EU's post Brexit trade stance falls 'far short' of UK aims
With the formal presentation of the EU’s current stance on the UK’s post Brexit trade relationship set for later this week, it appears Britain will be limited by its wish to leave the single market and customs union.
According to Dutch broker Rabobank, the EU's proposed terms, in particular the clauses relating to financial services, will fall "far short of the aims of the UK government" as the country will not be afforded any special treatment.
The goal under the current time-frame was for the skeleton of a trade deal to be in place by October, giving national parliaments sufficient time to ratify the agreement before the UK officially leaves the EU next March.
Negotiations between the UK and EU were expected to be held every two weeks, ahead of a meeting of EU leaders in June.
Writing in The Guardian, CommonGround co-founder Hugo Dixon said: "Brexiters also promised that we would stride the world like latter-day Walter Raleighs, opening foreign markets to our trade. This is baloney. We’re scrambling to copy deals the EU already has with over 60 other countries. Not only are we going to lose access to the EU market, which accounts for half our trade, but when the US and China see our desperation, they’ll bully us."
Despite this particularly grim outlook, and the increasing uncertainty surrounding the future of UK trade relations, Sterling was the strongest performing G10 currency year-to-date.
Jane Foley, senior strategist at Rabobank, said: "The agreement on the Brexit transition deal combined with expectations that the BoE is set to hike rates again in May have both been supportive for the currency in recent months. There are clear caveats to this optimistic outlook. There are signs that the UK economy lost momentum in Q1, which could throw up hurdles for BoE hawks, also the Brexit trade talks could be tough."
On Sunday, anti-Brexit campaigners had met to launch a new campaign, called 'The People’s Vote', demanding a second vote on the referendum, with organisers including celebrities, business leaders and MPs from all leading parties taking part.
Actor Sir Patrick Stewart said: "Unity, common cause, well-being of society and debate were paramount to the belief of this fictional character. Our country's future is at stake and we will not stand idly by. That is why I support a people's vote on the final deal."
The latest YouGov opinion poll suggested that if there was a fresh referendum concerning the UK’s EU membership, 44% would opt to remain, while just 41% would vote to leave.