There is still a lot of ‘we’ll wait and see ‘ on this….
Across the 26 pages of the political declaration, outlining a plan for the post-Brexit EU-UK relationship, the word “consider” is used 19 times. You can almost hear the thwack as the major issues are booted, one by one, into the long grass of the Belgian countryside.
From customs to security, fisheries and a future trade in goods, there is a commitment for the EU and the UK to consider a whole host of options.
The political declaration, which is not legally binding, has long been seen in Brussels as a sweetener for some of the less palatable elements of the withdrawal treaty, on citizens’ rights, the £39bn divorce bill and the Irish border.
The European commission has been disciplined in its language to avoid any weakening of their position that a country outside the EU cannot enjoy a status as good as one inside the bloc. They have also looked to pin down, where they can, the direction of the talks to come.
But EU diplomats, echoing the phrase used by the former Brexitsecretary David Davis to describe his own negotiating style, admit the document’s 8,192 words offer a great deal of “constructive ambiguity”…..