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Snippet Contents:

Apparently, it will be a 24-hour marathon meeting to finalise a White Paper on its plans for a future relationship with the EU. The emerging position of Mrs. May appears to be a form of maximum facilitation rather than a customs partnership, so it will leave the customs union in a manner demanded by the Brexiteers. However, it could take a decade to develop those so-called easily available maximum facilitation arrangements, tying the UK to the customs union for all that time to maintain the backstop.
On the Single Market, the UK will seek access for manufactured goods to maintain its industrial base and protect major employers like the car manufacturing industry. Such an arrangement, if agreed with the EU, would smooth issues at the Border on our island but create enormous difficulties for our EU partners. The UK would still diverge on services and, in this scenario, take EU rules on goods and likely be subject to the ECJ. It is impossible to envisage how that set of proposals could be acceptable. It remains implausible that the UK can negotiate a deal in the timeline that is now set out. The notion that it could get a better deal with other trading blocs than is already available through the EU is fanciful, unless it determines to abandon social and environmental protections. The time to make hard decisions is fast approaching. There is also a growing campaign in the UK for a second vote on the outcome - whatever it might be - of the discussions. It makes sense to me as a logical thing to do but it is a matter for the British. The Council will also consider important reforms in other areas.
I will conclude on the Brexit issue. I have said for the past six months that it seems that the overarching position of the British Government is simply to hold together and say whatever is necessary at any given time for it to remain intact and for Prime Minister May to remain in office. We have run out of rope on that strategy in terms of the positioning of Ireland. I ask the Taoiseach to call out the British Government on that matter this weekend in order that we can get down to the nitty-gritty of hardcore discussions in the few months that are left.