Philip Hammond tells EU it 'takes two to tango' as Brexit talks restart

The Chancellor is speaking to business leaders in Germany

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Wednesday 10 January 2018 18:21
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Chancellor Philip Hammond will give a speech on Brexit in Berlin
Chancellor Philip Hammond will give a speech on Brexit in Berlin

Philip Hammond will tell EU leaders they must now make clear what they want from their relationship with Britain in the future, saying “it takes two to tango”.

In a speech to Germany’s business leaders, the Chancellor will say European politicians who think it is only for the British to set out what the future holds are mistaken.

Only last night the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gave a speech in which he lamented that the UK was yet to set out more detailed proposals for a future trade arrangement.

Both British and EU negotiators are now gearing up for the first round of Brexit talks in 2018, which will focus on determining the terms of the transition period between, likely to be between 2019 and 2021.

Mr Hammond will say in Berlin: “They say ‘it takes two to tango’. Both sides need to be clear about what they want from a future relationship.

“I know the repeated complaint from Brussels has been that the UK ‘hasn’t made up its mind what type of relationship it wants’.

“But in London, many feel that we have little, if any, signal of what future relationship the EU27 would like to have with a post-Brexit Britain.”

Mr Hammond will claim there has been a “marked asymmetry” between the enthusiasm from other countries to do post-Brexit trade deals with the UK, and the public silence from the continent on what the EU wants.

He will say “many EU opinion-formers see this as a question only for British politicians” and will challenge the EU to “send a message to the British people” while they consider their options for the future.

Last night in Belgium Mr Barnier gave a speech which urged greater clarity from the British on its position for future trade.

EU preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit are “damaging” UK interests, according to David Davis

He said: “What kind of future relationship does the UK want with the European Union?

“We don't yet have the answer to this question. However, we can proceed by deduction, based on the Union's legal system and the UK's red lines.

“By officially drawing these red lines, the UK is itself closing the doors, one by one.”

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