31st August 2017
The EU is still insisting that negotiations about future trade relationships between the UK
and the EU cannot begin until the UK’s fee for leaving the EU has been agreed. However,
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states: “the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement
with that state, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the
framework for its future relationship with the Union”.
It can take account of its future relationship with the Union only if that relationship has
already been agreed. This means that agreement about future trade relationships must
precede the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal, which would include decisions about
any financial contribution.
The EU’s prescription for the order in which the negotiations should take place is in clear
breach of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.