Please see below for today’s update on key Brexit news items:

  • European Council President Donald Tusk has said that an agreement on “people, money and Ireland” must come before negotiations on the EU’s future relationship with the UK. In a letter to the other 27 EU countries Donald Tusk called for a “phased” approach to negotiations and re-iterated that “we will not discuss our future relations with the UK until we have achieved sufficient progress on the main issues relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU”. (Independent)
  • A letter from Brexit Secretary David Davis rejecting Nicola Sturgeon’s paper of Brexit proposals has been published. It states that there would be “clear barriers” to Scotland staying in the single market via the EEA or EFTA as it would require the consent of all EFTA and EU member states and highlighted that any new EU regulations could create a divergence between EU and UK law leading to additional controls and checks on trade within the United Kingdom. David Davis added that “given trade with the rest of the UK is worth four times trade with the EU, I do not believe that such significant disruption to the internal UK market is in Scotland’s – or the UK’s – best interests”. (BBC)
  • Dr Patrick Gomes, the head of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations, has ruled out a free trade deal with the UK until at least six years after Brexit. He stated that it would be “very disruptive” to push for a deal with the UK within two years of a formal Brexit and he criticised “reactionary” talk from Whitehall of a second era of British colonialism. (Guardian)
  • Goldman Sachs’ international chief executive Richard Gnodde has warned that clients will foot the bill if Brexit leaves the US bank with a higher cost base. Goldman Sachs is “pushing the authorities, both within the UK but across Europe, hard to ensure that there’s a transitional period”. He stated that the bank will wait “to see what these negotiations throw up, and once we know for certain what the roadmap’s going to look like, then we’ll make our long-term plans”. (Financial Times)
  • European leaders are expected to agree on Saturday that Northern Ireland would automatically become part of the EU if it became part of a united Ireland. A draft of the summit minutes refers to the Good Friday provision for a united Ireland and acknowledges that the entire territory of such a united Ireland would become part of the EU in the event of Irish unification. (Guardian)