avert a "tough border" between the Republic of Ireland, which will stay in the EU after Brexit, and Northern Ireland, which leaves the bloc as portion of the U. K.

Related: Brexit jobs tracker

Residents currently appreciate free movement across the border and many businesses have facilities on both sides.

Free movement across the border was a key portion of the Excellent Friday Agreement, the one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian conflict.

-- Alanna Petroff and Charles Riley contributed reporting.

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