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Pro-Brexit demonstrators face anti-Brexit demonstrators outside the gates of Downing Street, London, Sept. 5, 2018 (Photo by Alberto Pezzali for Sipa via AP Images).

Why Negotiating Brexit Is So Hard

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018

A little more than two years since a bare majority of British voters opted to leave the European Union, and just over six months before it happens, negotiators are still trying to determine what the post-Brexit relationship will look like. As of March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the EU and, while the parties have agreed on a 21-month transition period, time is running out. The U.K. needs to find a way to maintain free trade in goods and services with what is by far its largest trading partner, in order to avoid large disruptions to the British economy. But that will be no easy task because the issues are complex, and the politics fiendish.

The single market at the core of the European Union revolves around the principles of free movement of goods, services, money and people. That means there is a wide range of issues that British and European negotiators must settle to ensure a smooth Brexit. These include not just how to treat goods at the border, but which regulations will apply to goods and services in one another’s markets; how Europeans in the U.K. and British citizens in the EU will be treated; and how much the U.K. owes under the EU budget framework. ...

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