Eoin Treacy's view -
In delivering her most detailed roadmap yet for the divorce, May gave the clearest indication yet that Britain will pay to smooth its departure from the bloc. Her words were immediately welcomed by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
“The U.K. will honor commitments we have made during the period of our membership,” May said in a much-anticipated speech in the Italian city of Florence. A government official later clarified that meant she was open to discussing financial commitments beyond the scope of the EU budget, and the U.K. would honor its dues more broadly.
She made the promise while also proposing paying money and accepting the EU’s rules for two years after Brexit takes effect in March 2019 in return for a transitional period which mirrors the status quo of tariff-free, regulation-light commerce -- and freedom of movement.
The May administration is willing to concede to EU demands that it meet previously agreed obligations to the EU budget and will also uphold just about all the EU’s regulations for at least two years after the exit is completed. The announcement of a willingness to pay was welcomed by the EU.
“The speech shows a willingness to move forward, as time is of the essence,” Barnier said in an emailed statement on Friday. “We need to reach an agreement by autumn 2018 on the conditions of the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union.”
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