Brexit Report & Key Dates To Keep Close Eye On.

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With less than six months to go until Britain is due to leave the European Union, negotiations between the two sides to agree a divorce settlement and a blueprint of new relations after Brexit are in the final stretch and over the last 2 weeks, the market seems to be more optimistic of a deal been agreed in time. Below are some key dates worth making a note of if you’ll need to make an exchange in the coming weeks/months.  

BARNIER MEETS N. IRELAND POLITCIANS & EU 27 ENVOYS - Oct. 5 (Postponed) = EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meets Northern Irish politicians but not Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster who vehemently opposes having different regulations on her soil to the rest of the United Kingdom.  A meeting with Foster was expected for today but it's unclear if that will go ahead. Foster, whose Democratic Unionist Party helps ensure Prime Minister Theresa May can theoretically command a majority in Westminster, has made plain she doesn’t much like the sound of either the EU’s or the UK’s plan for the Irish boarder. To her, both plans threaten to put some kind of checks or controls between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. It’s impossible to take a view on how Brexit talks will end up without taking a view on how likely the DUP is to blink. Those who know them say their resolve shouldn’t be underestimated.

“OUTLINE OF NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH UK” - Oct. 10 (Postponed) = EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is due to present to the EU’s executive European Commission a first draft of the bloc’s proposal for close trade ties with Britain after Brexit.

EUROPEAN COUNCIL - Oct. 17-18 = May meets fellow EU leaders and the European Commission to try to seal deals on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal and what kind of relationship it has in the future. EU leaders of the 27 states remaining in the bloc will have a dinner on Wednesday and then hopefully be joined by May on Thursday to announce enough progress has been made on the Irish border issue to merit calling an extra EU summit in November to finalise the deal, including a blueprint of future trade ties.

SPECIAL BREXIT SUMMIT - Weekend of Nov. 17-18 = EU leaders are ready to hold a special summit on the weekend of Nov. 17-18 to seal a Brexit deal with Britain, if agreement had been reached. Markets are expecting a deal in November, and analysts say Sterling would likely fall if the talks slip further.

EU COUNCIL - Dec. 13-14 = European Union leaders will gather for an EU Council meeting on Dec 13-14. If a deal is not struck in November, this summit could be one of the last chances for a deal if parliaments on both sides are to ratify an agreement by exit day in March.

UK PARLIAMENTARY VOTE ON BREXIT DEAL - Unscheduled = If May secures a deal, she has to get the British parliament to approve it. She would need about 320 votes in parliament to get approval. Her Conservatives hold 316 seats in the 650-seat lower house, and she relies on a Northern Irish party to win parliamentary votes. Labour has indicated it would vote against her deal so unless she can win over her own lawmakers, she could lose a vote in parliament.

Failure could trigger a move against her leadership of the Conservative Party, or the government’s collapse and an early election.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RATIFICATION - Unscheduled = The European Parliament must also sign off on any agreement reached between May and the other 27 EU leaders. If the legislature starts ratification in November or even December, it should still be able to complete the elaborate process in time for Brexit day.

It could hold a final vote during a plenary session set for March 11-14. But legislators’ minds will also be on campaigning ahead of European Parliament elections in May - in which Britain would no longer take part.

EU officials have suggested a further delay may still be possible if negotiators are very close to sealing a deal. But it would just be a few extra weeks at best, as the current EU parliament holds its last plenary session on April 15-18, 2019. That is already beyond the current Brexit date.

NO DEAL STATEMENT = If there is no deal by Jan. 21, 2019, the British government must make a statement within five days on what it plans to do, according to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018. May said this week a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be better than the EU’s standing offer.

BREXIT - March 29, 2019 at 2300 GMT. = Britain will formally leave the EU. Providing an exit deal is agreed, there will be a transition period during which the bulk of the bloc’s rules and regulations continue to apply while the British government formulates and implements replacement policies on issues such as immigration.

TRANSITION PERIOD ENDS - Dec. 31, 2020 = The transition period, designed to ease the impact on businesses and relieve uncertainty, is due to end. Little has been agreed so far about the new arrangements between Britain and the EU on trade, customs and other major issues.

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