by Andrew Brons
The Commission and the European Council have insisted that the procedure of withdrawal, including financial arrangements, should be completed before any negotiations can take place on future trade relations.
However, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is quite clear.
“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.”
The arrangements for withdrawal can take account of “the framework for its future relationship with the Union” only if that framework has already been decided. This clearly means that discussion about the UK’s future relationship with the EU (including trading relationships) must precede negotiation about the arrangements for withdrawal.