Flawed Brexit negotiations have led to a ‘soap opera’, Alfred Sant says

Brexit talks were 'deeply flawed' because they ignored the future relationship between the UK and the EU, Labour MEP Alfred Sant says

Brexit talks should have dealt with the future relationship as much as the rupture
Brexit talks should have dealt with the future relationship as much as the rupture

Brexit negotiations should have focussed on the future relationship between the UK and the EU as much as on the rupture between the two, Alfred Sant said.

Describing the talks as “deeply flawed”, the Labour MEP said the UK should have been asked first to clear the future relationship it sought and the EU should have indicated what arrangement it found acceptable.

“Negotiations between the EU and the UK would then have been about proceeding from a status of full membership to that of the proposed new relationship. Instead another episode is being played in a soap opera that frankly has become rather dreary,” Sant said.

A divorce process can only be well managed if not just the terms for a separation but also those of any alternative future relationship are mapped out Alfred Sant

He was speaking during the plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday that discussed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the wake of the British parliament’s rejection of the Brexit deal yesterday. 

The Brexit deal laid down the process by which the UK would depart from the EU, starting on 29 March 2019. However, the deal did not spell out the future relationship between Britain and the EU, something that would have to be negotiated over the next two years.

The British parliament resoundingly rejected the deal, which means that the UK risks heading towards an abrupt withdrawal from the EU in March.

Sant said the current impasse was a result of the two-step approach in negotiations adopted by both sides.

“This was also aggravated by huge political fractures on the British side and the steely determination to maintain unity on the EU side, an approach that has been driving both sides towards a brick wall,” Sant said.

He insisted that the withdrawal and the future relationship were interdependent. “A divorce process can only be well managed if not just the terms for a separation but also those of any alternative future relationship are mapped out.”

READ ALSO: Brexit: The divorce deal that was

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