Goodbody Stockbrokers has today warned that the Easter break has resulted in somewhat of a lull in the Brexit noise. However, the financial experts believe that with negotiations set to resume later this week, this is all about to change.
Indeed, Goodbody say the talks will step up a gear, with five rounds of negotiations expected over the period running up to the June European Council meeting. Although a calm has emerged, there are still some controversial issues to be ironed out in these negotiations. According to Goodbody, the three key areas of focus for these talks will be: (i) EU-UK relations post-Brexit; (ii) the Brexit withdrawal agreement; (iii) the Irish border.
Last December, the UK agreed to the EU’s demand for a backstop arrangement on the Irish border that will mean that in the event of no agreement, Northern Ireland will not diverge on trade to the extent that a hard border would be required to protect the integrity of the single market.
That political agreement has not yet been put into legal text, but Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney “put down a marker” in his comments yesterday on this issue. Speaking in Brussels, he said that if there is not sufficient progress on a wording of the backstop by June, it puts everything at risk, including the withdrawal agreement and the transition period.
According to Goodbody Stockbrokers, "Other issues, where the UK and the EU have a common interest (Russia, Syria) appeared to have shifted the attention away from the animosity of the Brexit negotiations over recent weeks. This does not take away from the fact that time is running out to have a withdrawal agreement concluded by October. While we may have a slightly biased view, we believe that the Irish border question is the most important issue remaining in these negotiations."