That would define:
- How trading will work
- What affect that would have on people and their freedoms, both Brits in EU27 and EU27 citizens in Britain
- Impact on Irish border
- Any ongoing financial contributions the UK would make
The EU are trying to cover points 2-4 without covering point 1, the future relationship on trading.
Yet Article 50(2) of the Lisbon Treaty specifically says "...setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union...". This acknowledges that withdrawal arrangements can only be made if at least the “framework” of the future relationship has been defined.
Businesses and governments, both sides of the English Channel, also need clarity on how trading is supposed to work:
- To make strategic business decisions, such as where to site offices and factories
- To design systems and processes, and then build them
Any Brexiter demanding that the UK leaves immediately or more quickly than Theresa has proposed is asking for chaos. Not only for cross-border trade and passport control, but the UK also needs to set up various bodies which are currently covered by Brussels.
But most importantly business needs a good idea of how Brexit will work as soon as possible.
The EU must allow the future relationship to be discussed as soon as possible, so the “framework” is agreed and understood quickly.