Two years ‘not enough’ for post-Brexit negotiating

Confirmation that British prime minister Theresa May has confirmed March 29 as the date for commencing the formal process of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) has drawn commentary from Markus Kuger, senior economist for business services group Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

“May’s plans to start Britain’s withdrawal process from the EU on March 29 are sure to be met with a combination of relief and concern in equal measure,” says Kuger. “While we expected the Prime Minister to confirm Britain’s exit from the EU by the end of the month, setting a concrete date for the process to begin will offer some relative certainty to an increasingly complex matter.

“However, it will take two years for the UK to fully leave the EU and this won’t be enough time for the UK to negotiate new, post-Brexit relationships. What’s more likely is an interim agreement to get through the next few years and we believe full independence won’t be secured until the mid-2020s at the earliest.

“As it stands, the UK economy is doing just as well now as it was before the referendum, yet we remain sceptical about whether this will continue throughout 2017. D&B predicts that economic growth will slow down in 2017 and that inflation will increase. It’s also important to take into account the direct or indirect impact of international elections in France and Germany on UK negotiations with the European bloc.

“With Mark Rutte seeing off the threat of anti-EU campaigner Geert Wilders in the Dutch elections earlier this month, the jury is out in France and Germany as to whether they can shake off the anti-EU sentiment and hold their position as EU powerhouses. The next few months are bound to be interesting.”

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