Just days after the UK Government finally produced what Carwyn Jones calls a "vaguely credible negotiating position" on Brexit, the First Minister is flying to Brussels to meet the EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. But Mr Jones has eased any concerns in Whitehall that he's there simply to promote the Welsh Government's policy that the UK should continue to participate in the single market and Customs Union.
Although he will reiterate that position, the First Minister will argue that the Chequers proposals should open the door to the start of serious negotiations and call for greater flexibility from the European Union to reach what he calls "a workable Brexit agreement based on shared values".
While the Prime Minister refuses to admit that her ill-judged red lines are a thing of the past, she has – at long last – set out a vaguely credible negotiating position. The UK Government White Paper advocates partial participation in the Single Market and continued participation in a Customs Union by any other name. There are many flaws in the proposals and far too many questions remain unanswered. However, I believe it is a basis on which more serious negotiations can now start. I urge the EU27 to show an element of flexibility to avoid the catastrophic ‘no deal’ scenario. The need for such co-operation is brought into sharp focus by the US administration’s protectionist attacks on the UK and EU steel industry. A clear demonstration that the UK and the EU share core values and core interests. By stepping over the red lines and working together I believe we can reach an agreement that provides the basis for a long-term economic relationship.
The First Minister will also meet the British Ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, before making a speech about the UK Government’s negotiating position and his own government's Brexit priorities. In that speech, Carwyn Jones is expected to talk about how there can be a Brexit deal that benefits both the United Kingdom and the European Union.