Comments from Paul Rawlinson Global Chair, Baker McKenzie on the Brexit negotiations
The opening of the Brexit negotiations today are a momentous day for the UK marking the beginning of a new era in our political and economic history. When Article 50 was triggered in March we agreed with the Prime Minister that we now have to move on and be bold and ambitious. Above all, our clients will want as much clarity as possible as quickly as possible and we want to see a stable and strong Europe.
However we believe the recent election result means that a softer Brexit is increasingly likely as a more consensus driven approach across the House of Parliament will be necessary as the negotiations get under way. One possibility that can not be ruled out is that the UK will remain in the Customs Union or, although less likely, that UK joins the EEA. It is clear that the election result puts the negotiators from the EU 27 side in a stronger position.
As a Firm we always believed that that the UK's desire to achieve an FTA and a new customs agreement within two years from the triggering of Article 50 was very ambitious. We believe that since the election that is even less likely and we welcome the acknowledgement by the British Government that a transitional period is likely to be required.
As a UK employer, we remain very concerned to ensure that guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals who have made the UK their home for their careers and for their families, is a top priority. We hope that the Government resolves this as quickly as possible in its negotiations because otherwise as we know from our own research released last week large numbers of skilled EU nationals are likely to leave the UK before the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, resulting in potentially huge skills gaps.