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Five key takeaways from Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Florence

Five key takeaways from Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Florence
By Chris Harris
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What did we learn from the British prime minister's address?

May wants a two-year transition period after Brexit in 2019


What May said: “It’s also the case that people and businesses both in the UK and EU would benefit from a period to adjust to the new arrangements in a smooth and orderly way.

“As I said in my speech at Lancaster House a period of implementation would be in our mutual interest and that is why I am proposing that there should be such a period when the UK leaves the EU.

“Clearly people, businesses and public services should only have to plan for one set of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU.

“So during the implementation period, access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and Britain also should continue to take part in existing security measures. And I know businesses, in particular, would welcome the certainty this would provide.

“During the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK but there will be a registration system, an essential preparation for the new regime. As of today, these considerations point to an implementation period of around two years.”

May still thinks no Brexit deal with the EU is better than a bad deal

Journalist: “In your view, is no deal still better than a bad deal?”
What May said: “Yes on that last point we continue to believe that.”

May thinks the UK should honour its EU budget commitments

What May said: “I do not want our partners to fear that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership.”

May thinks the UK has never felt at home in the EU

What May said: “Throughout its membership, the United Kingdom has never totally felt at home being in the European Union.

“Perhaps because of our history and geography the European Union never felt to us like an integral part of our national story in the way it does to so many elsewhere in Europe.

“It is a matter of choices.”

May had trouble naming where the UK had won concessions from the EU

Journalist: “Prime minister: your strategy since Lancaster House seems to have been to lay out positions and then concede to what Europe will agree to. It’s happened on the sequencing of talks, it’s happening today on money and it’s happening on their requirements for a transitional period. Can you point to a single concession from the EU that your negotiating strategy has won?”

What May said: “I can say that during the neg- yes, during the negotiations we’ve got at the moment there are a number of issues where we’ve set a position paper forward to the EU and we now have an agreement on a variety of issues we’re looking at.”

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